The demand for productivity software seems to be endless, and as new products and paradigms for digital documents arise seemingly every month, one Open Source app holds on to a sizable marketshare of at least 150 million users. I refer, of course, to LibreOffice and derivative solutions (of which there are many), which is Governed and published by a German non-profit organisation named The Document Foundation.
This Foundation has a fascinating history fraught with intrigue, and required the invention of a [DE] new legal structure in Germany to serve it’s purpose. History aside, it’s Board of Directors, who are responsible for oversight of executive activity, is re-elected by the Foundation’s Members (another legal body, made up of active LibreOffice contributors), every two years. The time of the election is nigh!
And so after some consideration and encouragement by Foundation Grandees, I submitted my candidacy for this election with seconds to spare, have had to complete a last minute booking for a Startup Mentoring trip in Cairo.
Here is my statement, in the format required by the Foundation’s Membership committee who oversee such elections (bold and links added).
Full name: Samuel John Wilson Tuke
Corporate affiliation: None
74 words statement
The Document Foundation has proven that independent, community-centric organisations can thrive. However LibreOffice faces significant challenges regarding product competitiveness, commercial investment, and ecosystem diversity. If elected, I will use my influence to increase the variety and competitiveness of LibreOffice businesses, encouraging jobs and new products, to better serve our community’s needs. I bring experience and qualifications in business, marketing, and product management, 16 years in Free Software, and have led for and non-profit organisations.
As section § 2 of its statutes say, The Document Foundation’s goals are achieved first by providing software. This software faces new competition on every platform, from both Free and non-Free alternatives. Through generous donations from the community, the Foundation is able to sponsor feature development a few times each year.
But to be competitive, a thriving ecosystem of LibreOffice companies and products need to be cooperatively investing in improving the applications we know and love. I believe that more can be done to harness the benefits of such an ecosystem for LibreOffice users current and future, and if elected I shall work to that end.
Simultaneously I will encourage additional support of communities which are of strategic significance to LibreOffice, in particular relating to quality assurance, localisation, and documentation, all of which contribute work which is critical for reaching new LibreOffice users.
Finally, as an independent candidate in this election, not involved with any LibreOffice company or the upcoming Document Collective (TDC), I am well positioned to represent long term community interests, mediate between parties, and pursue sustainable strategic goals.
Four years ago I ceased marketing LibreOffice products full time and took over management of phpList — a Free Software marketing automation company. Since then I have remained a contributor to the LibreOffice marketing team, and occasionally delivered LibreOffice talks at events.
I have experience leading my own firms, as well as having previously supported the board of the Free Software Foundation Europe, and served on the board of the OpenSpace Cooperative in England.
Berlin has been my home since 2010, where I live with my girlfriend (we met at the Open Source Albania conference in Tirana in 2016). I’m also a startup mentor to entrepreneurs in Ghana, Nigera, and Egypt, and graduated last year with an MBA as Entrepreneurial scholar at the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin.