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December 3rd, 2011

Putting your money where your mouth is


The end of the year coming nearer and traditionally this is the time for donations to charities and for just causes. And while I am not usually a guy caring much about traditions, LibreOffice and the Document Foundation is a just cause that I firmly believe in. So, to put my money where my mouth is, I just donated 220 Euro (or 5 Euro for each week I am on the project) to the Document Foundation. I dont know if that is much or little and honestly I dont care that much really.

Quite a few people are donating 5 or 10 Euro to the Document Foundation and that is not too little or unimportant. I even think these are the contributions that count most, as there is strength in numbers. The Document Foundation was founded on the believe that is not only possible to develop a competing productivity suite as open source, but also to do so independent from any one single vendor or supporter. So huge numbers of small donations as opposed to bigger donations from a selected few support the very idea that the Document Foundation stands for.

And there is even some evidence that the long tail of individuals interested and contributing to the project each for maybe completely different reasons can make the project much stronger than focusing on a single consumer of the product(*). The most impressive evidence of this thesis is the creation of Unix in the way it was able to change the world. It was an accident, as the unusual circumstances of its birth prevented it to be choked by sort sighted commercial interest in the beginning and instead allowed the creation of a hugely successful broader ecosystem:

In 1956, AT&T had agreed to a U.S government consent decree that prevented the company from selling products not directly related to telephones and telecommunications, in return for its legal monopoly status in running the country's long-distance phone service. So Unix could not be sold as a product. Instead, AT&T released the Unix source code under license to anyone who asked, charging only a nominal fee.

And the rest is history.

So, if you think that any or all of the following is true:

  • LibreOffice is a very important open source project that needs your support.
  • LibreOffice can and should get much better still.
  • LibreOffice is important for the success of the open source desktop as a whole.
  • LibreOffice is important for the success of the open source ecosystem as a whole.

please join me and make your contribution today. Dont worry about the amount, every bit counts. And finally: Tell others about it -- it will motivate them to join us!

Note: All of this is my personal opinion and does not have to reflect the position my employer or the Document Foundation.

(*) Who is a figment of the mind anyway given the variety of options that LibreOffice offers.

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sweetshark
Bjoern Michaelsen
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