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Hi everyone,

        Thanks for all the contributions here. Let me try to summarize
things and look for the common ground here:

* TDF hiring one (or two) developers

        This is a common factor - apparently, as was expressed at the
beginning of this thread - this is not that controversial.

        We both want to get new people working on some of the most
important under-loved areas in LibreOffice, and ideally quickly.

        Shrinking the proposal to a minimal set that doesn't include
controversial things seems to me the best way to get quick action. A
constructive proposal was asked for - and I provided one. Hopefully it
can attract some support & the board / TDF can move to executing on it

* Senior developers and mentors are very similar

        I'm fairly convinced that any developer that TDF should employ
should be able to work constructively in our community - which means
good communication skills, ability to compromise, and to be able to
explain complex technical concepts to persuade other community members
around their chosen direction / solution.

        These seem to me to be nearly the same soft skills we want
from a mentor.

        Open Source development is not and should not take place in
ivory towers where developers can work without significant social
interaction with others. Indeed to become a senior (as Thorsten
suggests) lots of this collaborative behaviour is expected even in
closed projects. Software is in large part about people ultimately
(for better or worse).

        So - I think any senior software engineer would be able to do
both this job and more focused development tasks; so not a huge

        I really think, given our mission, if we have volunteers that
are eager to work in an area, and need mentoring it would be
altogether better on every axis to get them deeper into the project
and help them succeed rather than paying to do the same thing
ourselves in isolation.

* Some areas of disagreement with Paolo:

On 25/05/2022 14:51, Paolo Vecchi wrote:
You may notice that the difference is that I believe that the 2 new
members of the team should be managed by our mentors and our ED.

        My proposal:

        leaves that decision to the ED - they should focus on
execution: "The Executive Director shall direct day to day management
for the Targeted Developers" - if they want to do that via other
mentors - that's up to them.

Michael Meeks' prefers to have the ESC controlling the

        I think this is the same mis-understanding about how the ESC
behaves as some command & control body instead of a co-operate &
persuade thing. I wrote a little about that here:

        But I struggle to see how you get "controlling" out of:

        "Targeted Developer(s) (as normal dev-mentors) shall attend
         the ESC call, and report on their progress weekly in the
         normal way."

        or was it somewhere else ?

but, while I value their technical input, it's a body that is very
well represented by commercial contributors employees.

I do not think it's a wise idea to have TDF's employees being
directed/controlled by our own suppliers.

        Apart from the mis-understanding about what being present and
reporting on progress in a transparent, weekly group of peers open to
anybody means, this is extraordinary to me.

        Can you expand on your concern here ? who are "our own
suppliers?" can you define the problem there in more detail ?

        I believe my proposal retains a good balance which has served
us well over the years: of the ESC advising the board on engineering
matters, the board deciding a course of action, and the ED/staff
executing on that.

        Perhaps clarifying a counter-proposal and rationale for it
would help.

* Conclusion

        I would commend the board to getting rapidly to the point
where we can hire one to two developers (depending on applications)
who can also be mentors (ie. my proposal) - since this is the kind of
person we want in the project.

        I'd also suggest - to the points about it being hard to hire
good developers (and it really is!), that we dedicate some budget to
advertising widely. I'd also suggest that we look in and/or around
academia - where (I guess) people who are competent and like learning
and teaching tend to lurk.

-- <><, GM Collabora Productivity
Hangout:, Skype: mmeeks
(M) +44 7795 666 147 - timezone usually UK / Europe

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