It has been a while since I have blogged about the Foundation status,
but the Steering Committee have been very active on this topic in the
meantime. Now that we are handing over to the new Board of Directors, it
is good to document where we have reached.
First, we are delighted that the elections of the first BoD are now
official. As promised, the Steering Committee has ceased its existence,
and the TDF members voted on the new BoD in an open, transparent and
meritocratic way. Gratifyingly, the Members have elected the core of the
former Steering Committee onto the Board and I’m thus able to use “we”
interchangeably in this report! The next election to take place will be
the one of the Membership Committee, so expect an official announcement
on that soon.
On to the status of incorporation. As previously planned, we approached
three German federal states, and got very valuable feedback from them.
One of our three candidates showed very strong support and is most
likely to be the final location for The Document Foundation. We don’t
want to pre-empt any result and therefore will not communicate the
state’s name in public, but the secret will hopefully be revealed very soon.
We have included many improvements into the legally binding statutes,
based on extensive input from many sources. We are right now in the
process of translating the German legalese into English, so our new
Board of Directors can make a final review. Based on the Board’s
decision, we will hand over the documents to the authorities and hope
for a positive reply. As soon as we receive that, the legal setup of the
Foundation will be started and we will finally be incorporated.
We’d like to take the chance to respond to some questions on the process
of legally establishing our entity. It has indeed taken much longer than
we had initially expected, and we have to admit that our estimation on
the necessary timeframe was wrong. However, the whole lengthy process
has been educational and has led to a much more considered outcome.
Together with the community, we have worked extensively on bylaws we
wanted to have reflected in the legal entity of the Foundation.
In contrast to the the former model of having a single corporate sponsor
– and different to what many other legal vehicles could provide – the
Foundation we are creating guarantees endurance, safety and stability
for the whole community, both for end-users and for private as well as
corporate contributors. It also gives the community very strong rights.
While previously – legally speaking – any community rules were
arbitrary, the rights given to community members in this new model are
not only binding, but legally enforceable by every single member.
Again: The rights we promised will be legally binding and enforceable by
our members. There are not many – if any at all – communities giving
such strong rights to their members. Creating such an intentionally
durable and strong structure from the beginning is uncommon and we found
that this has been something innovative and new for our advisors as well
as the authorities, which has led to the slow progress we’ve encountered.
We invested lots of time to express fundamental and legally binding
rights for our community and that task has admittedly proved enormous.
But the time invested so far is justified by the goals we wanted to
achieve from day one – an open, transparent and meritocratic
organization, independent from any corporate sponsor and designed
specifically for the purposes of The Document Foundation rather than
borrowed from elsewhere. We are sure spending this time has been very
much worth it.
(Original blogpost with links:
Florian Effenberger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Board of Directors at The Document Foundation
Tel: +49 8341 99660880 | Mobile: +49 151 14424108
Skype: floeff | Twitter/Identi.ca: @floeff
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- [tdf-discuss] Status quo on the Foundation, October 2011 · Florian Effenberger
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