Le 2012-06-05 09:12, Charles-H. Schulz a écrit :
Thank you for bringing that up, it's an interesting discussion. Here's
what I think reading your message. You're asking in fact two questions.
One of which might already have been answered by a few of our corporate
* LTS obviously means long term support. Both "support" and "long term"
deserve careful consideration. I will in this email first focus on
the term "support". If we speak of support, we must think of a
support provider. In this case, does this mean we should think -as
TDF, as a project- of providing professional support to users
(obviously for a fee)? I don't think it's your idea, but I thought I
would highlight the implications of such a matter.
* Have we studied what some of the existing support/service providers
on LibreOffice already offer? I am not so sure but I'm under the
impression that you can order support (and in this case a "LTS" kind
of support) from Suse and Canonical (there are others) on one
specific version of LibreOffice. That is, these vendors have one
reference version of LibreOffice, say the 3.4.5, and they provide
support and services on it making it their de facto LTS version.
Yes, this is fine as they will guarantee that LibreOffice will work on
their systems and they will take care of any dependencies and
network-ability. But I don't think they would undertake any code
revision and code features into their LTS versions, not unless they have
a large team of coders, which in this case would make them "competitors"
to our work/product (read "fork"). This would take us back to the days
of the many different versions of OOo -- the same situation that drew
all of these different groups into one LibreOffice community.
Leaving support/service providers to develop an LTS version, in my
opinion, is not the right strategy to adopt.
Back to your suggestion: do you mean we should relabel the older branch
"LTS", knowing that each of our releases in one branch really works
like a "service pack"? If we had the ability to provide incremental
updates (we will one day) we would have the feelings we have two
versions, and sometimes "maintenance updates". So at some point, say
the 3.5.4, we label it LTS, because we're close to open a new branch,
the 3.6, and we can suggest service providers to base their support
offers on this one for the time being. Did I get you right?
No. I suggest that at some point, the TDF/LibreOffice should designate
an LTS version for large/small organizations/businesses. These would
have developers oversee the fixing of bugs for a fixed term (let's say a
3 year period) after which time another LTS version would be designated.
The LTS maintenance would NOT introduce any new functions to the distro
but only service bug correction. IMO, if any business entity would like
to add any new functionality, then this is where a support/service
provider would step in and, hopefully, contribute any development of
code back to the community.
I don't really think this is a new concept as even Mozilla-Firefox
offers its own "Extended Support Release (ESR)" version for corporate
users. When critical software packages are installed in large
corporations, a lot of energy in investment of time, training and
documentation is expended in order to get employees up to speed.
LibreOffice certainly falls into this category (critical software --
wordprocessing software). While Firefox ESR is being released initially
for a period of approximately 1 year, IMO, I believe they will
ultimately find that a longer term will be necessary for these large
organizations. As for a version of LibreOffice LTS (or ESR), the impact
of change for large organizations is even larger due to the amount of
training of staff of new features (even more so in the educational field
with the training of younger students).
If we are looking to supplant MSO in the office place, we need to
realize and accept the simple fact that the amount of software/network
testing as well as (and even more importantly) the training of staff for
large orgainizations is considerable. I sincerely doubt that a "one
year"-term LTS for LibreOffice would suffice; one year is just about
enough time to test out the suite before it is even installed; most
organizations simply do not have the manpower to move any quicker.
If we wish to compete in the large business market place we need to plan
and develop more strategically with our releases. Developing an LTS
version will fix this. Otherwise, the choice will remain MSO for office
use, where MSO has a longer term of support with incremental changes for
bugfixes and where LibreOffice will remain marginalized as an office suite.
-- Charles-H. Schulz Co-founder & Director, The Document Foundation,
Zimmerstr. 69, 10117 Berlin, Germany Rechtsfähige Stiftung des
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