Sophie suggested that I might want to raise what I perceive as an issue
here on this list, that is connected, but not identical, to the issue
relating to the Attic question, and the questions around the sidelining
of features/functionality in commercially developed and distributed
versions of LibreOffice / X entity branded products (X being the
As it is not directly related to the Attic question, I have started a
I am a business user of the LibreOffice software product, and for those
who know me, or of me, I have been a long time community volunteer
active in QA, and previously to that in the documentation projects. My
focus within these projects has pretty much always been related to Base,
and in line with my business activity, pretty much related to using
LibreOffice on macOS.
My business is a small one, 4 to 5 machines, and is based essentially on
various macOS machines (a combination of Mac minis and Macbook Pro
I try, to the extent possible, to use LibreOffice versions made
available through the AppStore.
On the one hand, it is suggested, on the LibreOffice download web page,
to support the business solution providers if we use LibreOffice in a
professional or commercial capacity. I believe that my business does
this by using the versions provided via the AppStore.
Nonetheless, as a paying business of these versions, I am left in a
My business relies on daily use of database interactions, including the
use of queries, forms, and to a lesser extent, reports. The business
implements a number of different database solutions, ranging from
mysql/mariadb/postgres server backends and/or embedded hsqldb (and
hopefully when the functionality is finally of an equivalent scope,
It seems increasingly obvious that the provider of these commercial
versions is not interested in maintaining database functionality and the
supporting Java functionality that accompanies the Base module. The
reasons for this may be perfectly valid commercially-focussed decisions,
and not just linked to the specifics of the AppStore rules.
Be that as it may, the only way for my business activity to access the
full range of database options is to use the TDF LibreOffice version,
and even that is beginning to fail in a number of areas.
My take from all of this is that I foresee the macOS LibreOffice product
becoming solely distributed by one entity in the long term, due to
inaction, or passiveness from the Board to allow things to continue as
they are. The current commercial entity, due to the business decisions
it makes with regard to its own internal code development/maintenance
strategy, then gets to choose which functions are maintained and which
I have been told variously and rather glibly in the past that an SLA
would solve the problem - the fact is that the costs and provision of
such a SLA from a vendor are neither transparent upfront, nor realistic
for a small business with 5 seats. I also rather doubt that it would be
satisfactory for the commercial entity as well.
From a business perspective, I may as well just switch to using
Office365 or GoogleWorkplace at ca. 50EUR/month for the same 5 seats,
and accept the limitations, and/or paying optional extra features that
might be necessary to have an equivalent setup.
The question I have then for the Board is this :
- what is the Board going to do to address the issue of abandonment of
features in commercially provided/branded versions of LibreOffice ?
If the attic solution is adopted for such abandoned features, does this
mean that the TDF LO version for macOS would one day be put into that
attic ? My current concern is that it might, or, as appears to be the
case, it will be built off the commercial entity's build environment
(this ties back to the questions around the LOOL project) and released
with that reduced feature set.
Clearly, one can't force any commercial entity to do anything with
regard to source code that is initially under an open source licence
That is, after all, the whole point of open source code. However, the
future of the project will be put in jeopardy if the commercial
developments take over as the main release channel for any given arch/OS.
That is the concern I would like to see addressed.
Thank you for listening to me, and apologies in advance if I may have
ruffled a few feathers.
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- [board-discuss] Commercial entity vs community development and distribution · Alexander Thurgood
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