Around the turn of the year, starting in fact in November 2013, the Document Foundation had its second election for its board of directors. While this election went well it was not overly advertised either in the press, the blogosphere and even by the Document Foundation itself. It was however a significant moment in several ways.
The board of directors of the Document Foundation is a very important body and central point of our governance. Yet you may not see it in action everyday, which I tend to believe is a good thing. Basically, the board of directors is made of elected members of the Document Foundation, the actual entity behind the LibreOffice project, and these board members are in charge, at least formally, of important decisions and of the protection of the LibreOffice project and its assets. As such it puts an important responsibility not just on the board collectively but on each director as well.
These directors are members of the Document Foundation, and are elected by the members of the Document Foundation themselves. You can see here how you can become a member of the foundation on this page. The duties of the directors are explained in this rather boring, yet fundamental document that is our statutes.
It may be worth pointing out that several directors and founders of the LibreOffice project and the Document Foundation did not run for a second term. The reasons tend to vary among each of them, but one of them was that as we receive funding to work on specific tasks on behalf of the Document Foundation, it is important we separate the execution from the decision level and prevent any conflict of interest. Another reason is that, at least from my perspective, it’s time for the “Founders” to let the ship’s command and steering wheels to our most active and talented contributors. The Document Foundation is after all not a personal appreciation society, and renewing our directors, even partially must be taken as a good choice and as a sign of confidence and healthy project. Because of this, this election was not just the only second election ever since the formal incorporation of the foundation (after the glorious time of the “Steering Committee”), it is also the first time where the founders start to withdraw and let the project run itself, so to speak.
Of course the day I wasn’t a director anymore, I felt a bit odd and was unsure about my feelings. But I must say that I’m truly happy to be helping the project in my capacity today, and I’m just as happy and proud to see this new board elected. They’re all bright and great people, and I’m confident they’ll continue to grow and improve our project and Software Freedom on a global basis. Me? Whatever I’ll do, wherever I’ll go, I’ll always carry LibreOffice and the Document Foundation in me. There are badges that don’t go away, but it’s so much better when you’re proud of them.
Happy New Year everyone!
PS: a big thanks to the other important body of the Foundation, the Membership Committee for its tremendous work during the election!