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Le Fri, 27 Apr 2012 05:19:08 -0400,
Robert Ryley <> a écrit :

On Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 4:20 AM, Charles-H.Schulz
<> wrote:
Hello Robert,

The "group" aka the foundation, decided after much discussions with
service providers and experts on LibreOffice and
deployments and migrations to start this certification programme. It
goes way back to the days where most of the
potential for 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.

Well it would not be anonymous if TDF certifies specific skills,
wouldn't it? As for what people say to make salespeople go away, you
are right to point that out, but there will be and there have been
countless arguments made not to migrate to anything else other than MS

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.

Oh most of the time the hidden real objection has nothing to do with
features but all about about a combination of fear of change, lack of
clarity and fear of (career) failure. 

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 migrations that were able to win tenders
and actually never executed on the parts relevant to the expertise

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.

We won't make them honest. But if they go through the certification
process they will have people with skills, which is essentially what is
needed (and a short comment to Tim's last post: yes, there needs to be
content to be taught to these people). That is, they will have to
learn to develop for LibreOffice for developers. 

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.

That -unfortunately or fortunately- happens less and less. Buyers could
have that staff, but I would think that they would know their
resources. As to develop that with the buyer it would mean that we find
a buyer interested to walk down that path with us -and in this case why
not- but I'm a bit skeptical. 

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 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.

How do you suggest we do that? 

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.

That's a nice example (although it does have some issues) however I
cannot recall one vendor profiting from a proprietary extension on

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
for free.

I see why that would shock you; but I don't think we're addressing the
same kind of people or contributor here. You seem to imply that
everyone should be certified and that's clearly not the case: If you
intend to go on business and sell your services then you qualify for
the certification. Other than that... I fail to see why anyone would be

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

That's definitely not the message we're spreading. No one
is even suggesting something close to this. Certification, regardless of
whether you like it or not, works a lot in software business. It does
not mean, for instance, that anyone installing Linux servers is an
idiot because he or she hasn't its LPI certification.

However, being LPI certified is not even a must in recruiting sysadmins
for instance, it is very often a required minimum. JBoss is just about
the same, and even more strict than that. 

Some arguments against certifications:

IT Certifications are Worthless

Do Certifications Matter

License My Dog, but not Me

Top 10 Problems with IT Certifications

So all these are points that are useful and more or less known; how
about we consider the following approach: let's start this certification
programme, and consider it just like an experiment. I trust the Board
and the future boards to fully assess whether it will harm us, serve
us, or just being a resource hog. 


Charles-H. Schulz 
Co-founder & Director, The Document Foundation,
Zimmerstr. 69, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Rechtsfähige Stiftung des bürgerlichen Rechts
Legal details:
Mobile Number: +33 (0)6 98 65 54 24.

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