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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.