Ideas around TDF's future

Hi @PaoloVecchi,

So, “cloud” or more broadly “collaborative editing” is an obvious starting point as that is what LibreOffice mostly got replaced with. I dont think the topic is “problematic” per se, but rather that the attempts TDF did there recently were focused on providing a product for users while ignoring being a platform for contributors. That will obviously fail, as you can only reach users through and with contributors, not by bypassing or replacing them.

Other ideas: Some weaker ones – I still think LibreOffice could integrate better with other open source tools for content creation beyond classical productivity (e.g. Blender, Godot, Gimp, Inkscape, d3.js). But that is an weaker preposition.

The key though is not so much the topic – but the execution.

Best Regards, Bjoern

See here:

The Foundation’s goals are:

  • Manage the facilities on for users and developers who want to contribute to Blender.
  • Maintain and improve the current Blender product via a public accessible source code system under the GNU General Public License.
  • Establish funding or revenue mechanisms that serve the foundation’s goals and cover the foundation’s expenses.
  • Provide individual artists and small teams with a complete, free and open source 3D creation pipeline

As you can see, the Blender Foundation rightly recognises both Blender-the-project and Blender-the-product. AFAIK the Blender-the-product has always been available free of charge.

My impression is that Blender has also always been managed in a more centralised manner compared to most FOSS projects. Most of the paid developers working on it appear to be employed by the Foundation or its subsidiaries. There are roadmaps and strategies, and fundraising in order to make them reality. This is a different way of working compared to TDF, where until recently development was completely decentralised, bazaar-style.

If TDF were to become more like Blender Foundation, that would mean:

  • Hiring more in-house developers, avoiding relying on entities outside the Foundation for core development
  • Marketing LO boldly as a product for end-users, not primarily as a community of software developers or a set of building blocks for building enterprise software
  • Making roadmaps for improving LO in specific use cases and industries
  • Encouraging an ecosystem of companies providing training, services and assets, even if they don’t contribute code

IMO Blender Foundation has been very successful with this approach. Whether this would work for LO is another question, though.

Hi @tjhietala ,

Yes, and the “enterprise market” is the last market where this has been happening. Already when LibreOffice started, there was no serious investment in end user desktop productivity anymore and the market for buying a productivity suite off the shelf was essentially dead.

Maybe you should.

Note that given all of TDFs running cash flow is going into staff, this has to mean firing non-developer staff. (Also note that blender still invests ~20% of their development budget in tenders and not only in-house.)
Im writing this just so that you are clear on what you are asking here implies in a world where TDF does not have unlimited resources: TDF cant spend more than its cash flow, thus money for more developer staff has to be freed somewhere else.

Nah, not at all. Just because you dont see Blender marketing targeting beyond end users doesnt mean that it isnt there. And given the investments/donations by Microsoft, Epic, Steam and others it either has to be substancial or very, very effective.

Yes. Or at least have some product management and focus. Especially for how staff spends their worktime – as that is the one and only remaining resource TDF can direct with a roadmap now.

I think LibreOffice companies mostly do as good as they can here. However, the “everything LibreOffice needs to be gratis” mentality and mindset severely hurt them and make it unsustainable for many.

Best Regards, Bjoern

So, “cloud” or more broadly “collaborative editing” is an obvious starting point as that is what LibreOffice mostly got replaced with.

Ideally LibreOffice needs some solutions that allow collaboration without the high degree of centralisation that comes from “cloud” (and the associated complexity, processing capacity and bandwidth all of which put deploying things like Collabora Office beyond the means of most users). That might be at the level of federation, or even using peer-to-peer connections over IP v6. This is a topic that seems unlikely to get commercial contributors interested but could get high involvement from the same people advancing ActivityPub. It would be great for TDF to spend some money exploring this.

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4 posts were split to a new topic: Thoughts about other products

Hello all!


Thanks a lot for your email.

I participated in the Board Meeting on Monday 07/08 and expressed my great concern with so many emails, so much wasted energy and so many urgent and important things stopped.

I’ve been on the board once and I’ve never seen such slowness to solve the project matters.

I will make your words mine and add: give us back the foundation that we elect, believe and love, with imagination, action and kindness…

Eliane Domingos
Brazilian LibreOffice Community

Hi @elianedomingos,

thank you for participating to the BoD meeting on Monday as this is exactly what the board needs.

If the board does not see members of staff and members of the board of trustees engaging for what they believe and what they want then decisions, that you might not like, will be taken on your behalf.

In my opinion board members need to be supported or seriously told off by members of staff/trustees for what they are doing as it’s, individually and collectively, our responsibility to further TDF’s missions and goals.

Please do continue to come to BoD meetings, write on this forum and invite many others of your community to do the same as you must make your voices heard so that things can be improved for all of us.



Hello Paolo,

As I said during the meeting. I believe in the project since it saw the light, back in 2009.

We need to work together. We cannot fight as enemies.

I want respect with all the people who trust and love this project. I want transparency as we had in the past.

I’m tired of these conflicts.

As I said, there are a lot of emails, time is wasted on fallacies.

Here in Brazil we have a say, “who talks a lot, do nothing”.

So, less emails and more action. Let’s move on.

Eliane Domingos
Brazilian LibreOffice Community

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Hi @regisperdreau @elianedomingos @PaoloVecchi thanks for your contributions to the discussion (or trying to keep them short :slight_smile: )
Think they fit more in this topic, so moved them.

I agree, it’s great that LO gives this opportunity to languages big or small, as long as there are translators. This is one reason TDF should keep releasing LO-the-product: we shouldn’t expect that for-profit companies operating under limited resources will support every language in the world. With LO, if you put in the effort to translate it, TDF will release it and thereafter anyone who speaks the language can use it.


Hi @elianedomingos,

Rest assured that you are not the only one being tired of these conflicts.

I’m also baffled to see that the majority of the board seems to be actively looking for conflicts and criticisms when it could be avoided.

Less emails would mean also less transparency.

Would it be OK for you if I see actions going in, what I believe to be, the wrong direction and just be silent about it?

I would prefer to share my concerns, as a member of the board of directors and as a member of the board of trustees, with the community so that you and others can participate in a more democratic process instead of accepting decisions from the top down.

I’ve been sharing as much information as I could, lots can’t be shared yet, to allow you to evaluate the merits of board decisions especially when those decisions were, in my opinion, problematic. I’ve been censored and got hit by retaliatory actions but at least I see that the community started participating more.

Please do continue to do so and make your voice heard.



Hello all,


My point is not less transparency. Transparency is what TDF needs more at the moment. My point is the excess of mails with no effective results.

Eliane Domingos
Brazilian LibreOffice Community

I support the initiative to maintain, and even increase, transparency at the decision making level. This entails a commitment on the part of BoD members to, in these few months remaining in this term, achieve concrete milestones (one step at the time) and foster an environment where members around the world feel comfortable participating in a project and not overwhelmed by an avalanche of messages that often lead to nothing.

HI @iplaw67 , all, moderators,

Im sure the features of OnlyOffice are important, but IMHO they dont belong on #board-discuss, much less so in this thread discussing TDFs self perception and future.

Can that be split/moved elsewhere, please? Thanks.

Best Regards, Bjoern

Hi Bjoern,
Makes sense - let me look how to do that sensibly…
Edit: moved here

Hi @Sweetshark ,
I’m not particularly interested in other office suite products, but you did mention the market and online offerings in relation to the presumed irrelevance of the office suite installable product, so I’m a little surprised that you would move that out of the topic.

Either LO is a relevant product for desktops, or it isn’t. In the latter postulate, to which I don’t personally adhere, as I’m rather satisfied with a desktop installable product paradigm, then a discussion needs to be had about how a non-desktop version of LO can be provided by the foundation which would still be in line with the wide goals set out when the foundation was created, and which would provide the same functionality, or better, than the desktop version.

Currently, this is not the case in any of the ecosystem offerings, they are all amputated in some way and thus do not, IMO, fulfill the wider goals laid out by the foundation.

I also get the distinct impression that your definition of “contribution” is quite a narrow one, as it seems to only encompass code development-oriented contributions, or at least only those contributions which have monetary worth. If my understanding is correct, I would challenge that position and maintain that the project needs a much wider range of contributors, indeed this is what makes the current project so diverse and rich. Whilst I understand that commercial entities need to make a living from the products that derive from their contributions to the project, this should not be to the detriment of the project as a whole, otherwise we are back where we started when Oracle took over OOo, the very reason for which the foundation was created in the first place. Surely, that can not be where you see the future of the foundation, being essentially “managed” by a few commercial entities? That would be an extreme and very sad situation to end up in.

I am also a little surprised at your position that TDF contains too much “dead wood”. If TDF were run as a business, then I would be more inclined to hear such an argument, but it isn’t supposed to be a business, is it (or perhaps I am misinformed)? I would still understand the argument that it needs to have a rationale behind its employment/ engagement expenditure, but why do you see the current situation as so detrimental to the continued existence of the project?

Hi @iplaw67,

AFAICS OnlyOffice Desktop is offered free-of-charge, while only the “Cloud” version is sold. Its a classic commoditize your complements play and strongly reinforces that desktop productivity is a commodity by now.

No “monetary value” or “development” are not relevant for how I see contributions. But to keep LibreOffice the project sustainable it is relevant that to increase the contributions that make LibreOffice (in this case, not only the project, but also the product) better. This is purely utilitarian: Fixing a bug affecting a lot of users has more impact for that than say making a school use LibreOffice – even if both might have the same amount of invested time(*).

No, however TDF spending all its free cash flow on staff is pretty much as far as it can be from that.

Yeah, I think this one of the core misconceptions about the LibreOffice ecosystem: TDF “competing” with ecosystem companies is inherently hurting LibreOffice and making it less sustainable. TDFs resources are very limited compared to its (huge) mission.

When looking at what TDF can spend its resources (funds, tenders and staff worktime) on either:

  1. something that is or would be offered by contributors (companies and individuals) to be added to LibreOffice if a user pays for that
  2. something that is or would NOT be offered by contributors (companies and individuals) to be added to LibreOffice if a user pays for that
  3. something that is or would NOT be offered by contributors (companies and individuals) to be added to LibreOffice if a user pays for that, but might interest new audiences to contribute to the project

2 will clearly be preferable over 1 for TDFs goals: If you do 2 instead of 1, it is possible that users will still fund 1 in addition, while the same is not true the other way around. 3 of course is even better than 2 as it might unlock follow-up contributions and still allows 1 to be funded by users.

So, for keeping LibreOffice sustainable, investing in option 1 is clearly the worst choice. And this is important: Not focusing on sustainability of contributions makes you end up like Apache OpenOffice.

The donations to TDF are the havest of all LibreOffice contributors: Volunteers, ecosystem employees and also TDF staff. It should be used in ways they collectively see beneficial. That was less relevant as staff expenditures were small, but as they now are essentially all of TDFs free cash flow, there should be a shared understanding between all trustees on how this major part of our harvest (the staffs work time we are funding) is used.

Best Regards, Bjoern

(*) Note this doesnt change that both are trustees with equal voting rights – but when TDF spends its resources.

Hi Eliane,

Did you have the opportunity to read the report of the boards face-to-face meeting in Budapest, July 8 and 9 this year? It has been mailed to tdf-internal on July 25th.
It was a very productive and friendly meeting. (Let me note that we still need to sent the full minutes…).
I do advice to look at it (again) and give feedback or let us know any questions.

Paolo had chosen not to join that meeting, and now we are in the process of further handling the items discussed and initiated there.

Note that various action items are about improving communication and relations, foundations governance etc. So: thanks for expressing your concerns! They are shared and we are working hard to improve wherever we can.

The original German version of the full TDF-statutes is the binding one.
In my opinion it is not helpful to quote only a part of the non binding English-translated statutes.

In this context, may I draw your attention to the following:

binding DE:

And what articles of the statutes, do you consider relevant to the responsibilities of the Board, that are relevant to this matter?