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Re: [board-discuss] LibreOffice Personal & TDF's statutes & purpose


I think a clear-cut statement from the Board can answer a lot of questions and reduce a lot of 
negativity.

The Board should clarify:
- that there will be no change of license;
- that there will be no 'exclusive' features for the proposed enterprise edition other than 
dedicated support like priority bug-fixing, help, etc.;
- that there will be no terminology/tags that might demotivate the non-individuals (be it small 
communities/NGOs/governments/ big enterprises) to use the LibreOffice Community Edition (I believe 
that the board will not chose the Personal Edition name). The recent inclusions in the development 
branch like 'Personal Edition' and the tag 'intended for individual use' surely demotivates the 
non-individuals to use the software;
- that the LibreOffice Community Edition will function as effectively as the proposed LibreOffice 
Enterprise Edition without any restrictions;
- that the intention of the board is not to commercialize the office suite which creates commotion 
among the great community that has been supporting LibreOffice since years;
- that the board respects the principles of freedom (libre) software.

A statement clarifying the above may help answering a lot of community members.


‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
On Thursday, July 9, 2020 9:18 PM, Michael Meeks <michael.meeks@collabora.com> wrote:

Hi Alex,

On 06/07/2020 10:27, Alexander Werner wrote in bugzilla at

https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/show_bug.cgi?id=134486#c23
Cleary, The Document Foundation must release a version that is open
to all intended audiences. As clearly stated in the statues, the
intended audience is: everyone, explicitly including COMPANIES and
PUBLIC AUTHORITIES.

Some comments on that; the statutes are public here:
https://www.documentfoundation.org/foundation/statutes/

I quote from the preamble:
"The objective of the foundation is the promotion and
development of office software available for use by anyone
free of charge."

A tag and about box text doesn't modify any of this. The
fundamental license and availability for use by anyone free of charge
stays.

Clearly that is so. Beyond tweaking the brand with a tag - no
change is suggested to the software or its distribution at all.

Moving on let me include the omitted second paragraph:

"The foundation promotes a sustainable, independent and
meritocratic community for the international development of
free and open source software based on open standards."

These mission goals are not optional. We need to be
sustainable - How large a community do you think it is necessary to
have to sustain the software ? how do we promote that ?

The issue gets even clearer:
"This software will be openly available for free use by anyone for
their own files, including companies and public authorities,
ensuring full participation in a digital society and without
detriment to intellectual property."

So - LibreOffice Personal -as-now- will be openly available
for free use by anyone; so that is also clearly met.

-   Some background on the history & philosophical context here:

    -   Free Software has for decades been fighting against the
        idea that it is free-as-in-beer, and talking of
        free-as-in-freedom.

    -   RMS regularly distinguishes Libre from Gratis, and talks
        about the vital freedoms. Arguably the Open Source movement
        itself is a reaction against this "free of price" frame.

    -   if we take an extreme view of this paragraph in our statutes
        that would lead me to the conclusion that we are mis-named:
        we should be called "GratisOffice" - if freedom from price
        is the core purpose of the project. Perhaps we're overdue
        for a re-brand:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratis_versus_libre

        if our core purpose is Gratis; it's just horribly
        confusing to call ourselves Libre.

    -   Many commnity members I've spoken to have little sympathy
        for enterprises that just take, and contribute nothing
        back except bug reports & associated aggravation.

    -   They have even less sympathy for those who charge for using
        our brand and software in the enterprise, and then
        contribute nothing back.

    -   By focusing here, it -can- sound as if you arguing that
        our core purpose is to give free stuff to large, rich
        enterprises ? that we should sweat and toil for free,
        for the good of IBM, or Oracle, or ... =) surely not.

    -   for me that's not a motivating factor whatsoever, I want
        to collaborate with other contributors to promote and
        develop an office suite available for use by anyone
        free of charge; in a sustainable way.

        LibreOffice Personal/Community could be how we promote that.

        But really, how it is marketed, what tags go on the splash
        screen - how we try to -effectively- (we're good at doing this
        ineffectively ;-) steer people towards even starting to understand
        that they need to contribute, whether directly themselves or via the
        ecosystem - these all seem to be tactical issues.

        We know that existing attempts to do that are an utter
        failure, with zero up-take. We know that enterprises (charitably)
        don't even know that they should do the right thing here.

        We know that changing here might be disruptive, but having
        some suggestions of what changes might be acceptable and some idea of
        what success might look like would be really helpful. What do you
        think TDF should concretely do to solve the problems I outline:

        https://listarchives.documentfoundation.org/www/board-discuss/msg04591.html

        We know that enterprises don't donate and that the vast
        majority don't contribute, so it is individual persons via donations,
        or via awesome contributions =) alongside the ecosystem who end up
        funding what work goes on the project.

        I think Bjoern states that rather well here[1]:

        "IMHO, the same applies even stronger to @tdforg as an NGO: I
        dont think other institutions -- especially commercial ones
        that are not contributing to its projects -- have any moral
        rights to its output."

        But, of course - perhaps there is another way that TDF as an
        NGO can deliver its mission, stay true to its purpose, improve the
        software, and create the big, grateful, fun community I keep banging
        on about as a vision =)

        I'd really like to hear ideas there. Say we use a different,
        or no tag for example - how do we get the message across to
        enterprises effectively that they need to contribute ? either tons of
        code themselves, or more realistically funding to the ecosystem ? how
        does that differ from today ? and why do we think it will work ? we
        can always try new things of course.

        Thanks !

        Michael.

        [1] - 
https://twitter.com/intent/retweet?tweet_id=1280753358605881352&original_referer=https%3A%2F%2Fthreadreaderapp.com%2Fthread%2F1280753358605881352.html
        --
        michael.meeks@collabora.com <><, GM Collabora Productivity


Hangout: mejmeeks@gmail.com, Skype: mmeeks
(M) +44 7795 666 147 - timezone usually UK / Europe

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