The Unsaid Document Foundation (talkbacks)

Michael Meeks, famous hacker and LibreOffice advocate, replied to my earlier post giving his perspectives on many different subjects related to LibreOffice development.

Having read his views with great attention – and keeping in mind his long coding experience with OpenOffice.org, as well as his ability to dig deep into complex subjects like copyright assignment – I want to take a chance to go deeper into some points.

Being a long time researcher on FLOSS voluntary organization of work, I firmly believe that every community – included the OpenOffice.org community – has its own regulations and traditions governing the behaviour of its members.

OpenOffice.org is an hybrid kind of community, something between a Community of Practice (doing all core stuff ranging from opening and managing issues, to localizing OOo or joining QA activities) and what I would tentatively call a (User) Community of Interest, where actually users are both individuals or organizations. [see “Concentric Circles of communities“].

The TDF Steering Committee well represents the OpenOffice.org community of practice: most of its members are involved with OpenOffice.org native lang projects, marketing and other general development stuff. Code hackers, like Michael Meeks, are a de facto a minority, something really different from what happens at the Apache Foundation.

The TDF Steering Committee seems to be modelled thinking of the set of values that actually governs the OpenOffice.org community, but coders usually play a major role in Developer Communities, though.

Talking about code contributions, I read and heard few contributors warning about modifications that could break bridges with upstream piece of codes, while actually bringing in very little value (here few other examples).

The point is, that all these decisions are making LibreOffice a fork. Similar decisions should probably be discussed or, at least, communicated.

Talking about copyright assignement Michael say that corporations are waking up to the problem. Having been talking about open source governance with companies like Accenture, IBM, Microsoft or Oracle itself, I got a totally different feedback on this subject, though.

Again, opening a public consultation seems to me the best way to go.

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