Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-15 Thread Thorsten Behrens
Hi Michael,

Michael Weghorn wrote:
> In my opinion (and from own experience at the City of Munich),
> LibreOffice (and other FLOSS software) is often not suitable for many
> large enterprises "as is", so a good way of managing the lifecycle and
> getting issues addressed (i.e. professional support of some kind) is
> required to make it work well and users happy.
> 
Seconded. And it's one of the greatest advantages of FLOSS in the
enterprise - people can absolutely tailor it to their _specific_ needs
and requirements, by adding the features & fixes they need.

That's particularly appealing to larger-scale deployments (where
economies of scale offer good value-for-money on a per-user
price).

Would be great to market this better.

> The problem is that if management was persuaded it was a good idea
> to introduce LibreOffice just because it's "free as in free beer",
> you won't have (and will have a hard time getting) the resources to
> handle issues appropriately, so it's better to avoid wrong
> expectations.
>
Quite. This situation is bad for the company, bad for the users, _and_
bad for us in the project. And it's sometimes ~impossible to change
minds after the fact. So for LibreOffice, past mistakes of
"overselling" to the enterprise (though I believe we inherited many of
those wrong expectations from OOo) are coming back to haunt us now.

Cheers,

-- Thorsten


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Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-15 Thread Telesto
The 'free beer' argument starting to become annoying;-). I'm hearing 
lots of self-pitty.
Nobody asks a company to contribute to the LibreOffice code (for free). 
Yes, it belongs to a model where you believe in.
If you believe code be open source, while making profit, it's also your 
task to come up with a business model generating revenue.
Not only with some vague outlines/sketches. Full blown business plan 
include marketing plan is needed.
Say you're going the bank. And say he, I want to lend some money, say € 
1.000.000 but € 2.00.000 would also be nice.
I'm starting my own company selling support for LibreOffice. I'm 
professional engineer have a development team, and some experience in 
the business.


I assume you have to a lot more to get those 1.000.000 
euro/pound/dollar. The will scrutinize your plan; being harsh unfair etc
The want a business case, business plan, marketing plan (for example 
targeted  audience).
A income prognosis etc. For what I have read here, there are only 
rudimentary sketches. I think it's possible, but it's not easy. Ubuntu 
isn't profit machine either.


Even in the luxury position you don't have to go to a bank, it's still 
needed! Except if you want to opt for lots and lots of costly experiences.


The world is hard and pretty unfair. Artists sold songs on CD with big 
labels.. Everything is on Youtube these day's. Revenue now is made by 
concerts etc.
Papers still trying to find a proposition. Paywall/ ad-financed (ad 
blockers)/ being free (guardian). Wikipedia still 
screaming/begging/nagging for money. 2% of all users world wide donate! 2%!!


The commercial company's have to handle piracy.. Else the product sold 
free, but still used freely.


Telesto


Op 15-7-2020 om 14:22 schreef Michael Weghorn:


I fully agree that it's unfortunate if migrations to LO (and FLOSS in
general) are/were done/encouraged only because it's "free as in free
beer", "no cost at all", which certainly isn't key to success for either
the enterprise nor the LibreOffice ecosystem.



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Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-15 Thread Michael Weghorn
Hi Thorsten,

On 15/07/2020 15.12, Thorsten Behrens wrote:
> Michael Weghorn wrote:
>> In the former case, adding the relevant information (professional
>> support available and encouraged for enterprises) more explicitly to the
>> website or maybe using existing mechanisms to inform the user (like
>> mentioning support in the donation/contribution infobars or add a "Tip
>> of the Day" with that info) might be a good way of dealing with this, in
>> my opinion.
>>
> Yes - the important aspect here being, that many users in a corporate
> deployment would never see the download page. So indeed a way to bring
> those facts in front of users' eyes is important. The Personal (or
> rather more likely, given the discussion here, Community) tag would
> deliver that.
> 
> But clever ways to insert that into info bar or tips of the day would
> be cool, too - it's just that a window title bar mention is visible
> ~all the time, whereas info bars are used sparingly.
> 
> I have no insight into the psychology here though, whether one or the
> other approach would be more effective in nudging. Perhaps we can try
> both? ;)

In my opinion, the "Personal" tag is more nudging, which is actually why
I like the other approach better.

The upside (or downside, as you see it...) is that those who "know what
they're doing" and for whom LibreOffice as provided by TDF may be an
acceptable approach after all (s. some notes on potential scenarios in
the previous email), can still decide to use it without being "forced"
to use another product.

This is why I mentioned this mostly helps for the "former case" (i.e.
educate those people that actually don't know, not those who
deliberately decide not to buy a "Professional Edition").

Best regards,
Michael

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Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-15 Thread Michael Weghorn
On 15/07/2020 15.11, Telesto wrote:
> The 'free beer' argument starting to become annoying;-). I'm hearing
> lots of self-pitty.
> Nobody asks a company to contribute to the LibreOffice code (for free).
> Yes, it belongs to a model where you believe in.
> If you believe code be open source, while making profit, it's also your
> task to come up with a business model generating revenue.
> [...]
> Op 15-7-2020 om 14:22 schreef Michael Weghorn:
> 
>> I fully agree that it's unfortunate if migrations to LO (and FLOSS in
>> general) are/were done/encouraged only because it's "free as in free
>> beer", "no cost at all", which certainly isn't key to success for either
>> the enterprise nor the LibreOffice ecosystem.

Besides the ecosystem company (and sustainable LibreOffice development)
point of view, my comment above was also meant for the "direct" customer
view.

In my opinion (and from own experience at the City of Munich),
LibreOffice (and other FLOSS software) is often not suitable for many
large enterprises "as is", so a good way of managing the lifecycle and
getting issues addressed (i.e. professional support of some kind) is
required to make it work well and users happy.

The problem is that if management was persuaded it was a good idea to
introduce LibreOffice just because it's "free as in free beer", you
won't have (and will have a hard time getting) the resources to handle
issues appropriately, so it's better to avoid wrong expectations.


Michael

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Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-15 Thread Thorsten Behrens
Hi Michael,

Michael Weghorn wrote:
> In the former case, adding the relevant information (professional
> support available and encouraged for enterprises) more explicitly to the
> website or maybe using existing mechanisms to inform the user (like
> mentioning support in the donation/contribution infobars or add a "Tip
> of the Day" with that info) might be a good way of dealing with this, in
> my opinion.
> 
Yes - the important aspect here being, that many users in a corporate
deployment would never see the download page. So indeed a way to bring
those facts in front of users' eyes is important. The Personal (or
rather more likely, given the discussion here, Community) tag would
deliver that.

But clever ways to insert that into info bar or tips of the day would
be cool, too - it's just that a window title bar mention is visible
~all the time, whereas info bars are used sparingly.

I have no insight into the psychology here though, whether one or the
other approach would be more effective in nudging. Perhaps we can try
both? ;)

Cheers,

-- Thorsten


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Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-15 Thread Michael Weghorn
Hi Michael,

thanks for your reply. :-)

On 13/07/2020 20.32, Michael Meeks wrote:
> On 12/07/2020 02:11, Michael Weghorn wrote:
>> Simplifying and exaggerating a bit, I'd try to sum up the described
>> problem as "There's not enough revenue for ecosystem companies, but
>> those are essential for LibreOffice." and the described solution as
>> "Let's discourage enterprises/organizations from using LibreOffice from
>> TDF, and hope they'll use paid versions from ecosystem companies instead."
> 
>   Right; it -could- be seen as a simple "developers for users" trade off.
> I'm not sure it is a trade-off though: I think we'll win more users by
> having happy enterprise users and more investment in feature / function
> and a richer product myself.

I fully agree with the latter part, let's describe it as:

  more contributors => richer product => more users

My assumption is still that having more users will also result in more
contribution:

  more users => more contributors => richer product

The nice thing is that if you combine both of them, that results in:

  ... => more users => more contributors => richer product => more users
=> more contributors => richer product => ...

(which could probably be better depicted by some nice graph showing a
circle with continual growth, but I think the idea is clear...)

The interesting question then is how/where to start.
And my concern is that the "Personal Edition approach" will lead to
fewer users and I'm not so sure this will ever be compensated either in
the medium or the long run.

>   There is risk in any change, but also risks in stasis - particularly
> when we know the status quo doesn't work well.

The "Personal Edition approach" *might* work of course; it's not what
I'd personally expect, though.

>> From what I have heard, there's also a tendency in (particularly in
>> large) organizations to only use products backed by some kind of SLA, so
>> there is some contractor to contact (or blame) in case of problems.
> 
>   I've met a few organizations like this - but they seem to be extremely
> rare. Can they even get an SLA for Firefox or Chrome ?

Ilmari has answered the explicit question regarding Firefox support
already. (I wouldn't have known myself.)

In any case, the wording "only use products backed by some kind of SLA"
probably was a bit too strong and there are other factors limiting what
software that applies to.

While browsers are certainly mission-critical these days, the facts that
they are available for free (i.e. gratis) and the existence of web
standards make it easier to have multiple browsers in parallel or switch
between them (at least these days, was certainly different in the past),
making that a somewhat less "critical" component in my eyes regarding
professional support.

In theory, document standards should allow switching between office
suites or using them in parallel as well, but that is known to be much
more difficult in practice, due to interoperability issues and
additional components on top, like macros or all kinds of third-party
software, so the office suite becomes some kind of "platform" that is
mission-critical and not easily replaceable.

I think organizations with such an approach (use software with SLA for
mission-critical tasks, in slight variations of where this applies) are
not too uncommon among larger organizations; maybe too few of them are
using LibreOffice for various reasons (never heard of it, never heard
there is professional support available, doesn't fit their needs,...).


I fully agree that it's unfortunate if migrations to LO (and FLOSS in
general) are/were done/encouraged only because it's "free as in free
beer", "no cost at all", which certainly isn't key to success for either
the enterprise nor the LibreOffice ecosystem.


>>> So - lets turn this around - can anyone thing of more than
>>> five enterprises that paid for support or instead (just as good)
>>> contributed meaningfully to LibreOffice instead ?  Munich, and ...
>>
>> At least those 3 quickly came to my mind
> 
>   Sure; there's a reason I picked five ;-)

Adding the two from the follow-up email, those that came to my mind
(without checking git log):

* NISZ
* SIL
* TU Dresden
* BaseAlt
* BSI (German "Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik")

And of course, there's RedHat, if all enterprises except those listed in
the "Ecosystem partners" section on the website [1] count... ;-)


>> Regarding paid support, I've at least heard from two or three
>> organizations, but don't know what amounts of money were/are involved
>> there; that's certainly something the involved ecosystem companies (so
>> basically you and Thorsten) know better...
> 
>   So - I was talking of new contributors; how many can we think of that
> are new since 2018 ? =)
> 

Regarding all contributions, NISZ falls into that category; but I don't
know details regarding paid support, those are presumably not publicly
available. ;-)

To be 

Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-13 Thread Ilmari Lauhakangas

Michael Meeks kirjoitti 13.7.2020 klo 21.32:

On 12/07/2020 02:11, Michael Weghorn wrote:

 From what I have heard, there's also a tendency in (particularly in
large) organizations to only use products backed by some kind of SLA, so
there is some contractor to contact (or blame) in case of problems.


I've met a few organizations like this - but they seem to be extremely
rare. Can they even get an SLA for Firefox or Chrome ?


They can for Firefox since last year, but only if they are in the U.S.: 
https://www.ghacks.net/2019/09/12/firefox-premium-for-enterprises-is-now-available/


"Firefox Premium Support is a new offer for Enterprises that provides 
organizations with improved support options. The plan provides access to 
an Enterprise customer portal, improved bug submission options and bug 
fixes, SLA management tools and more."


https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/enterprise/#plans

It seems if you visit the enterprise URL outside U.S., you won't see the 
offer for Premium.


Ilmari

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Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-13 Thread Uwe Altmann
Hi 
Am 13.07.20 um 16:58 schrieb Italo Vignoli:
> we have a peculiar development process which is IMHO rather difficult
> to steer according to the usual marketing process.

To be honest: The part with "from which our product development" was a joke, 
knowing the facts as well. ;-) 
(btw. the product is that mature it seems rather difficult to me to find useful 
new features which affect more than a dozen people - except UI improvements 
maybe)

But what's about "sound analysis of requirements of our market from which our 
market communication is coherently derived?"

Let's say we have three sources of knowing user requirements:

1.) Bugzilla end user requests for new features
2.) Askbot questions on features mostly existing but not known (which for the 
user asking makes no difference to 1)
3.) Anticipation of upcoming market developments (i.e. increasing WFH) and 
requirements which may come out of this

Getting these analyzed on more than a face-validity base may guide our 
communication to be more targeted on user requirements and therefore more 
interesting or compelling for them (i.e. how to set up a workflow with lots of 
off-premise users). Maybe even the ecosystem takes profit out of such an 
analysis - developing LOOL wasn't decided after the fifth beer in a bar, I 
presume.

And a user requirement must not necessarily be a function of code. Is there a 
requirement for single seat support contract? Mike says no, but maybe this is 
also a hen/egg situation?
Is there a need to have some expert talks on i.e. how to do product neutral 
call for bids? Which in return may get us some ecosystem partners?
Or maybe we need no more better hairnets but a hairspray kind of idea? 

Meant just as examples.
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Uwe Altmann

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Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-13 Thread Michael Meeks
Hi Michael,

Thanks for engaging here ! =) you write a friendly and helpful summary.

On 12/07/2020 02:11, Michael Weghorn wrote:
> Simplifying and exaggerating a bit, I'd try to sum up the described
> problem as "There's not enough revenue for ecosystem companies, but
> those are essential for LibreOffice." and the described solution as
> "Let's discourage enterprises/organizations from using LibreOffice from
> TDF, and hope they'll use paid versions from ecosystem companies instead."

Right; it -could- be seen as a simple "developers for users" trade off.
I'm not sure it is a trade-off though: I think we'll win more users by
having happy enterprise users and more investment in feature / function
and a richer product myself.

> To sum it up, one of my main concerns is that organizations not using
> "LibreOffice Personal" doesn't necessarily mean they'll use "LibreOffice
> Enterprise". I see a rather high risk in the "LibreOffice Personal
> approach" decreasing the overall LibreOffice use/market share, rather
> causing organizations to switch to other office suites (or choose them
> from the beginning), not just short-term. This probably wouldn't help to
> reach the desired goal in the end, but rather have a negative effect on
> both, TDF-provided LibreOffice as well as "LibreOffice Enterprise" and
> the ecosystem that provides it.

There is risk in any change, but also risks in stasis - particularly
when we know the status quo doesn't work well.

>> https://people.gnome.org/~michael/data/vendor-neutral-marketing.html
> 
> Thanks for all the information, that's really informative and helps to
> better understand the motivation/background.

My pleasure; it's eighteen months old, but of course almost nothing
changes in that time.

> From what I have heard, there's also a tendency in (particularly in
> large) organizations to only use products backed by some kind of SLA, so
> there is some contractor to contact (or blame) in case of problems.

I've met a few organizations like this - but they seem to be extremely
rare. Can they even get an SLA for Firefox or Chrome ?

>>  So - lets turn this around - can anyone thing of more than
>> five enterprises that paid for support or instead (just as good)
>> contributed meaningfully to LibreOffice instead ?  Munich, and ...
> 
> At least those 3 quickly came to my mind

Sure; there's a reason I picked five ;-)

> Regarding paid support, I've at least heard from two or three
> organizations, but don't know what amounts of money were/are involved
> there; that's certainly something the involved ecosystem companies (so
> basically you and Thorsten) know better...

So - I was talking of new contributors; how many can we think of that
are new since 2018 ? =)

>>  => It is the norm to deploy LibreOffice from TDF in
>> enterprises, and pay nothing for support &
>> maintenance that can go into development.
>>  + its that good.
> 
> Might one (main) problem be that LibreOffice (from TDF as well as its
> enterprise derivatives) just is not widely used by companies whose IT
> strategy involves paying for their office suites (yet)?

We're really quite widely used; our 200+m users includes many large
government and business deployments.

> IMHO, it'd be ideal to try to get more organizations switch to
> LibreOffice editions from whatever they're using now which I'd expect to
> increase demand for professional support as well.

I think this was one of the headings in my mail. With the current %age
up-take of professional support we run out of world population before we
get enough developers to make LibreOffice fly.

> As written in my previous email [2], I agree that many larger
> deployments involving "professional use" will probably want to use an
> edition with some kind of professional support (e.g. due to Service
> Level Agreements, long-term support, more stability, new features) and
> the TDF-provided version won't fit their needs, regardless of whether it
> has a "Personal" tag attached or not.
> Therefore, also from the experiences that the City of Munich made, I
> tend to expect that affected organizations will find this out

Well - it took Munich a long time to find this out I think; furthermore
our marketing tends not to make people effectively aware of the
existence of, nevermind the  benefits of, support / migration / training
- even in the abstract. It also tends to make people believe the
software is created by Volunteers + TDF at many points. I guess
enterprises think that TDF is sustained by donations from end-users, and
volunteers just train themselves & contribute - so ... no need to
support the ecosystem ? =)

You may notice the other discussions here arguing for a replacement of
the explicit recommendation to get support & services from the download
page (which we know doesn't work) with a suggestion.

>>  => The LibreOffice brand is 

Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-13 Thread Kev M
>Is this possible? Based on our development model, I do not think it is
possible. We know that in Bugzilla there are end user requests for new
features which have been sitting there for years, because either there
was no request from the same feature by enterprises willing to pay for
them, and there were no developers willing to work on them.

I think this is important for network effects that haven't been realized by 
LibreOffice yet.

If I have time this evening I will try to find the article; but when a 
company/organization builds software with personal users in mind you end up 
with happier Enterprise customers. Collecting personal user feedback and 
implementing I would argue should be the priority of TDF, while enterprises can 
focus on Enterprise contracts.

Essentially the argument is if it looks good, and feels easy to use, people 
will want to use it at work as well. Word of mouth marketing is quite powerful 
for organizations with low budgets.

I think moving towards the TDF fixing some of those user-requested bug fixes 
should be a priority for the TDF as you suggested the TDF could do Italo.


Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-13 Thread Uwe Altmann
Hi Italo

Am 13.07.20 um 13:26 schrieb Italo Vignoli:
>> but you're not doing marketing in my sense.

> Thanks for the appreciation as communications professional. By the way
> during my career I have been..and I have a BA in Marketing Management at 
> ISTUD in Italy.
> 

> Of course, I respect your opinion about my limited marketing skills, so
> this is just for your info.

Very interesting, didn't know in detail - but I've always known you're good in 
what you're doing :-)
What I mean is more about effectiveness vs. efficiency: It's no question that 
your doing an excellent job in what you're doing - but are you doing the right 
things (which for sure wasn't alone your decision what to do)?

Coming back to "doing marketing in my sense": So you can point me to a sound 
analysis of requirements of our market from which our product development as 
well as our market communication is coherently derived? Very interested in 
reading that.
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Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-13 Thread Michael Meeks
Hi Uwe,

On 13/07/2020 11:01, Uwe Altmann wrote:
> TLTR?: Become a professional managed organization 

I imagine it's not just Italo that has concerns with that =)

> Teach people that LibreOffice is not the gratis version of MS
> Office but a real great idea which they can and shall support
> in various ways.

Totally behind that; marketing more of the project and less of a gratis
product.

> Till this field, then economic returns can be seeded and grow there;
> and this is something TDF can do.

Clearly we need to educate people.

> Don't try to force the TDF to do what it cannot (by statutes
> and/or by law) do

Of course.

> if it is a really important issue, create an independent
> structure for it.

The ecosystem though has a lot of competing independent structures,
each with different strengths, and interest in bringing LibreOffice to
different niches. Clearly having more players there would be good,
though having a single hyper-privileged one would not. But possibly new
structures are needed I suppose.

ATB,

Michael.

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Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-13 Thread Italo Vignoli
On 7/13/20 12:01 PM, Uwe Altmann wrote:

> Therefor look for advice from marketing experts (NOT of sales or PR or 
> communication or the like professionals who call themselves "marketing 
> expert"!) (sorry Italo, you are undoubtedly a highly qualified communications 
> professional, but you're not doing marketing in my sense).

Thanks for the appreciation as communications professional. By the way
during my career I have been Vice President Marketing for Honeywell IS,
which at the time was second only to IBM in the computer business, then
- as a consultant - Marketing Manager Europe for Adobe, in charge of all
activities for PDF and Photoshop (both products were not doing so bad)
from 1989 to 1999, when I was hired by Macromedia to launch the Internet
product suite (Dreamweaver and all the associated products, but that was
indeed a less successful experience), and then I moved - always as a
consultant - to Dell in Italy until 2004.

I have been in marketing roles from 1981 to 2004, or 23 years, although
for quite some time I have had a different "formal" role as the company
I was working for was not focused on marketing specific consultancy.

I have attended a master training course about B2B Marketing at General
Electric Management School in Crotonville (NY) when I was at Honeywell,
and I have a BA in Marketing Management at ISTUD in Italy.

Of course, I respect your opinion about my limited marketing skills, so
this is just for your info.

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Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-13 Thread Uwe Altmann
Hi

sorry by being late on this.

Am 07.07.20 um 22:13 schrieb Michael Meeks:
> Nevertheless there are some big problems currently. Perhaps
> you think you have a neat solution to one of them. I'd love to hear
> about it - but solving or obsessing about just one is unlikely to do
> the job:

Ok, then some of my ideas to do by TDF

TLTR?: Become a professional managed organization (or or at least create a 
sufficient professionalized organizational segment - "from professionals for 
professionals"). Which also means: Take the tight resources of the TDF not to 
solve every problem in a do-it-yourself mentality but to get them solved 
with/by professional help.
Teach people that LibreOffice is not the gratis version of MS Office but a real 
great idea which they can and shall support in various ways. Till this field, 
then economic returns can be seeded and grow there; and this is something TDF 
can do. Don't try to force the TDF to do what it cannot (by statutes and/or by 
law) do; if it is a really important issue, create an independent structure for 
it.


Full Text:

1. Pay a ~professional to deliver a migration white paper for small, medium an 
large enterprises respectively. With does clearly mention the advantages of a 
professional support contract. With professional layout and management summary 
and whatever else it takes to get it read by a lot of interested people. Base 
this on a sound analysis of requirements, not only on marketing labels (as 
written somewhere else). 
Therefor look for advice from marketing experts (NOT of sales or PR or 
communication or the like professionals who call themselves "marketing 
expert"!) (sorry Italo, you are undoubtedly a highly qualified communications 
professional, but you're not doing marketing in my sense).

1a. Even if they are true, avoid statements like "...and can significantly 
reduce the Total Cost of Ownership of enterprise PCs because it replaces the 
license cost with a substantially lower migration cost" in an official document 
(LibreOffice Migration Protocol, p. 1 in this case)! Anyhow, the migration 
protocol seems to be a good starting point.


2. Pay a full time LO developer to do mentoring workshops on a regular base, 
embedded by a communication campaign also led by a PR ~professional, 
advertising these workshops in local (modern social) media. I. e.: For 
Germany/DACH rent Linux hotel for one week and offer a hacking LO workshop 
there for (nearly) free - and advertise that widely in DACH media (not only IT 
centered ones), based on a ~sound media analysis of what is read by our 
targeted group. Both effects - educating/recruiting programmers and having a 
widespread LO image campaign - will be worth the money. 
Besides that we still suffer from the "OpenOffice - oops, I meant 
LibreOffice"-effect (OpenOffice meant a as class of software, not perceived as 
a distinct product vs. LibreOffice) and still have to establish the right name 
for the right product by an image campaign.
Develop this an a "standard"-module (by documentation, standard teaching 
material, checklist, do's and don'ts...) to encourage local communities to copy 
that for their country (similar as the conference is a teamwork between la 
local community and a professional, experienced orga-team at TDF). Send them 
the developer in case of need.


3. Pay a ~professional organization to deliver a basic set of training 
materials under a CC license (i.e. attribution share-alike). Which may then 
been translated by the community - or enterprises using them. Lack of local 
training capabilities often seem to be the bottleneck of migration projects, so 
we should enforce them.


5. Set up a professional qualification structure (like lpi) with certificates 
and all this stuff. At least give the picture of doing so. 
"LibreOffice Certification is completely different from commercial 
certification... TDF is looking for LibreOffice Ambassadors, able to provide 
value-added professional services to grow the LibreOffice ecosystem."[1] is a 
nice try but will not foster commercial organizations to trust in - rather to 
get suspicious.


6. Stop trying to use TDF as a selling point. Won't work and even worse damage 
the project. It's ok to express concerns where TDF is standing in the way of 
business (or "ecosystem") interests and helping it stepping aside. But having 
the managers in charge of all of the tree "ecosystem partners" mentioned on our 
website [2] as members of the BoD leaves me pondering.
Perhaps we should also put a definition of what is an "ecosystem partner" (and 
what to do to become one) on that page. 
btw: this page [2] should imho not be in "downloads" but in "Discover".


6. ...still thinking...


[1] https://www.libreoffice.org/about-us/certification/ 
[2] https://www.libreoffice.org/download/libreoffice-in-business/
-- 
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Uwe Altmann

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Problems? 

Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-11 Thread Michael Weghorn
Hi Michael, all,

to explicitly mention it: While insights I got by working for the City
of Munich certainly played a role in shaping that opinion, whatever I am
writing (and have written) on this topic is "with my volunteer hat on",
i.e. my personal opinion, not necessarily my employer's.

On 07/07/2020 22.13, Michael Meeks wrote:
>   This is a short summary of some of the problems that I see
> with LibreOffice, and this is written with my personal / Collabora hat
> on. People are welcome to question my motivations - but my mission is to
> try to nurture a successful FLOSS project that creates excellent FLOSS
> Office Productivity software and makes it freely available to all. Many
> here will share that goal I hope.

Your (and Collabora's) work for LibreOffice is really much appreciated
and I fully share that goal, but have concerns regarding what I'll call
the "Personal Edition approach".

>   Nevertheless there are some big problems currently. Perhaps
> you think you have a neat solution to one of them. I'd love to hear
> about it - but solving or obsessing about just one is unlikely to do
> the job:

I admit I don't have a solution to all problems and certainly not the
experience and insight that others like you have there, in particular
regarding the ecosystem company side.

However, some personal comments/thoughts on some aspects below.


Simplifying and exaggerating a bit, I'd try to sum up the described
problem as "There's not enough revenue for ecosystem companies, but
those are essential for LibreOffice." and the described solution as
"Let's discourage enterprises/organizations from using LibreOffice from
TDF, and hope they'll use paid versions from ecosystem companies instead."

To sum it up, one of my main concerns is that organizations not using
"LibreOffice Personal" doesn't necessarily mean they'll use "LibreOffice
Enterprise". I see a rather high risk in the "LibreOffice Personal
approach" decreasing the overall LibreOffice use/market share, rather
causing organizations to switch to other office suites (or choose them
from the beginning), not just short-term. This probably wouldn't help to
reach the desired goal in the end, but rather have a negative effect on
both, TDF-provided LibreOffice as well as "LibreOffice Enterprise" and
the ecosystem that provides it.

> * LibreOffice is at serious risk
> 
>   Frustration with how TDF markets and positions its 'product'
> (LibreOffice) against the ecosystem that contributes the majority of
> the coding work is at an all-time high. That ecosystem itself is under
> long term stress.
> 
>   Despite years of patient work, writing up the problems here,
> talks at conferences, personal pleas for change and improvement, and a
> number of tweaks, nothing -effective- has happened. You can read about
> the situation here:
> 
> https://people.gnome.org/~michael/data/vendor-neutral-marketing.html

Thanks for all the information, that's really informative and helps to
better understand the motivation/background.


> * Surely companies have to buy support & security updates ?
>   They always complain to me about the lack of support wrt.
>   avoiding using FLOSS !
> 
>   Sadly no. Microsoft gives poor to non-existent support to the
> majority of users so ~no-one expects to buy it, they expect to buy a
> product. Enterprises tend to test a version & deploy it to their
> desktops and leave it there - they can do that with LibreOffice from
> TDF.

From what I have heard, there's also a tendency in (particularly in
large) organizations to only use products backed by some kind of SLA, so
there is some contractor to contact (or blame) in case of problems.
(Whether that helps in practice is another question, but from a
management perspective it seems to be a prerequisite in various settings.)

>   So - lets turn this around - can anyone thing of more than
> five enterprises that paid for support or instead (just as good)
> contributed meaningfully to LibreOffice instead ?  Munich, and ...

At least those 3 quickly came to my mind that IMHO qualify regarding
code contributions (which apparently depends on how you'd define
"meaningfully", though...):

* NISZ
* SIL
* TU Dresden [1]

Regarding paid support, I've at least heard from two or three
organizations, but don't know what amounts of money were/are involved
there; that's certainly something the involved ecosystem companies (so
basically you and Thorsten) know better...


>   Of course we maintain and promote lists of enterprises that
> deployed for free with no support ?
> 
>   => It is the norm to deploy LibreOffice from TDF in
>  enterprises, and pay nothing for support &
>  maintenance that can go into development.
>   + its that good.

Might one (main) problem be that LibreOffice (from TDF as well as its
enterprise derivatives) just is not widely used by companies whose IT
strategy involves paying for their office suites (yet)?


IMHO, it'd be ideal to 

Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-08 Thread Heiko Tietze
On 07.07.20 22:13, Michael Meeks wrote:
> ...
>   => so it makes no economic sense at all to invest in
>  -Desktop- Libreoffice you will never see a return.
> 
>   That is manageable - we are investing heavily in creating
> Online and that is going well, and it funds our work on LibreOffice.

I highly value expertise and would never object marketing. But this 
differentiation between Personal and Enterprise seems barely to be a solution.

So just to put this option on the table: Remove Online from the LibreOffice zoo 
and make it a commercial product.

Good thing on this Personal Edition kerfuffle is that people discuss the 
marketing strategy. I suggest to keep listening and postpone any modification 
for 7.1. We run out of time to revert the PE patch.



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Re: [board-discuss] Some problems.

2020-07-07 Thread Thorsten Behrens
Hi *,

Michael Meeks wrote:
>   For my part - I'd like to try to work with others to
> understand all of the motivations, and to somehow, together chart a
> path towards a better way of marketing and positioning LibreOffice and
> its ecosystem - as Italo has outlined. Many of the above issues are
> significantly addressed in this proposal - and I think it forms a
> great basis for discussion, hopefully its possible to map many of
> these solutions back to the problems I outline now.
> 
I'd like to second what Michael wrote (in its entirety, but
specifically highlighting the quoted paragraph).

Those of you knowing Michael and me for longer know that we tend to
disagree on very many things - but his analysis of the status quo, and
the risks of further de-monetising the ecosystem is spot-on.

This is not an easy problem (and the opensource industry at large is
struggling with it - the moment VC funding runs out, and money needs
to be earned), and therefore I don't think there's an easy fix for it.

LibreOffice wouldn't be what it is without the sometimes decade-long
work from all of you, in this community. This is why we want (and
need) your input and buy-in - we don't want to lose anyone over this
debate.

But if you look at the history of the project (both OOo and then
LibreOffice), you'll have to realistically conclude that for staying
competitive (better interop, new platforms, pivots like Online,
compelling features) - a chunk of money is needed, that someone with a
product management hat on can ~freely spend.

So that's what the proposal in front of us is meant to provide. Let's
pick it apart, let's constructively criticise it - but what I'd want
as an outcome in the end, is a plan that stands a chance of working
(and goes beyond keeping the - known-problematic - status quo).

Thanks a lot for taking part in this discussion, thanks for all your
work & passion - and here's to the continued success of LibreOffice! :)

Cheers,

-- Thorsten


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