I was interested to see this vote:
On 26/11/2020 10:02, Florian Effenberger wrote:
The vote that has been proposed is the following:
1. to freeze (not delete) the "online" repository at TDF's git, for
the time being
Of course, I'd prefer a clear decision to collaborate in a
positive way with COOL and mutually celebrate each other. Absent that,
it seems to me that Thorsten is rather sensible when he says:
On 26/11/2020 15:53, Thorsten Behrens wrote:
I'm convinced it's the least-worst short-term measure, and leaves the
door open in all directions.
Keeping that door open is useful; as I wrote in my original
On 01/10/2020 10:13, Michael Meeks wrote (here):
Of course, we would love to see TDF coming up with the right mix of
structure, entities, stability, branding, appreciation of corporate
contributions and so on to build confidence that another approach is
possible. There is time before our next LibreOffice release in
January for the community to ponder what to do with LOOL, and to do
their own thing, or support this move to capture the benefits
Collabora has so far kept the door open for a smooth reconciliation
by (among other things) continuing to promote LibreOffice positively
(which is easier when it is not necessary to differentiate against
a LOOL) and by keeping COOL building against LibreOffice master.
Simultaneously various positive, confidence building
improvements to TDF's marketing have been planned. These seem to go in
a generally helpful direction for the project; kudos to those
On the other hand it has been mentioned that first testing
these changes in the Desktop version is necessary. Can we re-build the
necessary company investment there? That, if successful, should
demonstrate there is a stable, predictable environment with a sensible
lead-flow coupled to contribution to drive new investment. It seems
clear that this needs to happen before any changes to COOL. It will
take some significant time probably many months. Time is also needed
re-build the requisite confidence in the board upholding this wiser
It is also encouraging to see some of our historic concerns
taken on board & creative steps discussed towards meeting some of
them. On the other hand - a recognition of the many benefits that I
outlined which can be easily captured without further changes would
be good too.
Against this, I was surprised to see some Board members'
Different board members wrote:
... the LOOL subproject is key for the future of TDF and its community.
From TDF we must recognize the strategic importance of LOOL. That is
why the repository must remain active. That way, those who wish to
join and make the project shine, can do so.
"1) No. Let's work to implement better tools to make it easier
to people to contribute."
The future of the LibreOffice codebase and those that love it
is assured, even in the very unlikely case that Online is the sole
future. The overwhelming majority of the code behind Online is
However the direction these votes appear to go in is one of
pre-judging the result, encouraging divergence, and nurturing a
competing LOOL project even while we test adapting LibreOffice
marketing; and for what benefit ?
I wonder if that is a wise, or even intended approach?
The background is that in the last ~two months since the move
there have been >700 commits to COOL, from a growing and diverse set
of developers against two (2) (automated translation updates) to LOOL.
Having votes by non-coders to keep open a sub-project that
falls rapidly behind, currently with no contributors, and using the
LibreOffice brand to keep it relevant is a curious choice.
It also opens TDF and LibreOffice to potential negative
comparisons & criticism. Far from being an un-mitigated positive
for the project.
Is that the intention ? it would be nice to have a clear
statement ? as I wrote before:
On 01/10/2020 10:13, Michael Meeks wrote (here):
Competing with people who take your code, represent themselves
as the creators of it, do nothing effective to mention us, and
compete with us in the marketplace is a problem. RedHat had problems
with Oracle Unbreakable Linux that were not dissimilar, where morally
they should be presented as the creators.
This is where we came from, my hope is that it is not where we
are going together.
There are a few other things that are interesting questions:
TDF needs to work out if it will be a pragmatic place where
do-ers decide: we used to call that a meritocracy.
I also hear the view that not having binary product builds is
the main cause of Online's problems wrt. attracting developers,
momentum and investment. Interestingly, the TDF/Android app had
regular product builds and was available in the play store. However it
suffered from a near total lack of investment, neglect and ultimately
was removed. That makes me wonder if providing builds alone is the
panacea for creating a developer community that invests.
Anyhow, board members need to decide what they want to signal
to the ecosystem. At the moment it seems rather mixed. Thoughts and a
deeper rational / direction are appreciated from the board, and/or
comments from others.
For my part, as I explained when we announced the move of the
entire Online coding community away from TDF: I will abstain on this
sort of vote.
Michael Meeks, Director of The Document Foundation
Kurfürstendamm 188, 10707 Berlin, Germany
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