The Document Foundation Blog

2011/05/31

GreekLUG supports TDF and LibreOffice

Filed under: Announcements, Community — italovignoli @ 12:03

The “Association of Greek Users&  Friends of FLOSS” (GreekLUG) is a Greek NGO actively promoting and providing support both to Free Software and to Open Standards.

We are delighted to express our full support to The Document Foundation and to the development of LibreOffice, a project that perfectly embodies all the principles of the Free Software Community.

It delivers a great Office suite, genuinely vendor-independent and relying with selfconfidence on the collaborative effort of all human resources in the Community. We feel it represents the best possible guarantee of long-term success of the project.

As we share the same principles, our Association strongly applauds this move.

We are, therefore, very happy to declare our commitment to use, help to spread and support LibreOffice. We are looking forward to cooperating and helping out in all possible ways.

On behalf of GreekLUG’s Directors Board,
Constantine Mousafiris, Special Registrar

Lanedo supports LibreOffice

Filed under: Community, Foundation — Florian Effenberger @ 09:50

In our recent announcement of the Engineering Steering Committee, we wrote that Michael Natterer from Lanedo is having a seat in this body, contributing further to the development of LibreOffice. Here’s their statement of support: “Lanedo is proud to support LibreOffice, and participate in development and inside the Engineering Steering Committee (ESC)” said Martyn Russell, Managing Director, “our contribution underlines the quality and effectiveness of our software development and support services around LibreOffice.”

2011/05/27

Developer Interview : Rob Snelders

Filed under: Community, Interviews — The Document Foundation @ 14:53

LibreOffice can only exist because people are working on it: so please, tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Rob Snelders, a 28 years old Dutch guy. I am a programmer at a manufacturer of household equipment. I have studied Computer Sience at the Fontys University in Eindhoven.

In what other software projects have you been involved ?

I am also involved in T-Dose (www.t-dose.org), Ubuntu-NL.

What do you do when you’re not working on LibreOffice ?
(more…)

LibreOffice Hackfest in Munich

Filed under: Community, Meetings, Technology — Florian Effenberger @ 08:35

Together with their Linux migration team (LiMux), we’re planning a LibreOffice Hackfest in the City of Munich, Germany. To determine the best date for it, let us know all your possible dates! Like last time, the Hackfest is open for newbies as well as for routined hackers. More details will follow soon, but first, we need the date. So, let’s vote!

The poll is at http://doodle.com/i7pw9wubvdhdyzm4

NOTE: The Hackfest will run from Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime. For the ease of voting, we have just mentioned the respective Saturday.

2011/05/25

Why TDF should be the place for one united Community

Filed under: Community — Florian Effenberger @ 12:04

I have not been subscribed to the OpenOffice.org marketing list for months, but due to Louis’ recent Cc, I was made aware of the discussion going on — so, as a representative of TDF, but also as someone for whom personally the community means a lot, let me say a few words.

I indeed see the current situation as an ideal basis for uniting things. The diversity the Community is in now doesn’t help anyone. If you now think we, TDF, are happy and get satisfaction out of the current situation, you are terribly wrong. Even if we expected something like that to happen, our intention was to safeguard the project from this eventuality, not to profit from it.

We all have similar goals: a free office suite, available to everyone. So let’s not discuss about the past, about what has happened and about the reasons that led to this, but rather focus on the future.

I want to openly repeat our invitation to everyone to join The Document Foundation and the LibreOffice Community. Why do I think that we are the right place to continue the work?

In yesterday’s blog post, we summed up where we stand, and reading it will help to understand the current situation:

http://blog.documentfoundation.org/2011/05/24/updates-on-the-foundation/

1. We are vendor neutral. I am sorry that I have to object to Louis’ statement of us being a proxy for Microsoft — nothing can be further from the truth. I must confess, that by statements like these, I feel even personally insulted. I spend many hours per day on a pure volunteer basis, and if anyone can point on those of my doings that are proxying for Microsoft, I would be interested to hear them. Otherwise, I’ll ask to stop spreading those wrong assumptions — as they are simply that: wrong.

2. We have a strong legal backing, not only by the German nonprofit “Freies Office Deutschland e.V.”, but also by the Software in the Public Interest (SPI), and we are on track with establishing the Foundation as a legal entity. Even right now, we have all options needed for dealing with legal aspects, accepting and spending money. We already can and do maintain trademarks, brands and other assets.

3. We have an independent infrastructure that works and is not controlled by nor depends on a single entity. In addition, as we are not using a fixed web framework, we are very flexible in what we do.

4. We have not only gained a lot of momentum, but also a strong developer base of more than 200 volunteers, amongst them 40 who contribute on a very regular basis. Yes, of course, any contribution corporations with paid developers do are highly welcome and help a lot — but already right now, we are in a status where we could drive the project without them, if the worst case would occur. This is something we never managed to achieve in ten years’ of OpenOffice.org.

When I first read the Oracle announcement from April, talking about an independent, noncommercial entity, my first thoughts were — and still are — “this is exactly what TDF is doing”. I have seen proposals of setting up another foundation, or moving to an existing foundation that is not TDF. Honestly, this does not make very much sense to me. It would again lead to a diversity, would require many efforts, and would continue to irritate the market at large.

Why reinvent the wheel? OpenOffice.org is already very special in many of its processes. Having it under the umbrella of another, existing entity, would require lots of changes to fit in there. TDF has, from the very beginning, been shaped as a new entity with processes that fit to what we have accomplished the last years. We changed things that didn’t work, and improved things that do work — isn’t this the best basis to build on? Let’s not waste energy in once again trying to fit under an umbrella, but rather work jointly together on our future.

I am not saying that TDF does everything right and 100% perfect. We are giving our best, and I think we do a fairly good job. I’ve seen comments that TDF is missing big corporate support, and that the whole ecosystem is at risk. Again, I consider this terribly wrong. Of course, we would love to have much more support from corporations already, but building this up needs time, requires trust and confidence, and after all, support is growing rapidly. If anyone thinks by setting up a new foundation or by doing a few phone calls you can get big corporate support, I must say that almost sounds illusionary. And does it really make sense that in the future, two entities will try that out? Wouldn’t it be much better to speak united, with one voice?

In my letter of resignation last October (http://www.mail-archive.com/dev@marketing.openoffice.org/msg11691.html), I’ve said that I am looking forward to talking again about options to cooperate. I feel that time has come now.

So, I would be really interested of what actually prevents from cooperating with TDF, and uniting once again. Are there any valid reasons? Let’s leave out what happened in the past — a lot of bad words have been said, but digging into that does not help.

What compelling reasons are there to not work together again, in one Community?

TDF is there, TDF is open, and to me, it would be the ideal home of a united Community. The decision about that requires no leader, but you, anyone of you, can make it on your own.

Our future can be bright. Let’s make it together.

2011/05/24

Updates on the Foundation

Filed under: Foundation — Florian Effenberger @ 19:15

Some time has passed since we announced that we reached the goal of our 50.000 € fundraising challenge. In the meantime, we’ve updated you on our legal process via this blog, and so I’d like to post another update on where we stand and what our roadmap is.

Numbers and Figures

Let’s have a look at the Community first. In one word: I’m overwhelmed. What’s going on, what progress we make, the amount of creativity, contributions and and support we receive is just beyond imagination. Although I’m not a friend of numbers and statistics, they indeed do greatly help to understand what impact the Community has, how large it is. So, let me allow to share the most recent numbers with you: We have nearly 70 mirrors worldwide, offering LibreOffice for download. Plus, we have now about 200 new code contributors, providing patches, features and bugfixes for LibreOffice, plus 200 localisers and QA volunteers. Roughly 6,000 people contribute to our mailing lists, and about 7,500 opted in to receive announcements on new versions and releases. Plus, we’re very much in line with our release plan.

Committees and Events

We’re also breathing life to the committees set forth in our Bylaws. Not only has the Membership Committee been set-up and approved the first members already, but we have also officially appointed the Engineering Steering Committee, consisting of representatives of various corporations and individual developers. These bodies reflect our vendor-independent, neutral approach and clearly show we are eager to not being dependent on one single corporation like it was in the past, but to have a truly open process where we work together with corporations as well as individuals in a healthy, friendly, environment open to everyone. Talking about corporations, we soon expect to have news on the set-up of our Advisory Board.

With regards to events, the Community has not only begun to be part of various trade shows and congresses, but is also starting to organize own events. From virtual meetings, like our QA sessions in IRC, and local events like the German Community’s QA weekend and project weekend to global events like our LibreOffice Conference, taking place in Paris in the middle of October. What we currently plan is a LibreOffice Hackfest, most probably in Munich, within the next weeks – details on that will follow soon.

And what about the Foundation?

I’d like to give you some details on probably the most interesting question: What’s the status of the Foundation? The Steering Committee has – as you all know – voted for a Foundation to be set-up in Germany. Before that was clear, we have already been working on our Community Bylaws, independent from local legal requirements, as other countries have been in the race for the location as well. Needless to say, the Bylaws have been worked on openly and transparent in our mailing lists. After it was clear that the Foundation will be located in Germany, we have been working on translating the Bylaws into German. Of course, this has been coordinated on our mailing lists as well, and not only did we receive feedback on the wording, but also on certain legal issues, that have all been incorporated.

What we now are working on are the so-called Statutes of the Foundation. Let me explain this a bit: In German law (and probably also in other countries), there are rather strict formal and legal requirements on the Statutes. The Statutes are being thoroughly checked by the government, and after they have been approved, despite minor changes, nothing can be changed anymore – this is to guarantee stability and safety. So, anything that we hand in as Statutes needs to be very well checked. In addition, there are some legal requirements on what needs to be in the Statutes (and is missing from the Bylaws), on what can not be in the Statutes (and is mentioned in the Bylaws), and what can, but should not be in the Statutes, as you cannot easily change it. One example for the latter would be adding various additional bodies and entitites apart from the BoD into the Statutes, as then it could get problematic later on to change them or add new ones.

So, what we will essentially do is taking the currenty Bylaws as a basis, and work out the basically unchangeable Statutes that will be approved by the government. In addition, we will work out some policy that will in addition serve as the basis of our doings, but can be changed easier. So, in a nutshell: The current Bylaws will be divided into two documents – one very formal and unchangeable, the other one basically changeable, but still serving as basis of our daily work. This will retain the spirit of the Bylaws, while giving us flexibility where we need it, and guaranteeing us safety where is is crucial.

Our lawyer is working already on the Statutes, and we expect a timeframe of maybe two to three weeks from now on until a first draft is ready. Some of you may ask now why things take so long, but this is – despite the fact that we do most things ourselves to save donations for a Community budget – explained rather easy: The idea of the membership that we have set forth in our Bylaws is legally rather uncommon in the way we handle it, so it requires a lot of time to be incoporated the way it serves the Community best.

Strong legal backing

Right now, TDF is backed by the German nonprofit association Freies Office Deutschland e.V. (“Free Office Germany”), previously known as OpenOffice.org Deutschland e.V., as well as by Software in the Public Interest (SPI), where we are an associated project. This means that TDF has strong legal backing, not only for accepting donations and spending money, but also for receiving and maintaining any kind of legal assets, like trademarks.

Where do we want to be?

In parallel, the process of finding the ideal German federal state has been started. Although the Foundation law is very similar in many German states, the way it is handled on a daily basis in the various states can differ. After you have legally set-up the Foundation, you cannot move between states, so our decision has to be very well prepared. What, as far as we have found out in the meantime, is possible is to incorporate in one state, and have our office in a different state. However, this will complicate things, so we try to avoid that solution.

What is important for us when deciding on a German federal state? First of all, although decisions based on individuals are not desirable, having someone active on the spot, who is already involved with The Document Foundation and has experience in managing things, is very much welcome. Second, setting up in a place where open source is adopted and supported is a good sign and will contribute to a good local ecosystem. Third, in line with that, having support by the region where we incorporate is not absolutely necessary, but of course very much welcome and will ease things a lot.

At the moment, we are investigating three possible locations inside Germany. From north to south:

  • The City of Berlin
    Berlin is not only Germany’s capital, but also an important center of culture and technology, and many other Foundations are incorporated there.
    The issue is that we have only very few active contributors there, which might make running the Foundation a lot harder.
  • the Federal State of Hesse with the City of Wiesbaden
    Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt, is the location of the German association Freies Office Deutschland e.V. Hesse is known for being very liberal and uncomplicated in setting up Foundations.
  • the Federal State of Bavaria with the City of Munich
    Munich is not only another important center of technology and culture in Germany, but also a symbol for free software due to their “LiMux” Linux migration project and their use of the OpenDocument Format.

About timing

I must confess that the whole process has taken longer already than I have thought, but as we are doing something important and with deep impact, and are keen of keeping the spirit of the Bylaws, using that time is justified. Our lawyer expects to have the Statutes ready within two to three weeks. Depending on how many changes we have to incorporate then, I am optimistic that we can hand in these Statutes for governmental verification in the next weeks. If all works out well, we could have our “Stiftung” (Foundation) during this summer.

Thank you so much for your invealueable contributions, your appreciation and your support – it’s your help that will finally make the set-up of the Foundation possible.

2011/05/23

The Document Foundation announces the members of the Engineering Steering Committee

Filed under: Announcements, Community — italovignoli @ 13:55

The body coordinates development activities and defines the technology evolution of LibreOffice

The Internet, May 23, 2011 – The Document Foundation presents the members of the Engineering Steering Committee, the second body to be announced – after the Membership Committee – of those envisioned by the foundation bylaws. The ESC has come into being in early 2011, and is now officially in place to coordinate all development activities and set future technology directions.

The 10 members of the ESC are Andras Timar (localization), Michael Meeks and Petr Mladek of Novell, Caolan McNamara and David Tardon of RedHat, Bjoern Michaelsen of Canonical, Michael Natterer of Lanedo, Rene Engelhard of Debian, and the independent contributors Norbert Thiebaud and Rainer Bielefeld (QA). The ESC convenes once a week by telephone to discuss the progress of the time-based release schedule and coordinate development activities. Their meetings routinely include other active, interested developers and topic experts.

The members have been appointed by the Steering Committee, and are drawn from key members of the community of developers, which has been steadily growing since late September 2010 and is now close to 200 code hackers, with another 200 people involved in localization and QA. “This is a phenomenal success,” says Caolan McNamara of RedHat, “Especially if you look at the OOo project, where external contributors were a small group, and had to deal with significant obstacles.”

There are around 120 developers hacking LibreOffice code on a regular basis; these can be divided in three groups based on their experience: 20 core developers working on features, fixes, and packaging the software; 40 more regular devs working on features, fixes and easy hacks; and 60 less-regular devs working on easy hacks and code cleaning. In addition, there are around 80 developers who are contributing occasionally, or have just started to dig into the code. TDF is also grateful for the influx of students who will be paid to work full-time over the summer by the Google Summer of Code program.

“The ESC has brought the necessary discipline in the development process, which is organized in a completely different way from the past at OOo, where there was a single company in charge of the decisions, which was at the same time a strength – as it was easy to coordinate – and a single point of failure,” says André Schnabel, a member of TDF Steering Committee. “We have instead built an independent process, where corporate sponsors are still valued, but the community is able to take the software forward even without the backing of any of these companies.”

2011/05/20

Good-Day Inc. welcomes and cooperates with LibreOffice and The Document Foundation

Filed under: Community — Florian Effenberger @ 08:18

Good-Day Inc. today issued the following press release: http://www.good-day.co.jp/en/news/2011/05/20/we-welcome-and-cooperate-the-libreoffice-and-the-document-foundation/
Welcome, folks!

2011/05/13

Announcing a new beta release

Filed under: Announcements — Tags: — italovignoli @ 06:01

Today we are announcing the fifth beta release of LibreOffice 3.4.

In a slight change of communication strategy for our releases, from now on we will use the “announce” mailing list only for announcements of final and stable versions.

LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 5 is being announced on “projects”, “development” and “localization” mailing lists, in order to allow volunteers to perform the QA process. Also, the beta has been pre-announced on the community mailing lists for a first round of QA tests, to avoid the quality problems of the earlier 3.4 betas.

We feel that we need to clarify a few points here:

1. LibreOffice is the result of a collaborative development effort, and adopts a time based release model (such as other collaborative development projects like GNOME and KDE). This is rather different from the past at OOo, where most of the development was happening inside a closed group, and the time based release model frequently slipped.

Development Process

2. LibreOffice is free software, and is based on free tools. We are working to improve the day-to-day quality of our pre-release builds for Windows, with an ongoing migration to GNU Make as a first step to more reliable cross-compilations from Linux to Windows . Our aim, over time, is to make it easy to build releases for LibreOffice for anyone with some time and a PC. This is rather different from the past at OOo, where release builds came from a proprietary build environment run by a small team of build engineers.

3. Understanding the time based release model is critical to selecting the right release of LibreOffice for each situation:

3.1. For the most conservative users, we recommend a commercially supported version, which enables you to indirectly support the project’s development. Such stable versions will typically be based on a point release, such as LibreOffice 3.3.2 today;

3.2. For those interested in the bleeding edge, who want to enjoy new features and fixes, we recommend LibreOffice 3.4.0, release candidates, betas or even nightly builds, which enable a participation in the development, evaluation and quality control process;

3.3. Of course, as the 3.4 series matures, we will reach a point where we will recommend a 3.4.x release as being suitable even for the most conservative users.

Target Groups

This model should be familiar to many, from other Free Software projects, with vendors providing distinctive releases of the underlying software.

All this said, if you want to help us in building a more stable LibreOffice 3.4, you are kindly invited to join the projects, development and/or localization mailing lists and contribute to the process.

You can find the necessary information at the following links:
http://www.mail-archive.com/projects@libreoffice.org/info.html
http://www.mail-archive.com/libreoffice@lists.freedesktop.org/info.html
http://www.mail-archive.com/l10n@libreoffice.org/info.html

Together, we are cleaning up the code-base, improving our build and release process, and adding new features, with the pace of improvement accelerating. It is indeed a rewarding journey for all those who have decided to be part of it.

Developers

2011/05/09

Who is a member of The Document Foundation already?

Filed under: Foundation — Florian Effenberger @ 10:03

A regularly updated list is available at our website.  And if you want to join us, too,  have a look at the application.

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