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[board-discuss] Ideas for marketing plan and role of TDF, & also something on branding of LibreOffice


Dear all, dear BoD,
 
In the marketing plan 2020-2025, I would really like to see a better definition of the role of the TDF in the expansion of the LibreOffice universe.
 
In my opinion, the TDF should more actively act as an independent "broker"/advisor for LibreOffice. TDF could act as
(1) a hub and advisor for companies/institutions that think of migrating to LibreOffice desktop and/or online.
(2) an independent and non-profit "broker" for professional support services for LibreOffice, including for long-term supported LO editions by ecosystem partners.
(3) TDF could define strategic areas for LibreOffice development that require lots of work and should run crowd-funding campaigns for these.
(4) TDF could more actively approach large-scale users of LibreOffice to officially become member of the TDF.
(5) TDF promotes LibreOffice certification and creates a LibreOffice Certified visual stamp (this idea is already in the marketing plan)
 
It would be good if the LibreOffice website reflects all these available options, additionally to the current website menu entries:
In the menu bar of the website, there should be a new entry called (1) "Migration support", (2) "professional support services", and (3) "Fund further development"
 
To the different roles of TDF:
to (1): The LibreOffice website could actively promote "Migration support" on the LibreOffice website. TDF should act as a knowledge hub and inform companies/institutions what free and paid services are available and what ecosystem partners they can approach for migration services. This includes information who can manage migrations, perform installations, provide extension development, carries out migration of existing documents and templates, provides professional template management (like WollMux), provides integration in enterprise CMIS and IT infrastructure, provides long-term support, provides users' training.
 
to (2): The LibreOffice website could actively promote "professional support services" of ecosystem partners, including information on ecosystem partners' editions of LibreOffice. TDF should actively provide guidance and advice what kind of professional support services are out there. The website refers to this guidance and advice by TDF.
TDF should also employ experts in public tenders that can assist companies/institutions in preparing tenders and in drafting Terms of References for LibreOffice professional support services. Many companies/institutions need to follow tender rules and have at least three offers from competing companies to purchase solutions and support. Given that there are multiple LibreOffice ecosystem partners, TDF can recommend ecosystem partners (which are real community members and provide development and code upstream). TDF should advise to include features in the tender that upstreaming code is a requirement for the LibreOffice support services tenders by companies/institutions. TDF could actively promote that and assist in those tenders.
 
to (3): There are areas of development in LibreOffice that require lots of work and thus are difficult to get them started/done. TDF should actively define these areas and start crowd-funding campaigns for these. Examples for big and important development areas are Collaborative Editing for LibreOffice desktop (Bug 133984) or the finalization of FirebirdSQL integration in LibreOffice Base. In cooperation with ecosystem partners, TDF defines who of the ecosystem partners will be able to implement these features when the crowd-funding will be successful. TDF should run and advertise these crowd-funding campaigns.
 
to (4): Discussion on this list have shown that there are many large-scale users, companies, universities, cities, governments, organisations that use LibreOffice, but do not link with the TDF or the community. Thus, TDF should employ staff who actively approaches these large-scale users to become member of TDF and to actively support development.
 

Concerning Branding:
 
(a) "About" dialog:
As several people pointed out, the change in the About dialog of LibreOffice 7.0 will have substantial negative side effects. Particularly the two terms "personal edition" and "intended for individual use" are likely to hamper the growth and use of LibreOffice. This cannot be our aim. There should be no "intended audience" and the terms "private", "individual" or "personal" are equally misleading and should IMHO be avoided. A solution could be:
"This software is developed by a team of volunteers and is supported by the community."
We could add:
"LibreOffice is Free Software and is made available free of charge. Please consider donating: https://www.libreoffice.org/donate/"
&
"For professional support services for LibreOffice, see https://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/professional-support/"

(b) Use of "editions":
It does not really make sense to weaken the current LibreOffice brand and download packge. We could leave the brand "LibreOffice" as it is (no "personal" and no "community" tag; nothing that makes LO smaller as it is), but establish a new LibreOffice brand that really implies services, availability, long-term support, security and extended software integrations.
Thus, why not establishing a LibreOffice brand for ecosystems partners like:
* "LibreOffice 365" (the top brand as it includes hosted online, mobile and supported desktop office; bluring the line between cloud and desktop like MS does it)
* "LibreOffice Premium" (with premium support and (maybe extended) desktop office suite) [could also be "LibreOffice TS" (total support), "LTS" (long term support) or "LibreOffice XP" etc.
 
Since the target companies/institutions of LibreOffice cannot be easily subsumed under the term "enterprise", an "enterprise edition" might be as misleading as a "personal edition". Thus, my suggestion is to not differentiate by the user profile, but rather by the user needs and service requirements. This is why I suggest a LibreOffice brand for ecosystem partners that implies services, support, security etc.

Best,
Gerry
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