Document Foundation: Libreoffice should separate private and commercial use


The board of the Document Foundation has confirmed in the organization’s blogthat the Office Suite Libreoffice will always remain free software and that nothing will change for the community. The Document Foundation serves as the legal representation of the Libreoffice projects and, given the history of the foundation and the project, this announcement may seem surprising. But this happens under pressure from the community, who was very dissatisfied with a planned change in the marketing team.

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The discussion is triggered a patch, which in the preliminary versions of the upcoming version Libreoffice 7.0 will result in the About dialog: “The Personal Edition is supported by volunteers and is intended for individual use”. In a related one Bug report is asked on the one hand about the background of the change and simply asked to withdraw it.

The Document Foundation writes: “We apologize if this has prompted some of you to believe that we have implemented the change unilaterally. Be assured that the consultation with the community is ongoing.”. As an explanation, the change is said to be part of a long-term marketing plan to better distinguish the free version of Libreoffice currently maintained by the community from those that offer commercial services and maintenance for Libreoffice. The best known among them is probably the consulting company Collabora, which contributes a lot of code and offers with Collabora Office a commercial product based on Libreoffice.

The Board of Directors of the Document Foundation now asks all interested parties to continue to participate in the discussion and to provide feedback. The discussions previously held on the Executive Board’s mailing list (Board Discuss) had apparently not led to a greater response from the LibreOffice community. Details on marketing plans can be found in a presentationwhich the organization makes publicly available. Accordingly, the marketing plan should only be presented next week and finally implemented in August with the release of Libreoffice 7.0.

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