Made by the people, for the people

This has been again several crazy days since I last posted anything here, and I apologize for this repeated inconvenience. At least my relative silence (you can read my dents and tweets just right to this column) was a sign that something tremendously good happened. The Document Foundation had previously decided to incorporate as a full-fledged foundation based in Germany. There were several reasons for this. Among them the geographical proximity of several of its founding members (80% of them live in Europe, 20% come from Brazil, a good half of those who live in Europe are Germans) and the legal instrument itself (this is not a “simple” non-for profit company, it’s a capital-based non for profit perpetual entity) made the german “scenario” a palatable and desirable one. There was one condition though: we needed to gather around fifty thousand Euros for the capital and the setup costs. We had almost nothing to start with! So that’s how we decided to run a fundraising with the objective of fifty thousand Euros or more in one month.

The result was astonishingly good and we did not expect this: In less than 8 days we collected over fifty thousand Euros, and yet that was the sum we were not even sure to get in a month! This money was sent to us by around two thousand individuals, underlining that something is at work here that stresses not just the popularity of the LibreOffice project itself but that people, individuals, are realizing that they too can make things happen for themselves and by themselves. What just happened shall also remind us, the founders of the Document Foundation that whatever sponsors we will work with in the future, whether they are corporations or public institutions, this has been made possible by regular people, individuals from all walks of life who felt it was not just about designing a great product but it was much more about taking their freedom back to them.

For this, we are and will be ever grateful to you, anonymous or less anonymous donours who are making the Document Foundation a reality together with us. The challenge is not over though. As explained here in detail by Florian, the money we collected is enough to incorporate; the capitall money shall be secured and we won’t legally be able to spend it, as that’s how foundations  in Roman-Germanic legal systems work. Which means we still need the money to operate, and that’s what we’re trying to raise for the remaining days of the fundraising period. This money will be spent in infrastructure costs, trademark and legal fees, promotional material, etc. All this does cost quite a lot to run and we hope we can now reach another fifty thousand Euros until the end of March to secure operating costs. In any case, we will owe it to you again.

Perhaps even more incredibly, we were not just busy at raising funds all this time. Not only did we release LibreOffice 3.3.1 and its brand new icons, we are also busy deploying our community processes. For instance we are almost done completing our trademark policy as well as offering a general, third party purpose logo with practical guidelines. We are also in the process of deploying a full set of automated testing tools for our QA teams, as to make it possible to everyone to help improve the quality of our software. Yes, you read well, everyone. Because LibreOffice is a software that is made by the people, for the people, an old principle that is coming back in force quickly these days and a principle the Document Foundation has been based on from day one. Stay tuned this week, we have even more announcements coming up!

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