Insecurity, love & passion

Hi Eliane,

Eliane wrote:

TDF and Community must work together, and end for good this
insecurity, bringing back our love and passion for the global

I share your concern about this topic, it would be good to have a settled environment with a clear and constructive direction for TDF that can be relied on, and that everyone can buy into.

One of the things that most annoys me about the nonsense accusation: that someone want to stop free downloads of desktop binaries (apart from its falsity) - is that doing that would very severely damage the cash flow of TDF and so
negatively impact the staff. That is one big reason why no-one actually wants to do that. Again if you have been told that someone does, then you’ve been mislead.

Of course negatively impacting the staff’s funding would have a big negative impact on LibreOffice and our mission, since they do great work every day.

However - it is not just the staff that are negatively impacted by insecurity. LibreOffice Online was built on a rather fragile agreement that was then aggressively vandalized, creating huge insecurity for the dozens of people that rely on the lead (and hence sales) pipeline of Collabora Productivity (CP) not getting damaged by TDF. As an experienced business woman you understand the importance of marketing, branding, leads, a sales funnel etc.

To willfully damage that pipeline without any credible way to replace it was like suggesting (and I don’t) that we irresponsibly kill the LibreOffice desktop product - and instead fund the staff team by asking for donations at train stations or some-such nonsense.

Of course negatively impacting CP would have a big negative impact on LibreOffice and our mission, since they do great work every day for the project. Thankfully that was avoided by the move.

So - I think there is a symmetry here, as there often is.

I would like to stress that, what scares our community and brought a lot of insecurity, was LibreOffice Online, which was put in attic. That is the concern.

Perhaps you can help me understand that. Atticisation was done by a unanimous vote of the ESC (excluding potentially conflicted people), on a non-viable sub-project with insufficient developer contribution. It was further delayed to provide more time, and has not been publicised for another year. Atticization created a
little more security and stability for a large number of LibreOffice contributors. Question: Is that something you want to undo ? if so how does that give security to anyone else ?

Definitely, that [security] is what I want back. If elected I want to work with this in mind. Joining forces.

I love to join forces with reasonable people who put the long term interests of LibreOffice first; that I’m passionate about. It is deeply counter-productive to satisfy the immediate desire for free stuff now, at the cost of the long term sustainability of the project. I’d love to work to try to restore the love and passion.

Best regards,


“free stuff” = “free of charge binaries”?
Sorry, but I am confused.

Hi Stefan,

I think Michael is referring to the proposal a director made back when Online was being discussed to make a hostile fork of Collabora Online.

Again, no-one has ever proposed TDF should stop making binaries of the most needed desktop LibreOffice available. You do not need to worry about it no matter who is elected.



@elianedomingos : I wasn’t sure whether to reply to your post here or on the original thread, I hope this is the right choice. Anyway,

I would like to stress that, what scares our community and brought a lot of insecurity, was LibreOffice Online, which was put in attic. That is the concern.

I don’t think that’s true. Or rather, it may be the case that some of the community is scared and insecure because of the LOOL affair, but for many others that is not the main source for concern (I’m in that category), or hardly a source for concern.

A decision regarding the fate of LOOL, while certainly impactful, does not shake up the fundamentals of the project, the foundation and the ecosystem. As a new trustee, I don’t have the history of how things went with LOOL well-arranged in my mind - but I find it to be more of a consequence of these fundamentals: How the TDF is governed and composed, where does money come in to the ecosystem and how it circulates, who decides what developers focus efforts on, what forces affect ESC decisions etc.

Also, it goes almost without saying that, right now, most trustees are more concerned about our ability to work together and not have our institutions fall apart. And that has been the more scary and threatening thing recently.

Hi Michael,

Can you please tell where the minutes of this vote can be found?
Thank you.

Hi Michael,

Thank you for the clarifications. To me, the issue is clear and closed.

About LibreOffice Online, it is clear to me that this was a very bad decision since it prevented the LibreOffice project to evolve and be available for users. I’d say even a slow death of the project. I read this decision as one side gets all and that made me very uncomfortable. The deal was not good for LibreOffice project.

I believe that love and passion for the project can be back once conflicts ends for good. This is not a wrestling ring. Any disagreement creates a flood of chopped e-mails pulling text out of context and with ludicrous allegations and stressed defences.

Michael, I’d like that our Foundation to become what it was when we were both part of the Board at the begining.


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Can you please tell where the minutes of this vote can be found?

Sure - no problem, you can see a week’s notice of the vote given, and then the vote itself June 2022. There the board compromised with a delay period given for developers to show up and work on the project before atticisation; but that didn’t work out and three+ months later ESC minutes 2022-10-20 and more details.. If the links don’t work - search for ‘attic’ in the body text. You can read the attic policy here.

Hi Eliane,

I’m with you that all/most should be clear, so in stead of repeating parts of what Michael explained, let me ask a question: can you please tell what your thoughts are on a LibreOffice desktop version that allows peer-to-peer cooperation, as outlined by Simon?

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the provided info. Much appreciated.
Perhaps the following milestones will give a more complete overview of the overall picture:




My understanding of unanimous is perhaps a bit different and I like this one from

From my point of view the result of the vote was not, as described above, unanimous +1, but 9/‘no concerns’ and 6/‘abstain’.
And I wonder if ‘no concern’ (instead of a clear ‘yes’) and ‘abstain’ might not be quite synonymous in this case?
On the other hand, it is good manners for people who are in a potential conflict of interest not to take part in the discussion. I do not have the impression that this has been observed here.

And since this topic is also about “Insecurity”:

I feel concerned that

  1. a founder and current board member
  2. a founder and former board member, now running again for a director’s seat

ended their presentation, subhead A tale of LibreOffice code & project, with a slide stating: "Forking? We can help! :)"

What do TDF trustees have to be prepared for here?

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Hi Stephan,
Your comment breathes feeling insecure and angst.
May I please ask how can that be possible, since the pledge is so positive about being welcoming for developers, and it is well known that developers always state that forking is costly and a last resort?
But also: did you and the pledge team consider to involve one or more developers in the team?

Hi Stephan,

on that ESC call, I was in that meeting, and:

is a moderately irritating attempt to re-frame what happened as improper. It was quite the contrary: everyone agreed, and those with a potential interest in Online abstained. I’m sure you would have found it objectionable if they didn’t.

Furtheron, you say this:

An honest question: did you watch the full talk? Since if you did, why do you believe an out-of-context quote, from a talk celebrating the success of the LibreOffice project, including the heroic efforts of many people still around in the project to break free from Oracle - would be acceptable? If the founders wouldn’t have forked, and the community followed into a successful, self-governing project - we all wouldn’t be here to have this discussion. So yes, we all (collectively) know how to fork successfully. But we also know what it takes in terms of effort & energy & passion, and I guess we’re not at all eager to do it again.

Please do watch the talk in its entirety, and please don’t create FUD around forking. The current board candidates all talk about re-uniting & new visions, and I’m quite glad about it.

Best, Thorsten

Hi @S.t.e.p.h,

Thanks for linking to “How to survive being bought by Oracle” – I encourage everyone to watch that talk giving some background on the challenges of running a foundation and an open source project! In a way, it also highlights why I am least likely person suspectable of trying to hostile fork LibreOffice, because:

  • it talks about forking in public and in full visibility of the project governance
  • it talks to an audience with few LibreOffice contributors
  • I am a candidate for the TDF board

NONE of those things would be done by someone trying to fork: You were not around back when LibreOffice forked from OpenOfficeOrg – but it was started in secret and at an OpenOfficeOrg conference with a lot of contributors around. That is very much the exact opposite of the talk at CCCamp and running for the TDF board.

As shown above, anything but a fork by me, if that is what you were implying by your not exactly constructive post.

Beyond the nonsensical idea that LibreOffice would be forked (by me), I am somewhat concerned by the fear of a fork itself that @cornouws pointed out too. Why? Because successful forks – like the creation of LibreOffice itself – only happen when the existing project governance failed the project contributors.

This implies that anyone fearing a fork thinks that the project governance failed its contributors. And the fear of a fork also implies liking and supporting the very same governance that failed the projects contributors – because if governance indeed has failed the project, the contributors will look forward to a fix (like they did when LibreOffice was created over the failed OpenOfficeOrg governance).

Any sane project governance has nothing to fear from forks: Once those have a risk to happen, that governance has already long been failing beyond recovery.

Best Regards,


Edit: Note that “trustees of TDF” and “contributors to LibreOffice” should be the pretty much the same group. If not, that in itself is a failure.

As demonstrated in 2020, companies in the ecosystem can act unilaterally if they feel their business interests are endangered. There is no legal guarantee that this won’t happen again. In fact, it’s the opposite: FOSS licences guarantee that there is always the option of forking.

Also, while TDF is legally bound to working in the open, the companies in the ecosystems do not disclose their finances, business plans etc. (and to be clear, I’m not asking them to). While completely understandable, this situation creates an asymmetry of information, where the companies always know more about TDF’s plans than the other way round.

Given this situation, it’s not exactly a wonder that members of TDF who are not employees, shareholders or business partners of the ecosystem’s companies, may feel uncertainty about the ecosystem’s plans. I wonder if people who have a seat in both tables, TDF’s and the ecosystem’s, forget that not every member of TDF has the same kind of access and influence?

Yes, as far as I’m concerned, this is the most important issue to tackle for the next BoD.

This is why I believe the new board’s priority should be to make a plan for TDF to build the next generation of LibreOffice for individual users, as I’ve outlined. Constant argument about procedure, rules, CoI, and other inward-facing matters is what has torn us apart. and will continue to do so if we let it dominate.

We need to look forward and outward, providing each community member with opportunity to benefit and contribute, globally and based on their own needs. Most importantly, TDF needs to build the LibreOffice that the software freedom movement will need once we all wake up to the importance of federation over centralisation and self-sovereignty over surveillance-based business.



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Hi Tuomas,
It is of course in the interest of the companies, contributing in the ecosystem, that the foundation is doing well. In the foundation we have the task to do what is right for the combined interests, with in mind the goals of the foundation (or the other way round if you prefer). It is also clear, from statues, plans, discussions, that we can not and don’t need to do everything at the same time. For TDF as a non commercial entity business information from companies should be not interesting. Very interesting and important though, is that developers and other trustees work together to have the best collaborative outcome. Say, something with open source :wink:


Hi @tjhietala,

That’s what professional advice pointed out and that’s why it’s a year and a half that we haven’t posted any tender. Unfortunately this board has been quite ineffective in following the advice that would have allowed us to start tendering again months ago and due to the same issues as of today we do not even have a valid budget for 2023.

We definitely need to implement clear rules to avoid having external interests affecting our governance so that we can create a level playing field for all the potential new members of the ecosystem.
If any affiliate of the ecosystem wants to be part of one of TDF’s bodies it must be clear that the arm’s length principle must be applied so that no one would have the doubt that some are more equal than others.

Once those, and the other issues we’ll have to deal with, are sorted and the processes are transparent for all then it will be a lot easier to welcome other ecosystem companies which will play by the same rules and will create a healthy competition between them.



I think that’s true for all project volunteers. And the reason behind it, is that the foundation cannot then easily conspire against its contributors. Otherwise, building trust would be a lot harder.