Bringing LibreOffice to Android

At the LibreOffice Conference, The Document Foundation issued a tender document looking for bids to develop an Android implementation of LibreOffice. Could this influx of money affect the ethics and work ethic of today’s open source community? It’s not actually the first time the community has experimented with bringing a LibreOffice editor to Android. The scale of the task however is enough to dampen volunteer enthusiasm and given the lack of commercial motivations for engagement, disappointing low volunteer turnout is not actually a great surprise.

When it comes to money, The Document Foundation is faced with the mixed blessing of having plenty available. In what way is that blessing mixed? As a charity the foundation is legally required to spend those funds over the course of the following year or so. With the clock moving swiftly on, The Document Foundation has already invested in development infrastructure for testing, the backing of community activities and the hiring of sys admin and administrative staff. There’s still a sizeable portion left over though. Knowing that spending in areas where the community is already intrinsically motivated might well reduce contributions, TDF has decided to focus remaining funds on development of the Android port, hoping to bootstrap a necessary new community in the process. Now it simply remains to be seen if anyone will bid to do the work!

Read Simon’s full coverage in his InfoWorld article.

Formal certification for open source projects, is this progress?

By announcing its new certification process for Linux professionals at Linuxcon, The Linux Foundation made their pro-certification stance pretty clear. They’re not the only open source foundation endorsing peer-verified certification as an effective and useful way for those outside a community to place their trust in an individuals community credentials. The Document Foundation also offers a certification scheme, in their case for for LibreOffice migration professionals.

The two qualifications use slightly different procedures to assess candidates, but the outcome is a similar endorsement of community-recognised skills. How many other projects might be a good fit for this sort of certification? Should this become a more widespread practice? There are some obvious benefits to the practice, for a start it creates a concrete parameter for those outside the community to use when making hiring decisions. Both certifications appear to have made an impact in their respective fields, with the TDF certification already a requirement in some recruiting activities and The Linux Foundation’s introductory offer $50 certifications already sold out.

For more details about both certifications as well as more detailed discussion of potential criteria for new qualifications, see Simon’s InfoWorld article.