EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.26.12

Charles-H. Schulz Speaks About Mandriva, Openoffice.org, and LibreOffice

Posted in IBM, Mandriva, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An interview with the Open Source Relations Manager of Mandriva, one who is boasting a pivotal role in the free office suites space

MR. Charles-H. Schulz is prominent in the Free/open source world and he is no stranger to Techrights. 4 years ago we wrote about him in relation to ODF advocacy and a year later we interviewed him. Recently, Charles got an appointment at Mandriva and last week he also got married. We decided to catch up and learn more about Mandriva, Openoffice.org, and LibreOffice.

Techrights: Please explain to us your role in Mandriva.

Charles-H. Schulz: My official title is “Open Source Relations Manager”. My role is to help with the general open source strategy of Mandriva SA, and that implies several levels of involvement, either with the community or with the corporate level as well.

How does one go about transitioning from a corporate-centric model into a community-based one?

The answer is both simple and complex at the same time. Let’s define the terms here for the sake of clarity. A corporate centric model of open source governance, or better, a corporate centric model of FOSS project is a model where one corporation defines the project, is supposed to reap the benefits out of it, has a weak governance structure, and where most of the contributors are individuals who contribute to the project are individuals who are employed by the said corporation or by its affiliates.

“It’s a model that allows for a diversity of stakeholders to get involved at various levels of the project, from the contributor to the leadership.”A community-centric model is not a model where there are no corporations around. It’s a model that allows for a diversity of stakeholders to get involved at various levels of the project, from the contributor to the leadership. It is also a model where the governance structure tends to be more defined, because the project is actually much more independent and does not rest on one sponsor for most of its resources and contributors.

So how do we transition from the former to the latter is by assessing what the main sponsor can offer, and by setting up a governance structure that allows a diversity of contributors to get involved. The resources question here is crucial. What do we need? How many servers? What’s the migration process? And of course, what’s the governance, and how do we make the new project truly independent from the former sponsor (regardless of the friendly or unfriendly relationship with this sponsor)?

I think the keyword here is “contributor”. If you have enough contributors outside the main sponsor who are coming from diverse affiliations, then you have a sustainable project.

That’s the kind of questions we have been studying on the 19th of June in Paris together with the Mandriva Linux community representatives. I think the results are very encouraging, and that we manage to make sense of what we want to do, how we are going to do it and why we do it; now we are entering the actual phase of work, and we’ll try to keep this committee work effective while trying to involve the community at large on specific areas.

What office suite does Mandriva use by default and why?

Mandriva uses LibreOffice by default. And if you ask why, it’s simply because it’s the best free office suite ever.

You have had experience ushering a community from one project (OpenOffice.org) to another (LibreOffice) amid times of uncertainty and great risk. Are these are parallels to this case?

I think there are, although here we have the main sponsor, Mandriva SA, who is very open about the reasons why it can no longer sustain a Linux distribution project on its own, and therefore is working directly with the community to make an independent project emerge. That’s the main difference. There are parallels though that tend to be more subtle: What we’re trying to achieve, just like with the transition from Openoffice.org to LibreOffice, is a culture shift from “it will get done by someone else” to “we must do it”. In other words, there is the same demand and urge to set up a fully meritocratic system.

How is collaboration between OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice coming along?

You mean between Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice? Because Openoffice.org is dead, and it had several children. The collaboration is limited on practical terms because of the licensing differences, but we are rebasing our code on the latest Apache OpenOffice in order to be able to have a cleaner licensed base. Right now, we must still deal with the LGPL v3, and while it’s a great licence it cannot change over time; so we have embarked in a relicensing effort towards MPL v2 and GPL v3+ and we are looking forward the interesting switch at Apache OpenOffice from the Openoffice.org codebase to the Symphony codebase; there will certainly be some code we might be able to reuse. Although, when you come to think of it, it’s funny to enter the Apache Incubation Process with one software you’re inheriting, and to use a different software you’ve also inherited just after the incubation process is completed :-)

Mandriva was once one of the most used (if not the most used) distributions of GNU/Linux. Where would you position the distribution on those terms in 2012?

“What we will end up seeing in 2012 and onwards, is a great community powered distribution that’s separate from the company itself; and the company offering a range of Linux-powered products and platforms for the enterprise and the education market.”Let’s face it, the Mandriva Linux distribution was for years the most widely used distribution around. It’s not the case anymore. Several changes happen in the GNU/Linux distribution market and Mandriva never really caught them. It’s not so much that the distribution became outdated: if anything, using Mandriva today, or its fork, Mageia, shows just as advanced, beautiful and user-friendly the distribution is. But the alignment between a sound corporate strategy and the community side of things was never really thought of until now. What we will end up seeing in 2012 and onwards, is a great community powered distribution that’s separate from the company itself; and the company offering a range of Linux-powered products and platforms for the enterprise and the education market. So if anything, you’ll see more of Mandriva as a corporate distribution, and more of the Mandriva Linux community as a community distribution; there is no fork here, but a friendly and productive relationship with no exclusive reliance on each other.

Congratulations on the wedding. Have you gotten the wife using GNU/Linux yet?

Charles-H. Schulz and wifeOh, when I met Melissa she was already using the Gimp on Windows. She’s a very creative individual, and a few months after the beginning of our relationship, her old laptop broke. I introduced her to GNU/Linux; she used various distributions: Ubuntu for a long time, but also Mandriva, and now she’s a very happy Fedora user. I should also add that she created all of our wedding decorations, from the menus to the walls,
with the Gimp; she’s a poweruser of the Gimp and there are several community members, including me, who approached her asking whether she’d be interested in providing video tutorials for the project.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 25/4/2015: Debian LTS Plans, Turing Phone Runs Linux

    Links for the day



  2. Who Kills Yahoo? It's Microsoft, Not Yahoo!

    The media should blame Microsoft, not Marissa Mayer, for what's going on (and has been going on for 7 years) at Yahoo!



  3. EPO Management is Trying Hard to Appease Its Critics While Pushing Forth Unitary Patent Agenda

    The European Patent Office and European Commission promote the agenda of large multinational corporations (at the expense or European citizens) and critics are being kept at bay



  4. Real Patent Reform Will Not Come From Biggest Backers of GNU/Linux, Not Even Google

    A look at the 'new' Google, the company which is hoarding patents (2,566 last year alone) instead of fighting for reform



  5. Microsoft's Troll Intellectual Ventures Loses Software Patents

    Intellectual Ventures is bluffing with software patents, but this time around it doesn't get its way



  6. Links 24/4/2015: Ubuntu and Variants in the News, Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1

    Links for the day



  7. Links 23/4/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 is Out, Debian 8.0 Out Very Soon

    Links for the day



  8. Links 22/4/2015: Fedora 22 Beta, Atlassian Acquires BlueJimp

    Links for the day



  9. The Dying Debate Over Patent Scope (Including Software Patents) Replaced by 'Trolls' (But Not the Biggest Ones)

    The corporate media and Web sites or people who are funded by large corporations have essentially suppressed any debate about issues in the patent granting process, thereby guarding software patents and preventing criticism of large corporations' power grab



  10. The Patents Gold Rush Continues

    The morbid obsession with monopolising mere ideas still dominates the media, even increasingly in China



  11. 9 Millionth US Patent Tells a Story of Failure and USPTO Misconduct

    The USPTO, much like FISA (notorious court for surveillance/espionage authorisation), has become a rubber-stamping operation rather than a patents examination centre, as new evidence and old evidence serve to show



  12. HBO Helps Shift Debate Over Patents to 'Trolls' (Scale), Not Scope

    More of that awkward shifting of the patent debate towards small actors who are misusing patents, not large conglomerates like Apple and Microsoft which use patents to destroy competitors, crush startups, drive up prices, and so on



  13. Software Patents Are Still Menacing to Free Software: OIN Expands Scope, HEVC Adds to MPEG-LA Burden/Tax, Google and Facebook Give in on Patents

    A look at recent news about software patents and especially Free/libre software, which is inherently incompatible with them



  14. The Latest Developments Around Microsoft's Clever Attack on Android/Linux

    Microsoft's campaign of destruction, extortion, etc. against the most widely used Linux-powered operating system is revisited in light of new reports



  15. The Microsoft 'Community' is Maligning the Free Software Community

    Dishonest generalisations and baseless deductions portray the Free/Open Source software communities as a nasty place that leads to poverty and despair



  16. Googlebombing 'Microsoft Open Source' Even When Microsoft Shuts Down Its 'Open Source' Proxy

    A massive failure by the press to cover the most basic news, which is Microsoft putting an end to a supposedly 'Open Source' effort



  17. Links 22/4/2015: Calculate Linux 14.16, SparkyLinux 4.0 RC KDE

    Links for the day



  18. Links 21/4/2015: Project Photon, Ubuntu Touch Buzz

    Links for the day



  19. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish: How Microsoft Plans to Get Rid of Linux/Android

    Microsoft's sheer abuse against Android is laying bare for everyone to see now that Microsoft has paralysed Google's legal department with potential antitrust action in Europe



  20. Yahoo's Current CEO (Mayer, Formerly of Google) is Trying to End Yahoo! Status as Microsoft Proxy

    There are signs of relinquishing Microsoft's control over Yahoo! after Marissa Mayer worked to end the company's suicidal/abusive relationship with Steve Ballmer's Microsoft



  21. Repeating Microsoft's Lies Without Any Journalistic Assessment

    Poor fact-checking by relatively large media/news sites results in Microsoft's patently false claims being repeated uncritically



  22. Links 19/4/2015: New KaOS (2015.04), Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 Pre1

    Links for the day



  23. Links 18/4/2015: ExTiX 15.2, RaspArch

    Links for the day



  24. Microsoft Tired of Pretending to be Nice to Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), Microsoft 'Open' Technologies Dumped

    Microsoft dumps its proxy (misleadingly named 'Open Tech') and other attacks on Free software persist from the inside, often through so-called 'experts' whose agenda is to sell proprietary software



  25. More Translations of French Article About the EPO

    German and Dutch translations of the Le Monde article are now available



  26. Links 17/4/2015: Wipro and the Netherlands Want FOSS

    Links for the day



  27. Microsoft's Multi-Dimensional Assault on Android/Linux: Extortion, Lobbying of Regulators, and Bribes

    Microsoft's vicious war on Linux (and Android in its current incarnation) takes more sophisticated -- albeit illegal (as per the RICO Act) -- forms



  28. Microsoft's Plot to Associate Windows with 'Open Source' is Proving Effective, Despite Being Just a Big Lie

    A look at the latest headlines which can lead to a false perception that Microsoft is now in bed with 'Open Source'



  29. Microsoft Windows Remotely Crashed, Remotely Hijacked, But Still No Logo and No Branding for the Bugs

    Windows maintains its reputation as a back doors haven, but the media is still not highlighting the severity of this issue, instead focusing on accidental bugs in Free software, even very old (and already fixed) bugs



  30. Black Duck's Latest Self-Promotional Propaganda (for Proprietary Software) Still Fools Journalists

    Under the traditionally misleading title "Future of Open Source" Black Duck expresses its desire for proprietary software sales, salivating over fearful managers who may get bamboozled into buying the patents-'protected' Black Duck 'product'


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts