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Hi Simon,

I'm deeply concerned by your comments as you are presenting a very distorted view of reality contributing in creating more confusion, misinformation and divisions.

If you are unaware of what happened within the board in the past two years then it would be better for you not to say anything about it and support all of us in making the things Sophi asked for in her email happen as some of us tried but others decided to ignore us or actively block us.

Then just some brief comments below to correct what you said a bit.

On 14/01/2022 19:14, Simon Phipps wrote:
Hi Sophie,

I appreciate your comment here and (with some fear) have to respond to amplify it.

On Fri, Jan 14, 2022 at 11:14 AM sophi < <>> wrote:

    On my point of view, it was not about achieving market dominance but
    about solidarity. And TDF has failed here, again on my point of view.

Yes, I have to agree with you. Freedom, equality and solidarity used to be the norm at TDF.

Maybe you missed the point here.

Some of us actually worked hard to prepare the ground to help others trying to act in a fair and balanced way but after months of work and negotiations someone decided that solidarity wasn't a priority.

You once again missed completely the point when in a public meeting (22/05/2020) you said that making LOOL available "poorly thought out proposal" and that we should have focused on your proposal for LOOL on Raspberry Pi.

I know you may not have been aware of the months of well documented negotiations that preceded that proposal which took in consideration the eventual economical impact for a valuable member of the ecosystem and the need to act in solidarity of the people badly affected by the pandemic.

Over the last couple of years that has largely ended at the Foundation level (fortunately our community still has many parts where this is not true).

Fortunately freedom, equality and solidarity are still in the core of what TDF does as some fought to keep it that way.

This has led to progress grinding to a halt through mistrust.

Life taught me that trust needs to be earned and should not be given blindly.

Also since my onboarding at TDF facts confirmed that whatever I've been told needs to be validated and supported by clear evidences.

That first day a member of the board shocked me when he said to me "TDF is utterly broken" and that made me think many things including "What have you been doing all these years instead of fixing things" and "This guy will have to work hard to earn my trust". Sadly that person did not put much efforts in trying to earn my trust, others didn't even try while fortunately I can say I found many more great people that demonstrated they can be trusted and are doing their best for TDF and our community.

For example, both TDC and LOOL were ended just at the point where the external conditions suggested they were going to flourish.

I guess by now most should know how LOOL ended and why.

I was hoping never to hear again about TDC but as you mention it that's another situation where the patience of the community and the new members of the board has been tested thoroughly.

I had some doubt about that project since I've heard of it and I even wrote to you before becoming a deputy member of the board to express my doubts about the way it was being setup. Your answer didn't convinced me at all that the proposal was good for TDF and our community and it pushed me to look even deeper into the issue.

If I recall correctly you said you spent two years in making TDC happen as a fix for systemic issues within TDF. That made me wonder if it wouldn't have been a better idea to invest those two years in fighting to fix the issues instead of creating a third party organisation to go around those issues.

Your answer made me also learn about a term, bike-shedding[1], its implications and to understand if we were trying to build a shed or a nuclear power plant.

It turns out that we have a lot of very clever and dedicated community members that spotted that the project that has been presented as a shed should actually have been considered as a power plant because there were many complex elements that haven't been considered and/or fully explained.

The board received a very long list of questions and doubts clearly showing that the presented project has been underestimated in both its complexity and its negative effect for TDF and our community.

It seems like once again you missed the point as instead of taking onboard the questions, evaluate their merit and provide convincing answers, which could have included "we may have to go back to the drawing board", you decided to feel offended and stopped responding.

Some members of the new board had to perform a full analysis of the project while the member of the board that were involved with that project kept hampering the process and sometimes coming up with alleged informations/reasons to carry on that have been disproved not long after.

Not happy about the underestimation of the size of the shed a few months ago you had the courage to state that you have "been betrayed by the Board" because TDC didn't proceed as planned.

A very long book could be written about what the new member of the board had to endure and the tactics that have been used to force things through but that should be already enough to make you reformulate the above statement.

Little has been achieved in their place as you observe, and as the tired bickering in this thread illustrates.

If you observe carefully you may actually notice that what you see are people that had enough of being diplomatic and saying that all is fine.

If you think that little has been achieved then I suppose we have been very good in keeping for ourselves the pain we had to endure to manage to fix what was broken instead of looking for easier paths that could have been even more damaging.

Lots has been achieved even if we could have achieved more if we didn't have to fight hard for months to define that TDC as presented wasn't fit for purpose, to try to get LOOL to the community and to get the Conflict of Interest policy through.

The TDC issue has in a way been useful as we did the the due diligence that should have been done before presenting the project as a fait accompli and the result is only partially evident as that process has shown that the issue presented as the reason to create TDC are actually not there. The new board has now the benefit, that the current board hasn't enjoyed, of having all the information to propose a plan that will be for the full benefit of the community.

You may now realise that defining "tired bickering" a thread where a member of the community, the staff and the board express serious ideas and concerns doesn't help the situation at all and confirms you are still thinking that this is just bike-shedding while we have to look after a power plant.

Egalitarianism was replaced by turning inwards to fight unproductively among those privileged to be allowed information - and in the process to slander those involved before.
I personally felt that those that had information believed to be more equal than others when I joined the board and had to deal with TDC. The new members had no readily available information and those that had the information didn't really help much as they thought the plan was OK and we should have gone ahead.

I had to spend a large amount of time digging into meeting minutes to find information that turned out to be contradictory to what I was being told.

Now we have a mailing list that contains notes and references so that the new members of the board won't have to go through the same pain.

If some felt slandered they can simply state what they think is incorrect and I'm sure we can now find enough information to verify if they are right or not.

As a result of this the Foundation has turned even more closed, with Board inflighting leaving the Trustees in the dark while the arguments went on.

Actually we have released a lot of information but some didn't bother reading it and called it "tired bickering".

There has consequently been no spirit of solidarity to harness to do good outside the project.

The spirit of solidarity has been there all the time and some started acting to help while others where not so keen.

As you say, that is tragic, and I really appreciate your observation of it.

If TDF is to satisfy its mission this has to stop. The new Board has a huge opportunity and responsibility to put all this behind them and lead positively.

I believe I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (unless that's just a train) and that after so much hard work some of the major issues have been sorted.

It must shun divisiveness and seek ways to rekindle solidarity by emphasizing equality and promoting freedom. This will not be done treating the motivations of some participants as suspect! In fact almost everyone is pursuing an "interest", almost by definition in a collaborative community!

As Maslow <> observed, before higher-level behaviours can be cultivated, basic needs must be met - especially belonging and esteem. The Foundation needs to be more inclusive of all its trustees in its processes rather than just consulting them for votes once every two years. It needs to be realistic about the pragmatics of large-scale software engineering and how it's paid for and rein-in those trying to frame "commercial" as tainted. It has to seek ways to encourage both community and commercial activities inside its "umbrella" rather than treating some as clean and some as unclean.

I'm not sure who told you that anyone is trying to frame "commercial" as tainted. I believe you completely misunderstood the issue and you are creating an "us versus them" situation that does not exist.

Of course the commercial ecosystem is important and nobody denied that. You may also missed the fact that we launched the MarCom plan which has been developed with the precise intention of creating opportunities that lead commercial organisation to develop business models that allow the to grow and contribute but without asking us to go against our Statutes and objectives.

I may be naive but I thought this was clear to all.

The fight we had to go through were related to some people expecting that companies should have the freedom to do what they wanted without clear rules of engagement, that they were more equal than others because they write a lot of code (which seems the only thing the often mentioned "meritocracy"[2] measures) and that solidarity is OK as long as it generated leads.

Some think that freedom, equality and solidarity should have very different meanings.

Some of the things have been fixed, on some it has been shown we had no control over them but if the commercial entities finally accept to work with TDF and the whole community under clear rules for all then everyone will gain from it.

One of the things that still need to be fixed, IMHO, is that some still think that TDF should not develop any code directly and should be fully dependent on third parties. Well, LOOL demonstrated that by being dependent only on third parties, that have a majority control over a project, we can't guarantee we can satisfy our objectives.

I'm sure that the new board will look at the issue, it will learn from past mistakes and approve both the investment on new developers and to set clear rules for existing and new projects controlled by commercial entity to protect the rights and interests of all parties involved.

I very much hope the new Board will engage positively and unanimously on these things. I'm not finding the current conversation encouraging but I have hopes the new team will take a firm hold and change things for the better.

A lot of work has been done to make life easier for the new board members, a very well written Conflict of Interest Policy is in place as a clear guide for them and lots more information (than I had when I started) is now readily available to understand better and faster the issues we had to fix and what we still have to do.

So I'm fairly optimistic that the new board will be able to move better and faster now that the road has been fixed.

Best regards




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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