On Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 4:20 AM, Charles-H.Schulz
The "group" aka the foundation, decided after much discussions with
service providers and experts on LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org
deployments and migrations to start this certification programme. It
goes way back to the OpenOffice.org days where most of the potential for
OpenOffice.org migrations could not be fulfilled because potential
customers were either not confident on picking the right supplier for
such services or actually got in trouble when it realized it had been
sold some expertise the supplier didn't have.
First, thank you for answering my question without being defensive.
These are valid concerns on all sides of the issue.
So this is a problem of vendors not being able to generate trust among
clients. This isn't unusual. That is the challenge of trying to
catch up to a perceived market leader.
Again, it begs the question; if a client does not trust a vendor, why
should it trust some anonymous "certifying" body? These are things
that people say to make salespeople go away.
Certification doesn't really solve this issue. Finding what the
hidden objections are, developing an unambiguous specification
that satisfy these objections, and providing proof of correct
implementation, do address them.
At least in Europe -but I also know it took place in other parts of the
world such as Asia- you had IT companies pretending to be experts in
OpenOffice.org migrations that were able to win tenders and actually
never executed on the parts relevant to the expertise around
At the same time there was a clear call from smaller IT companies to
gain some status and transparence on who in the business was doing what.
Some modest attempts to that happened during these years, but they were
clearly insufficient. But anyway you looked at this, the feedback from
customers and suppliers was clear: the ecosystem just was not able to
grow despite clear (and growing) demand and vendor/service provider
certification was requested.
Were these vendors actual contributors to the codebase, market
research, or documentation? I still don't see how
"certification" will make dishonest people honest.
LO is a *free* product. Buyers can have technically competent staff
install and test the product for themselves. Part of the value added
strategy is to develop the specification *with* the buyer, and address
needs they do not see.
Now to your other question: should TDF focus on code development and
extensions? Well it could and it is essentially what it is doing these
days. But honestly we need to grow our reach and fix the mess that
years of OpenOffice.org interaction with business was not able to deal
with. You seem to be wary of TDF making a profit here;
Absolutely not. I have *no* problems with anyone making a profit.
For all my complaints on this issue, the TDF does good work, and I
want to see it succeed. It could make more money with less effort by
raising cash to incentivize other developers to open source their
extensions into the codebase.
Ie. Suppose I develop a voice activated, context editor for LO. I can
sell the extension to those who want it, and keep the source private.
I could also sell the extension, keep the source private until some
threshhold amount is raised, and the TDF gets a percentage of it, I
get the rest, and release the source code.
There are other ways to raise revenue from vendors of LO extensions
and support that do not suffer from the drawbacks of the certification
This particular aspect of the plan galls me:
"Certification will be attributed to individuals who have demonstrated
their skills by participating to the community, or who have followed a
certification training and have passed the final test. Certification
will last for 24 calendar months from the time of the test, and will
be renewed for another 24 months by following another certification
training and passing the relevant test before (three months) or after
(three months) the expiration date.
The fee for the certification renewal will be 25% lower than the full
certification fee. Individuals who will not follow the training or who
will fail the test will lose the certified status, and will have to go
through the entire certification process (including the payment of the
full certification fee)"
I will provide support via code, documentation, marketing, promotion,
and fund raising OR I will provide money. I *will not* pay to work
TDF is indeed not for profit -but does it mean it is for loss? Clearly, if we ever
make profits from certification (something I'm not sure of) it will at
least create resources we are in dire need of. We need funds for
infrastructure, marketing on a global level and many other things.
I agree with this, but it is rather self-defeating to go around and
spread a marketing message that implies people who are not "certified"
in LO, but actively help develop and contribute to it, are
Some arguments against certifications:
IT Certifications are Worthless
Do Certifications Matter
License My Dog, but not Me
Top 10 Problems with IT Certifications
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