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.”