More Nominations for the elections of the TDF Board of Directors

Dear Community,

I nominate the following Trustees as candidates in the Board election, based on their long service to and TDF, their experience of both code and communities and their unaffiliated and impartial positions.

  • Bjoern Michaelsen,
  • Laszlo Nemeth,
  • Eike Rathke
  • Simon Phipps

Hi Uwe, Hello LibreOffice community,

On 12/8/23 20:06, Uwe Altmann via The Document Foundation Community wrote:

Dear Community,

I nominate the following Trustees as candidates in the Board election, based on their long service to and TDF, their experience of both code and communities and their unaffiliated and impartial positions.

  • Bjoern Michaelsen

thank you Uwe for proposing me as a candidate to the TDF board of directors in the next term. I accept the nomination and will stand for election. Given that in the election for 2018 I hoped that would be my last one before I can hand over the foundation into the hands of other members of the community. A casual reading of the projects communication channels likely makes obvious why I could not quite let the project continue on like this in its troubled state.

I believe in the mission of LibreOffice to both bring productivity to communities around the world and to allow them to contribute back to all parts of it. My first contact with the project was working on Writer while the project was still under the stewardship of Sun Microsystems. In the following years, I was employed by Sun, Oracle and Canonical to continue working on the project – and also make it available on many Ubuntu releases.

My biggest contribution to the project though is neither in Writer or on Ubuntu: it’s kicking off the effort to get rid of the old clunky OpenOfficeorg build system – and thereby making it much more accessible to a wide range of contributors. While I have been a member of the board until 2020, I was not working in an affiliated company in the last years, but doing that job entirely as a volunteer.

In my day job, I lead a team of software engineers working on different eCommerce projects hosted on cloud solutions these days. My employer is currently neither offering services nor are they using the product in the company workflows.

As my work on the board of directors will be naturally limited by my entirely unrelated day job, I intend to put my fellow candidates commitments to allow this to be possible to the test for the better of the project.

With feedback from many others from the community, I wrote a new-era manifesto, which can be found here:

It paints a vision and concrete goals for LibreOffice and TDF in the upcoming decade that I commit to.

Full Name: Bjoern Michaelsen
affiliation: unaffiliated/

Best Regards,


75 words statement:

I am Bjoern Michaelsen, a long term contributor to LibreOffice, both professionally and as a volunteer. On the board, I intend to focus the foundation, its resources and staff to deliver on its goals. Beyond that I commit to grow, extend and help to excite the active contributor community of the project and thereby keep the project relevant for the many new challenges we are facing more than a decade after creation.

(edit: updated manifesto link, same content)


Many thanks for the nomination, Uwe - I am willing to accept and stand as a candidate in TDF’s Board election.

Statement of Contribution

I have been involved with what is now LibreOffice since participating in the launch of OpenOffice in 2000 just after joining Sun Microsystems. Since then in connection with TDF I have:

  • Helped start the Open Document Format standard at OASIS
  • Worked alongside and ultimately hosted the StarOffice team at Sun
  • Liaised with and supported the founders of LibreOffice until Sun closed
  • Joined TDF from the beginning, and ran the first Board elections for the Membership Committee
  • Served on the Board, twice
  • Facilitated renewed crowdfunding of ODF standardisation in TDF’s COSM project
  • Supported responses to inbound legal enquiries with the team
  • Ensured the needs of The Document Foundation are fully understood by the European Commission in connection with emerging legislation such as the Cyber Resilience Act.

Statement of Interests

I have not worked for any entity connected with LibreOffice or TDF or profited from LibreOffice. Today I am a contractor to the Open Source Initiative and volunteer as director of the non-profit Public Software CIC which hosts the COSM project. I will advise the Trustees as soon as possible if this changes.

Statement of Purpose

I believe that TDF needs a renewed vision for the future, and I support and contributed to the New Era Manifesto as a basis for that (as I did TDF’s original manifesto). We can only return to the fun and friendship we all once knew if we look together towards a new vision rather than looking inwards. That has to be “the development of user-centered free/libre open source software (FLOSS) based on open format standards” as our Statutes dictate.

Identity information

Full name: Simon Phipps


Affiliation: Unaffiliated in relation to TDF (working for my own company Meshed Insights Ltd and contracting to OSI and others).

75 word statement:

I am Simon Phipps, an unaffiliated long-term and current contributor to TDF. As a director I hope to collaborate with others to reignite TDF’s passion for serving the ordinary user globally, providing self-sovereign productivity software for every computer and phone user in their own language without needing an intermediary or service provider. See A Vision for LibreOffice — Webmink In Draft for a taste of my vision for LibreOffice.

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thanks for the nomination, Uwe, that I herewith accept and I’ll stand as
a canditate in the TDF board election.

I am involved with LibreOffice and a member of TDF since 2011, before
that I was with since the beginning in 2000. Always
a core code contributor in Calc and i18n (though not full time anymore),
editor of the OASIS OpenDocument Format OpenFormula specification, have
been member of the MC, a board deputy from 2013 to 2015 and a director
member already from 2015 to 2017 so might still know a bit how board
work functions.

Full name: Eike Rathke
Email address:
Corporate affiliation: Red Hat, Inc.

~75 words candidacy text:

I, Eike Rathke, candidate for a seat on the Board of Directors of The
Document Foundation. I am a LibreOffice core code contributor, working
part and spare time on the code base. I have been around with the
project and TDF since 2011. I want TDF to continue to be a prosperous
community that creates and maintains the framework and conditions for a
successful LibreOffice development in all its aspects.


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Thank you very much, Uwe for proposing me as a candidate to the TDF board of directors in the next term. I accept the nomination and will stand for election.

I’m László Németh, 49 years old free software activist and LibreOffice developer. Code contributor of our code base since 2002. Member of the Certification Committee of TDF since 2020. Member of the Board, TDF since 2022. Regular speaker of Hungarian and international free software and LibreOffice conferences organized by The Document Foundation (TDF),, Hungary and other organizations. Previously co-lead of Lingucomponent project.

Contractor of NISZ Inc., Hungary since 2018 to fix interoperability problems and support a small group of LibreOffice developers. LibreOffice software engineer at Collabora Productivity, Cambridge, UK between 2014–2017. Freelance software developer since 1998. Expert of open source language technology, code contributor and consultant of several nativ language projects of and LibreOffice. My main free software developments: Hunspell spell checker and morphological analyser (integrated with LibreOffice, Firefox, Google Chrome and free operating systems, also with Apple iOS, PhotoShop, Microsoft Edge and Windows), Lightproor (grammar checker of LibreOffice), open source Hungarian spelling and morphological dictionary.*

I recently summarised for the board and our legal experts what TDF means to me and to many of us. I would like to quote from the edited version of my letter:

Using Wilhelm von Humboldt’s great legal term, which was the base of the German university reform, i.e. university reform of all the world, TDF is a Freistätte. “Freistätte für Kunst und Wissenschaft”, i.e. a ~sanctuary for art and science.

Sustaining LibreOffice development is an impossibly difficult challenge, because of the incomprehensibly large and undocumented source code with reported bugs in the order of 100s of thousands, and with insufficient and dwindling numbers of core developers, who can understand, fix and improve the code. It needs years from the best to achieve the mastery in LibreOffice code base, as I can only mention with the highest praise Michael Stahl’s near 600 (recently 569) commits to fix a single bug, the unusably slow change tracking ( No one else could have done it. (Just as the role of tendering was to ensure that the most difficult tasks, which could never be solved in any other way, were carried out by the best experts of our code base.)

Sustaining LibreOffice development is an impossibly difficult challenge, because there is no recipe for how to keep it alive, and without knowledge of the future. All single owners of have failed, and so will the Foundation if it does not recognise what TDF is.

TDF is a “community space, developing the capacity for collegiality, solidarity and listening to each other”*, where my code is voluntary reviewed by the best experts, regardless of the company or organisation to which they are affiliated (I’ve got 4-5 very important reviews/feedback only in the last few weeks, that I could list). TDF is the a place, where the volunteers maintain the OASIS/ISO OpenDocument standard, the community-driven open standard for office documents. TDF is the place, where the volunteers decipher the secret formats and algorithms of the proprieraty MSO (just like I do now with the justification algorithm of MS Word 2013 and later: 119908 – FILEOPEN: DOCX: Layout differences with justified paragraph. MS 2013 introduced a new "smart justify" that can shrink as well as expand., LibreOffice/Collabora Online Typography). TDF is the place, where volunteers invent and develop new approaches for office software, used also in science and at home (see my conference presentations about the innovations in language technology, which based on the contribution of language experts of our community). TDF is the place, where these results and the scientific methods around them are shared in blog posts, publications and presentations. TDF is the place, where I can get free help on the development channel, mailing lists and the bug tracker to create my code contribution. TDF is the place where I can learn from others to reach the mastery in LibreOffice development, and where I can teach others.

I could give you many examples of what the free software community, built around and then LibreOffice, means to me. I was really grateful, when Hunspell***, my fork of’s MySpell was integrated with Linux distributions and later, in mainstream* That is why I started to work with Björn Jacke, also a volunteer of the project, author of the German spelling dictionary, to create a state-of-the-art German spell checker, and I added to Hunspell, what Björn and me found useful for that.****

I deeply grateful to our community and deeply concerned for its future, these are why I took the lead of Lingucomponent project of, wrote textbooks and scientific articles in the area of my and LibreOffice developments, and applied to be a board member at TDF.

For me, leaving of Jan ‘Kendy’ Holešovský, who was not only the member of the board, but whose heart was in the community, and whose work (porting our code base to the modern 64 bit CPU architecture, direct support to TDF etc. etc.) was essential to the success of LibreOffice is the most appalling sign of negligence. If a (part of the) community values its most unselfish, most hard-working members in this way, it is no longer a community.

I believe and hope that we can really recognize what TDF means to many of us and give us all the help we need to keep TDF still a sanctuary, without which we all fail.


Full Name: László Németh
affiliation: unaffiliated/Csevej Bt.

75 words statement:

I’m László Németh, free software activist and contributor since 2002. My aim is to keep TDF a sanctuary for art and science, rebuilding the trust in our community, based on our manifesto***** and statutes.

** Zoltán Fleck: A menedékhelyek felszámolása a nihilizmus korában [Dismantling of sanctuaries in the age of nihilism], Élet és Irodalom, LXVII. 47., 2023-11-24, A menedékhelyek felszámolása a nihilizmus korában | ÉLET ÉS IRODALOM

*** I doubled the code of Myspell to create a real international spelling checker with Unicode support, compound word recognition and complex morphology, state-of-the-art suggestion mechanism etc. MySpell/Hunspell was one of the biggest code contribution to from third-party developers who were not affiliated to Sun Microsystems (owner and liberator of the code base of, i.e. LibreOffice).

**** See Björn Jacke in ChangeLog of Hunspell:

***** New-Era Manifesto - HedgeDoc, TDF/Next Decade Manifesto - The Document Foundation Wiki

(edit: updated manifesto links, same content)

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I think I can show my support and best interest in LibreOffice and our international community by telling you about my new project to improve hyphenation:

I think, all languages deserve the fullest possible support, and this will remain my passion at TDF, too. I will be open to all requests, from speakers of the major language to the minority ones*. The best recent example of which is that I helped to fix the upcoming Romansh hyphenation patterns. Romansh is a language only with 40 thousand speakers in Switzerland, but thanks for their bug report, I’ve found an annoying error source in conversion tool of libhyphen, maybe a potential problem for other languages, too.

Please don’t forget to vote. :slight_smile:

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