Bernhard Dippold vs. Louis

Hi Louis, all,

it is great, that you still feel responsible for the OOo community -
even if the way you perform this responsibility causes some thoughts...

You have been Sun's OpenOffice.org Community Manager
and later on Oracle's Community Manager until you left Oracle
some months ago.

As far as I know this post has never been open for election by the
community, it has been given to you by your former
employer and I don't know about it's validity after you left Oracle.

But I want to address you as OpenOffice org community member - a community I myself feel affiliated for more than six years.

Louis Suarez-Potts wrote:


On 2011-05-13, at 04:39 , Ian Lynch wrote:

I know this might be a bit of an emotive topic for some, but
wouldn't it be an idea to open up dialogue with the LibreOffice
people? A split community was never an ideal situation from a
simple logical point of view.

A split had to be accepted when the foundation had been set up, but TDF
has always been open to any contributor and invited not only Oracle but
all the people hesitant to join a broader basis with less influence by
single companies.

Ok, there are emotional wounds to heal but talking about
possibilities without any commitment on either side can't do any

I fully support any discussion between OOo and TDF community members.
In my opinion our split community can be reunited quite easily, if
everybody looks for the goals she/he has with our office suite and how
we can achieve them.

Maybe this is already happening?

In an open community (or if you prefer: among two open communities) this
should done on the mailing lists, so thank you for this question.

Actually I hope that there will be more friendly discussion among TDF and OOo community members, leading to the perception of positive interaction and common goals.

Actually, Florian and I are discussing that exactly. The days of
stiff difference are over with; were over with when Oracle renounced
OOo as a revenue source. And in their lieu, discussions of

Sorry, not being a native speaker, I can't really understand what you're
talking about - and Google translator doesn't help very much either.

So you mean that the time where Florian was "persona non grata" for
OpenOffice.org is over, because Oracle dropped commercial support for
the community?

And does reconciliation mean that you start to imagine, that the TDF
founders might have been right in working on the ten year old vision of
an independent foundation *before* Oracle might drop any support for the

We still don't know if dropping commercial support means to close the
entire infrastructure and sell the trademark to somebody else (I still
hope they don't, but it is a monetary issue, and Oracle is said to be
aware of costs and money).

Without the Document Foundation our community's situation would be even
more problematic.

It took several months to create a working infrastructure - of course
there are tasks not finished by now, but the infrastructure is able to provide the product for download and support the community in their work.

To be sure, there are still personal differences. These are, to me,
not irrelevant but ought not to stop the development of the code by
the larger community.

Every now and then during the last 10 years there have been personal differences, but they have always been considered less relevant than the work we did and still do for our community.

Code development is done by the larger community.

While the gap created by the uncertainties after the Oracle announcement
seems to get broader and broader with no visible release activities
after beta1 for OOo3.4.0 (two days before this announcement), the
community developers working on LibreOffice removed bugs (even quite
visible bugs) on their version, so the development is going on.

What counts, what makes up, what comprises that larger community is
of some debate. We need a lot of money to develop the code.

Right. We need corporate contributors. Some of the already contribute to
LibreOffice, overcoming the hindrances of one main contributor with
nearly unlimited control.

We need, that is, far more than LibreOffice or TDF or any single
company can probably provide.

LibreOffice and TDF are no company, they just do, what we should have
done earlier in the past: Provide a basis where contributors can do
their work, where companies and corporations can share their interest,
but know that none of them will have the force to define any rules or
modify the foundations mission.

Based on this ideas, TDF raised 50.000 Euro (mainly by small donations -
probably users and small companies) in only 8 days.

Imagine large corporations start to support the community, because they
don't have to fear the influence of any single main sponsor - provide
money, code contributors, helping out the community with other issues...

Figure more than 10M USD/annum. That's to develop the code, test it,
distribute it, and move ahead into areas that go beyond the limits of

It's a challenge - but based on the efforts the community already did by
creating TDF it is much more likely to be achieved than if the few
people staying here try to raise such an amount on their own.

Unfortunately, for something like OOo, a "community effort," still
needs huge buckets of money. It's not about corporations, per se.
It's about needing to get dedicated developers, one way or another,
working on the code, so that it can be reliably produced, and
satisfy the most demanding expectations.

Right - that's what is done with LibreOffice.

Meanwhile, I continue to drive ODF interest, and continue to
represent OOo at ODF events; and continue to represent, as much as I
can, as energetically as I can, to the world.

You drive what?

You still try to make the world believe that LibreOffice is nothing but
Novell's contribution to Microsoft's universe because there is a very
small area of code development based on a contract among them.

You don't do ODF and the entire FOSS ecosystem a favor if you declare,
that there would be no reliable alternative to MS Office anymore for
people fearing that the lack of activity in the OOo project might cause
their adoption to fail.

I have no animus toward LibreOffice, though I do have my share of

What you tell us here and in your blog, is much more than animus -
please see below.

but my spirit is stamped with OOo, its community, its goal, of
providing reliable and reliably, the best productivity tools there
are to the most people.

My goals have not changed during the last years, and I'm not alone -
there is a large number of community members having spent hundreds or
thousands of hours in their spare time for this community and its goals.

But we don't insist on the name - it's the community's spirit that lives on.

Create and maintain the best open source office productivity suite.

Be part of the community that stands behind this suite and have
influence by real merit: Every community member contributing for more
than just a short period is able to elect the Board of Directors and be
elected to it.



On Thu, May 12, 2011 at 9:21 PM, Louis Suarez-Potts


It is not even the case that other projects using OOo technology
have that much greater insight. They do not.

This clearly addresses LibreOffice and TDF.

They may have more activity, but absent the energy of
production, there is no production of energy.

And you tell the world that there would not be productive work over there?

Together with the accusations against the Novell employees, ignorance of
the large number of other developers, and repeatedly mentioning your
"doubts" about LibreOffice you create an image that doesn't describes
you as possible contact for reconciliation and re-unification of our
large community.

If Oracle wants to drop support for the infrastructure and code
development (and I can't understand the cessation of the release cycle
and the mailing list migration differently), this will be the only way
to survive as the open source alternative to MS Office:

Coordinate and integrate the community's work in both parts of the
community back to the open and integrative community I love to work for
during the last 6 years.

But you are not the person I want to be represented by.
I want to work together with the entire community in order to overcome
this very dangerous situation not only for OpenOffice.org, but for the
broader FOSS community and their acceptance in public too.

Your comments, blogs and interviews don't show any integrative ideas,
but try to damage LibreOffice and TDF on different levels instead of
using the unique chance to re-unite our community leading to the highest
strength and best position for our office suite in the current tangled

Best regards


PS: You probably know that I neither have any formal role in the OOo community nor in TDF. This mail is just my personal opinion as community member trying to further our office suite in any way I can.

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