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Hello everyone,

TLDR; I'm now working around one day per week for Collabora as a

In more details, for those who may know, I have been present into this
project since the very beginning days.

The story started when I saw on NextInpact (called PCInpact at that
time) an announcement mentioning that some motivated contributors,
fed up of the situation of the dying OpenOffice project, decided to
fork and create a new independent community called LibreOffice.

Back at the time, I was a Microsoft Student Partner and decided to see
how this LibreOffice fork was going in order to compare both worlds,
so different. That's why I joined the very first LibreOffice
conference in Paris in 2011, learned to know Sophie, JB Faure and
Michael Meeks. I still remember the first day of the conference, where
I asked Michael whether the seat next to him was free. He was coding
gradient cell backgrounds in Calc and was stressed to bother him as he
was coding. How impressed I was to be part of quite influential tech
developers whose I saw interview in the media just a few days before,
especially as I needed to express myself in a language I was only
starting to learn at that time.

The time passed and, as a volunteer, my position in LibreOffice has
changed throughout the years. I reported some translations issues with
French, contributed to some code fixes, tried to put in place a
project called LibreOffice Weekly News. Now, I'm in charge of helping
newbies on #libreoffice-fr (IRC Freenode), managing the @LibreOfficeFR
community Twitter account (posting news, helping users, and forwarding
issues/reports to the person in charge of, engaging with the community
of +3600 followers with 15K tweets published in 1.5 years), answering
questions on the Ask instance, translating article on the French blog,
and promoting the use of FOSS and LibreOffice.

I have been trying to be the buffer between the community requests and
the persons guiding The Document Foundation. Satisfying both sides and
all the partners of the LibreOffice ecosystem is not as easy as you
may think. For example, in order not too loose a LibreOffice user, I
had to redirect him/her to the mobile version being called Collabora
Office on iOS and Android. When people asked me to get auto updates on
Windows, I redirected to LibreOffice by CIB on the Microsoft Store.
Explaining the differences between MS Office, repeating several times
a day that you are likely to loose your files with Apache OpenOffice,
promoting ODF etc. was my daily life for 2 years now, still during my
free time. Trying to find the time to do it, every day, at least 2h a
day, is even harder.

In 2016, as I had my own company at that time, I get to know the
Mattermost project, where I'm still involved as a contributor. I
completed the French translation, crafted the msi installer for
Windows, made a bunch of other fixes and maintaining the stack for
some GNU/Linux distributions. I got more and more responsibilities
there, still as a volunteer. At the second to last FOSDEM edition, I
put Corey Hulen, the Mattermost CTO in contact with Michael Meeks in
order for them to work together and bring the ability to read
LibreOffice supported documents directly into Mattermost. This is was
highly requested among people wanting to get away from GAFAM owned

In 2018, I left my 6 persons company and decided to take back my
studies to seek other more thrilling goals in the future. The COVID-19
situation that stroke us put me in difficulty as my student situation
risked to be extended. Mattermost wasn't hiring students anymore as
the situation was too risky and small jobs were out of question as
well as everything was closed down.

Cor Nouws recently approached me in order to provide some help in
translating the Collabora Productivity website to French. Strong of my
experience managing the LibreOfficeFR Twitter account, and
understanding to know the French speaking market, I decided maybe this
was the opportunity to leverage that experience and to contribute to
this rich and circular LibreOffice ecosystem even further. This is
why, on April 15th, I joined Collabora Productivity, the driving force
behind LibreOffice in the cloud, in order to prove FOSS projects can
be successful thanks to their partners. As a student, I'm only working
around one day per week as a part-timer. Sorry for not having updated
the community sooner, I only take the time to write it down now. Last
week was a really busy one =)

I'm deeply convinced that the success of an FOSS project is determined
by the success of their certified professionals. That's the spirit I
follow and will always be following for any of the FOSS project I
participate in, LibreOffice included.

Thanks for the help of people who helped me to grow over the past 9
years. I'm looking forwards for the 9 next ones.

Have a nice week ahead,

William Gathoye
Hyper<hack>tive volunteer for LibreOffice
Proud member of The Document Foundation
Member of LaMouette - French based association promoting ODF and LibreOffice

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