The Document Foundation Blog


TDF in 2012: a summary

Filed under: Awards, Community, Foundation, LibreOffice — Tags: , , — italovignoli @ 18:44
Cumulative Number of LibreOffice New Code Committers

The cumulative number of new hackers attracted by the project since September 2010 (being LibreOffice a true free software project, there are many volunteers who come and go, and many with just one or two commits).

I have tried to summarize in a single text what we – members, developers, volunteers, native language communities, advocates and supporters – have achieved during 2012. Looking back, it has been amazing.

TDF has started 2012 with a hackers community of 379 individuals, mostly volunteers, which has continued to grow steadily – month after month – and has now reached the amazing figure of 567 developers (320 active during the last 12 months, which means that LibreOffice is the third largest open source desktop software project after Chrome and Firefox).

LibreOffice Code Contributors per Month

Monthly contributors during the last two years, with the global 12 month average shown by the green line on the upper right corner).

In early 2012, The Document Foundation – an truly community based independend organization – has been registered in Berlin, under the form of a German Stiftung (supervised by the German authorities). The oldest German Stiftung dates back to 1509, and over 250 of them have existed for over 500 years (so, stability is not an issue).

Once established, The Document Foundation has immediately attracted additional sponsors and supporters. Intel and Lanedo have joined the Advisory Board, while Project LiMux (City of Munich) and MIMO (the French Government organization responsible for the migration to FOSS) are actively supporting the project.

TDF Long Tail 2012

The long tail of LibreOffice development during 2012 (the 320 committers active between January 2012 and December 2012), with a pie explosion of the top 33 hackers with over 100 commits.

The Document Foundation and LibreOffice role inside the free software ecosystem have been recognized by the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in a formal letter to the members of the French government.

In 2012, The Document Foundation has announced LibreOffice 3.4.5, LibreOffice 3.5, LibreOffice 3.5.1, LibreOffice 3.4.6, LibreOffice 3.5.2, LibreOffice 3.5.3, LibreOffice 3.5.4, LibreOffice 3.5.5, LibreOffice 3.6, LibreOffice 3.5.6, LibreOffice 3.6.1, LibreOffice 3.6.2, LibreOffice 3.5.7 and LibreOffice 3.6.3. LibreOffice 3.4 has been awarded Linux Questions Office Suite of the Year 2011.

Office Suite of the Year 2011

Linux Questions has awarded LibreOffice the title of Office Suite of the Year 2011.

In addition, the hackers community has started working on LibreOffice 4.0, which is already at Beta 2 and will be announced in February 2013. LibreOffice 4.0 will be a milestone release, and the first of a new generation of free office suites.

In order to further improve the quality of LibreOffice 3.5, 3.6 and 4, the QA community has organized several bug hunting sessions during 2012 and a full bug hunting marathon in December 2012 (with almost 500 bugs chased during a full week of tests).

LibreOffice community has met at FOSDEM in Brussels, at LinuxTag in Berlin, at LibreOffice Conference in Berlin, and in Hamburg and Munich for TDF Hackfests. In addition, local hackfests have been organized in the Netherlands and Brazil, and LibreOffice volunteers have attended several local events around the world.

Linux Journal Best Office Suite

Linux Journal has awarded LibreOffice the title of Best office Suite 2012.

In February 2012, TDF has launched LibreOffice Ask page, and the Windows version of LibreOffice has been made available for downloads from the Intel AppUp Center targeted to mobile PC and UltraBook owners.

In September 2012, TDF has joined the OASIS Consortium (Organisation for the Advancement of Standards in Information Society (OASIS). At the end of the same month, the new Membership Committee has been elected by TDF members: five members – Sophie Gautier, Fridrich Štrba (Chairman), Eike Rathke, Cor Nouws and Jean Weber – and two deputies – Simon Phipps and Leif Lodahl.

LibreOffice has been awarded the title of Free Office Suite of the Year 2011 by LinuxQuestions, and Best Office Suite 2012 by Linux Journal (in both cases, getting over 70% of the votes). In Brazil, LibreOffice has received the “Technology For Citizens Award” from Guarulhos City.

LibreOffice Downloads

LibreOffice downloads from unique IPs during 2012. Scale on the left shows daily downloads, scale on the right shows cumulative downloads in 2012.

During 2012, many private and public organization have announced the migration of their desktop office suite to LibreOffice: several French ministries (500,000 desktops), city of Munich in Germany (15,000 desktops), the Capital Region of Denmark, Vieira do Minho in Portugal, Limerick in Ireland, Grygov in the Czech Republic, Las Palmas in Spain, the City of Largo in Florida, the municipality of Pilea-Hortiatis in Greece, Regione Umbria, Provincia di Milano and Provincia di Bolzano in Italy, and the Public Library System of Chicago.

This growth is reflected in the downloads of the Windows and MacOS X versions during 2012. The number of unique IPs who have downloaded LibreOffice has grown from just over 200,000 per week in January to well over 600,000 in December, for a total of 15 million unique IPs in 2012. Linux users, with very few exceptions, do not download LibreOffice as they can get the software from the repository of their distribution of choice.

The Document Foundation has also announced the Certification Program for LibreOffice, and the first group of certified developers. In 2013, the program will be extended to professionals active in migrations and trainings, and later to L1 and L2 support.

Florian Effenberger

Florian Effenberger

The last, and in my opinion the best news of 2012, waits TDF under the Xmas tree: in fact, just a few days before Xmas TDF has hired the first employee, to manage the infrastructure and take care of administrative tasks (which, thanks to the extremely fast growth of the project, are now a full time task): Florian Effenberger, who is already popular inside the project for his volunteer work.

The Board of Directors – with the obvious exception of Florian – has unanimously chosen him for infrastructure and administrative tasks, as he is already familiar with both, being the architect behind the entire infrastructure and the person who has been talking with the authorities during the process of putting in place The Document Foundation.

Florian Effenberger has been active inside the OOo project from 2004 to 2010, as infrastructure and then marketing lead, and has been a founder of TDF. During all these years he has put an incredible amount of hours – of his personal time – behind free software, OOo and LibreOffice.

From now on, Florian will devote his working hours to TDF, and will add the usual amount of volunteer hours for his BoD duties (which must be volunteer based, according to our statutes).

Florian Effenberger is going to be a tremendous asset for TDF, because he knows perfectly our ecosystem, he is a true free software advocate, and he is knowledgeable not only on administration and infrastructure but also on marketing.

Looking at 2013 and beyond, The Document Foundation is ready to face every challenge, and win over the competition not only by providing a better product but also by creating a different and better ecosystem for free office suites.

So far, TDF has been an exciting journey, and I am sure that what has happened is just the first chapter of a long and successful history.


  1. Wonderful!. Thanks for all that work and support for those who love Free Software, a very high degree appreciate your efforts and professionalism. Definitely a lot to do, we will look to support as necessary and in the immediate future to reap big wins. Hits in 2013.

    Comment by Gerardo Sagbay — 2012/12/26 @ 21:29

  2. “From now on, Florian will devote his working hours to TDF, and will add the usual amount of volunteer hours for his BoD duties (which must be volunteer based, according to our statutes).” I don’t think this can be separated and, therefore, this double role won’t work. Florian needs to resign from the BoD to prevent conflicts of interest and keep TDF true to its statutes.

    Comment by Jens Mildner — 2012/12/26 @ 22:08

  3. ” I don’t think this can be separated and, therefore, this double role won’t work. Florian needs to resign from the BoD to prevent conflicts of interest and keep TDF true to its statutes”
    that should never be allowed, this is the basic of a democratic association

    Comment by eeemmm — 2012/12/26 @ 22:35

    • Roles are extremely well defined, and completely separated. Before taking the final decision, we have checked with the lawyers and the authorities about the statutes, and the authorities will be supervising – as well as members – the activity of the Board of Directors. Conflicts of interest are difficult to foresee, because Florian is just one out of seven members, and we will try to operate in the best way, according to the statutes. Our meetings are public, and all minutes are published on the wiki, so everyone can follow and check the activity of the BoD.

      Comment by italovignoli — 2012/12/26 @ 22:53

      • I don’t doubt that everything is fine from your inside view, and I perfectly understand that you want to avoid the bureaucracy involved with Florian stepping down from BoD, but this is not about law and procedures, it’s about the outside’s view. Italo, I’m quite surprised that a marketing guy defends a decision which is precisely designed to inject FUD about TDF’s integrity into the minds of the uninformed public. Who’s got the time to closely follow every activity of the BoD?

        There’s a reason that people want TDF to fork a browser or fork Thunderbird and turn it into a PIM. TDF has built up a lot of integrity and good reputation over its short life, integrity that Mozilla and Apache somehow lost over the years, mainly due to its financial dependence on commercial companies.

        Please don’t compromise that integrity, it is vital for the success of your important project.

        Comment by Jens Mildner — 2012/12/27 @ 08:51

      • We are hiring the best person available to take care of our infrastructure needs — which is Florian. That does is no way diminish the awesome work of others taking care of infrastructure for the TDF — except that most of those are not available for hire, but highly motivated individuals doing that work in addition to a day job. We are extremely lucky that we had the opportunity to hire Florian.

        I understand the will of the members of the TDF(*) to be to always go with what is best for the project — we shall not trade our emphasis on meritocracy for fear of a rather sketchy ‘outside view’. Part of our reputation and integrity is build upon exactly that.

        (*) which empowers the board and are those that we first have to answer to, the public is only relevant when it is deemed so by our members.

        Comment by bmichaelsen — 2012/12/27 @ 13:15

      • Bjoern, just to be clear: Nobody wants to cancel Florian’s contract. I’m sure he will do wonders throughout his working hours. The problem is his double role as board member and employee, as part of the controlling body and the person to be controlled.

        Furthermore, I think you’re drawing a dangerous line between the members and the public here: Personally, I don’t have time to get involved in TDF which I regret. But I donated to the base stock of the foundation, and I donated to cover its current cost and will continue to do so from time to time within my limit. Which side do I belong?

        Or asked differently: have you ever measured, whether the members or the public donate more money? Volunteer work is very valuable, yes, but without money everything is nothing.

        If anything, this issue needs careful rethinking! Have you had enough member feedback on this? If not, I suggest gathering it.

        Comment by Jens Mildner — 2012/12/27 @ 14:20

      • “The problem is his double role …” As Italo already said, neither the board nor the legal council nor the authorities foresee this problematic.

        As for member involvement: The board calls are public, the minutes too and the topic has been around since mid-October, so for members and people involved in the project this does not fall out of the sky at all.

        Wrt “drawing a dangerous line between the members and the public here”: First of all, let me thank you for your donations — they are needed and valueable, which is why I am donating just as you do. But still I maintain that the board has to listen to its members first — they do the volunteer work and they know best what helps them getting the job done (*). Members themselves need to take public opinion into account on their decisions and they do. In addition, let me encourage you to become a member of the TDF — you do not need to be a developer or have the related deep technical skills for that, for example QA and marketing also offer opportunities for volunteers to get involved.

        (*) And second-guessing donators opinions is really tricky.

        Comment by bmichaelsen — 2012/12/27 @ 15:04

      • I see no integrety problems in this situation. Might we ever come to situation where more people could be employed that are BoD members, that could be different.
        Also important is that I, being a member of the Membership Committee, trust our members to be active and involved, so that they can speak up if really something is turning out problematic.

        Comment by Cor Nouws — 2012/12/27 @ 14:58

      • Hi Jens, you have a point, and during our next BoD meeting I will ask to open a public discussion about this subject. In any case, the BoD will step down in mid 2013, after two years, and this will allow members to express their opinion through their votes.

        Comment by italovignoli — 2012/12/27 @ 15:01

      • eeemmm and Jens Mildner: have you guys ever seen the structure of Worker-Cooperatives? The workers elect the board, most of the time the board are the workers. This isn’t a conflict of interest, if anything it’s the plebescite that good boards need.

        Comment by Kevin — 2012/12/27 @ 16:46

      • A comment from a complete outsider…more of a reflection…

        A project should be managed by its visionaries…not its popular members. The American revolution was supported by 20% of Americans at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The visionaries and leaders took it upon themselves to create much needed change and risked their futures on the success of a revolution in the U.S. Not that it matters to non-Americans I understand, but it was successful, and America s a country today because of this type of leadership.

        I am certain this project will face many hurdles, challenges, and yes even setbacks in the future. Who knows where the future will take the document foundation, but, as an outsider, I am impressed most with the visionaries at the core of the project. Even should the names change, I hope the will of these true emissaries of change will have their way with the LO project and with the Document Foundation’s role in the establishment of a consensus set of guidelines for document compatibility. In the longer view, this is the most difficult hurdle facing software writers who enter the office suite branch of software creation.

        Comment by Bo McCullough — 2013/03/04 @ 21:49

  4. […] Vignoli today published lots of cool graphs and stats demonstating the growth and other accomplishments over the course of […]

    Pingback by The Document Foundation 2012 in Review | PHP World — 2012/12/27 @ 05:23

  5. Italo, the elections in 2013 are a very good point of yours, let the membership do the final decision by vote.

    But okay, I think I will shut up now in the hope that I’ve raised enough eyebrows for this issue to get thoroughly revisited. Thanks all for your comments, and I wish you all the best for 2013!

    Comment by Jens Mildner — 2012/12/27 @ 21:10

  6. What I forgot to say: It’s been a pleasure watching LibreOffice and TDF grow and prosper in 2012. Kudos to all involved!

    Comment by Jens Mildner — 2012/12/28 @ 13:03

  7. […] Vignoli opublikował generalne podsumowanie The Document Foundation dla 2012 roku, w postaci wykresów i statystyk. Poczynając od listy współpracowników, LibreOffice rozpoczął […]

    Pingback by The Document Foundation 2012 – podsumowanie roku | — 2012/12/30 @ 15:58

  8. Congratulations to TDF and Florian in special!
    Best employees are those who managed to make a living out of their passion, right?

    Comment by Gyges — 2013/01/14 @ 22:24

  9. Great. Gratz and thanks for all that work.

    But I still don’t know why going from 3.6 to 4.0 :-x

    Comment by Hikari — 2013/02/17 @ 00:59

  10. […] de la suite “rival”, LibreOffice, no son comparables porque los datos publicados son de finales de diciembre de 2012 y, además, LibreOffice es la suite ofimática por defecto en la mayoría de distribuciones […]

    Pingback by Apache OpenOffice alcanza los 40 millones de descargas | Blog Personal de Ariel Infante — 2013/03/05 @ 19:57

  11. […] de la suite “rival”, LibreOffice, no son comparables porque los datos publicados son de finales de diciembre de 2012 y, además, LibreOffice es la suite ofimática por defecto en la mayoría de distribuciones […]

    Pingback by Apache OpenOffice alcanza los 40 millones de descargas :: Creando Fortuna — 2013/03/05 @ 20:12

  12. […] de la suite “rival”, LibreOffice, no son comparables porque los datos publicados son de finales de diciembre de 2012 y, además, LibreOffice es la suite ofimática por defecto en la mayoría de distribuciones […]

    Pingback by Apache OpenOffice alcanza los 40 millones de descargas | Reverendo's Blog — 2013/03/05 @ 20:49

  13. […] milionami pobrań ma dużą przewagę nad LibreOffice, który został pobrany z unikalnych IP ok. 15 milionów razy (przy czym nie jest wyjaśnione w jakim okresie unikalnych: czy od początku istnienia […]

    Pingback by Wiadomości z sieci 40 milionów pobrań Apache OpenOffice — 2013/03/06 @ 11:38

  14. […] de la suite “rival”, LibreOffice, no son comparables porque los datos publicados son de finales de diciembre de 2012 y, además, LibreOffice es la suite ofimática por defecto en la mayoría de distribuciones […]

    Pingback by Apache OpenOffice alcanza los 40 millones de descargas | Blog Serinfo — 2013/03/19 @ 09:03

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