Board of Directors Meeting 2020-11-20

The Document Foundation
Board of Directors Meeting 2020-11-20
Meeting Minutes

Location: Jitsi

Session chair: Lothar Becker
Keeper of the minutes: Stephan Ficht

In the meeting:
     Board - Emiliano Vavassori, Thorsten Behrens, Lothar Becker, Michael Meeks, Franklin Weng, Cor Nouws
     Board Deputies - Nicolas Christener, Paolo Vecchi
     Membership Committee - Muhammet Kara
     Membership Committee Deputies - Uwe Altmann
     Team - Stephan Ficht, Florian Effenberger, Sophie Gautier, Italo Vignoli, Heiko Tietze, Olivier Hallot, Guilhem Moulin
     Community - Aron Budea, Jan Holešovský

Representation: Paolo representing Daniel
(See subject "Representation statements")

Chairman of the Board is in the meeting. One of the Chairman or Deputy Chairman is required to be present or represented for having a quorate call.

The Board of Directors at time of the call consists of 7 seat holders without deputies. In order to be quorate, the call needs to have 1/2 of the Board of Directors members, which gives 4. A total of 7 Board of Directors members are attending the call or are represented.

The board waives all formal statutory requirements, or requirements in the foundations articles, or other requirements regarding form and invitation, time limits, and for the topics discussed in this meeting.

The meeting is quorate and invitation happened in time. From now on, motions can be passed with the agreement of a simple majority of those remaining present. The majority threshold is currently 4.

The meeting commences at 13:08 Berlin time.

Public part

1. Q&A: Answering Questions from the community (All, max. 10 min)
    Rationale: Provide an opportunity for the community to ask questions to the board and about TDF.
    + any questions? (Lothar)
    + none

2. Discuss&Plan: tempPrio1 marketing plan discussion closed, further steps until the decision of the board (Lothar/Florian/Italo/Mike, All 10min)
    Rationale: launching next steps in process, changes needed?, how/when to decide it, member involvement
    + sent an E-mail with some ideas of the process (Lothar)
       + understanding of the overall process is clear / common-sense.
    + have finished open community discussion (Lothar)
       + member ranking of tags is coming up
       + board deciding on the exact wording based on membership vote
    + idea is collect opinion from members (Italo)
     + discussion narrowed in a good direction
     + leave space to further understanding
     + not useful to have endless discussion
     + narrow down the choice
     + making prototype about the narrative
     + working on a couple of documents:
       1. LibreOffice Technology positioning
          a guide on using LibreOffice Technology in communications
       2. how to use the LibreOffice Enterprise label, in communications
     + these are separately running discussions (Lothar)
         + next decade manifesto, names of tags/splittscreen wording, rolling development model, LOOL etc.
         + if veto/resistance per-se then shout out now, discussion in detail elsewhere
         + concerns wrt. the LibreOffice Enterprise brand (Michael)
            + re-create the differentiation problem in the marketplace.
         + want to avoid problems in four weeks
         + want to secure broad consent now.
     + re-look at the marketing plan (Paolo)
         + believe we should remove LOOL mentions for now
         + should be a live plan, we can modify it
         + for the moment: don't spend time promoting LOOL until
           we have an alternative or an agreement
         + see all slides - some should not be there (Lothar)
            + why I'm for this / that.
            + should have a version next week - separate these out.
     => marketing should go ahead with this.
     + every person to have 1 or 2 choices (Italo)
         + prefer to get all input in a complete ranking (Michael)
     + agree no tag is no option (Lothar)
      + perhaps discuss this later

3. Discuss&Plan: tempPrio2 next decade manifesto, status of proposal/draft (Cor/Florian, All 10min)
    Rationale: proposal, clarifying/discussing process, launching next steps, timeline
       + nicely working together from two different angles (Cor)
        + different views
     + a few different ideas (Florian)
      + should sync soon to have a paper to be discussed
      + at least a draft to be consolidated (Cor)
       + how to proceed with the version?
      + maybe to share w/ larger group within 2 weeks (Florian)
      + should hand over to full board (Cor)
     + need a version a week ahead of the board meeting to have a chance to look in it(Lothar)

4. Discuss&Plan: tempPrio3 LOOL from TDF (All 10min)
    Rationale: discussing freezing source contribution on gerrit, mirroring COOL on github, planing decision process, launching next steps, timeline
    + do we need a decision? (Lothar)
       + please update
    + helpful to leave all the doors open (Thorsten)
       + mirror, switch gerrit off, don't invite up-load of patches, not
         that this happens anyway, switch that to be a mirror of COOL repo
       + not loose any contributions from history (Lothar)
          + just stops commits into gerrit.
       + can also contribute on github if they want (Thorsten)
          + and can send pull requests there.
          + no foregone conclusion here/there/anywhere.
          + avoids the impression it makes sense to contribute on gerrit
          + no-one looking / contributing there, action is now on github.
       + situation seems quite clear (Paolo)
          + close down gerrit, please do contribute to COOL
          + in this case, if no change, LOOL is dead, but ... as a board /
            community - need to decide
              + do we need to have an agreement with a supplier
                to maintain it
              + or do we want to create a different LOOL, cloud is the future ?
          + proposal: remove it from the marketing slides, now it's
            someone else's project - why waste time on it any longer
              + unless we want to open up talks to do something different
                and/or start investing in possible alternatives.
       + cannot imagine (Franklin)
          + not too many contributions to LOOL / COOL
          + now want to close gerrit, to stop people from contributing ?
              + no-one contributing anyway (Thorsten)
          + no matter how the situation is, prefer keeping LOOL of course
          + actually there are developers
          + just around him, at least two companies - and some independent devs
              + too few ? - removing that, or stopping it just because there
                are too few contributors is the correct way.
       + feel we talk about two different things (Lothar)
          1. short term action to freeze gerrit, so two lines don't diverge
          2. second needs more time, to find ways to have other contributions
             we can bring in, for an online version beside Collabora.
       + don't think there is a contradiction (Thorsten)
          + can contribute to github as before, if gerrit doesn't accept
            patches; it's an orthogonal discussion.
       + don't want to make people think (Franklin)
          + that TDF doesn't support / want LOOL anymore
          + likely to make people think we don't want it anymore.
       + removing is not an option, but freezing (Lothar)
          + sure, but freezing is concernig (Franklin)
       + how we come up with a sensible plan is key (Cor)
          + what is the market situation, what is sensible from TDF's interest
          + a FOSS project on github, anyone who wants can join,
          + it's about marketing.
       + prefer to look at the history of the project (Uwe)
          + before saying TDF is not here to bring us S/W
          + but to bring us a community
          + TDF made a big fault in accepting Online in the 1st instance
            without having a community to develop that
              + what happens now is more or less a consequence of this
          + TDF should 1st hand care about the community
          + analogy to Apache - evidence of a vibrant community before
            accepting a project.
              + first have a community, then have a project.
          + for now - strongly suggest not to have gerrit open for
            commits to avoid a fork here.
              + if three at gerrit, and eight at github, in a few years
                can look how to bring it together again.
              + support Thorsten's proposal.
       + to understand (Emiliano)
          + do we think a online version is important for TDF ?
          + own view - cloud platform, was mostly contributed by ecosystem
            partners, is important to TDF.
          + if we want to push it on now, in a year etc.
          + keeping a TDF-only repo is key.
          + why freeze the actual one on gerrit ? and use fork of one
            on github / gerrit - don't know
          + then copying again the code from a partner, to have small
            or big differences ?
          + depends how we want to bring on the situation, and to
            invest on it
          + involve the ecosystem partners, see if someone is available
            to maintain the version at gerrit.
          + invest in the sense we tender things ? (Lothar)
              + yes, clear resources by TDF non-existent (Emiliano)
                 + clear - didn't invest at all in Online platform
                 + at this point, if it's worthy, should think about
                   tendering maintenance / development.
       + project needs a vibrant community (Paolo)
          + in a way the issue, TDF's fault - community not been pushed & created
          + one company contributing to it
          + Collabora, on github, decided to remove the reference in the
            code "this file is part of the LibreOffice project" - signalling that
            the project is not part of the community/TDF
              + a bit of a shame.
          + matter of investment, some tenders could have been done.
          + can look at C'bra being a suppliers
          + could bring in 3rd parties, re-make it a community project.
       + repeat it again (Uwe)
          + goal of TDF is not tendering development of products
          + tendering development of product - urgently need a business
            unit to do that
             + a crucial point.
       + no community now - taken most of the developers away (Emiliano)
          + that's fine, don't have something for the product ATM
       + this is fundamentally a marketing problem (Michael)
          + community is growing significantly at github - 30+ new people
          + offering to tender ~trivial sums to maintain a competing
            on-line solution is ... a problematic approach.
          + we wanted to keep things from diverging so this choice can
            be made.
          + ultimately this is a marketing / positioning problem.
       + having been forked is not a problem (Franklin)
          + local Taiwan vendor - paid by the Taiwan gov't to
            produce an Online product for the Gov't
              + Now seen as a competitor. This is totally ridiculous.
          + need to keep LOOL repository open.
       => discuss longer on the mailing list
          + still think we have to talk about it (Emiliano)
             + personal discussion in the meeting fastest way out.
          => talk about it next time.
      + if there is an evolving community around COOL (Uwe)
          + TDF should think how it can foster this one, and not start
            another concurrent one.

5. Discuss&Decide: Status of development mentor tender and about re-tendering it and when (Cor, All 10min)
    Rationale: discussion, next steps, clarifying timeline
    + split in public/private because of personal information (Lothar)
    + current tender failed, already repeatedly (Florian)
       + decide how to proceed now
       + mentor tender is an important role
    + why did this fail ? (Uwe)
       + several reasons (Florian)
          + no candidate we could hire in the end
       + no appropriate candidate ?
          + different reasons - didn't work out with one
          + normal things that happen (Cor)
             + nothing spooky / strange.
    + not an expert (Paolo)
       + followed various exchanges, perhaps we should review
         the whole process.
          + take time, look again @ beginning of next year.
    + can we have more explanation ? (Heiko)
       + nothing big behind it (Lothar)
          + just look at the things that are needed: not easy to find.

Public meeting ends at 13:54 Berlin time.

Agenda items of Private Part

* Mentor hiring (Thorsten)

Private meeting ends at 14:05 Berlin time.

Lothar Becker (Session chair)
Stephan Ficht (Keeper of the minutes)