Daniel A. Rodriguez píše v Út 08. 02. 2022 v 19:31 -0300:
I think Andreas hits the nail on the head when he mentions that in
projects no company dominates the project or the community.
The contrary is true: Most of the successful open source projects have
a major, dominating company behind them - have a look at Nextcloud
(Nextcloud GmbH), ownCloud (ownCloud GmbH), MariaDB (MariaDB
Corporation Ag), ... and I can continue on and on.
I believe that the examples you mentioned actually confirm what Daniel said.
NextCloud has been forked from ownCloud apparently for divergences on levels of "openness" which may have something to do with some commercial choices on which Frank had no control but he can surely explain it better than me:
Was Frank feeling that the commercial drive was clashing with his Open Source ethos?
He asked himself quite a few interesting questions:
"Without sharing too much, there are some moral questions popping up for me. Who owns the community? Who owns ownCloud itself? And what matters more, short term money or long term responsibility and growth? Is ownCloud just another company or do we also have to answer to the hundreds of volunteers who contribute and make it what it is today?"
Shouldn't we all ask ourselves the same questions?
MariaDB has been created as Oracle acquired Sun/MySQL and the contributors didn't seem to like the idea.
MariaDB Foundation has actively chosen not to get involved much in writing code while we actually have the contrary in our statutes.
Another organisation has been created as the community didn't want to be dominated by commercial interests of a single company.
In its announcement a founder stated:
"We believe that the Foundation is a key step for the evolution of the free office suite, as it liberates the development of the code and the evolution of the project from the constraints represented by the commercial interests of a single company. Free software advocates around the world have the extraordinary opportunity of joining the group of founding members today, to write a completely new chapter in the history of FLOSS"
In LibreOffice, there is no dominating company. Many like to paint
Collabora as one, but it is not the case due to how the founding
members (and I was one of them) have designed the TDF (with the 1/3
rule in the bodies and other means to protect from the project
domination) and due to how the German charity laws work.
I believe it's important to clarify that we are talking about TDF, the Foundation that is the home of LibreOffice and its community, not "just" about LibreOffice.
In terms of code contributions Collabora has a large impact as it's first in front of the "Unknown" category, RedHat, TDF and Allotropia.
As Italo said during FOSDEM code commits isn't all there is in terms of contributions so we'll probably have to look more closely at the data to celebrate the value of the many others that contribute to the project.
In terms of influence in TDF, Collabora has quite a large impact looking at the members in some of TDF's bodies so it would be great to have better representation.
The 1/3 rule is good but I guess that when it has been written when people were looking at a scenario were board members could have represented a very diverse and large number of commercial organisations. They probably didn't think there could be a company with employees, suppliers and their business partners in the same board.
There is work to do to understand why TDF hasn't been able to retain some of its contributors over the years and what we should do to attract more, not necessarily only developers, to have more people that can bring in new ways to look at the problems that all Open Source projects have to deal with and find solutions that work for our community.
Also, such thinking is very offensive to eg. Allotropia - who is doing
a great job undermining any kind of potential domination by excellent
Allotropia has great developers with great potential for contributions.
have a look at their impressive WASM prototype.
Allotropia is doing great with the WASM prototype and I reiterate my proposal to agree on a shared outcome in case investments from TDF are to be considered with some interest.
But if you want to see an open source project with no company behind
them, have a look at Apache OpenOffice.
If I'm not mistaken the vast majority of contributors to Apache OpenOffice decided to move away as they didn't want to be dominated by companies' commercial interests
Anyway the point here isn't to not have a commercial ecosystem, quite the contrary as we need more diversity to avoid creating a kind of "group thinking" that limits the board points of view about the issues we face and the solutions available.
Probably we should go back to the origins to see what the founders wanted TDF to be:
"The Document Foundation is an independent self-governing democratic Foundation created by leading
members of the OpenOffice.org Community. It continues to build on the Foundation of ten years'
dedicated work by the OpenOffice.org community, and was created in the belief that an independent
Foundation is the best fit to the Community's core values of openness, transparency, and valuing
people for their contribution. It is open to any individual who agrees with our core values and
contributes to our activities, and welcomes corporate participation, e.g. by sponsoring individuals
to work as equals alongside other contributors in the community."
All the best,