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Board statement on the LibreOffice 7.0 RC “Personal Edition” label

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LibO

Thanks to the hard work put in by many individual and ecosystem contributors, working together as a team in different fields, such as development, QA, design, marketing, localisation, release engineering, infrastructure, just to mention some, in a few weeks’ time we will be welcoming our LibreOffice 7.0 milestone.

At the same time, we are discussing our vision for the next five years, with a starting point being marketing and branding. See our marketing and board-discuss mailing lists.

Due to draft and development work in the area of branding and product naming, some speculation, in particular related to the “Personal Edition” tag shown in a LibreOffice 7.0 RC (Release Candidate), has started on several communication channels. So let us, as The Document Foundation’s Board of Directors, please provide further clarifications:

1. None of the changes being evaluated will affect the license, the availability, the permitted uses and/or the functionality. LibreOffice will always be free software and nothing is changing for end users, developers and Community members.

2. Due to the short time frame we are working with, the tagline appeared on the RC and we apologise if this caused some of you to think we unilaterally implemented the change. Rest assured that the consultation with the Community is still ongoing.

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The Document Foundation Clarifies LibreOffice 7.0's Personal Ed.

  • The Document Foundation Clarifies LibreOffice 7.0's "Personal Edition" Branding

    Yes, it's true the LibreOffice builds in recent days -- including the new LibreOffice 7.0 RC1 -- have "Personal Edition" branding for the open-source builds. But given user concerns, The Document Foundation board has issued some clarifications to try to ease any immediate rumors, etc.

    The LibreOffice builds provided are indeed marked now as "LibreOffice Personal Edition" as part of planned but not yet finalized marketing changes for LibreOffice. These builds of the open-source office suite remain free and available to anyone without restrictions.

Linux users might find themselves paying money...

  • Linux users might find themselves paying money to use LibreOffice one day

    If you are a Linux nerd or Windows user without much money, you probably use LibreOffice. That free software is actually quite good, although Microsoft's Office is far superior. Regardless of how you feel about the Windows-maker, its office suite of software is second to none. If you use Windows or Mac and can afford it, I always recommend using "real" Word and Excel over knockoffs, such as the aforementioned LibreOffice's Writer or Calc. Sadly, other than the web version, Microsoft Office is not available for Linux. With that said, as a Linux user, I appreciate LibreOffice's existence and use it regularly.

    But what if LibreOffice wasn't free? Would people still use it if it cost money? Some folks became very worried about that exactly, as the release candidate of LibreOffice 7.0 labeled itself as "Personal Edition." To some, it was a sign that a paid version of LibreOffice was on the horizon. Well, guess what? They weren't totally wrong. In the future, you might find yourself paying money to use LibreOffice software. According to a new blog post from The Document Foundation Board aimed at quelling fears, however, there is no need to panic.

  • Lilbits 7-06-2020: LibreOffice Personal Edition?

    LibreOffice is a suite of office applications for creating, editing, and viewing text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and databases, among other things. LibreOffice is free and open source software. Anyone can download it, use it, and even examine and modify the source code.

    But with version 7.0 set to launch next month, some users have been noticing unusual language in pre-release builds suggesting that LibreOffice “Personal edition” is “intended for individual use.

    That’s raised some alarms since it implies that businesses, governments, schools, or other institutions might need a different license to use LibreOffice in the future.

LibreOffice community protests at promotion of paid-for editions

  • LibreOffice community protests at promotion of paid-for editions, board says: 'LibreOffice will always be free software'

    Vignoli also referred to a problem with LibreOffice Online, the browser-based, cloud version of the office suite. Community members would like a "full product, easy to deploy by everyone," he said, but "ecosystem members are getting most of their revenue from LibreOffice online." Differentiating between free and commercial versions, and delaying release of the free version, could satisfy both sides, the presentation suggests.

    According to Vignoli, two recent trends are running in favour of wider take up for LibreOffice. One is international concern about "digital sovereignty," with, for example, the EU worried about being reliant on Microsoft or Google for its productivity. The other is COVID-19 and lockdown, which has stimulated (or required) greater interest in working from home.

    "I have tried to do my best by listening to everyone," said Vignoli, also stating that he welcomes feedback and that there will be a future version which will be "the final marketing plan for the next five years."

    Despite these statements, TDF and the LibreOffice team could have done better with their communications on this subject; but navigating a major open source project in such a way as to maintain its viability and growth while also meeting the insatiable demand for something for nothing is a difficult task.

    Vignoli said LibreOffice is the "only viable FOSS alternative to Microsoft Office," and while the Apache OpenOffice folk might disagree, there is no doubting its importance to individuals or organisations who need an open source alternative.

LibreOffice Might Delay Its "Personal Edition" Branding

  • LibreOffice Might Delay Its "Personal Edition" Branding Or Change To "Community Edition"

    In response to the largely critical feedback of LibreOffice 7.0-RC1's branding as "Personal Edition" for the standard version of this open-source office suite, the branding is being reconsidered to either delay it until LibreOffice 7.1 or potentially relabel it as the "Community Edition" version.

    Lothar Becker, the chairman of The Document Foundation's Board of Directors, wrote today in an open letter to the community that they are still seeking more feedback and evaluating their options with regards to the new branding that led to LibreOffice being labeled "Personal Edition" so ecosystem partners of LibreOffice can offer "Enterprise Edition" solutions built around this open-source office suite.

  • Marketing plan draft: Discussion about options available, and timetable

    Dear community,

    thanks for the feedback on the marketing plan draft via different channels so far. We want to let you know and have you take part, as the board is discussing the options now available with that draft.

    In the meantime, some more feedback will be integrated in the document already and will be published on next Monday. This is still not the last chance for a change for version 7.0.0, but we will reach that point soon.

    The last change for all strings and tags would be possible the latest by Monday, July 20. With some preliminary phase for decision making of the board the public feedback phase on all this will end by the time of the next public board call, i.e. Friday, July 17, 1300 Berlin time.

Document Foundation looking at ways and means to pay

  • Document Foundation looking at ways and means to pay the LibreOffice bills

    The foundation that looks after LibreOffice, a free open-source software suite that is based on the code from the former Star Office, is being forced to look at a commercial edition because developers from companies who are working on it are not being paid by those companies, a senior developer says.

A new LibreOffice strategic marketing plan

  • A new LibreOffice strategic marketing plan

    LWN recently covered the effort within the LibreOffice project to find ways to support the companies doing the bulk of the development work. The project has now posted a revised marketing plan [PDF] with a number of changes, including the removal of the "personal edition" name. Regarding LibreOffice Online: "Following our normal development process, the Ecosystem will release their own versions in their own timing, allowing some features to reach their Enterprise versions before they are subsequently shipped in TDF builds (this allows the Ecosystem to positively differentiate by contributing new features & functionality)".

Ecosystem is 'beyond utterly broken'

  • Companies toiling away the most on LibreOffice code complain ecosystem is 'beyond utterly broken'

    The companies that do most to develop and evolve the LibreOffice productivity suite, both for desktop and cloud, say the project's business model is "beyond utterly broken" and that The Document Foundation (TDF), the charity that hosts the project, has to change its approach.

    The matter is a subject of intense debate within the board of the foundation, set up in 2010 to oversee LibreOffice, a fork of Oracle's OpenOffice. It touches on a question that crops up repeatedly in various contexts: as usage of open-source software continues to grow, what is the right business model to fund its development?

    The TDF's manifesto promises "to eliminate the digital divide in society by giving everyone access to office productivity tools free of charge." The document adds that "we encourage corporate participation" but there is nothing about providing an incentive for such companies.

    Michael Meeks, managing director at Cambridge-based Collabora, the company that contributes most full-time developers to LibreOffice, has set out the situation in (opinionated) detail here and here. "Words fail me to express how beyond-utterly-broken the existing TDF / desktop model is for the ecosystem around selling desktop LibreOffice," he wrote.

    Meeks is an open-source veteran, having worked on GNOME, OpenOffice, and other prominent projects. Everything was fine at LibreOffice to begin with, and he calls 2012-2014 "the flourishing years."

    Alongside Collabora, there were 15 developers from SUSE, five from Red Hat, one from Canonical, seven from the city of Munich (part of its embrace of open source), and some 40 others from various companies. Many of those have now dropped out, or reduced their commitment, leaving around 40 paid developers in total – of whom Collabora provides 25 and CIB, a Munich-based specialist in document management, seven.

LibreOffice chief outlines issues facing free software project

  • LibreOffice chief outlines issues facing free software project

    Veteran free software and open source developer Michael Meeks has expanded on the issues faced by the LibreOffice project which were briefly touched on by iTWire recently, drawing from a post on the popular Linux Weekly News website.

    The essential issue is that money which is supposed to be paid to companies that provide support for LibreOffice is not being paid. And since that makes up most of the funds that enable development, The Document Foundation, the agency that manages LibreOffice development, has had to put together a plan for raising funds.

    Meeks, who works as general manager at Collabora Productivity, a company that sells LibreOffice support, told iTWire: "I think the community reaction in summary is 'go slower', there are a lot of moving pieces that intersect here - the board has been talking about them for a long time, but the community have come fresh to them, and need time to digest them, to interact and ask questions before coming up with proposals.

    "That's very positive, I think. At the core of the situation currently we have the problem of the perception that LibreOffice either creates itself (via the magic of volunteers), or that TDF creates it (by unknown means or by donations)."

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