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[tdf-discuss] Re: Happy Birthday, TDF!

Florian Effenberger wrote
Happy Birthday, Document Foundation!

Congratulations from my side, too! It's a pleasure to watch TDF grow and

But with TDF leaving its infancy, and a new board stepping up to continue
the success story, maybe it's time to share a thought or two about the

For me, there's two key points within TDF:

First is independence, the way the foundation is set up, the hard-coded
mixture rules for TDF's bodies, the democratic process, the donation-only
funding (combined with a careful financial planning and
only-spend-what-you-have attitude). Especially when I look at the other big
non-profit entity aiming at software for end users, Mozilla, I get the
strong gut feeling (without doing deeper research) that this independence is
pure gold, and needs to be preserved no matter the cost.

The second point is transparency, which is key for building the trust
necessary to make donation-based funding models work, and therefore is key
for TDF's independence, too. I'm not only talking about transparency of the
decision-making process here, but also about financial transparency,
development transparency, and so forth.

And while TDF is already strong at both independence and transparency, it
could still be better. So I suggest the following things:

1) Official statement of affiliation by every member of any official body of
TDF, if there's none already present.

2) TDF becoming a member of the "Initiative Transparente Zivilgesellschaft"
by Transparency Deutschland e. V., adhering to its 10-point code of conduct.

Having said that, I also think that TDF should broaden its scope of software
development to truly "free" the desktop. In its values, it is stated that
TDF commits to "eliminate the digital divide in society by giving everyone
access to office productivity tools free of charge to enable them to
participate as full citizens in the 21st century". Personally, I think that
things like a browser, email client, and personal information manager should
also be considered as being "office productivity tools", and therefore
should be offered by TDF in the long run, too. 

This is even more true when I look at the current market for these kinds of
software. I've read many times that the one big thing missing from OOo/LO is
an Outlook replacement, which would be a combined email client/PIM thingie.
And with Mozilla going into development directions that I call ambiguous at
best, the question about which browser to use on Windows could be hard to
answer in the not too distant future.

So, two years of TDF is surely a time to celebrate, but probably also a time
for discussing the course to a future even brighter.

All the best,
Jens Mildner


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