The Document Foundation Blog


By the community, for the community: TDF to base community-driven foundation in Berlin, Germany

Filed under: Announcements, Community, Foundation — Florian Effenberger @ 10:52

Openness, meritocracy and transparency anchored in cornerstones of an enduring entity
Successful vendor-neutral development model to provide the best free office suite

Berlin, February 1st, 2012 – The Document Foundation (TDF) today announces that it will base its community-driven entity in Berlin, in the legal form of a German Stiftung. This kind of structure is recognized worldwide as a legally stable, safe and long term entity, providing the ideal cornerstone for the long term growth of the community and its software.

“For the first time in 12 years, the development of the free office suite finally takes place within an entity that not only perfectly fits the values and ideals of the worldwide community, but also has this very same community driving it. The future home of the best free office suite is built and shaped by everyone who decides to participate and join. And the best is: Everyone can contribute and is invited to do so, to further strenghten the free office ecosystem”, says Florian Effenberger, Chairman of the Board at TDF.

Charles-H. Schulz, one of the founders and a member of the Board of Directors, adds: “Berlin is the icon of reunification and unity, and as such is the ideal home of our global community, aggregated around the objective of creating the best free office suite ever. We expect to be legally established during the next weeks, as soon as the last details of the formal process have been finished.”

“After many months of work in close cooperation with the authorities, we were able to keep the spirit of the community bylaws, and incorporate them into legally binding statutes, that ensure the promises that TDF has made in its manifesto”, says Michael (Mike) Schinagl, a Berlin-based lawyer and contributor to various free software projects, who has been driving the legal aspects of the foundation set-up from the very beginning.

In addition, TDF currently publically discusses ways for local entities to join and participate, and operative entities are currently being created to carry on special projects.

Founder of the Stiftung will be the German nonprofit association Freies Office Deutschland e.V., formerly Deutschland e.V., that so far acted as interim legal entity. “We congratulate the community for having achieved this key step, and are proud of having played a key role in setting up The Document Foundation. Our association is looking forward to working closely with the new entity and acting as a gateway between TDF and private as well as enterprise users”, says Thomas Krumbein, Chairman of the Board at Freies Office Deutschland e.V.

The LibreOffice project welcomes donations at

The website of TDF can be found at
The best free office suite, LibreOffice, has its website at
Freies Office Deutschland e.V. host their German homepage at

Note to editors: A “Stiftung” is a German Foundation established with an endowment and supervised by state authorities. See for more details.

About The Document Foundation

The Document Foundation is an open, independent, self-governing, meritocratic organization, which builds on ten years of dedicated work by the Community. TDF was created in the belief that the culture born of an independent foundation brings out the best in corporate and volunteer contributors, and will deliver the best free office suite. TDF is open to any individual who agrees with its core values and contributes to its activities, and warmly welcomes corporate participation, e.g. by sponsoring individuals to work as equals alongside other contributors in the community. As of February 1, 2012, TDF has 146 members and over a thousand volunteers and contributors worldwide.

Media Contacts

Florian Effenberger (based near Munich, Germany, UTC+1)
Phone: +49 8341 99660880 – Mobile: +49 151 14424108
E-mail: – Skype: floeff

Olivier Hallot (based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, UTC-3)
Mobile: +55 21 88228812 – E-mail:

Charles-H. Schulz (based in Paris, France, UTC+1)
Mobile: +33 6 98655424 – E-mail:

Italo Vignoli (based in Milan, Italy, UTC+1)
SIP Phone: +39 02 320621813 – Mobile: +39 348 5653829
E-mail: – Skype: italovignoli


  1. […] A szervezeti forma a német törvények szerinti „Stiftung” (alapítvány). Bővebb infó a TDF blogban. Címkék:TDF A cíkk szerzőjérőlTímár András 1999-ben kezdett foglalkozni a szabad […]

    Pingback by – Bejegyezték a TDF-ez — 2012/02/01 @ 11:21

  2. […] A szervezeti forma a német törvények szerinti „Stiftung” (alapítvány). Bővebb infó a TDF blogban. Címkék:TDF A cíkk szerzőjérőlTímár András 1999-ben kezdett foglalkozni a szabad […]

    Pingback by – Bejegyezték a TDF-et — 2012/02/01 @ 11:21

  3. It is a great shame that this is a foundation and not an association, but good to see progress.

    Comment by MJ Ray — 2012/02/01 @ 12:40

    • Why a shame? An association does not grant the same stability and independency of an association, while – thanks to our bylaws – is as open as an association to contributing members.

      Comment by italovignoli — 2012/02/01 @ 12:58

      • It’s a shame because an association is under the control of its members on a more egalitarian basis, without the shadow cast by the endowment and founders – founders who usually get more power than other members. I look forward to seeing the bylaws, which don’t seem to be linked above, but I’d be surprised if that common Stiftung/Verein difference was completely overcome. It seems like a harder feat to do that than write a set of bylaws which produces a stable and independent association.

        Comment by MJ Ray — 2012/02/01 @ 22:08

      • Our bylaws have been published a long time ago on the wiki, and have been discussed in public by the community. The additional time it took to have the bylaws approved by the authorities has been spent to overcome that problem, and The Document Foundation will probably be the first stiftung where all members have equal rights. You can find the draft bylaws here: They are not the final though, as there have been some changes requested by the authorities (but not to give the founders additional rights). The final bylaws will be published as soon as the papers have been filed.

        Comment by italovignoli — 2012/02/01 @ 22:29

  4. […] the fork of OpenOffice that emerged after the takeover of Sun Microsystems by Oracle in 2010, today announced that it will base its community-driven entity in Berlin, in the legal form of a German Stiftung […]

    Pingback by TDF to base community-driven foundation in Berlin, Germany | Bristol Wireless – community IT services, help & training in your aerial. Registered with the FSA. Reg. no.: 29638R — 2012/02/01 @ 14:00

  5. […] Document Foundation объявила о регистрации в Берлине официальной некоммерческой […]

    Pingback by Document Foundation официально зарегистрирован как общественная организация | — Всероссийский портал о UNIX-системах — 2012/02/01 @ 18:42

  6. This is an excellent news and today is a great day for LibreOffice …

    I know that in the laws of Germany, the ‘Stiftung’ is a highly respected form of organization
    because it is obligated to a double control – internal and external – in its operations, financing
    and objectives without losing its legal independence, its praxis, its philosophical basis and scopes of social and cultural participation in the community.

    With regard to the headquarters, I would have liked more Gotha or Freiburg (sigh…!), but Berlin is the “heart of Europe” and its historical and cosmopolitan character is appropriate for the TDF.

    And now, buddies, to conquer the world … : )

    Comment by DrakoDrakkonis — 2012/02/01 @ 22:01

  7. I see has a link to the final statute.

    I’m probably going to regret asking this: why take the trouble to make a Stiftung without any powers for the Stifters, instead of forming a society? (eG or eV I think)

    Comment by MJ Ray — 2012/06/25 @ 20:26

    • Apart from the fact that The Document Foundation is the first Stiftung where the members have rights, as defined by the ByLaws (they can run for the board of directors and the membership committee, and they can vote their representatives there), a Stiftung (and in general a foundation based on European laws) is a safeguard for the independence of the project.
      It is in fact impossible for a single company to control the majority of the votes, because we have set a 30% barrier, and because the public authorities are controlling that the Bylaws are respected (this is something that does not apply, for instance, to US based foundations). All our meetings are public, and the minutes must comply with the template set by the authorities. A Stiftung is set in stone, and thus for the eternity. This might sound funny, but with blue chip companies aiming at controlling free software projects, is a key asset.

      Comment by italovignoli — 2012/06/25 @ 22:27

      • The same seems true for an e.G. – the rules are controlled and it’s one member one vote, so the only way that a single company could control the majority of the votes in such a society is for there to be only one member… by which point, it’s not a society any more anyway. So Stiftung or Genossenschaft, both are pretty cool. Maybe the public meetings bit is the difference or maybe there’s no real reason why a Stiftung was used. It’s cool either way.

        Comment by MJ Ray — 2012/06/26 @ 08:46

  8. What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable familiarity regarding unexpected emotions.

    Comment by hűtőszekrény — 2012/09/03 @ 17:31

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