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Hi all,

see below my answers.

1. Do you commit yourself to have enough time and the necessary technological tools in order to participate to the regularly scheduled board calls?

I'm very happy to invest my time in TDF as I've done during the current term. For all of us, time is nowadays one of the most valuable assets we have. My goal is to make TDF a welcoming place where all of us will want to invest their time and feel they are achieving something great for themselves, TDF and the wider LibreOffice community. The time all of you invest into the project and the community is the most valuable thing you give to TDF. Your commitment of time and skills makes possible what we do together.

I have the necessary tools to participate to the board calls and the various community meetings, like the marketing call or the native language events.

2. Do you commit yourself to follow up and work on (at least) the main items and actions you will volunteer to oversee or that will be assigned to you by the board?

Yes I do. I have important goals I want to achieve together with you and naturally I'm very happy to carry on sharing my experience in the legal group on topics such as contracts, legal compliance and GDPR while engaging also in other areas where I volunteered like events and affiliations.

3. What is your willingness to delegate decisions, especially in lack of time?

During the current board I've managed to participate in all meetings and contributed to our decisions. For other areas where others have more experience, I have happily delegated to and trusted subgroups. They looked into specific issues and the tasks, to evaluate them in more details, and reported back so that we could have a better overview of the issues at hand to take informed decisions. Not having to micromanage every single decision makes our work much more effective, and we can get more things done.

One of my goals is to increase transparency from the board a lot. I propose to take and explain many more decisions in public and not any more behind closed doors. I am convinced we should also involve and enable the community much more and make it possible for them to engage in various specialisations and regional groups and make their ideas a reality. I believe that the board should help people with their engagement and approve programs that help communities being more active instead - too often in the past the board has been the bottleneck.

4. What are your views on the foundation's budget? How should the money be spent, besides our fixed costs?

I believe we should be directly involved in the improvement of LibreOffice by employing 4 or 5 core developers within TDF. At present, we are unable to support directly our community in terms of bug fixing and specific developments that are not taken care of by other developers, and I think we should change that. TDF has more options now than we used to have, and we should take this as an opportunity to serve better our community and users.

5. Should we work towards broadening our pool of contributors, both technical and non-technical?

Absolutely yes. Contributors in all areas are the heart and soul of TDF. Without their contributions, we are "just" a legal entity, but thanks to them, we are the home of LibreOffice, one of the most important and recognized free software projects. One of my goals is to create a environment where contributors feel welcome, and are supported also by TDF's team.

We have not yet reached many of the individuals and organisations that could contribute to TDF and LibreOffice and enrich our community. We surely need organisations and institutions to invest in the development of the features and fixes they may need. We also need individuals that can help with localization, marketing, events, QA, design, UX, infrastructure, documentation, certification, install parties or simply talk to friends about LibreOffice. Every contribution matters!

6. What actions do you suggest to increase the engagement and participation of volunteers from local communities around the world in project's activities?

We have many community members who have a lot of experience in this, because they promote LibreOffice in their local community very successfully. We should trust their wisdom, collect their valuable feedback and prepare information packs and manuals for those who would like to start as well. Many would like to begin doing something, but starting from zero may put them off, as it takes a lot of effort. If we share our experiences and give people the resources they can use and adapt to the needs of their local community, it will help many more to start participating.

7. Should the Foundation -as an entity distinct from the LibreOffice project or the Document Liberation project- engage into growing its influence and promoting and defending Free Software and Digital Freedom? It is, after all, an integral part of its mission per its very Statutes. If yes, do you have ideas on what should be done about this?

Yes, it should. The Foundation should be active in the promotion of technological and digital sovereignty. These are important elements we need in order to promote and protect Free Software and Digital Freedom for everyone. We already know that most of the services we use in the "Cloud", nowadays also on mobile devices, are derived from Open Source and Free Software. Unfortunately, too often these do not provide us with much more freedom apart from using them in exchange of money and/or personal data.

Individuals, organisations and institutions of all types should be made aware that LibreOffice is one of the many FOSS platforms they can leverage to free themselves from vendor lock-in. Thanks to this, everyone can invest in software as a social asset, instead of being only consumers of someone else's products on which we have no control.

8. What's your idea to let TDF membership become more appealing? Currently, the only difference from being Community member and TDF member is the possibility to vote and be voted for TDF's governance, and it's fine, but can you imagine anything to encourage more Community members to become also part of TDF?

LibreOffice exists and will continue to exist for a long time, as long as we all protect the independent Foundation that is hosting it, and support the people who are our community. TDF is there to serve the community and protect the brand, to avoid being taken over by commercial organisations which are more interested in monetising the "product" than serving the community and guaranteeing its long term sustainability.

Our community is made of individuals, and they are represented in the foundation as members. They decide about the direction and about the future of our foundation. It is important to have a good representation of everyone who contributes to LibreOffice around the world, developers as well as non-developers, and people who do not speak English. This is why I encourage everyone to become a member and to be represented.

Some said that the most important thing is to have developers for LibreOffice and that what is good for LibreOffice is good for TDF and its community. This is a too simplified explanation. Without a strong foundation with a large number of TDF members, who represent the diversity of our community, also LibreOffice could become victim of its own success and forked into a product by third parties that would slowly take away from us our LibreOffice.

TDF membership might not have a lot of "measurable" benefits for individuals - but it gives you a great opportunity to be part of something big, to have your voice heard and to be an active part in the changes you would like to see. This is why having as many contributors as possible to become members is important.

9. How do you view your (potential) role as a member of the board of directors, given that this position does not give you any specific functional role inside the LibreOffice or Document Liberation projects?

As a board candidate, I want to serve all the members and support them in areas where my experience can be considered valuable.

I will keep liasing with local and European institutions to get LibreOffice recognised as an essential asset which can become a full replacement of some platforms which unfortunately have built in a strong vendor lock-in. In the legal oversight group, I will work to allow TDF to grow while keeping it as safe as possible.

To ensure continuity and a bright future for TDF and LibreOffice, even if some software contributors decide to change their focus, I will promote more internal investments to make TDF more self-reliant and keep on working to make LibreOffice available also to those that unfortunately may be locked into vendors' walled gardens (Microsoft and Apple stores).

10. What is the biggest problem of the foundation in your opinion? What is its biggest opportunity?

I think the biggest problem is that - up to quite recently - the Foundation hasn't explored the many ways that it can engage to help and grow more its community and make ideas happen. We haven't looked enough into how projects could have been done directly at TDF, using our existing resources. This would have made many things much faster and saved us quite some time and discussions.

The biggest opportunity is directly connected to that: Following the consultations we had with external specialists, we found that we can do many of the things that in the past seemed possible only through external business entities. Now it is clear that we can work to extend our reach in app stores, to employ developers and to invest in more marketing to help local communities in supporting LibreOffice by using TDF's resources. During the next board term, I want to help make these things not only more straightforward, but actually finally happen.

11. If they will occur, how do you think to handle conflicts within the board?

As some in the board and also outside of TDF may have experienced, I try to be a pragmatic and dependable person to work with, as long as we all work for the good of the community and the foundation. If, on the other hand, what is being proposed could be detrimental for us, I can be a very difficult person to deal with.

I don't support compromises that may negatively affect TDF as I'm not prepared to support something that I consider wrong for the community. Conflicts have happened and, as we're all human beings, will surely happen in the future. Important is how to deal with this.

You have my promise that if I see that the end result won't be good for both TDF and LibreOffice, I will stand my ground until positive changes will happen.


Paolo Vecchi

Paolo Vecchi - Deputy Member of the Board of Directors
The Document Foundation, Kurfürstendamm 188, 10707 Berlin, DE
Gemeinnützige rechtsfähige Stiftung des bürgerlichen Rechts
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