The financial crisis people started to notice around 2008 is not just financial. It goes deeper than what we usually want to admit. It is about a fundamental shift in our civilization’s balance of power, our survival plans, our values and our way of life. I regret to say that anything like 9/11 pales in comparison of what we have been experiencing since 3 years or so. Just like the metaphor used by Geog Zoche in his excellent book “the clash of currencies”, we tend to think the initial shock is pretty much all what has made the crisis while we are witnessing the long agony and fall of the twin towers of our civilization and our economy. Let’s leave the not so interesting gesticulations that took place this past week in Brussels and the Chinese buyout of Europe (never forget, the European Commission has always acted has the de facto Chinese Chamber of Commerce) aside and fast forward on the Occupy Wall Street Movement that has spread thoughout the US and originated in a distributed fashion from the Middle East and Europe. This movement is the symptom of something powerful, of the need for profound and radical change. It is also the place to mix several ideas, concepts, technologies and models that liberate people. I recently read articles on whether this movement was open source or not (and the articles tended to agree with the “open source nature” of the movement), but even more interestingly such movements do claim and advocate Open Source models and approach for many, even non software related matters.
Fast forward to the LibreOffice Conference in Paris. On the evening of the 14th we thought we would set up some beer and music party in a hacklab and we contacted the LOOP in Paris. While they had to migrate from one location to another we ended up in an alternative cultural space shared by hackers but also completely different people as well. What was really interesting to watch was the general blending of these populations. In the end, it should remind us that even the coming of the Document Foundation was and is at the same time the answer to the decay of a free software project struggling under the iron fist of an irresponsible and greedy corporation (Oracle) and the perfect example of a community deciding what’s good for itself, having reached a point where “enough is enough”.
The LibreOffice Project is thus more than a free software project developing an office suite. It has started a bit before the events in Tunisia, but roughly at the same time the Iranian revolts were taking place (and they’re still going on by the way). It is about freedom and the individual power to refuse the will and the agenda of a large corporation. It is about realizing that something had been failing in our community and that it was time to fix it.
The Document Foundation was started because of that; and just like the people on the streets of the world, it was prepared somewhat in a stealth mode at first, otherwise it would have failed. Now things have become quite different, and we just celebrated our first year as a project and as a free community where everyone can fit in and contribute meaningfully to the greater good. The numbers speak for themselves, and the OpenOffice.org community has chosen to go for LibreOffice, not just as a product but as model, as a set of values and as a refusal to compromise one’s freedom to corporate agendas. Our manifesto highlights the goals and the values of the LibreOffice community and why the Document Foundation has been created and set up.
Yet we are not one fork among others. We are the next chapter of the next decade. We are LibreOffice, we are the Document Foundation. We are the people of OpenOffice.org . We are no puppets and no useful idiots. We bow to no one. We are here to fulfill the destiny of this great project: to create instruments of freedom and tools for knowledge. We are “OOO”, we “Occupy OpenOffice” we stand for freedom, community, excellence and collaboration.
We are the 99%. Expect us.