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From Donald Harbison <dpharbi...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: About Team OpenOffice.org
Date Tue, 20 Dec 2011 18:39:14 GMT
Götz,

Thank you very much for this information. We wish we had heard from you
much sooner.

Some additional comments and questions inline.

2011/12/20 Götz Wohlberg <goetz.wohlberg@googlemail.com>

> Hi all,
>
> May I introduce myself? My name is Goetz Wohlberg and I spent the last 16+
> years working on OpenOffice.org and it's commercial derivatives like
> StarOffice or Oracle Open Office. At the moment I'm helping Martin and
> Stefan from Team OpenOffice.org e.V. to setup a team with full-time
> developers to join the Apache

penOffice podling. My focus is to create value for customers and to build a
> successful commercial business.
>
>  Pleased to meet you.

I have not read all of the posting here and I'm not a native English
> speaker. So I might have missed some topics or discussions. But my
> impression is that there is a major disconnect between the ASF and Team
> OpenOffice.org. I guess it's time to be more direct and blunt about our
> situation. Please let me try to explain what our ideas are with Team
> OpenOffice.org, what we did, what we learned and what our next steps are.
>
> First off, we are not evil! We don't want to mislead consumers (although I
> admit we did)! We are not collecting donations for our own coffers! We
> don't have a business model that is just based on donations! What we plan
> to do can be summarized in the following three goals:
>
> 1. We want to help existing Oracle customers that they continue to use
>   OpenOffice.org
>
Great!


> 2. We want to make money with support and service for OpenOffice.org
>   and Apache OpenOffice
>
Go for it!


> 3. We want to be able to sponsor developers working full-time on
>   OpenOffice.org and save as much developer know-how as possible from
>   the primary contributor Sun/Oracle
>
Do you mean full-time on Apache OpenOffice?

>
>
> To 1:
> I'm in contact with a number of customers and I can assure you, that they
> are desperately looking for a sign of life and new releases for
> OpenOffice.org.

Would you like to help us communicate directly to these customers from the
Apache OpenOffice project team as well?

> Keep in mind that we released products every 3 month. Customers haven't
> seen an OOo release since nearly a year now. I understand that AOO 3.4 is
> in preparation and on the horizon, but how reliable is this? The ASF does
> not have a track record yet for AOO. Customers and consumers are also
> asking for support for their current version -- and this is OpenOffice.org
> 3.3.0 and earlier. That's the reason why we strongly believe, AOO 3.4 is
> important, but OOo 3.3.1 is also important. We think that a maintenance
> releases for OOo 3.3.0 can help to create trust in the project and help
> customers to wait for AOO 3.4.
>

We encourage you to follow our progress on AOO 3.4 and beyond. You may be
surprised to see how things are coming along.

>
> To 2:
> Important part of our business model is to sell support and service
> contracts to OpenOffice.org and -- in the future -- Apache OpenOffice
> customers. With the withdrawal of the main sponsor Oracle there are not
> many companies on this planet doing so. We believe that this is quite a
> cool unique selling point (USP). Unfortunately decision-making in the
> Enterprise about OOo support contracts normally takes around 6 to 9 month.
> We don't have that reach. So we need to close this gap until we see service
> revenue coming in.
>
> To 3:
> Here is a quote from a kind user who is trying to help us to make our
> case. I think this is a pretty good explanation of our situation: "Oracle
> used to pay our salaries to work on OpenOffice,org, but since Oracle turned
> OpenOffice.org over to the Apache Foundation, it no longer pays us. We were
> primary contributors to OpenOffice.org, we love it, and we want to be able
> to work on it full-time. Unless a large company or government hires us to
> do this (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), we are trying to support ourselves via
> donations -- until we are ready to sell service contracts. Donations to the
> Apache Foundation, while a nice thing to do, can not be used for this
> purpose, so you will need to donate to Team OpenOffice.org as a separate
> entity."
>
> And collecting donations is something -- as you know -- Team
> OpenOffice.org always did!


Yes, but in the past the donations were disbursed for a different purpose,
AFAIK; e.g. support to individuals to travel and attend OpenOffice.org
conferences, education, etc., but not salaries for development purposes.


> Donations are very important for us in this phase to close the gap until
> we see service revenue coming in. And there are also very successful
> companies like the Wikimedia Foundation that are based on donations.
> Therefore I authorized the donation campaign "Save OpenOffice.org" - and I
> want to apologize for that! It was a mistake because I didn't realize that
> at the same time this implies that OpenOffice.org is not doing well at the
> ASF. Believe me or not, it was not my intend to bring discredit upon the
> Apache OpenOffice project.
>
OK, let's move on. We have too much work to do than worry about this.

>
> What are our next steps though? We are of course accepting the ASF
> ownership of the OpenOffice.org trademark. As we worked since 2003 smoothly
> together with Sun and Oracle, we were surprised to see that non-commercial
> Apache is seeing us as a troublemaker. Btw, Team OpenOffice.org is also
> non-commercial.
>
> We will not stop asking for donations to sponsor developers! Please take
> your time to understand what we are asking for. We are asking for money to
> help developing OOo! We are not asking to donate for the ASF or OOo! If our
> communication on this topic is not clear enough, we'll fix it! Do you see
> the difference? Again, we want full-time developers working on the project
> and contributing their work to the Apache OpenOffice podling -- something
> the ASF can't do! How bad is this? Without full-time developers our
> business model won't fly.
>
So long as your campaign for fund raising does not mislead donors through a
misappropriation of the OpenOffice.org trademark there is no problem here.

>
> We will not stop telling the world that we were the primary contributors
> and inventors of OpenOffice.org.


Yes, but there are other primary contributors working for SuSE. Canonical,
Red Hat, and IBM, so you have good company.


> The development team in Hamburg created it -- with the help of the
> OpenOffice.org community -- and is happy to continue developing it. I don't
> think that this is confusing users. It's the truth. The ASF should use this
> as a weapon not as a threat. We will also defend ourselves against
> malicious gossip or suspicion -- same like the ASF does. So please stop the
> own-coffers-thing.
>

Perhaps you might consider creating something like a  'Hamburg Hanse
Association of OpenOffice Developers' to bring your 'primary contributor
team members. I don't know if this makes sense, but it may be useful to
represent the talent base accordingly to everyone's user communities
whether or not they are consuming LibreOffice, OpenOffice.org 3.x or Apache
OpenOffice....just a thought.

>
> As service and support is part of our business model, we are listening to
> OpenOffice.org Enterprise users and customers. They asked us for a
> maintenance release for OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 due to the security issues --
> and we will deliver! This release will carry a name that does not conflict
> with the OpenOffice.org trademark. Using another name is clearly not the
> best solution for all of us: users and customers, the ASF and Team
> OpenOffice.org. This should be motivation enough to work on a better
> solution.
>
> Just one more paragraph with my personal thoughts: We recognized our
> mistakes! Reason for the mistake was to get donations to hire full-time
> developers. We are also working hard on other ideas to get funding but we
> are not there yet! We want to be a committer to the Apache OpenOffice
> podling and we basically share the same goals.

Great! Jump right in. Martin and Stefan joined as Initial Committers. We
are hoping they begin to become more active in the community here. You are
also most welcome to help out on the marketing side. I think that would be
win-win for you and your goals with Team OpenOffice.org.

We inserted a very prominent link to the ASF on our website (see the box
> "Home of the Development Project" on teamopenoffice.org). I hope that
> this email does not have a negative impact on our chance to establish a
> cooperative relationship between Team OpenOffice.org and the Apache
> OpenOffice project. Does it? We are not evil!
>

This is a very constructive email. Thank you very much.

>
> Thanks,
> Goetz
>
>
>
>
>

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