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Hi *,

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 commercial entity).

As it is not directly related to the Attic question, I have started a new topic.

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 devices).

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 quandary.

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, embedded Firebird).

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 are deprecated.

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.

Alex Thurgood

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