Board candidate: Simon Phipps

Dear TDF members,

Having just completed two years on the board at The Document Foundation performing less visible work related to contracts, trademarks, copyrights and staffing, I am willing to serve as a director again for the next two years if elected and thus submit myself as a candidate.

Candidate statement:
“I’ve been involved with the LibreOffice project in some way since the launch in 2000. I still believe LibreOffice is one of software freedom movement’s most important projects. I have previously served both as Membership Chair and and as a Director and have extensive business experience which I have used to TDF’s advantage. Now independent, I’d be honoured to serve again; my priority will be the new challenges of the cloud era.”

Personal information:
My full name is Simon Phipps
I am nominated in a personal capacity and have no corporate affiliations relevant to the role.
Work: I am a director of Meshed Insights Ltd. (management consulting) and Meshed Management Ltd. (property management)
Pro-bono roles: I also serve of the Board of the Open Source Initiative (where I am currently President), of the Open Rights Group, and of Public Software CIC.

I may be contacted as

Best regards,


Hi Simon,

Given the extraordinary volume of work you do: at the OSI - helping to inform European policy development, as well as at ETSI & ISO, being on the board of AlmaLinux OS Foundation, helping raise funds for ODF releases via COSM, as well as keynotes left & right at FLOSS events around the world … (and I probably missed a lot :slight_smile:

Question: if elected, will you have time to dedicate to a TDF board role ?

Thanks !


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Hello Simon,

(continuing @mmeeks 's question)

Question 1B: How much time, in term of hours in a typical week, do you believe a BoD member should invest in BoD work?

Question 2: For new trustees like myself, who are less/not familiar with you, could you link to a few posts, interviews or talks or even email threads which you think speak to your “directorial outlook” the most?

Question 3: You write that you preside over the OSI board of directors, but looking at the OSI board webpage, I don’t see you mentioned. Is it a different OSI? Please clarify…

Question 4: With the outgoing board, ecosystem companies seem to have held much of the power. In the incoming board, it may be the case that foundation employees, and candidates organized around them, may be a powerful faction. Do you see this as a potential concern? And if so, what do you believe the BoD (and members of it) should do to mitigate or address this concern?

In the town hall you suggested the BoD should be more supervisory than directly active.

Question 5: Do you believe the TDF’s current salaried staff is enough to undertake the entirety of the board’s non-supervisory work? If not, is your proposal really pertinent to how the foundation stands today?

Question 6: Is it not important for elected, short-tenured, more-directly-accountable officials to also be involved in non-supervisory activity, alongside professional, long-term employees?

Eyal, Michael: Thanks for the questions! Since a full reply is likely to be quite long, I’ll break up my answer and resequence so things flow better.

Same OSI, but I didn’t say I was currently on the Board - I said I am currently on the staff, where I am OSI’s director of standards & EU policy. But I did mention that I was on the Board. You’re getting confused by the fact Mr Meeks posted his question in reply to my candidate statement from 2017 and not my current statement!

I started as an observer when I was still at Sun, around 2008, and then was appointed as a director once I had left Sun. I served two full terms and was also board president twice. I “held the pen” while we switched OSI from being a small, activist board to being a staffed charity with a supervisory board. I was then asked to stay on after my term ended to continue the policy work I started as a volunteer in 2017. That’s my current “day job”.

In addition to business leadership and local community roles I’ve also served on several other non-profit boards over the last 20 years, (including TDF’s) as well as a standards association (Open Mobile Alliance).

That’s a hard question to answer generically - ultimately the board is where the buck stops, so it has to do whatever is needed to satisfy the mission of the incorporation it leads. When a board is operating dysfunctionally, which I have experienced before this, its work can be very time consuming indeed.

I’d say as a rule of thumb serving as a non-officer on a supervisory board takes around one day of work per board meeting. It can be less, but it’s rarely more. Certainly that’s the amount of compensation that paid boards tend to associate with non-executive directorships. If the workload is regularly much more than that, it’s a sign of dysfunction, as are over-frequent meetings. Obviously officers (chair, secretary etc) are likely to do more.

I believe so, yes, based on my two previous terms. I have another commitment that I believe is concluding at the start of the new year that should free enough time.

Yes, absolutely. TDF’s staff is both large and experienced and more than competent to run the organisation. Adding a product management role as I suggested in the video meetings would require expansion though. My vision for LibreOffice would probably require this.

You also asked for background reading; see for more finished writing and for notes and evolving drafts. Other sites are linked from for convenience.

I’ll leave Q 4 & 7 for another post.



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Hi Simon,
Bit late - sorry - but do you have some more specific thoughts on the possible value of your vision for international communities?

Thanks - Cor

Sure. In the proposal (Español) – which, by the way, I bring as a contribution for discussion not as a demand! – I suggest we add peer-to-peer (serverless) collaboration directly into the desktop LibreOffice, mostly by leveraging existing code. By doing this, we potentially enable every locale to have collaboration in a familiar way, since each of our super l10n teams can immediately work with it.

I am keen for the new board to explore how to bring collaboration to every user and not just to tech elites. It’s important that TDF’s investment in LibreOffice – which donors expect – serves our mission by bringing collaboration capabilities to ordinary users rather than restricting it to those capable of running servers or willing to become clients of a service provider. I also believe it will be easier to resolve TDF’s leadership crisis if we can unite globally around improving LibreOffice rather than argue about factional provocations.