This is my (in)activity log. You might like to visit
Productivity a subsidiary of Collabora focusing on LibreOffice support and
services for whom I work.
Also if you have the time to read this sort of stuff you could enlighten
yourself by going to Unraveling Wittgenstein's net or if
you are feeling objectionable perhaps here.
Failing that, there are all manner of interesting things to read on
the LibreOffice Planet news
Stuff Michael Meeks is doing
Somewhat better, out to collect H. from her sleepover - some
feinting / sickness grimness, took her & a couple of friends home.
Started on the heap of blocked E-mail.
Long re-estimation call with Kendy, dinner with babes, up late
working on reports & customer timelines.
Wipe-out of a day; feverish, in-bed, truly unwell.
Futurama interspersed with sleep. N. getting better, E. sick
in the night; J. holding up.
N. sick in the night; packed, bid a fond farewell &
set off home early. Snacked on the way, home, unpacked a bit,
watched Intolerable Cruelty (not a horror movie). H. to
the organ, N. to bed. Caught up with Julie.
Up earlyish, out to Sandra's for a swim together - lazed
around groggily, and read Hyperion's Fall. Played Family
Row (a category game) to much hilarity; up late talking with
R&T and playing with the Quest.
Slugged variously, other half of present opening, walked
down to the river via the park with the younger bits of the family
and back again. Games in the evening. Made more rocky road with J.
Quick breakfast, packed, drove home - un-packed
assembled some larger presents, re-packed the car, and
set off for York. Prodded at the task backlog in the car.
Arrived, lovely to see S&L, T&B, and the
parents as well as John C. Dinner, R&A&E arrived
later - 16 in the house, rather snug.
Christmas day - a joyful time; babes even larger
ones un-packing stockings in the bedroom early: with even
one for us. Breakfast, out to St Peter & St Pauls for
a packed service with carols & communion.
Back for a lovely roast turkey lunch, opened
presents with the family happily; played games. Watched
Now You See Me together before bed.
Mail chew; more staff calls. Out for some shopping
into town, back for lunch.
Posted our annual:
& summary of 2019 - to try to thank so many who
have worked with us this year.
Out for a walk, back, babes watched Frozen with J.
Calls with staff, annual review write-ups, a
few calls & more work in the car on the way to B&A's
arrived; worked through the afternoon, lots of great work
done by the team through the year.
All Saints service in the morning - Fraser taught,
back home for lunch, and out for a walk with the babes. N.
ill. Slugged, tea, out to the (packed) Carol Service in
the evening, lovely. Bed late.
More debugging work, fixing; annual review
planing & finalization.
J's family over for a present-exchange, J. made
a lovely spread for us all.
Sync call with Tracie.
More debugging work, fixing; annual review
planing & finalization; re-spun builds.
J's family over for a present-exchange, J. made
a lovely spread for us all.
Sync call with Tracie, calls with staff.
Out for Men of Faith Christmas Dinner in the evening:
More fixing, build testing & improvement &
write-up until the afternoon. Snatched some sleep. Back for
more planning & mending. Band practice in the evening.
Out for a run with J. and E. TDC call.
Plugged away at testing & bug fixing all day,
and late into the night with much of the team. At some
stage it turned into tomorrow.
Admin catch-up; monthly mgmt meeting. Hospital
visit. Late partner call.
Bug review, admin, co-ordination, hacking, slideware bits.
More bug chasing.
All Saints, played in the band; caught up with many lovely
people, home for a fine pizza lunch. Out for a walk with the family
at Brandon - fun. Back, for some slugging & movie action.
Out for a run with J. picked up M. and posted cards.
Started digging through tax returns & paperwork, did
some queued admin. Replaced my keyboard: after months of
chasing a S/W error - seems it could well have been a H/W
Bit of hacking, mail chew - fixed a nasty bug caused by
upgrading 'vex' - the combination of a radically mis-designed
complex behaviours creates a radioactive swamp where lets just
upgrade that piece creates actute knock-on pain.
Mail chew. Really thrilled to see Kohei' work to significantly
performance (the Multi Dimensional
Data Structures we use at the core of Calc for many things).
Happened to be reading through Carson on Tolerance
this morning, and got to this bit: "Democracy remains the best way of making
government more or less accountable. Nevertheless ... Democracies can believe
falsehoods and do cruel and wicked things.". He argues cogently that having
a higher authority, a self-standing ethical yard-stick, capable of questioning and
challenging the state is fundamental to human freedom, though highly unwelcome
to totalitarians of course. Interestingly one of the goals of TDF's board election
processes is assuring that a diversity of views is represented, and that it is
hard to exclude voices people may not want to hear.
Marketing call. Calls with Kendy, Cor, MikeK, Thorsten.
Admin, bug triage & testing. Customer call, worked late on text.
Somewhere morning arrived; fixed a floating window crasher,
and unwound a convert-to bug: trying to save-as before being fully
loaded. Slept for a couple of hours, report writing sync with Javier.
Back to review code changes, beat back the admin. Thomas came
over for some more interview training.
Mail, took H. to the Dentist for a 1st filling. Fixed a URL
encoding issue on Android. Plugged away at a nasty Android crash;
it seems important to detach the VM from threads cleanly - shame the
OS can't handle that for you.
Out to Ely Cathedral to play in the Orchestra for the
Soham Carol Concern, lovely as always. Chased various crashers
and regressions, worked overnight.
More team calls, continued Online bug fixing.
Discovered our SSL / EAGAIN handling didn't exist - added that -
the async SSL/BIO interface is not that simple to use.
Really pleased to
see a huge amount of hard work, and late nights pay off around our
Collabora Office for Android - which is looking rather georgeous, with
particular thanks to Kendy, Szymon, Tor & Kaishu (as well as many others -
see the credits) for doing battle there:
Up late, polishing and fixing this & that.
Meetings, mail chew, got other people's selections updating
on zoom in calc properly with the right co-ordinate system. Improved
pre-fetching to not fetch the whole spreadsheet over time.
All Saints, band, ~100 people for the church Christmas Dinner.
Back for Organ practice with H. later, slugged variously.
Got a bit of work in, David over for a walk and a
fine late lunch.
Early call with Kendy & Andras merged into S&M call, chat
with Grzegorz & Miklos. Lunch with G'ma, TDF board call, remembered to
vote in the BoD election - good to have lots of applicants.
Worked at bugs, write-ups, calls with Javier, ESC call. Gave an
internal Tea-Time-Training encouraging people to use a structured approach
to their large solving
their large engineering problems. Worked late writing missing documentation.
Lots of testing, bug-fixing, chased an horrific memory leak in
Online at great length with no success:
mtrace doesn't like
suid binaries, and seems to produce rather unhelpful output - valgrind
ran foul of timeouts, fork-bombed the machine in slow-motion, memprof
seems to not cope with the volume of allocation; hey ho. Aron & Kendy
bisected & fixed my idiot non-freeing of a cairo context in the end.
C'bra Xmas bash - escape room & dinner together in
Team meeting, more chasing the need to send different positions
to different spreadsheet views.
H's train cancelled, drove her & friends to Cambridge.
Plugged away at calc zoom bug-fixing for Online.
All Saints with G'ma. Christingle service for the Children's Society.
Home, fine roast lunch, slugged in a lethargically ill fashion with the family.
Grim cold, grogginess. Plugged away at a 100% CPU burn in the online
sidebar code - some bogus de-activation when switching views. Fixed a missing
component related crash. Applied slugging.
Customer calls, Sales & Marketing call. Bought a new K/B
in frustration, although inevitably it will be a kernel problem.
Collected H. from the station & babes played a
lovely quartet and some duets at a Dementia Choir concert in Reach.
Mail chew, partner call, booked Univention Summit travel.
M&D came over as a way-point on the way to see John C.
Monthly all-hands call, booked FOSDEM travel, submitted candidacy
for the next TDF board. Fixed nasty calc copy/paste bug. Band practice.
Mail, buiding, coding, TDC call. Plugged away at some bugs.
Monthly mgmt meeting.
Sync call with Aron, Kendy, Javier; poked at financials,
poked at patch merging, testing, merged a nice online patch from
1&1 to add a REST monitoring API.
Bit of quartet editing & re-arrangement in Musescore - which is a great tool.
All Saints, Simon & Norma back for lunch; played with the
babes, quartet bits, ferried kids around the place.
Out for a run with J. Put up some Ikea storage units,
Mentalistsed, bit of hacking & mail.
Mail chew; admin, calls, some patch review & merging.
J.N.M.E. out to Ikea for a shopping binge.
Mail chew, debugging, moved flights, demo preparation. Presented
to the team, lots of positive feedback. More code cleanup, train, flight,
drive home - lovely to see the family again.
Plugged away at proof, patch review, and locking investigation. With
a WOPI implementation, it is a little suprising to see 'unlock' do the actual
checkin, and not the PutFile; hey ho.
Out to visit Cor & Gerlinde in the evening at their lovely new
home & enjoy some Vegan food.
Wrestled VMs, authentication, firewalls & so on to get some
code building & the first interesting integration errors to arrive.
beautiful (in comparison) - curious.
Curious at the idea of research aroud empathy
being weaponized to polarize and de-rationalize arguments; some people won't
Perhaps ironic that a leading envionmental & children's advocate of
the moment is an Autist - an interesting world.
Up unfeasibly early, drove to Stansted, flight to Amsterdam, trains
to Apeldoorn, customer visit. Met the team, got hardware setup rather slowly.
All Saints in the morning; lunch, slugged & did some quartet
practice & planning for Demetia Concert coming soon. Out for a lovely
tea & watching American Football with Laura & Tyler.
Off to Sue & Clive's for some fine food, a wander across scenic
but muddy fields in the evening, a nice fire, fireworks and fun with the
cousins. Drove back late.
Mail, sales & marketing call, partner call, customer call.
Tried to upgrade my BIOS: already updated, followed the helpful
instructions from Benjmain Tissoires - as far as I could on debugging input problems;
evemu-record suggests the kernel is missing events - hmm. Poked at hid tools
JS protocol debugging too.
Customer call. Increasingly frustrated by missing keyboard modifier
events - modifiers randomly not working, keys randomly not showing up.
Patch review, ESC call, sync with Eloy.
Poked at calc row/height sizing with retina displays at some length,
eventually found the requisite scale factor & made things wonderful.
Started a document on pixel vs. twip sizing and rendering in calc.
Mail chew. Sync with Andras, Javier, poked customers.
Tech mgmt call, poked at gtktileviewer at some length.
Pleased to see Lubos' nice work on clang
Calls with Javier - various setup bits, sync with Kendy. Some truck
load of admin, partner call.
Rememberance Sunday - played bass & violin at Church.
Back for a pizza lunch, N. baby-sat S & B, while I&
C had a break. Played with babes a bit. H. arrived with friends,
M. had A. over - house full of fun smaller people - lots of fun.
Tea, dinner, bed.
Up late, out for a run with J,H,N, lunch. Watched The
Mentalist a fair bit. Out for a romantic walk with J. before
picking up M & E. Home, pulled pork dinner, more slugging
Mail, Sales & Marketing call, sync with Cor, Pedro, lunch.
More mail, catchup with Aron, customer call. Took babes over to GenR8
discipleship training event. Out to Men of Faith, prayer, candle
replacement for a church-full of hanging lights; curry afterwards,
and some drinks until late.
Chased down a silly bug, valgrinded CODE at the same time
and encouraged to see nothing bad appearing, all that fuzzing, linting
and Asan work paying off. ESC call, sync with Philippe, Antonio.
Mail, testing, interview, testing, code reading, sync with the team,
catch up with Philippe.
Ferried M. to ballet, read E's story (onto Dressing Station),
Music group practice at church, back. Testing, writing up errata, and a
report until rather late.
Mail, TDC call, 1:1's, tech call, up rather late working on
Calc & Online - got the pixel-rounding horrors under control for
the most part. Worked late.
Mail, sync with Kendy, planning.
Youth service, babes did well, Matthew spoke enouragingly.
Played (Becky's) guitar, stayed for shared lunch afterwards.
Home, finished Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
as a family, played bananagrams, relaxed variously.
Out for a run, down to open-church for a bit; lunch.
Quick Interview, mail chew, poked at horrible JS bug with Vex
for some considerable time.
Tried disabling power management to get K/B modifiers
working reliably, still no joy - bother.
Mail chew; code reading, made some reasonable progress with calc
multi-zoom tiled rendering, switched desktop shell to see if that could
fix the horrific modifier loss that suddenly plagues me; Alt & Ctrl
are highly intermittent, for no obvious reason. Played with GNOME shell,
with workspace-grid & impatience installed - feeling better. Keyboard
issues still there - X or kernel (?)
Call with MikeK, calc renderiing code reading, ESC call,
call with Marco, Felipe, mail & more code review.
Encouraged to see the Nodepad++
release. Obviously it is uncomfortable for rulers to have another authority
capable of questioning the authority of the state.
Mail; testing, code reading and more patch merging.
Sales & Marketing call, back to calc tile rendering oddities.
All-Saints band-practice; pleased to see Barak Obama's
"People who do really good stuff have flaws" commentary on our
and ambiguous world. Personally I have the flaws, but sadly they
don't guarentee doing the really good stuff. I'd also love all
(particuarly old) media outlets to have a cultural shift to
systematically provide a: "see this clip in its full context"
Mail, admin, tech mgmt call; more patch merging action,
up late on a client proposal.
Mail chew, poked at code - somewhat alarmed to discover the
wavey-red-lines under mis-spelled words being rendered with drawPixel
and each pixel working some amazingly expensive system-dependent
polygon caching mechanism noticably slowly; not great, fixed it.
Added some tile cache size management code to master online -
probably a good idea now its not on-disk. Some client proposal writing.
Up late, played at All Saints, Zoe spoke; back for a fine roast
lunch. Out to Cedric's East Anglian Air Ambulance fund-raising concert
at All Saints - H. played the organ; somewhat alarmed by the church mouse.
Out for a run with J. poked mail in the morning. David over
for lunch. Off to Oundel to see Major A Mansergh, and his lovely
family - its been too long. H. enjoyed playing the organ, while we
toured in the rain & enjoyed the company & tea. Home late.
Mail chew, fixed timezone issue in Online - to use localtime properly.
Lunch, Board call, customer call, patch review & merging.
Mail, lots of admin, chewed back through the mailbox to
some depth; monthly all-hands call.
Mail, TDC call, drove home, customer call, admin until late.
Lots of admin, tech mgmt call & minutes.
Sync with Szymon, started up the mail backlog cliff, wow.
Network somewhat flaky. Suffering from lost key-events (mostly
modifiers) somehow, most annoying.
Poked at calc rendering, got some nice unwanted deltas
out of adjacent tiles and diffed them - spot the jumping pixels.
Up late, off to Jennyfields Evangelical Church; good
Gospel presentation; home for lunch - out for a walk with M.
and J. slugged variously, bed.
Interesting sessions in the morning; flight to LHR.
Worked on the trains home variously. Picked up by J. in
Knaesborough - back to M&D's, H. and N. arrived back
late from dancing with D.
Checked out, moved hotel, met up with Florian & Thorsten
nearby. Caught up with people, an interesting tour of a local castle:
Nymphenburg, though more a palace than a castle. Back, had a drink
with Thorsten, dinner with a Ceph chap, wandered, bed.
Breakfast, some more 'byes. Taxi to Nice; flight
to Munich and the GSOC Mentor summit. Interesting Taxi ride
with Philippe from nexB, checked into the nearby hotel and
spent an evening enjoying the company of lots of mentors
and others. Among many others, really lovely to see
Up; another lovely buffet meal, and to the hub to
run a booth - demoing Collabora Office and/or Online to
passing Collaborans with updates on progress.
Enjoyed a little windlands and admired the great
work getting so many Steam games running under Linux with
the latest Vive, as well as great OpenHMD/Monado bits.
Relaxed & talked to tons of great devs and mgmt.
Team photo in a packed cinema, secured a solid bottom place
in the Tux carting championship; lots of fun.
Good intro talk from Philippe; split off for
annual CP management meetings - lots of intense day-long
discussion and update goodness.
Early taxi at 4:15, met with Carolyn & Matt to
Stansted, good to meet more Collaboran's there. Flight to
Bus trip to Opio, met up with lots more fun C'brans.
Slept a little, caught up with the productivity arrivers.
All Saints, band. Laura & Matthew back for lunch,
caught up with them. Got minetest setup for M. watched a silly
movie with them, while J. took H. to practice the organ. Packed
Tidied the house, bit of patch merging, helped E. and M.
with their maths. Bruce & Anne around for a fine Italian
lunch, caught up with them through the afternoon.
More maths with M. some python homework with N. Took H.
to Elis' for a sleep-over , back - bid 'bye to
neighbours Nigel & Sue migating to France to avoid Brexit.
Mail chew, sync with Florian & Thorsten, project planning,
calls with Kendy, Szymon, Aron & Muhammet. Cleaned up a calc column
limit patch, and pushed some others. Worked late merging code.
Mail chew, projections, planning, patch porting; performance win
for idle JSON conversion of sidebars.
Intensely frustrated to (minor) update openSUSE 15.1, and
discover it jumped thunderbird from 60.8 to 68, breaking all of the
extensions needed to be productive - (eg. making it possible to move
E-mail between folders without getting RSI from mouse-use), horrible;
downgraded with trepidation.
TDF is making good progress on a carbon policy, but I was curious
as to how writing more efficient software might help here. Crunching some numbers
with a 50/50 desktop/laptop mix and a 65% increase from CPU use gives
~10^-5 kg of CO2 per CPU second you're not idle. Multiplying that by the
number of LibreOffice users 2x10^8 (pace Sir David MacKay) to get a big
number, that's around 2 tons of CO2 saved for every second of CPU busy
time that we can save our user-base; go optimizers!
Testing, project planning, etc. Got the Oculus Quest update
making it possible to play 'go' games, very impressed with Daedalus'
flying thing. Band practice at church, worked late.
Mobile UX improvements and tweaking for Online; calls with the
team variously; lots of fun.
Mail chew, couple of team calls, admin. Misc. debugging,
and re-factoring. PCC meeting in the evening, and collected minutes.
All Saints in the morning, good to catch up with people.
Back to see M&D passing through for lunch, David over later,
caught up, played bananagrams. Read to M. and had a Mentalist at
before bed with N. and H.
Out for a run early, mail pokeage; took H. for a (nominally)
annual trip with Dad: into London - lunch on HMS Belfast followed by
a tour of the ship; on to see the Mousetrap together, a nice dinner
& train home, lovely.
Code fixing, patch review & merging, partner call.
Mail; JS input related patch merging action, testing.
Wrote up notes, more patch merging.
Mail chew; took H. to practice Organ, worked in the
Church, home for some hacking on unit tests. Finally got the
core side of new input support implemented, and pushed. All
Saints band practice in the evening.
Mail chew; morning interview with Cor, lunch, Julie returned.
Tech mgmt call, sync with Tamas, then Grzegorz. Up late writing draft
Worked through E-mail, tried to debug some UI tests for a chunk of
the day eventually with some success. Chat with Mert, and some partners.
All Saints - traditional organ + singing service. New Church members
BBQ at Jan's, good to talk with lots of people. Pottered home in the afternoon,
relaxed and played Bananagrams with J & H, and caught up with Julie. Met her
sister Kate in the evening.
Out for a run, tidied the house, mail chew, patch merging, etc.
Put up cabinet for J. quietly while she was out; noticed it
rather quickly. Various overlapping calls through the day; development update
report for partners.
Legal bits, reviewed Tracie's hard work on the FY2018 accounts,
mail & tasks, more patch porting & testing.
Plugged away at patch merging, and CI bits. Team all-hands.
Mail chew, more patch review and merging, pushed pieces to CI.
Sync with Andras, slideware, pipeline bits for mgmt meeting. Julie
came to stay, did homework with H. and N. for a bit. Late partner call.
To work, more planning, prioritization, synched with the
team variously, freeing up people to work on mobile goodness.
Cross ported a chunk of patches HiDPI / image bits between branches.
Drove to Kennilworth for E's Christening; on the local Methodist
Church; service, and back to R&A's for a fine celebration with lots
of their friends & our relatives. Lots of interesting conversations
and good food. Drove home, babes watched Insurgent in the car.
Up earlyish as M. left for Acro; breakfast - enjoyed a good
chunk of time helping the four girls with their Maths, Physics, Chemistry,
and some Art & History thrown-in, lovely.
Some mail chew to get on top of things. Watched 'Divergent'
with the babes in the evening - strong, brave female lead, but violent.
Up early to see the delightful wife & babes, a joyful
time, so much to be listened to & encouraged, it's just not
the same being away. Encouaging to see the pseudo-code and flow
diagrams that N is writing.
Need to share Kendy's recommended sight
reading video with the string-playing babes. Dug out a truck
load of expense receipts, including a concertina of dozens of
Estimation, project planning, team call with Andras,
ownCloud conference, met another set of interesting
people and caught up with the new OCIS, Phoenix developers.
A burger, and visited the party to
bid 'bye to people. Flight home, taxi, arrived very late,
More work on slides in the morning, headed back
to the conference.
Out for a very pleasant dinner with Jorg, Tobias &
some other partners. Up late .
Up earlyish, train to Nurnberg, arrived in Nbg. Headed
to the ownCloud conference, caught up with some customers, Holger,
Thomas and many more. Found my (nice) AirBnB - and to the Brauhaus
in the evening. Back, up late writing slides & drawing pictures.
Up earlyish, train to Nurnberg. Really disappointed to see
- I've seen Richard at a number of conferences, and I'm
personally not a fan of his liberal approach to intimacy. I
might be inclined to warn women of the risk of being
propositioned by him in advance (arguably his door-plate is
a strong hint). However, I'm aware that attitudes to this
topic ebb & flow in the culture.
- I can only believe that RMS' E-mail defence of Minsky
is based on knowing him personally, his character and ethics,
and preferring to believe he would not knowingly force
himself on an unwilling minor. I would hope that my friends
might defend my character posthumously.
- I fear there is a deeply worrying, 'lynch mob'
mentality about this, where truth is de-emphasized in favour
of outrage, in an attempt to right a wrong.
- That is understandable, given the outrageous nature
of the Epstein allegations, it sounds horrific
from many perspectives.
- indeed - it's pretty horrible to have to
dissect this, the reports are deeply
troubling, but worth engaging with.
- I applaud those members of the police &
judiciary bringing justice to bear, and regret
that Epstein's death robbed many of the chance
to see him answer his accusers & to open
the box, see justice done & learn
valuable lessons from the experience.
- I rejoice to see justice done. Unfortunately
rushing to judgement on RMS's comments seems
unjust to me.
- From the perspective of wanting to try to tell the
truth, I find it troubling to see people I otherwise
respect linking to and promoting articles that they know
mis-characterise what RMS said. I suspect that this is done in
order to stir outage and drive just such a rush to judgment.
- My feeble attempts to understand the sorry facts of the matter
follow. You can read the text shorn of the Verge's misleading commentary
- I guess the core of the most distorted section is this from RMS:
"We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible
scenario is that she presented herself to him [Minsky] as entirely
willing. Assuming she was being coerced by Epstein, he
would have every reason to tell her to conceal that from
most of his associates."
- The description "presented ... as" has a clear, but
slightly unusual meaning - which in context can be explained
as: "it looked like X (to Minsky) when it was really Y". How
you present - is what you seem to be from the outside. That is
perhaps most clear to English speakers.
- So - apparently RMS' argument is that intention is
important and absent perfect knowledge, there could
be different perspectives on the same (reprehensible) act.
- From my perspective - that such intimacy belongs
exclusively to marriage - I'd want to avoid all these
problems with a ceremony, vows before
God, explicit consent from both parties, who know
each other well & are best friends, ideally in
front of a large number of approving and celebrating
witnesses before consumation. Oh, and a giant party to
celebrate the goodness of it all !
- However - it is not a surprise to me that this is a
minority view. I hear there are many 'apps' to
facilitate transient, shallow and commitment free,
superficial couplings of a duration of minutes.
This sort of promiscuous interaction seems unfortunate
and particularly open to the possibility of
mis-interpretation in twisted circumstances.
- So then we come to the reporting:
- Lets start with the misleading
Vice article - linked by Matthew & Niall. The inflated headline is:
"Famed Computer Scientist Richard Stallman Described Epstein Victims
As 'Entirely Willing'" - by Edward Ongweso Jr. The problem is that RMS
did not even describe a single one of Epstein's victims as entirely willing.
Indeed his next sentence says "Assuming she was being coerced".
The nuance of multiple perspectives and ignorance of the situation ie.
"presented as" is elided.
- The misleading Daily Beast "Renowned MIT Scientist Defends Epstein: Victims Were 'Entirely Willing'" - Blake Montgommery seems rather similar but adds a (missing) defence of Epstein.
- The misleading Tech Crunch: "Computer scientist Richard Stallman, who defended Jeffrey Epstein, resigns from MIT CSAIL and the Free Software Foundation" - Catherine Shu - picks up the previous accusation that now appears to bear no relation to the E-mail thread.
- Interestingly, the initial polemical blog - "Remove Richard Stallman" - Selam G. - is more accurate and helpfully contexualized than much of the rest of the media. An encouraging take on direct reporting. Even the text that sounds like the lynch mob's charter: "he didn't even give the typical, whiney, he's accused but not convicted defense." is moderated by the fact that being dead, Minsky can never be tried in a fair process - which is admittedly deeply unsatisfying.
- So as a preliminary conclusion - accusation inflation transparently exists, and is a real concern. I believe this was at the core of RMS' initial point in regard to Minsky.
- In another forum Slashdot reports: "Richard Stallman Challenges 'Misleading' Coverage of His Comments on Marvin Minsky" - EditorDavid.
RMS: The coverage totally
mischaracterised my statements. Headlines say
that I defended Epstein. Nothing could be
further from the truth. I've called him a
"serial rapist", and said he deserved to be
imprisoned. But many people now believe I
defended him -- and other inaccurate claims --
and feel a real hurt because of what they
believe I said.
- Some personal conclusions
- Whether you agree with his principles and ethics or not, RMS is
a principled old man - who seems to have been forced to step down
to avoid damage to the institutions he loved: MIT & FSF.
Please respect his work, and his amazing achievement and legacy.
- Where I agree with mjg59 is that all our (human) heros are
flawed, and wouldn't it be nice not to have figureheads. Where I
disagree is with the reality of PR, and (self-)promotion: such
figures arise from re-inforcement effects anyway, fame breeds
fame, as any D-list celebrity will tell you.
- Beware: the mob is a fickle friend - I fear adding my small
voice in support of RMS. Does doing so make me a rape-apologist-apologist
in the inflated lexicon of our time.
- I had hoped that when the similar stoning of Brendan Eich
occurred - that it was just blameless, conservative Christians
that would be aggressively excluded from the FLOSS community
(cheered on by a similar set). Now it seems that bumbling
hippies are also unwelcome; who is next ?
- It is vital that misbehavior and abuse is caught and corrected,
and that victims are willing to speak out. However, it is also
important that "Work hard and you will do well" continues
to be a foundation of what we do. Aggressive feminism should not
be a necessary pre-requisite for success in our community.
We do owe a duty to those who have put so much in, to give the
benefit of the doubt, and listen carefully to what they are
actually saying even if we disagree.
- It seems an unfortunate thing for some to be criticizing RMS
for making the FSF look bad, while simultaneously spreading the
very unbalanced reports that exacerbate the problem they
complain of. That is not a plea for secrecy - but for fair
- Finally we need a way to retard lynch mobs. Where is the
noble sheriff who stands in front of the slavering pack with a
shotgun and risks his life to make sure that due process is
followed ? What does due process even look like ? What can
organizations do to bring balance and ensure all perspective
are heard ? cooling off periods before accepting a
resignation ? polling their communities ? who can say ?
Perhaps my thoughts make you angry; perhaps you feel that
defending an old man, standing up for his dead colleague is
insensitive to the many victims of Epstein. Perhaps the
larger problems you see are so bad, you just want to see
blood regardless of whose it is; that is understandable.
However, just possibly it is worth reflecting as
to whether you are transferring your righteous anger and
desire for justice in the Epstein case, to attack someone
else for something very different.
Finally, this blog is a hostage to fortune; it is possible
(but unlikely) that RMS is not a harmless sort but a scheming
criminal mastermind. Still, one can only work with the
evidence as it is presented at the time.
Update: 2019-09-18 (late) A postscript: Thomas Bushnell's
reflections seem aposite; and somewhat sensitive; also did an s/outcome/situation/
on my disappointment at the top to be more accurate.
Update: 2019-09-19 Thorsten posted his
take here; I too have to agree that RMS " ... held views
incompatible with broad societal norms & ethics”, as well as
lots of views I dislike. It should also be clear that neither
Thorsten nor I speak for TDF on this topic.
Update: 2019-09-23 - Philip Chimento has posted his perhaps different
with some interesting comments. I think he does an appropriate job of engaging with
the ideas. From the perspective of my serious concerns about process, (rather than
outcome per-se) - I would love a mechanism to be certain that the fall-back other bad
behavior used to post-justify change is also beyond reproach and not open to the
accusation of intentional propagation of inflated and de-contextualized mis-representation.
Since investigating that simply doesn't scale, I'd love to have some impartial,
independent group with a balanced composition, that can actually talk just once to
individuals involved & handle this sensitively & sensibly to free us all from the
problem of building our views on the shaky foundation of internet hearsay.
Update: 2019-09-26 Some people mailed me to suggest that the true
problem is one of protecting and nurturing talented neuro-divergents, others pointed out
that there is no formal, professional diagnosis of that, making this all speculation and
hearsay. Having spent some time with Richard in the past, I know my view but the (non-ranting)
bits of this story might help people make up
their mind, or get more background in this Psychology
Update: 2019-10-02 an interesting
from a die-hard feminist: Richard Stallman Has Been Vilified by
Those Who Don’t Know Him.
Update: 2019-10-10 Interested to see Lubomir
calling out Neil's blog, and leaving comments for (healthy) open discussion. Also
interested to read Andy
Wingo's thoughtful take on RMS' leadership failings.
Update: 2019-10-18 Interesting to read Bradley's
thoughtful resignation post, and to have some informative talks at
the mentor summit on the topic. I' not completely convinced that
leaders have to campaign only on one narrow issue; I'd hope that
those who disagree with me would have the space and support to
speak out about whatever social injustices they see inside and
outside the sphere of software. It's certainly possible to be
right on one topic, and wrong on others.
Off to the Park Inn for the Nextcloud Enterprise Day.
Fun. Finished slides and gave a Enterprisey presentation -
talked to a large number of friends & colleagues. Dinner late.
Something of a lie-in, off to the TU Berlin; nice to
be at the Nextcloud conference and to meet lots of old friends
and colleagues. Finished lightning talk slides over lunch
and gave them to Nina.
Caught up with Frank & Thomas, played VR and
enthused about Monado, got Pizza for the hackfest in, back
to bed rather late.
Up early, bid more 'byes; coach with Tor & Kendy to
Malaga, worked in the airport on estimation & planning, as
well as tile joining.
There is surely some irony embedded in the outrage at
RMS' suggestion that accusation inflation exists and can be damaging.
The escalating gap between what RMS is accused of, and
what (as far as can be told) he actually wrote looks like a great
example of exactly that.
Argument by outrage, with a spirit of vindictive intolerance
seems to be the fashionable bigotry of the day. Luckily I don't
look to RMS for ethical statements on sexuality to try to live by,
but try: this
instead. In general, promiscuity seems ethically troubling, as well
as a meagre subsitute for a healthy marriage filled with love &
mutual respect. However, I'm still rather interested in RMS'
views on software freedom - despite being more persuaded by Gerv's
Cultural Analysis of the Free Software movement.
Lots of conference hallway track conversations.
Fine tour of the beautiful Almeria fortress & dramatized
reading by our team. Tapas & bed late having bid 'bye to
many friends & colleagues. Packed luggage.
To the conference, enjoyed some talks variously,
gave one on web copy/paste - lots of good content.
Pleased to see a DiD survivor being believed (traumatic).
Hackfest in the evening.
Opening keynotes, lunch;
Gave an ecosystem talk:
Caught up with lots of old friends, colleagues & community
members. Let people play with the Oculus Quest, need to
get ALVR setup to show off Monado's goodness.
Rain in Almeria in the afternoon / evening - got
to a fine beach party and had a good time back late, sleep.
Breakfast, bus to a piece of beautiful coastline
nearby with our partners & the Collabora team. Walked
and admired the wind / sea erosion, views, a fort.
Back to the beach for snorkelling, before heading
back for a fine lunch & partner event with the team.
In-person team meeting afterwards - more questions in
Event, drinks & so on until late in
the evening, worked on slides with Kendy until very late,
enjoying intermittent fire(?)-alarms.
Breakfast, Board meeting all day with dinner in the
evening, started badly & got better.
Played at AllSaints in the morning; off to
the train, met Simon on our packed BA flight. Got
a few slides sorted out. Arrived, met friends &
Slugged, played Moss a little, enjoyed time
with the family - bit of work; mended the lawn-mower
(apparently nothing wrong with it), and re-ground the
blades. Worked with J. a bit. Movie with the littlies
in the evening.
Copy/paste slide work; partner bits, calls.
Mail; fixed some unit tests and build errors of Online across a brace
of legacy platforms. Interview, built slides for conference, up late tweaking
Mail chew; PM bits, calls.
Pleased to see the great work from Nextcloud on the COOL plugin
for Nextcloud published with Global
Scale support via federation. Also a number of really nice performance
and other wins
such as Watermarking support from Julius & team.
Up late planning & building documentation.
E. to upper school for the 1st time, very cute in her new uniform.
Everyone else out to meet up with S&C, leaving me to type. Interview.
Good to see Pedro & Cor do a refresh on the LibreOffice
Infographic for this year, looks pretty.
Chewed at meetings, customer call, sync with Dell, Ash, Philippe,
Kendy. Worked late.
Up early, J. into school for training, back into the work routine.
Chewed mail, more admin, meetings.
H. N. and I played at All Saints in the morning. Back for
lunch. Met up with a wedding / magic person who needs some
teen-marketing assistance. Quested with the family - Moss is
just great; bed.
Relaxed somewhat, Quested; some work E-mail triage. David over
for the afternoon, out to Bury to for a walk followed by Toy Story 4,
rather good. Back for dinner, slugged bed.
Admin, calls, some travel preparation. Lovely to see Muhammet's
hard work on Auto
Redaction available in a Collabora Office patch update.
M's birthday - present unwrapping in the morning; everyone out.
Oculus Quest arrived in the afternoon, got it (partially) setup in the
Mail chew, form filling & scanning action; product mgmt bits.
M. to Milton Maize Maze - had a lovely time & a sleep-over.
Mail, planning, tech mgmt call, planning, admin, sync
with Philippe. Miriam's B'day party & sleepover in the
Up early; mail chew, poked at plans. Worked in the
car on the way to Aldeburgh. Nice to see B&A for lunch.
Plugged away at mail, planning etc. got most of the mail queue
fully triaged on the way back home.
Woken by concerned babes just before Church, rapid
dressing / getting there action. Fine service, Laura & Tyler
back for pizza lunch, badmington & games in the garden,
Watched Inception with the babes, J. out to see David, bed.
Mail chew, catch-up. Set too buying kit to paint sewer
manhole cover, lifted, scoured, hammerite'd etc. with J.
Finally irritated enough by the co-operative bank to move my
account elsewhere: clearly no longer an ethical bank. The
Salvation Army bank looks interesting.
Lunch; into town to get a sim-card for E's 1st phone
(she protested that she doesn't want a mobile much of the way
- sensible girl). Stocked up on food & drink too.
Elize, Charlotte & lots of family over for a nice
BBQ / salad dinner, sat & chatted a lot until late.
J. out, woke teens up earlyish; mail chew. Lunch together.
More work, customer & partner call, dinner; still sleeping
Suzannah kindly picked us up; good to catch up with her, did
some plastic display case folding & packing for her as a team.
Drove home - good to be back. Bed early, try to reset the jet-lag.
Sync with Andras & Cor, mail. Cheesecake factory
for lunch, home with the babes to work again. Worked the
afternoon away, light tea.
T. home, packed, played some music together; bid a
fond farewell, such a lovely stay; airport, dropped hire car,
cramped sleep on the plane.
Mail chew, calls, booked GSOC mentor summit flights.
Off to work in Westford with Tom, saw his new office,
and met some of the team, kindly dropped me at RedHat to meet
Christian. Had a very pleasant lunch & caught up with the
state of the world and the Linux Desktop very happily.
Drove back with T. rapid dinner, Baseball match at
Lowell with the family, fun enough, but mocking the opposition
on giant screens when they loose is certainly not cricket.
Up early, HighRock in the morning, drove to B's parents
in the evening. Lovely food, good to meet the extended family.
Admired the ponies, farm, gravel works, and gun collection.
Up early, drove to the Cape to visit Chris H. had a really lovely time on the beach together,
playing on a giant unrolled mat, swimming & enjoying good
beer & food. Back rather late.
Set off for the Boston Aquarium with the family, but
visited Miguel instead near Kendall: lots of good memories of
bygone days. Good to catch up with an old friend packed with
interesting perspectives & advice.
Met up with the family at Spyce, and enjoyed some
robot restaurant cooking - very tasty; wandered Boston Common,
Park Street graveyard and drove home.
Worked, scratched E-mail, caught up with Kendy &
Aron. surf & turf. Watched The Good Place variously.
Last time on the Lazy River with J. relaxing.
Lunch. Chatted with a Dept' Energy chap as we left, lots of
Linux supercomputers over there. Planes, back to Boston,
Played in pools, visited the kids splash park, came
back for snached early lunch. Out for a snorkelling trip with
B. Found a couple of nice spots. Helped the babes climb our
boat's sport tower for a better view.
Back; out for dinner with J. on the Veranda - also
providing a meal for the mosquitos.
Lazed by the pool, sogged in a hammocks with H. and J.
T&B out for dinner, out with E. for a bit in the evening,
fine moon & ocean veranda.
Off to Faith Tabernackle nearby, kindly taken by Nesta's
husband. Pentacostal service - interesting and refreshingly
different. Back for pizza lunch.
Kayaking with J. on the sea, drink on beach together;
lovely. Silk restaurant in the evening, read in bed.
Up early, drove to the Volcanoe, lots of hummingbirds,
boiling mud - baby-sat S. & L. while everyone else got
plastered. Onto a waterfall to get the mud off again.
On to the Botanical gardens - nice to see bananas, cocoa,
etc. growing in a rainforest setting. Back for lunch.
Swum, got into teen book: Ready Player One.
Babes made friends with some other teens, and discovered the
teen hangout room. Calabash restaurant, J. baby-sat, out with
Checked out the somewhat spartan petting zoo. Sorted out
a volcanoe / mud / botanical gardens trip out. Swam, pizza lunch.
Beach walk with Becky, H. J. and alcohol-free cocktails
on the beach at a hut. Back for a bubble / foam pool party thing.
Played tennis with J. for a bit, very hot.
Babes appear burned in places; bother. Buffet dinner -
J. sampling seafood left & right.
Evening drinks with H. N. T. & J. Some US boys
rather over-eager to play pool with H. and N. amusing. Up late
for a chocolate tasting party.
Up early, babes made a bee-line for the pools,
slides, swim-in-bar etc. visited the orientation course: a sales
pitch for rather over-priced trips. Walked along the beach to
meet some crabs.
Attempted snorkelling, hard to get used to having a nose
full of water continually, kayaked instead with N. Pizza lunch.
Played in various pools with the babe, enjoyed the
lazy-river with J. relaxing. Saw a humming-bird for the 1st time,
albeit just the back. Booked restaurants.
Up at 3am, dropped family at the airport, and returned
our car. Discovered we had to pay extra per bag, so consolidated
liquids into one bag. Security.
Eat our bagels after security, and boarded - seat screens
on American: nice, watched Tolkein on the way to Miami - touching
but two dimensional: where is his faith. Flight onwards to St Lucia.
Taxi to Coconut Bay, checked in, babes splashed in pools,
Jerk Chicken for dinner, bed early.
Worked much of the day continuing to try to get to grips
with the mail backlog.
Worked much of the day trying to get to grips with
the mail backlog.
Out to Highrock for church; back to play with
Tom & the kids, played with Oculus Quest variously,
Beat Sabre, Space Pirate Trainer: fun. Becka over in
the evening, Scoop & Scoot ice-cream - fun.
Out for a run in the morning, Becky out for
Becka's 40th celebrations. Out to splash park with T.
and the babes. Picnic lunch in the garden. Baby-sat
for T. in the evening.
Worked much of the day, visited a nail saloon with some
babes to see what goes on there. Back to patch cherry-picking.
Evening, Oculus Quest setup & playing with T.
Tragically no Windlands (the best VR game ever?) for the Quest,
otherwise very interesting device.
Up late, packed, visited the Giant Chair in Gardener and
climbed it, enjoyed the Walmart cultural visit. Dunkin Doughnuts
on the way back to Boston: very American.
Caught up with TBS&L, Lasagne for dinner on the deck.
Zoar Outdoor took us on a very fun, and well organized
rafting trip down the Deerfield river. Simple class 1 to 3 rapids.
Lots of swimming, N. did a lot of swimming, including in the
Pizza in the evening, watched The Tick with
the babes & Hotel Rwanda with the older kids.
Visited the North Adams Natural Bridge - lots of white marble.
Caught up with Julie & Amie-Jane in Shelbourne Falls, and enjoyed
the impressive garden bridge. Had a lovely ice-cream, and went to the
Daughters of the American Revolution state park for a swim in the lake.
Fine chat to a local retired journalist. Mexican in the evening and
back to base.
Drove to 'Mt' Wachusett and climbed it, nice view of lots of trees
at the top. Drove on to Charlemont pizza place in the evening.
Up early, out to Highrock Covenant Church in Arlington, a
well delivered sermon from an egalitarian perspective on women in
Out for brunch at a local Diner, and on for a walk with
TBS&L along a pleasant cycle-way. Back, watched Chernobyl.
Went for a walk around Arlington Reservoir, had a nice swim,
relaxed & slugged variously with T&B. Back home for a BBQ on
the deck outside, very relaxing. Watched Chernoybl in the evening, a
Up rather early, couple of hours work before breakfast.
Poked at clipboard patch up-streaming, fought clang oddness a
little. Breakfast with S&L - lovely to see them too.
Out for a walk to the park with the babes, wandered
back, lunch. Kids went out, showed T. 'Drop7' and did some
hacking. Investigated a CI outage.
Up early, packed the car, and set off for P. Risborough.
Had a lovely lunch with Sue & Clive, who kindly dropped us
to Heathrow. Check-in.
Worked on the plane. Fixed a few grim nasties. Got the
PCC minutes into some sort of shape.
Virgin lost two of six pieces of luggage: amazing,
joined by a large number of others the Virgin claims desk.
Hire car, happy meeting with T&B in Arlington, bed,
Mail chew, dropped K&J into Cambridge. Intense
fixing, patch chasing, testing action. Catch-up with Eloy
and Cor, Lengthy brain-dump with Miklos, call with Olivier.
Built ESC stats; mail chew in the morning; lunch.
K&J arrived! Really lovely to see them both, hear their
exciting news. Interspersed worked away at input bugs with
enjoying their company, bed late.
Mail chew; project mgmt, meetings, code review, status
chasing, sync with Kendy & Miklos. Plugged away at input until
late, very hot. Bed.
J's birthday, presents at breakfast; off to All Saints - violin.
Becky & Steve kindly had us all, plus Markus & Zoe over for a
fine roast turkey lunch. Good to catch up with Chris & his lady.
Home, slugged, read Dirk Gently to the family,
Worked in the car on the way to Bruce & Annes; had a fine
time with them, relaxed, slugged, pleasant walk along the Aldeburgh
Setup Anne's new Alexa Show - an interesting device - E. very
amused by its jokes - eleven seems an ideal age for stickiness there.
Plugged away at hacking much of the day, sync with Thorsten &
Florian; missed BoD call while picking up M. and Alish - end of their term
celebration. Home, more work, Star Wars in the evening, put babes to bed,
J. out, N. at sleepover, H. with friends. Polished PCC minutes a little.
Mail chew, call with Ivan, dialog input pieces. ESC call.
E's final play at All Saints in the evening, surprisingly well executed.
Mail chew, sync call with Ivan. Poked at tickets, input and
J. and H. out to a Centre Parks Spa for a birthday treat. Plugged
away at slideware, and input bits. Esther & Lynn over in the evening.
Worked till 1am on a new input strategy.
Mail chew, code reading, team meeting, poked at some overdue
LibreOffice conference papers.
All Saints, played violin; on to E's leaving ceremony at All
Saints school - home, slugging, read Dirk Gently to the family; TV,
Worked much of the morning; lunch, out for a walk onto the
race-course. David over in the afternoon - relaxed, had a nice BBQ.
Finally got somewhere with copy/paste on iOS. A JQuery context menu
synthesizing fake click events touchstart, which fails to have the security
context necessary to access the clipboard (such access apparently succeeding
but in fact failing - why do they do that ?). Re-worked the code left &
Return of the Jedi with the babes, worked late.
More intense iOS quirk digging around copy/paste, hour after hour
of completely un-necessary pain inflicted by some browser authors. ESC call.
Plugged away at Node-JS based unit-tests of keyboard input quirks.
Up early, worked hard, got some builds out in the end; carried on
better with time.
Meetings, call with Florian & Thorsten. Mgmt call, worked late
into the night; couple of hours sleep.
Mail chew, worked much of the day, calls, writing regression
test logic until late. Foolishly watched the extra-long season end of
Mentalist by mistake.
Played Violin at All Saints, home for lunch, read Dirk Gently's
Holistic Detective Agency to the babes, slugged variously; Quartet,
chat with N. BBQ tea; bed early.
Talked to the kids, and slugged about with them. Filled
blog backlog, poked at unit test / stubbing some more in JS. The
total lack of type safety in JS is a disasterous horror, but
useful for testing.
Out to the Midsummer Moments concert at St Mary's Dullingham,
N. and H. playing nicely, good to catch up with their music teachers.
Worked on testing infrastructure for horrible browser
input problems, becoming a better JS programmer for it. Watched
Star-Wars with the babes in the evening before getting back to
Missed part of the ESC, got builds out; Bible study group
in the evening, up late.
Worked all day until late, again.
Worked all day until late, it's sad when midnight seems
an early night.
Worked all day until late.
Slept, violin in the morning with Rob playing bass: good.
Rested & relaxed all day - movies, bed early, tired.
Worked all day, sigh. Async race conditions left & right,
stopped at midnight.
Project management, and work on copy/paste all day with some
great progress, hand-over call with Eloy, worked late.
More debugging, and fixing, code review & work all day.
Had a girl over to do H's makeup for prom, she looks lovely.
Crazy work all day, customer call, band practice, late night
debugging & calls, nailed a JS regression.
Up early, worked like stink, Mum adjusted H's prom dress to not
be quite so long. Out for a quick drink with Max & Chris, back, worked
Up early, worked all day with the team, and late to 3:30am.
Played at Church; my slap-bass appears to have succeeded in
getting an exciting new volunteer bass player interested: good. Home
for a fine roast chicken lunch with the family. H. exhausted.
Out for a walk, watched Dragon Taming things with N. tea,
Worked on and off, much of the day; eventually quit and up
late talking to M & D.
Hacking much of the day; BoD call, more
work, parents arrived in the evening, more work.
Sync call with Ivan, hacking much of the day on copy/paste
innovation. ESC call, more project pieces, worked until late.
Up early, worked on packaging, testing, fixes, testing, and so
on in a tight cycle. Eventually rolled back to an earlier state &
wrote up / sent report. Tired.
Reached an extreme age of 42 - luckily having discovered the
meaning to life, the universe and everything some twenty+ years before.
Crazy busy working all day, testing & validating fixes.
Baked Alaska (made with choc-ices: a fine twist caused by an ice-cream
shortage). Worked until 4am.
Team and 1:1 calls, hacking until late.
Packed the house, talk from Rick; shorter walk, bid 'bye
and drove home. Lovely to see E. celebrated her birthday a little
tardily together, slugged, read stories & so on.
Biker stop for cooked breakfast. Pleasant walk (in the rain) with
fine company, drinks and meal at a good pub in the evening. Bed late.
Prodded at mail and tasks in the morning, David drove Rick
& myself to near Bridgnorth for the Church men's walking weekend.
Fun. Talked as men gathered, BBQ.
B&B Hotel - lots of traffic noise through the closed
window, ambulances to dream of; up lateish, train, Eurostar, train
and so on. Reasonable connectivity - built ESC agenda a tad late
while on the train encouraging using Collabora Online rather
Up early, a couple of dismal, late trains to Kings Cross,
and the Eurostar to OW2Con / Paris. Dodgy taxi ride, arrived
somewhat late for the session. Gave a talk on LibreOffice Online
and then C'bras role in it briefly.
Caught up with Sigmund, Philippe from Arawa, Simon,
and enjoyed a fine evening together with friends old & new.
More admin, project planning, prototype acceptance
criteria construction. Three lots of maths revision in the
evening. Worked late putting documentation together with Kendy.
Mail chew, worked away at project planning and
acceptance criteria. Couple of project calls and sync
All Saints, band in the morning. Back for a fine
lunch, and out for another, much less used stretch of
walk along the nearby ancient, defensive Dyke.
Slept while H. did Organ practice, encouraging
progres with the quartet. Slugged in front of a movie
in the evening.
Up late; did some maths with H, N. and E. variously.
More work - attacked various problems with long re-build times.
Finally, after some weeks, got space to get around
to repairing the toilet flush in the upstairs toilet. One good
opportunity for Goverments would be to ban pointless, self-
defeating and environmentally damaging cost-engineering. A
non-servicable, polythene flush membranes is an abomination.
Hours of work, waste and expense to replace a sub-penny
worth of plastic. Siliconed everything in sight to get it
Why is it that when my daughters invite their friends
over, one of them inevitably appears used to turning the
bathroom tap off with the moral equivalent of a spanner -
making it come loose & rotate. Mended that too.
Mail chew, show & tell call with Ivan, patch review, Board
call. Ferried babes around while J. took E. to her birthday 'football
golf' party. Ran games for the babes in the garden: running
noughts and crosses, stilt walking, and a movie.
Back to work until late.
Mail chew, build testing, code reading variously. Re-factored
clipboard logic in master.
Read theregister while unit tests are running; Collabora has
done a huge amount of work (and continues to do so) on behalf of our customers on
There are lots of cool
features from many individuals and organizations in LibreOffice 6.3 (far more
than are listed there too) - but this is an interesting example of how the
LibreOffice brand & marketing tends to bury sensible crediting for "the
most notable" new feature, in the (otherwise beloved) el reg
Then again, Dennis seems to have re-located to France as well.
Worked late, babes at music, scouts etc.
Practice with M, mail, patch reading, calls, booked hotel for
the interesting OW2Con
next week. Worked late.
Mail chew, ticket review & estimation, tech mgmt. call,
built ESC proto-agenda. Sync. with Philippe. Dinner, 'cello and math's
with M. put H. to bed. Read a lot of disappointing Chrome clipboard code,
seems I'm far from alone
in that regard. Still, a synchronous population of the complete clipboard
from the get-go is also quite silly. The solution will have to be in the HTML.
Mail chew, sync with Kendy, team calls, status report.
Customer call(s). Attempted to minute an All Saints PCC meeting
in the evening, iteresting.
Walk with R&A&emp;E in the morning; N. cooked a fine lunch.
Bid 'bye to beloved Brother & family. Sung & listened to a sermon.
Quartet - doing well; Organ practice at All Saints + prayer meeting. Home,
Played with baby E. variously, out to Bury Gardens via Greggs for
a fine lunch in the gardens in the sun. Ice creams, home - slept a little,
BBQ in the garden, and out to Strawberry Faire with H. to see Charlotte
play. Home, chatted.
Mail chew. Sync with Kendy, catch-up with Andras. Partner
& customer calls, re-estimation, planning. Robert, Amelia & E.
over in the evening.
A hellish week of round the clock work, several nights without sleep.
It doesn't improve code quality, or give space to plan & think. Eventually
though it. Tragically half term at the same time, so missed the lovely babes.
Practiced for wedding later with Hannah - a Violin / Piano
extemporized medly of I can't help falling in love with
I danced in the morning and amazing grace - should be fun.
Back to exciting clipboard problems until midnight;
unfortunately the brave people working on async clipboard APIs seem
to have been totally stymied by roaming security persons.
Mail, project mgmt bits, catch up with admin backlog.
Hackery, up late in customer support call.
Bug fixing, monthly all-hands call. Worked on issues,
up late in customer call.
Worked all night; eventually implemented chunked HTTP transfer
and associated unit tests; more bug fixing, monthly all-hands call.
Couple of hours sleep, evening customer calls.
Mail chew, M. ill at home; picked up H. and Charlotte after an
exam; built slides, poked projections. Lunch. Monthly mgmt call. Admin.
Up extremely late hacking.
Out for a run, mail chew, pleased to see Lubos' improved script to
perf output in kcachegrind - mmerging a couple of cool tools.
Picked up babes from school, customer calls until late.
All Saints; Fraser & Evelyn over for lunch, Frankie, Dorinda
& daughter over for afternoon tea, lovely.
Slugged in the morning, mail check, bit of Maths revision with H.
Lunch. David over, out for a walk along a different stretch of a nearby
(Devils) Dyke. Tea together, talked until late while the babes watched a
Hacking on fixing a few issues, builds, customer call until
Mail chew; interested to see the concerns
from an apparently diverse group on the APPG definition of Islamophobia. I read the original
as trying to avoiding racism being justified or concealed as anti-muslim
prejudice which seems sensible. A shame if the controversy hinders positive
improvement; would things have been improved by making the APPG more diverse
initially ? The Secular Society and Southall Black Sisters were at least in
both groups, but surely it would have been better to engage earlier to work
together to solve the problem.
Admin, sync with Kendy. Lunch, catch up with Eloy. ESC call.
Customer support call until late.
Mail chew, bit of hacking. Lunch with James Southey - nice to
Built ESC minutes, mail chew, calls.
Mail chew; admin, booked Eurostar to OW2Con in Paris next month.
Trawled through task backlog. Tech mgmt call.
Built ESC agenda.
All Saints, Margarit back for lunch; played Badmington together
in the sun in the garden; rested variously. Stories, bed.
Slept in, out to Bury to pick up 'cello with fixed pegs &
sat in the Bury Gardens & enjoyed the sun while M. and E. played.
Home, lunch with H. out to pick up a tired N. read stories, put people
to bed variously.
N. off on her DofE practice expedition. Admin, reference call,
sync with Florian & Thorsten. More admin, sync with Miklos,
Kendy & Andras. Hackery.
Mail, catch-up with Florian, interview, sync with Eloy.
ESC call, bit of hacking.
Interview, sales call, mail, extraordinary TDF BoD call.
Sync with Miklos, chewed though status reports;
long tech mgmt call, more mail.
Cooked breakfast, out for a longish walk in the countryside
around Linton - refreshing. Bit of mail in the afternoon.
All Saints, shared lunch, relaxed and slept variously.
Helped H. with some Maths, TDF board call, mail chew,
worked until rather late on online polling / main-loop
More hacking much of the day, until late.
Mail chew, patch review, plugged away at tests - which appear
to have bit-rotted; mended many - enough to get to see the round of
failures introduced by my breakage.
Customer call, took E. to the dentist for loosing a tooth &
a filling with it. Lunch.
Back to the testing battle.
May day, lots of the team out - plugged away at various bits.
New starter bits, bug triage, customer ticket poking. Music group in
Mail chew; sifted through marketing candidates left & right;
amused by a ":w! saves" T-shirt comment. Built ESC agenda. Lunch. Tech
mgmt call, sync with Eloy.
Run after breakfast; mail chew, debugging; lunch, consulting call,
customer call, more relentless debugging, partner call, dinner.
NCC in the morning for Usche's wedding - All Saints AGM at noon,
back to Usche's reception at the Memorial hall; met lots of interesting
new people as well as catching up with old friends.
Home; slugged; quartet, some tea, read story to E. When the
Tripods Came - with some nice Interlaken background. Viola with H.
Late cooked breakfast; admin, and plugged away at patch review,
testing and merging much of the day - annoying. Out for a run with J.
Mid-afternoon Pizza dinner. Worked late. Groundhog day in the evening.
Mail, sync with Andras then Florian; Lunch, TDF BoD call.
Interview in the afternoon; plugged away at online patch review
a bit. H. out to The Junction until rather late.
Mail chew; sync with Miklos & Andras, built ESC
proto-agenda, mail chew. Re-visited my interaction
anti-patterns slides from 2012 - still making sense to me.
Sync. with Tomi. ESC call. Plugged away at chasing bogus
All day C'bra mgmt meetings; eventually on-site in Cambridge,
interesting & fun to meet up with the team in-person; good people.
Out for dinner together, home late.
Mail chew, poked at unexpected full-document invalidation issues
in Online. Tech mgmt call, sync with Kendy, and Eloy. Back to debugging.
Up lateish; off to Thetford Forest for lunch with the family.
Good walk through the forest, played on a few things. Home - tried to
glue up a broke artistic cross from E's school.
Lynn & Esther over, to relax over tea in the garden while
a confused apparent drunk argued with police from the top of a nearby
chimney. Slept poorly.
Easter Sunday - a particularly joyful time; All Saints
in the morning - roast lamb lunch with the family; read
Tatja Grimm's world to the family in the garden. Watched
a movie; tea, story with M. music with H. bed.
Up rather late for our 17th wedding anniversary - what
a joy; blessed with a wonderful, intelligent, supportive,
help-meet, wise counsellor, and much more of a wife for so
long; more than I deserve. Since I'd forgotten, raided the
emergency card cache - which is at a low ebb.
Breakfast, slugged around variously; Ickworth in the
afternoon for a romantical walk through the ovely gardens and
forest in the glorious sunshine. Home for a BBQ.
A day off ! fun, drove to St Alban'ss,
(ne Verulamium). Met up with S,C,A&J. Played in the park
in the sun happily together, picnic, and lazing.
Drove home; dinner, read stories; relaxed by hacking on
some PNG compression re-factoring and parallelism code for
Collabora Online - up until 3:30am - whoops.
Mail chew, code reading, helped H. with some maths. Lunch.
Finished a rather interesting book Its all in your
head "Stories from the frontline of psychosomatic
illness" (or as Suzanne prefers "conversion-disorders").
A rather sympathetic and intriguing book. Some examples are just
amazing of blindness cured by talk therapy, of a withered hand
that sounds familiar and much more.
The lady Neurologist says ... I have met many people whose
sadness is so overwhelming that they cannot bear to feel it.
In its place they develop physical disabilities.
The very real suffering of people, their genuine desire for
healing, and the frequent sad outcomes of a rejection of
psychological help (based on its stigma) are moving. Clearly
only some subset of somatic disorders, and some fascinating
stories of cultural popularity of diagnoses such as eg. hysteria
or running amok.
Early customer call, monthly all-hands, partner call, mail,
got some hacking in ! Band practice in the evening; worked late.
Waded through mail. Upgraded wordpress with Pedro. Updated
projections. Monthly mgmt meeting. Cooked dinner with H. Worked late.
Slept badly; missing wife syndrome. Mail chew,
sync. with Kendy. Foolishly re-booted after an update,
missing suid bit on
login as if by magic. Lunch.
Worked at church while J. had her Organ lesson.
Managed to cook and eat something with H. David over for
some Physics tuition. Worked late.
All Saints in the morning; Max did a read-through
of John's account of the Passion replacing a last-minute
missing Sue. Back for lunch, David over. J. & family
off up North to see M&D, H. left to revise.
Organ practice, chatted, back home, played 'go'
with David, tea & bed.
Drove to Aldeburgh; lovely to see M. and E. again -
and the lovely rings they've made with Bruce. A fine lunch,
caught up with S&C, Zombie Tag with J&A too. Easter
egg hunt around the back-garden. Out for a walk. Relaxed.
Drove home; plugged away at profiling: integrated
profile zones eventually after including a missing 1900
year offset from unix times.
To the Office in the morning for an interview; good to catch
up with some of the team there. Back, lunch during TDF BoD call.
Mail bits. Poked at some profiling bits.
Mail, built TTT using ffmpeg command-line tools like:
ffmpeg -i "2019-04-10 18-38-22.flv" -ss 0.00 -t 337.79 -c copy a.flv
resulting in a much smaller output; hey ho.
Appalled by the usability of Apple Enterprise App development:
requiring a different Apple id and thus making switching accounts (via
needing two factor authentication) a matter of major upheaval on one
of your devices each time the account switches; shame.
Disappointed to see the growing intolerance of people
who hold different opinions: fundamentally sounds like the very definition of
bigotry. There is a twisted irony in some modern mis-usage of the word
bigot to mean: "person whose views I don't like, and thus whom I can't tolerate".
An interesting trend; some suggest
that postmodern liberals cannot comprehend the idea that one could simultaneously
reject a belief and accept the person who holds it. Perhaps that is a consequence
of the polarized ideological echo-chambers people we are all drawn to, and can easily
inhabit these days. Does diversity of viewpoint necessarily imply acrimonious
conflict: hopefully not - no matter how politically 'useful' such conflicts are
presumed to be to whomever stoke them.
Sync with Muhammet, out for dinner with J. in the evening - lovely.
Mail chew, S&M call, couple of reference calls. Band Practice.
Recorded an internal tea-time-training in pieces and tries to edit it together.
OpenShot is determined to either blow up a 100Mb screencast to a 1Gb one or to
debauch the quality; shame.
Built ESC proto-agenda, tech mgmt call, admin, mail.
Mail, admin, partner call, customer calls, interview.
All Saints in the morning, shared lunch. Home in the afternoon.
Read stories to babes, snoozed, variously.
Breakfast with the family; played with a smiley baby E. happily.
Drove on to the Thanksgiving service
for Gerv. Rather an encouraging service, tea & cake afterwards - met
a number of interesting types. Drove home, quick tea, relaxed.
Took H. N. & E. to Haverhill for their music exams. Good
to catch up with David & Nicky - out for a celebratory late breakfast
and playground fun afterwards.
Triaged mail quickly; poked at profiling. Lunch. Drove to see
Rob & Amelia & E. Lovely to spend time together until late.
Sales & Marketing call, mail chew; annoyed by another missed
interview; hey ho. Brief interview, ESC call. Kindly helped by av to get my
GNOME ssh key / account sorted out: their infrastructure is really pretty.
Out for a drink with Russel in the evening.
Mail, interview; bit of hackery - customer call, team call.
Worked away at using the Chrome
profiler for analysing and rendering Online logs - nicely, though
lots left to do:
Mail chew, sync with Andras. Pleased to see
success in the news.
Mail; admin; status report. Interview, more application triage.
All Saints, celbrated Mothering Sunday; played; good to see people.
Amused by The Mother's
Day Song. Back for lunch, tidied up variously; J. collected babies stories
from Burwell House, slugging, pizza tea.
Breakfast in town at Coffee & Co, to All Saints,
good to see the Mother's day posie creation complete.
Got to some hackery - while H. practiced the Organ.
Home - re-worked Online socket code to use Unix Domain Sockets.
Admin with J. in the evening.
Mail, calls, sync with Florian, TDF BoD call, more
calls. Worked through a very large number of CVs of applicants.
Men of Faith curry evening, caught up with David McG until late.
Mail chew, projections, admin. ESC call.
Up very early in the morning, mail chew - got the backlog
down - and did some hacking creating profiling instrumentation:
representing async events is not entirely ideal - need to convert
them to spans really. Breakfast, call.
Visited the dentist hygienist, arrived back with rather
more sensitive - and presumably thinner teeth, unsure that it
is a win. Interview. Music group in the evening.
Mail chew; admin; lunch, tech. mgmt call.
Mail, interview. Admin, foolishly decided to upgrade to openSUSE
15.0 to try to improve some minor problem - burned much of a day. Worked
All Saints; music, caught up with people variously. Back
for lunch; relaxed variously.
M. and N. out. J. out in the morning prom dress shopping with H.
Played badmington with E. and mended the sub-standard garden fence that
Shell gratuitously replaced our rather good fence with previously.
Lunch; out for a walk along the dyke with J. H. & E. Back,
watched The Mission with H. and N. - picked up M. from a party
Mail chew; CV triage, customer call, sync with Thorsten &
Florian. Lunch. Sync. with Eloy, Andras & Miklos.
Discovered ~bald front tires; hacked in the Kwikfit store for
a bit. Mail chew, lunch, customer call, collected babes from school.
Out of space: new M.2 SSD arrived; horrific nightmare attempting
to transfer BTRFS partition across; a
cp -a lost all the many
sub-volumes openSUSE likes to create. Trying a random
failed and resulted in no content when default mounted - breaking boot,
necessitating live-USB key creation. Eventually
dd followed by
btrfstune -u the device - finally it boots; what
a waste of time doing unwanted learning: and I thought the whole grub2 mess
was a pain. Someone needs to do a root-and-branch standardization and re-write
on the whole re-partitioning, booting, boot-loading, installation, piece of
Linux it seems with some easy-to-use tool to re-partition and/or add (and
remove) storage to/from your system.
Mail chew, admin; team all-hands over lunch midday. Built ESC
agenda, poked financials again. Looked at SPADE with the babes:
perhaps avoiding Art GCSE was indeed a smart move.
Finished Marooned in Realtime with the kids; band
practice; worked late.
Mail chew, slideware, product management bits. Sync with Tracie,
monthly mgmt call, debugging weird online corner-case.
Out for a run; mail chew, status report & review,
All Saints, slugged, read Marooned in Realtime to lego-playing
babes; lots of applied resting.
Out to the Cambridge Science Festival for lots of fun with E.
and M. At the Engineering Department for the 1st time - build & test
Tsunami defences in the Dyson building - liquid nitrogen ice-cream from
the material scientists, hover-craft building from styrofoam, cloud-chamber
to visualize background radiation, thermal imaging cameras - and more.
Back to David's for some tea, cake & catch-up. Home for
left-over pizza dinner with H. in front of a movie.
Mail; sync with Kendy, lunch, TDF board call, more hackery.
Took 3x smaller babes to YFC pizza evening. Watched Petersen on biology &
traits, interesting & slightly frightening.
N. off to a sleep-over, and car driving outing; everyone
else to YFC pizza night at church.
Music practice with babes; mail, customer call. Lunch.
Some hackery, sync with Andras. Plugged away at fixing minor
issues until late.
Up early, mail chew. Set off eventually for Baden-Baden:
a lamentable airport RyanAir frequents at a great distance from
where people want to be. Worked on a late train, but missed
Very expensive taxi; the 2nd time bitten by this
destination (with a chronic lack of sensible bus connections);
Really font Nice to be in Germany though: the distinctive architecture,
smell of sausage & pastry stalls in the street - lots of happy memories.
Ryanair, hacked on the flight & drove home. Mail chew,
polished a patch a little. Dinner, band practice, bed.
Up earlyish, found the Nextcloud Enterprise Day, and
enjoyed a series of talks - presented the latest Collabora Online
features in 4.0. Talked with a number of prospects. Took a long
tunnel to lunch, more presentations & talks. Drinks & food
in the evening together. Bed late.
Slept badly, up far too early; drove to STN - new
terminal setup has USB sockets but no mains / power: annoying.
Arrived in Stuttgart, met up with Pedro & found the
new Nextcloud office; caught up with lots of friends &
collegues. Late kebap with Szymon & Pedro, found our AirBnB,
All Saints christening; back for roast chicken lunch,
read together - Elize over; N. doing hair curling test for
ball preparation. Organ practice with H. home, quartet: some
great Musescore scores. Read to babes, put them to bed variously.
Tidied the house, re-assembled shelving in boiler-cupboard.
Lunch. Out for a walk at Noughton park with J. and E.
Read the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslim's
proposed definition of Islamophobia -
its conclusion are interesting: Islamophobia is rooted in
racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of
Muslimness or perceived Muslimness - followed by some rather
helpful (albeit sad examples) of the deepy noxious things that can
happen in our society.
The most encouraging bit is leaving room for intellectual debate,
discussion and so on of comparative religion, theology and practice.
So often 'phobia' definitions seem tailor made as pejoratives for
bigots to thoughtlessly cast at their intellectual opponents in
order to exclude them from respectful discussion & debate. Proxies
for a lazy way of not engaging with diverse viewpoints. Good to see
a more nuanced view here. Lets see if such positive nuance survives
into the hard sphere of politics. Also encouraging to see examples
used - I'm a fan of the clarifying effects of casuistic presentation -
something often sadly missing in our codes of conduct.
Plumber arrived to service the boiler: analog timer loosing
hours per day. Interview; mail chew & catch-up, more CV triage.
Interview, admin, ESC call, partner call.
Interviews, partner calls, admin, band practice in the evening.
Up in the night; hacked at the tile-cache, and some unit tests.
Read the libstdc++
std::cerr implementation looking for the
locking - still looking. Re-worked unit test logging to avoid threading
crash when re-directed to
Packed babes off to school, practice, back to bed for a bit.
Interview, mail, lunch, tech call, admin.
Mail chew; sync with Kendy then Andras, product
eng. team call; a little hacking, two partner calls.
All Saints and shared lunch, home - slugging; read some Marooned
in Realtime to the family after dinner; stories, bed.
Built a ~30% more shoe-storage shelving in the hall - if only
to solve the quandry of: is the clutter a capacity issue, or a tidiness
issue ? Out for a run with J. then lunch.
Badmington in the garden with E. & H. - but rather windy.
Poked at E-mail; pleased to see Richard's take on CLAs
explained so nicely.
Took H. to Katie's for Oaks interview; Mail chew.
sync with Florian, board call. Watched Source Code with the
family - rather a misleading title, but a great film. Got a bit
of hacking done in the evening.
Mail chew; paperwork. Marketing call, recorded a CP internal
update (twice). Church band practice at ours with N. and H. playing too.
Poked at iOS profiles, and build dependencies.
Chunks of paperwork. Sync with Andras, tech team call.
Mail chew, status reports; sunk lots of the afternoon into
reviewing and improving our contracts.
All Saints, bass & violin; met Ben & Heather -
over for lunch with Nicole too. Mexican food; badmington in the
garden, played drop-7 with H. slugging.
Russel over in the morning, off to see B&A, admired their
new Leaf and charger, nice lunch, out for a wander on the Dunwich
cliffs with B&A, back to read the papers and relax. Drove home,
ate a bit, movie with H.
Caught up with work, bought Russel a new trimmer; went for
a walk with J. and M. onto the race-course together, lovely weather.
Admired Dad's fine work on the hedge, and broke Russel's trimmer.
Spent a while buying & fitting a new door-bell with Dad; bell-wire
everywhere. Hospital app't. H. to play Organ with G'ma. J. into Cambridge
with other babes. Triaged mail quickly. M&D left in the evening - lovely
to see them.
Dad started to hack at the hedge while I triaged mail. Out to
Ickworth for a nice walk as a family: lovely snowdrops. Mended long-term
stuck tap: good. Music practice in the evening.
Worked fitfully, M&D arrived for lunch to stay, caught up.
Run with J. mail chew; admin, lunch. Poked at iOS building,
and dug through lingering tasks.
All Saints in the morning, picked up very tired babes from
Accelr8 - lovely to be back home - read stories before roast dinner;
put babes to bed variously. Watched Burn Notice on Prime - fun.
Took M. out to Go-Ape in Thetford, had a fine meal together,
home for a relaxed time; bit of tile cache hacking.
Mail chew, hacked at tile cache management in some detail,
chunks of admin. Took larger babes off to be helpers at Accelr8 in
Histon, and J. took E. later. Slugged with J. in the evening - just
one small girl left, sad.
Particularly gratified to get a very touching birthday-card this morning:
it's normally me that does that sort of thing.
Valentine's day release of Collabora
Online 4.0 with an associated CODE update too. Tons of rather excellent
work from the team there - its a privilege to be able work with them, and to fund
almost all of that at Collabora. Then again - if you'd like to help out with both
the funding, and directing the next round of feature work, we'd really appreciate
you as a partner or customer.
Strained at PDFs and Docusign; got a bit of recreational hacking underway -
re-factoring the Online TileCache to encourage it to avoid the file-system where
Customer call, sales & marketing call.
Up late applying my limited caligraphic skills to J's Valentine's
card: what a lady !
Isolated my weird Galaxy S4 hanging / power-off state to it being
inside the bumper. Wondered if its too tight fitting and presses power/volume
buttons constantly; cut these out - and bingo, a stable phone. Nice.
Built ESC agenda, prodded applications, ferried babes and friends
to different places. Learned more WordPress than I was hoping to until late.
H. to Hills Road; missed it - calls with team; sync with Amir.
Worked through CVs at some length: we're trying to hire - for
Libre/Collabora Office related bits:
a QA / DevOps / Build eng,
and a Technical Writer.
Added a number of more open-source experience style criteria to try to
somewhat reduce the flow of applicants: encouraging.
H. returned early and worked, played some 'go' with her till
she beat me.
All Saints, confirmation service: got confirmed by the Bishop;
interesting. A fine shared lunch afterwards, nice biography of Ryle from Mary.
Home, relaxed, read some Vinge to the family; movie, bed.
Family Birthday visits B&A, A&L, S&C,A&J all over
for a fine lunch at Prezzo. Anne brought her car for us. Slugged in the
Admin catch-up day, calls variously.
Somewhat amused to see a key differentiating feature of Office 365
is the ability to easily
create a Resume (CV) and apply for a different job on-line faster: enterprise value indeed.
Mail, setup websitestaging server, sync with Eloy; into Cambridge to
meet a partner, lunch - meetings, tour of Cambridge; train home.
Mail; lengthy CP tech. mgmt call, marketing call.
Mail chew, admin backlog; mgmt quarterly calls much of the day.
Lovely to be home again with the family; relaxed a little,
tidied up & dealt with private life backlog. Out with some of the
lads from Church to Ipswich to visit the Bishop's staff around
crowd-funding for church re-modelling.
Mail, and into Cambridge for quarterly mgmt meetings; out
for dinner with the team; back, chat with H, bed.
More FOSDEM goodness; talked ~all day from morning
to evening with lots of interesting types & very old
friends. Worked on various trains home at considerable
FOSDEM - what can one say: an awesome collection of
friends and colleagues in the work of software freedom over
many years. Sometimes it's easy to forget that outside the
sometimes vexing world of LibreOffice - there are so many
great people continuing to do excellent things. Gave a
couple of talks on Online - how it works, and why.
Back to the hallway track - where the knees and heels
die, but where there are lots of interesting people to stand
and talk to. Lovely pasta dinner kindly created by the Italian
community at the lovely Beta Co-working venue, good to catch
up with everyone.
Up early, BoD meetings all day, lunch brought in,
MC included, and then staff too. Fine wine & cheese
event in the evening before the FLOSS Foundations dinner -
met up with lots of old friends. Started on some slides,
and worked until late at night.
More hack-festing, talked and dug out some sorting
code-pointers; quick lunch. Board meetings - all day, and
BoD dinner in the evening.
Up very early, trains to Brussels - pleased to enjoy the
same Eurostar as Alasdair. Beta co-working; met up with a number
of good sorts, talks on this & that. Prepped slides.
Back to the Bedford, an eventful check-in experience with
Noel, sorted things & out for dinner with everyone.
Built ESC stats, commercial call, picked up Lilly; worked
on slides for BoD meeting.
Mail chew; call with Quikee, Pedro, Miklos - code review.
All Saints in the morning, played bass & Violin. Lunch.
Babes had a mass lego session, while I read The Peace War
to them. Started to try to teach M. bass; organ practice with H.
Movies, tea, bed.
Up early, drove to Kennilworth to visit R&A & Elwood.
Nice to hear E. testing M. on her Physics in the car.
Lovely to see & cuddle a new baby. Lunch. Played games,
back in the evening - chips in the car.
Sales bits, quotes, admin, customer calls. Amusing complaint
from N. - school is so depressing this week: in food-tech: food
poisoning, in Science: HIV, in History: Nazis
in English: War Poetry, in RE: addiction and in
PSE depression (or similar).
Partner & customer calls. Poked the iMac -
unfortunately LibreOffice's git repo with the help of
Xcode can bring a smaller mac to a grinding, frustrating
halt. Disabled the clever source control integration.
Remembered the ESC call just beforehand and built
a belated agenda. Disassembled bass guitar's audio jack at
lunch; discovered the cause of poor connection - and bent
the metal into a more helpful shape.
Call; proposal bits.
Mail chew, task specification; partner call; planning calls.
Mail, patch review, played with NVDA a little, sync with Eloy.
Lunch, tech. mgmt call.
Mail chew; contract bits, wrote up where we're at with HiDPI,
Attempted guitar + leading at Church with Cedric, Rick &
babes. Pizza lunch. Organ practice, Hole.io playing.
Out for a run, David over for lunch; slugged in the afternoon;
Mary now ill; H. and N. stepped into the singing gap for tomorrow.
Mail, some hackery - chasing dirty pages left & right. My loolmap
tool badly needs a table of all memory allocations to auto-trace touched pages
by allocation later in the day; hmm.
ESC call; Advisory Board call, calls with team.
Mail chew, monthly team meeting.
Mail chew; E-mail, slideware building, projections. Monthly mgmt
meeting; TDF team call. Replaced door-bell with an attractive new Screwfix
version - wax and string insulation on the bell-wire: old - seems the push
is not the problem; bother.
Took E. to school, ran home with J. mail chew, status report.
Plugged at product analysis bits, practice with N.
Up, played, chatted variously,
home for party-left-overs lunch. Slugged much of the afternoon relaxingly.
Brief quartet practice, played violin / piano duets with H. screen-time, bed.
Got E. into playing Boswars in the morning again, building some
strategic thinking. Discovered I have to play lead guitar tomorrow - and
set too learning the hymns. Took N. and friends to 'Heaven & Hell'
escape room in Cambridge - fun; back for party food; PIT, bed.
Mail, call, sync with Eloy; plugged away at admin - a life full
of calls & paperwork. M. out for last-minute Letton-Hall weekend with
Built overdue ESC proto-agenda; admin, lunch, ESC call,
drove babes to Music, back to Scouts, Kids group preparation with
Cedric & Steve.
Collected mislaid credit-card from HSBC in-person; hmm. Lots
of mail & admin, team & individual calls variously . Band
Poked at vendor neutral marketing bits and updated some pictures;
mail chew, pleased to get a Purchase Order six months after signing
a contract, encouraging.
This continues, and concludes a series of items on Vendor Neutral FLOSS projects and
how they do marketing which you can read here.
TDF / LibreOffice Branding
If we want to grow our community, and to drive this with marketing
– we need to position our brands to make this easy and ideally
unconscious. Currently we have two brands, taking the descriptions
from their websites:
- LibreOffice is Free and Open Source Software Development is open to new talent and new ideas, and our software is tested and used daily by a large and devoted user community (link).
- ie. it is pretty clear: 'LibreOffice' is software.
- The Document Foundation - It is an independent
self-governing meritocratic entity, created by a large
group of Free Software advocates, in the form of a charitable
Foundation under German law (gemeinnützige rechtsfähige
Stiftung des bürgerlichen Rechts). (link).
- ie. it is clear this is a Stiftung – and by
association / default comes to also mean the handful of
employees who comprise the paid team there with some
oversight from the board.
Unfortunately – it seems we have two brands, and neither of
these means “The community”, or “The people who do most of
the hard work”. These are the people we need to be encouraging,
recruiting, building up, and talking about. The degree to which TDF’s
paid staff represent ‘the community’ is unclear. The board is elected
to represent the community, and oversees TDF but is also not itself
the community (but the board). When TDF says “our software” - how can
we ensure that everyone feels included in that ‘our’ ?
It seems clear that we need to solve this dis-connection with some
formulation, strap-line, brand or form of words that we use to
highlight and emphasize our contributor’s input – and use this
LibreOffice vs. Commercial branding
Branding is really important as we have
identical software, at the same price in the Mac app store with just
the LibreOffice vs. Collabora Office brand changed shows – that the
LibreOffice brand is simply far better known & sought after
gathering the overwhelming majority of interest. This however brings a
problem – if development work is funded by leads generated from brands then
TDF promoting eg. LibreOffice Online under its own brand can easily
radically impair leads, investment and thus code-flows into
LibreOffice Online without any offsetting advantage. The picture below
compares two branding approaches for the 95%+ of commits that
Collabora has put into LibreOffice Online. The 0.05% is the proportion
of visitors to LibreOffice that discover that they should fund
development buying professional services (from anyone) – as we shall
TDF marketing in practice
How does LibreOffice get marketed from this perspective ? How do
companies get leads from TDF so that they can sell to some fraction of
them their products, support & services thus allowing
re-investment back into LibreOffice ? Answer: very poorly. Recently
we’ve done a better job of telling people about LibreOffice, a
recent release announcement says:
"LibreOffice 6.1’s new features have been
developed by a large community of code contributors: 72% of commits
are from developers employed by companies sitting in the Advisory
Board like Collabora, Red Hat and CIB and by other contributors such
as SIL and Pardus, and 28% are from individual volunteers."
and also encourages people to use an LTS version – which is not
itself provided by TDF – which is a major improvement:
"For any enterprise class deployment, TDF
maintains the more mature LibreOffice 6.0, which should be sourced
from a company providing a Long Term Supported version of the suite
(they are all members of TDF Advisory Board, and are listed here:
However the website still has a large number of issues in this
area, investing nominal fees into Advisory Board membership is a
marginal contribution vs. the substantial investments into the
software & community. A better approach is the single page that
educates users about the availability of professional services – which
page which highlights certified competent migraators, trainers and
developers. So how does this hero list of contributors to
LibreOffice's success fare when people visit our site, lets see by
checking out the metrics on page visits:
It is interesting to see that those interested in professional
support – only around 4700 this year (1/3rd of 13000) exited to either
close the session, or visit a supported version provider. The bounce
rate suggests that the majority of people arrive on the professional
support page from elsewhere, and not TDF’s own properties. This
matches with what is seen by vendors analyzing what arrives from
TDF. Compared with the total visits as of (2018-09-07):
the number of people exiting to find professional service from that page is 0.05% of our 9.5 million visitors so far.
The contrast between the "Economic and
code contribution flows in today's
ecosystem" and even the helpful description in the 6.1 release
marketing acknowledging 72% of commits, compared with the 0.05% actual
click-through rate is extraordinarily stark. It seems clear that our
users are not being educated as to the importance of supporting the
certified ecosystem - certainly in the area of code, but almost certainly
also in other certified areas such as training & migration.
This is rather a tricky task – it rapidly turns into something like
visualizing the geometry and distances of the solar system. Two
charts are shown – a pie chart with the corporate contribution to the
code in commits – and a crop to the center of another showing the flow of
people clicking through the page to find professional services which go to
1improve LibreOffice (in blue) and others in red:
It is of course unclear what %age of our visitors are enterprises
and thus should be encouraged to seek professional help,
however 0.05% seems an implausibly low fraction by perhaps two orders
Marketing – Product expectations
Another side-effect of majoring on LibreOffice as a free, always
and forever and for everyone free, no catches, product – is creating
mistaken expectations in our users around how the relationship
works. Here is a simple example mail from 2018-04-19:
“Please help me to installLibreOffice at Lubuntu17
my donation number via PayPal is 1TV07632F2376242R”
Apparently the donor believes there is some connection between his
donation and installation support, despite
our donate page being
quite explicit that this is not so. This is buttressed by rather regular
E-mails of the form I made my donation, but still can't download it
- apparently people love to miss the
LibreOffice is Free Software and is made available free of
charge. Your donation, which is purely optional, supports
our worldwide community. text there.
This example is relatively friendly. Some chunk of user
interactions are much less friendly – criticizing the product,
attacking the project for not fixing their particular issue on their
timeline, or investing in their particular problem. A peripheral, but
amusing pathology is of users from time to time augmenting the urgency
of a request by generously offering a $50 donation to TDF to cover the
(often) multiple-person-week of (pet) feature work needed.
By setting a more realistic expectation around support, enterprise
suitability , and particularly by encouraging people on our main properties
to contribute – it is possible to build a consumer, community brand –
rather than a pure product brand. This may have a positive impact on
reducing the feeling of entitlement that some of our users have.
Similarly enterprises deploy the wrong software, without support,
fail to keep it up-to-date, and then believe that we are responsible
for helping them, a recent mail to the security list highlights this,
names removed to protect the mislead:
Subject: Security issues within Libre Office
My Company, XXXXX, uses the latest ( I think ) version of Libre Office.
We also use the Qualys tool for security Compliance. It has found a vulnerability
with Libre Office. Are you familiar with this, And how do I remediate your application?
... signature reads ...
FORTUNE Magazine World's Most Admired Companies® 2014|2015|2016|2017|2018
A kind reply, funded by RedHat’s formidable security investment:
It might be that its already fixed in the latest stable release, or its
a false positive, or even something that remains to be fixed, but we'd
need more information to judge.
And then we find out:
The version we have is:
C:\Program Files (x86)\LibreOffice 4\program\soffice.exe Version is 22.214.171.124
Have you found similar vulnerabilites? Is there a newer version that we can
download and test against the above reported vulnerabilities.
They use a version that is four years old today, and this is from
a significant company, saving plenty of money and apparently investing
nothing – instead, consuming time from those who are. Far from an
isolated example, some of them are ruder with a more explicit sense of entitlement.
Our marketing – setting expectations
The software industry is an industry typically driven by hype,
where software startup marketing has this rather ‘visionary’ approach,
|Text: ||"Look at this awesome product (demo), come and buy it !"
|Sub-text: ||“so when you bought it we can fund actually delivering the product.”
This could be called the Sagrada Familia model, as long as people
know this is what they’re buying it has a certain logic. Arguably
TDF’s current marketing has a leaning towards:
|Text: ||“Look at this awesome product, come get it for free !”
|Sub-text: ||“we’ll work out how to get people to contribute to fully
deliver on our promise of awesomeness sometime later”
Almost certainly a more helpful marketing approach might be:
|Text: ||“Join our awesome project and contributors to improve our great product”
|Sub-text: ||“community should be fun, and we need to grow it, we’re here to promote you if you contribute.”
The experience of selling a supported LibreOffice
Against this – the experience of selling a supported version of
LibreOffice is hard. LibreOffice has a powerful brand, and it is
associated with everything being free as in beer. Some small subset of
our community appear to believe that building product brands and
businesses around LibreOffice is non-ideal, and that we should focus
on providing ever more services free to enterprises. The perception
that the ‘genuine’ version is LibreOffice from TDF is real one, and
stoked by the lack of systematic acknowledgment of the great benefits
provided by the ecosystem.
Contributors are sometimes deeply emotionally attached to the
project, and the LibreOffice brand and feel that to promote an
alternative brand, even if in doing so that helps fund the work, is
some sort of betrayal – or lack of neutrality. This sometimes extends
to being eager to duplicate functionality, packaging, documentation
etc. simply to re-brand it to LibreOffice.
This too is profoundly unfortunate. Others believe that FLOSS is
fundamentally identified with a zero per-seat cost – perhaps plus some
consultancy (perhaps installation, or some migration support), and that
having no SLA, and letting others fund long term product investment
is the only sensible approach to choose: maximising their apparent
Discussions with such parties are quite interesting – often
oscillating between variants of: “I should pay nothing per seat
because its FLOSS”, and “The product is not yet quite good
enough for us – you must fix it for free before we [don't] buy your
It would be good to have TDF’s explicit support for selling branded
support services and versions around LibreOffice to make this more
socially obvious to those who are not members of our community.
The commercial ecosystem around LibreOffice is an un-necessarily tough
environment to operate in. Companies contribute a large proportion of
the work, and yet get very little acknowledgement – which in turn
makes it hard for them to invest. This also creates an un-necessary
tension with companies marketing – which has to focus on building
their own brands. Companies should not fear the arrival of the
LibreOffice brand to squash, claim credit for, and present their work
as created by someone else – thus effectively depriving them of
leads. This is unsustainable.
The LibreOffice project should give a new focus to promoting and
celebrating all participants in its community – including ecosystem
companies. This is far from a problem unique to companies. It is
routinely the case that individual community members feel
under-appreciated – they would like more recognition of their work,
and promotion of their own personal public brands as valued
contributors. This is something that TDF should re-balance its
marketing resource into, in preference to product marketing.
The LibreOffice project should explicitly create space for
enterprise distributions by explicitly pointing out the weaknesses of
LibreOffice for enterprises on its hot marketing properties. This
would have a positive effect of encouraging companies to acknowledge
and build the LibreOffice brand safe in the knowledge that anyone
visiting LibreOffice will get an accurate and balanced picture of
their skills and contribution.
We badly need to increase diverse investment into our ecosystem by
building an environment where deep investment into LibreOffice is a sound
economic choice: economics ultimately drives ecosystem behavior. By
creating the right environment – often not by acting, but by clearly
and deliberately not acting in a space – we can build a virtuous
circle of investment that produces ever better software that meets
It has been said that in life - "You can either achieve things,
or get the credit". Unfortunately, in the world of FLOSS – in
order to sustainably achieve things you need to get the credit (and
associated leads and hence sales). During the early creation of the
project it was strategically necessary to under-emphasize corporate
involvement, particularly of SUSE heavy lifting – but these days are
long past. Similarly, we need to build a brand or formulation that
stands for all volunteer contributors to LibreOffice and acknowledge
This is the state of play today in the LibreOffice world, but the
good news is, this is just the background for a series of positive
discussions and suggested actions to re-balance TDF's marketing. No
significant change is proposed to our development process, timeline,
branching etc. I believe most of these are common-sense, and should be
supported by the majority of the outside community, as well as those
involved with the project - who have a more intuitive feel of the
balance here. Some suggestions may be relevant to vendor neutral
non-profits; but most are specific to LibreOffice. My plan is to post
those suggestions to our public Marketing
list and to have an open discussion there of how best to balance this.
Potentially I'll add a summary here later.
Thanks for reading - perhaps this may help some other communities
improve their ecosystems too. For those interested in the source
for my drawings they are available
Postscript to marketers
This paper has focused heavily on ways to improve our marketing and
messaging. If you read this far – thank you ! It should in no way be
read as a personal critique of people doing our marketing. Our
existing positioning and approach and direction is something that has
accumulated over many years, and all in leadership in the project are
responsible for where we are at now. If you work in marketiing –
thank-you for all you do, and the many positive messages that get
out. Hopefully with some adjustments we can grow the project in
exciting new directions at some large multiple of its current
trajectory for the benefit of all.
This way – I hope we can meet the dream of gaining wider acceptance
in the enterprise market.
Sync call with Kendy; admin, chat with Simon. Clever idea wrt.
unit-testing failed, bother.
This continues a series of items on Vendor Neutral FLOSS projects and
how they do marketing which you can read here.
Marketing in the commercial world
In order for companies to sell products based on LibreOffice, it is
vital that they find customers to whom they can sell (or that
customers find them). Here is a picture of how the process of an
enterprise customer finding a product might work:
People who have expressed an interest in your product are called
leads - there are many ways in today’s world to get people to be aware
of your products and register an interest (ie. to generate
leads). Leads are the people that are focused on by the sales team to
encourage them to enjoy the great results from using a LibreOffice
based product. Here are some examples:
- You can buy per-click advertising in search engines and on
web-pages. This is expensive, and the returns are typically
less than the investment for low cost products in a mixed
consumer & enterprise market. TDF itself has free advertising
donated by Google which makes this possible for us.
- You can sponsor conferences, and attend them. Picking the
right conference is a real trick, and the costs here are
prohibitive. Imagine spending ~€5k attending a conference
filled with Open Source interested Government IT decision
makers. Imagine presenting your product, and having the
friendly & enthusiastic conference moderator personally and
explicitly promote buying your products to the entire
conference. Imagine the zero leads that result in paid
business, and/or any return at all. Repeat until convinced
that this is a dead end. TDF itself has free booths at many
conferences donated by the organizers, companies do not.
- Realize that news driving links and organic search for
your brand – along with links from friendly projects, partners
and products are the only cost-effective (ie. nearly free) way
to get the volume of leads you need into the top of the sales
Clearly generating as many, relevant high quality leads to feed the
sales pipeline is vital for any FLOSS business. If LibreOffice wants
to build a successful ecosystem it needs to be deeply interested in
the life-blood of sales: leads, how we can gently steer enterprises
who visit us towards being interested in support and services, and
encourage them towards companies who can serve them, and in doing so
significantly improve LibreOffice ? Expecting companies to generate
their own leads – particularly without having strong independent
brands is extremely difficult, there are few, cost-effective
pro-active marketing strategies available in today’s world for small
Marketing & Framing in the FLOSS world
The Marketing / Investment mismatch problem
One of the particular pathologies of the FLOSS world is that where
marketing and investment get out of step. This was particularly
obvious around the Linux Desktop and contributed to the tragic
commercial failure not only of individual desktop Linux distributions
(remember Mandriva?), but also to the significant pruning of both
SUSE, and ultimately RedHat’s desktop investment – before finally
claiming much of Canonical’s desktop investment too.
Setting a price expectation in a market of zero (or below), forever
and for everyone – is ultimately toxic to building a thriving
commercial ecosystem. Therefore, ensuring that marketing and
engineering investment are well aligned is in this area is something
that TDF must be focused on.
Those subsidizing marketing and a zero-price-point by getting others
to do the engineering for them - tend to talk about their virtuous
investment in growing the pie / market size for all; however driving
an unhelpful price expectation for enterprises in an un-sustainable
way is ultimately self-defeating.
It is vitally important that returns are correlated with investments
– ie. if one company invests heavily, that its return is reasonably
correlated with its investment vs. non-investors, otherwise – the
tragedy of the commons yields a set of passive parties eagerly waiting
for the returns generated by others’ engineering investment.
In individual projects this should be addressed through various
qualitative and quantitative investment metrics, clearly presenting
the realities of what has been contributed, while retaining a
neutrality to vendors and investors, and advertising our model to new
When TDF was founded we deliberately positioned LibreOffice as a
product of TDF, which was the right choice at the time. However this
strategy no longer serves the market in its current form or
scale. There is a risk that TDF (via it’s donors’) investment in the
product itself can be mis-portrayed, creating an analogous situation,
where TDF presents itself (perhaps with the help of some volunteers)
as the creators of LibreOffice – ignoring the formidable contributions
of Sun/Oracle, volunteers and present day corporate contributors.
Other projects: brand sharing open-source companies
An extremely popular model used to drive lead generation is visible
in many open source projects which have single corporate stewards, for
example Nextcloud, ownCloud, pydio, seafile and many many more. We are
reasonably familiar with this approach from the OpenOffice days – and
when done well – it can yield a flow of leads, and user interest in
support and services around an open source project – but only to one
In this model – there are many advantages, not least from cheap or
free conference attendance representing the (often identically named)
open source project and widespread free advertising of your brand. The
easy answer to the question “Why give all this away for free” is that
every eyeball, every user will come to the owners, creators &
authors to get support and services – by following the brand. This is
why you see ‘Buy’, ‘Pricing’, ‘Enterprise Version’ and other such
critical lead generating links prominently placed on brand sharing
open source companies project pages.
TDF in contrast is a vendor-neutral project – and as such,
directing all LibreOffice leads to a single company is neither
desirable, nor sensible. We'll look in more detail
at how TDF's marketing works in practice next time.
to be continued ...
To make this more digestible following sections will be serialized
later, and built up into a reference-able whole here:
adding more flesh to the problem space
All Saints; Marcus & Zoe over for lunch - good to see them.
Poked at E's computer in the evening - odd HDMI sound mis-detection; hmm.
Mail chew; N. out for a swim - and N.B. over for a
sleep-over. Tied the house, packed away Xmas decorations,
re-organized stowage. Watched The Martian in the
Calls; plugged away at unit testing. Pair of long calls.
Admin; lots of it. Discovered my Mac Mini 2011 - won't run the latest
OSX; poked at XCode autotools to attempt with an older Mac/XCode. Customer
feedback / product feature ranking for next round of investment.
This continues a series of items on Vendor Neutral FLOSS projects and
how they do marketing which you can read here.
The shape of our ecosystem - what is sold ?
In order to understand how we can best shape the ecosystem to drive
LibreOffice’s success – it is helpful to understand first what
products and services companies currently sell, and then consider how
we want to shape the environment that they adapt to to encourage
behaviors that we want.
Consultancy / Professional Services
Perhaps the most obvious contribution to LibreOffice is that of
consultancy. A user has a problem, a budget, finds someone to fix it
for them, contracts with them to address this issue, and then to
contribute this back to LibreOffice.
A consultancy model at first glance appears to fit well with FLOSS
development, and indeed there are several successful FLOSS
consultancies in the market (of which Collabora is one). However there
are a number of significant problems with the consultancy business
- Investment & Scaling – the creation and scaling of new
consultancies is extremely tricky and risky, which has an impact on
investment. Try to find a Venture Capitalist who wants to start a new,
risky, low-margin consultancy.
- Margins – typical margins on consultancy are low with net margins
in the region of 15-20% (cf. 2018
Professional Services Maturity Benchmark). This makes re-investment, and future
investment problematic. Margins are significantly smaller when
tendering – good for the purchaser, but providing less money for
- Estimation - the literature on the trials of estimation,
project management and so on is extremely extensive. Newspapers are
littered with examples of projects overruns and failures by vast
blue-chip consultancies. Even an excellent consultancy that delivers
on time & to budget, has a challenging task - particularly when
considering the previous point on margin. Can you estimate to within
20% how much resource a software project takes ? how about 50% ?
- Timelines – a typical consultancy timeline is outlined
below. Frequently a very small amount of work takes an inordinate
amount of sales, business development, and contractual time compared
with the amount of work done. This is particularly true for smaller
contracts of a few weeks of work.
- Overruns – Fixed Cost projects even those estimated and
managed by extremely experienced consultants have a very significant
risk of over-running (costing more than expected to deliver on time),
eating into already thin margins.
- Pipelining – due to the long sales cycle, it is necessary
to have a large number of consultancy projects on the go at once to
fill gaps. This is familiar to many people who have ever hired a
- Tail maintenance – due to the long cycle time of releases,
and community feedback it is normal to find regression bugs long after
the work is performed, paid for and the next (of many) projects
commenced. Finding time & resource to manage to address these is
often a challenge particularly when they do not affect the original
- Staffing – the consultancy pipeline is highly cyclical
moving from feast to famine rapidly. This makes it hard to staff and
start projects at some times, and with an excess of staff at other
times. In addition aggressive deadlines, overlapping projects,
handling cost overruns and so on can be very hard on staff involved
making hiring and retention interesting.
- Risk – trying to scale a consultancy has been likened to
driving faster in the fog. You still have a similar visibility into
your sales pipeline (of a few weeks) – but a much larger salary bill
to pay each month. Doing larger, longer-term projects sounds good -
but can substantially increase estimation risk.
- Late Payment – after signing it is often the case that the
work is substantially done, sometimes having been started at-risk in
advance to meet a customers deadline. That means that the pre-payment
(invoice + thirty days) is often paid after the work is complete (as
shown above). Furthermore, even when the work is complete to
everyone’s satisfaction, and the work validated and invoiced correctly
– customers frequently substantially fail to meet their own payment
deadlines through no fault of the consultant. Excuses range from the
honest: “we’d prefer to pay you next quarter” to the more
contrived “we’re just changing our payment software” and are
rather common. When to publish the source code under a FLOSS license
vs. that timeline is also an interesting risk factor.
The above timeline is reasonably accurate for a government
procurement cycle, although these can be distended by framework
tendering, followed by separate individual contract tendering – as
well as extended validation periods (‘A’). Interestingly, this is not
dissimilar to TDF’s own contracting cycle. It also omits a common “Try
to get it done for free by filing up-stream without a corporate
address” latency of some months.
For these and other reasons (it already being quite exciting enough
to hire, motivate and manage creative developers) - many consultancies
desire a product based business, where a product is sold and paid for
in advance. This gives the luxury of a considered and deliberate view
of improving the product in partnership with a customer over a horizon
of years, blended of course with some bespoke development as/when
On the plus side, some consulting relationships are more like a
product relationship with a committed and predictable volume of work,
and staffing over a long duration. These however are rather rare and
Product – with Product Management & Long term support
For many of the reasons outlined, TDF has traditionally left space
for the ecosystem to provide the (relatively tedious) job of providing
Long Term Supported versions. This frees the volunteer community up to
focus on developing new feature, and also creates a
scarcity. Distributors then meet provide a solution for this scarcity
by selling access to branded versions of LTS support and manintenance
services – with various licensing, often on a per-seat basis. This
money can then be re-invested into product development.
Selling a product (such as an LTS version) provides the ability to
sell a branded bundle of software and services, with a Service Level
Agreement (SLA). It allows an open source company to aggregate the
pre-payments of many customers, solicit their input on the product,
and prioritize investing into relevant areas for them. Critically
products are usually pre-purchased up-front for a duration of small
integer multiples of years. As such a degree of stability, and
strategic planning can enter the product development process. In
addition – the consultant’s dream of doing the same work to serve
multiple customers concurrently can finally be realized:
Supported product / Level 3 (code-fix) SLA
An elaboration on providing a generic supported product is to
provide an SLA for fixing customer bugs – this can be used as a
special case of the above to contrast vs. the consultancy approach.
It allows you to having specific problems addressed to your timeline:
Proprietary extensions / Open Core
Some companies sell a LibreOffice augmented with proprietary
extensions in an open-core type model. These companies can then
re-invest that revenue, however the temptation and incentive is always
to invest substantially in improving the proprietary pieces and not
into the open core: since doing so provides the highest Return On
Investment (ROI). While this model may improve awareness of
LibreOffice as an option it does little to improve LibreOffice itself.
It has been tried extensively by IBM, Sun, RedFlag and a number of
other players past and present - without notable success. The open
core approach tends to focus the community's work on duplicating the
proprietary pieces - and is not a behavior we want to encourage in our
Why companies (and individuals invest)
Having explained the ways that FLOSS friendly companies build and
sell products and services around the LibreOffice ecosystem – it is
perhaps useful to consider why companies (or individuals) invest in
anything. This might be thought obvious, but in a world where the
evils of “Profits” are called out combined in the same breath as calls
for more “Investment” perhaps this is a helpful thing to consider.
All of us when putting money into a bank consider the interest rate
provided. We are interested[sic] in getting more money back than we
put in, and even with low rates – you expect to get your money back,
plus something. Investing in LibreOffice (or any vendor neutral
project) however is a substantially riskier proposition – the easy
part is paying developers to implement cool new features. The hard
part is seeing your original money back – nevermind any extra return
(profit) to re-invest.
Clearly TDF is interested in having many vendors invest into
LibreOffice – so we need to have well thought through answers ahead of
time on how that results in a return. That return has to be larger
than what went in, those who lose money (path B) will after time
simply not invest any more: to do otherwise would be the definition of
madness (or an altruism we can’t expect in a normal business). The
upper feedback loop via path ‘A’ has a doubly virtuous appeal. Having
got their money back, with some additional compensation for the risk,
it is likely that this money will be re-invested and encourage further
additional investment with it – in expectation of future returns. The
ideal is that this leads to a virtuous circle of significant and
growing investment into LibreOffice and other vendor neutral projects
- something we want to see.
As a footnote – with existing rather marginal returns – questions
such as “Why are you not investing in my great idea for
LibreOffice?” often seem to be based on some mis-apprehensions
about the balance between A. and B. and companies ability to
re-investment into their product.
Anyhow – next time we will look at the magic linkage between the easy
bit: investing into LibreOffice, the hard bit: making some money back
symbolized by the green arrows above.
to be continued ...
To make this more digestible following sections will be serialized
later, and built up into a reference-able whole here:
adding more flesh to the problem space
L - possible ear infection impacting flights; got an app't for
her, mail chew, bid a fond 'bye to dear Brother, Sister-in-law and babes.
Lunch. Christmas tear-down, and/or re-configuration of the house variously.
More mail & admin.
Against the backdrop of a number of companies getting ‘cute’ with
licensing, to attempt to encourage companies who use their software to
re-invest into the product; vendor neutral non-profits that steward
the project, trademark and other assets while allowing many parties
to invest - seem increasingly attractive to sustain software beyond
its (often) VC fuelled
birth. LibreOffice is
hosted by just such a
project The Document
Foundation (TDF) – and this is a huge strength.
Unfortunately, there are also very significant impacts on how a
commercial ecosystem can be grown and sustained around such vendor
neutral projects – particularly as relates to encouraging ongoing
corporate investment into such projects. This paper (which I will
serialize into several sections and re-aggregate here) – examines this
space and I’ll try to keep it somewhat alive by incorporating
feedback. This also exists to inform a wider discussion in the
LibreOffice community along these lines.
Let me start with a quote from
Sources”: from a section
Young (founder of RedHat) entitled “How Do You Make Money in
"No one expects it to be easy to make
money in free software. While making money with free software is a
challenge, the challenge is not necessarily greater than with
proprietary software. In fact you make money in free software exactly
the same way you do it in proprietary software: by building a great
product, marketing it with skill and imagination, looking after
your customers, and thereby building a brand that stands for quality and
It is hard not to subscribe to this view, seeing RedHat’s
extraordinary success over many years. Unfortunately – when this is
applied to a vendor neutral project such as LibreOffice – encouraging
companies to invest in TDF’s brand and project, if marketed
unhelpfully, can achieve the opposite – of obscuring the brand of
those investing into the project - damaging everyone involved.
This paper is written from my perspective both from running
Collabora Productivity (whereby I have a clear interest in growing our
piece of the ecosystem) and also as a long standing Director of The
Document Foundation (with an interest in growing the whole ecosystem),
and as a long term FLOSS contributor (with an interest in nurturing a
sustainable ecosystem around all Free Software). With lots of hats -
things can become unclear; I try to talk here with my TDF hat on here;
so 'our' means 'TDF & the LibreOffice project'. Of course, I speak only
for myself – not for TDF.
While this may have wider application, and is presented in the hope
that it will be more generally useful, this paper will argue that the
way LibreOffice is positioned by The Document Foundation (TDF) is at
times counter-productive to its mission, and that its focus needs to
change. A new focus should be to give significantly more emphasis to
growing and crediting the community and ecosystem – both volunteer and
commercial, and away from product marketing.
Do we really need to make money / get investment ?
One of the exciting things about working in LibreOffice is the
abundance of genuinely good ideas from lots of eager contributors for
ways to improve the software with interesting new features, better
interoperability or quality, as well as good ideas of new market
segments to target, and even new top-level applications.
While there is no particular reason why any of these ideas needs to
be funded by monetary investment from a corporate ecosystem – they do
need significant investment from somewhere. Large numbers of Volunteers
make a very significant and much appreciated contribution to LibreOffice
in very many areas – eg. the vast majority of translations are from
volunteers, and around a third of code
commits for example. However, for larger, more heavy-lifting pieces of
functionality, very significant investment in architecture, design,
mentoring as well as lots of sustained implementation time is required –
and without this many of these ideas simply do not make it.
It will be argued that by shaping our ecosystem carefully – we can
encourage the behaviors we most want: particularly that of encouraging
companies to invest into FLOSS product improvement, and thus of
maximizing user freedom.
One of these shapings is to have an explicit, crisp and clear
delineation between TDF’s provision of a product for consumers, and
the ecosystem’s provision of products for larger organizations and
enterprises. It will be argued that by shaping this sensibly – we can
build confidence in an ecosystem that can attract significant
(re-)investment from the commercial ecosystem.
Rather than focusing on the negatives, and/or fixed investment
necessary to keep LibreOffice alive and improving, I will take it as
read that we need to encourage further significant investment to
No substantial changes will ultimately be proposed for the existing
LibreOffice development and release process, mostly tweaks to
marketing. This is a lengthy paper – please bear with it; hopefully it
provides a useful basis for discussing the ultimate conclusions.
How LibreOffice is currently made
This article focuses heavily on code contribution – as the primary,
and most difficult form of contribution to attract, motivate and
encourage. This is where Sun/Oracle and many other corporately owned &
driven projects failed. Building a large, diverse, and vendor neutral
set of code contributors is critical to the sustainability of
LibreOffice. The interest in code contribution is also based on it
being reasonably easy to measure. Clearly the project has hugely
valuable development contributions elsewhere in the form of UX, QA,
documentation, translation and of course non-development contributions
such as answering questions, marketing, board work and much more.
Nevertheless – it is useful to consider how LibreOffice is created
today, along with some of the underlying economics that drive that -
with a picture of the economic and code contribution flows in our
A poor alternative – TDF as a business
TDF currently avoids competing with its commercial
ecosystem. However, in some other projects there is a monolithic
single commercial entity (such as Mozilla) that applies its brand and
assets to selling services. While the existing TDF structures for
awarding contracts, managing tenders, risk profile and staffing are
committee based and far from fast, or efficient – (and also selling
services may conflict with TDF’s mission) - it might be possible to
imagine TDF selling LibreOffice professional services or long term
support – and effectively using its brand to sterilize and/or absorb
the ecosystem completely.
While a centrally planned, monolithic entity may be attractive to
some, it is unclear that its cost and organizational structures will
be able to exploit and meet all of the needs of an extremely diverse,
global potential customer base at many price-points, and re-invest
that into LibreOffice.
In this eventuality it is clear that few-to-no companies will
invest significantly in growing a high risk consultancy business that
serves a single customer: TDF. As such, there will be no investment
beyond what TDF can itself bring in, and the ecosystem will rapidly
collapse into TDF significantly expanding its staff and exposing it to
the many risks and down-sides of consultancy as business discussed
Revenue flows are presented as static and just re-directed – while
it is likely that proprietary use of the LibreOffice brand to drive a
TDF business may clarify the need for enterprises to pay and
significantly increase revenue, the challenges of hiring, motivating
and engaging a sales and technical management team may prove
A poor alternative - Free as in beer
This scenario imagines a world where TDF provides everything from
source code to a Long Term Supported release for free – where
‘Support’ means essentially fixing critical, security bug fixes. That
involves incremental cost - currently the creation of such security
fixes is done by companies funded by their enterprise customers.
This approach – of TDF producing, and sharing a “LibreOffice LTS”
release and giving something labelled ‘support’ away for free has a
number of other problems. A few of these are:
LibreOffice has hugely benefited from its predictable, time-based
release train. This combined with monthly patch updates provides a
great base-line for anyone to build their product from and a good
support horizon for consumers of around six months. Our distributors
and users can choose a version to package and deploy and then provide
versions supported for around thirty-six to sixty months. For TDF to
support every release as LTS – would require significant incremental
TDF release engineering staff to build and update six to ten branches
in place of two. The obvious solution to this is then to follow
eg. the Ubuntu candence and do an LTS release every two years or so
reducing the cost to an extra one or two version. However – the
scheduling question then becomes: which of our valued contributors
gets to have the latest LTS freeeze closest to their timeline ?
Pragmatically – currently it is the case that freshness of version at
release seems to trump all other concerns of sharing development
work. Picking an old tree for your LTS potentially increases costs
significantly by extending the period that you’re significantly behind
the community’s shared development on the latest version.
Risk management / patch inclusion
Assuming the scheduling problem can be solved – there is still the
problem of managing risk. Since each party has a different risk
profile and set of requirements – it will be necessary to forge some
compromise. For example one party may want writer layout changes for a
critical business feature, while another may want significant
main-loop changes, another new custom toolkit work, and another COM
integration. These scheduling problems become even more acute when it
is realized that if a feature is not included into the “TDF LTS” - the
binaries of which are what is marketed to and recommended for use in
enterprises, then the feature will not be available in an LTS for
another (say) 2years. Existing compromise mechanisms work reasonably
well in the ESC for managing conflicting views here, in theory large
back-ports are possible with triple review from diverse entities,
however a TDF LTS version would inevitably introduce significant
Justifying staff investment
Aligning LTS release schedules, and creating the idea that
Enterprise LTS versions are available for free would have at least two
perverse impacts that harm the project.
Firstly it would drastically reduce the perceived value of
distribution packagers who provide a critical support and editorial
role (and also do the security work for the whole project). There
would be an increase in the practice of doing no significant
investment in LibreOffice capacity while pretending you can support
the project, and relying on TDF or the community to do that for you
putting at risk a couple of our remaining core distribution
Secondly schedule mis-alignment provides an incentive to compete
and to invest – in (at least transient) differentiating value that
then gets folded back into LibreOffice. Not only shipping community
features first, but improving on them. Removing this by co-ordinating
release schedules reduces the incentive to invest.
Thus producing a free, commodity LibreOffice branded LTS
distribution by trying to align everyone doing support onto the same
LTS branch, is likely to create significant conflict, and create
further risk for investment.
Lastly – it is highly unclear why the large number of consumers
each donating a small sum should have their donations invested in
producing a free enterprise version of LibreOffice which (in turn)
enables enterprise users (who donate almost nothing) to avoid
contributing anything to LibreOffice themselves.
Unfortunately our current download page strays into portraying the
TDF provided ‘stable’ release as suitable for enterprise use (albeit
in press releases the requirement for adding support is
mentioned). The current text is: “If you deploy LibreOffice in an
enterprise or corporate environment or are a conservative user, please
choose this version.” This is rather unhelpful.
to be continued ...
To make this more digestible the next sections will be serialized
later, and built up into a reference-able whole here:
adding more flesh to the problem space
Up late, slugging, out to Lackford Lakes with the wider family;
nice walk, fun. Becky cooked a nice meal, relaxed together & chatted
with R&A too.
My content in this blog and associated images / data under
data/ directories are (usually)
created by me and (unless obviously labelled otherwise) are licensed under
the public domain, and/or if that doesn't float your boat a CC0
license. I encourage linking back (of course) to help people decide for
themselves, in context, in the battle for ideas, and I love fixes /
improvements / corrections by private mail.
In case it's not painfully obvious: the reflections reflected here are my
own; mine, all mine ! and don't reflect the views of Collabora, SUSE,
Novell, The Document Foundation, Spaghetti Hurlers (International),
or anyone else.
It's also important to realise that I'm not in on the Swedish Conspiracy.
Occasionally people ask for formal photos for conferences
Michael Meeks (firstname.lastname@example.org)