Canonical, the sponsor of the Ubuntu operating system, is joining the advisory board of the Document Foundation (TDF). TDF is the non-profit organization that manages the development of free and open source office suite LibreOffice and also the home of The Document Liberation Project.
The relationship between Canonical and TDF goes back to the early days of the foundation. In 2010 TDF was formed by the members of the OpenOffice.org project, after a spat with Oracle over the future of the project. Almost all leading Linux distributions switched from OpenOffice.org to LibreOffice as their default office suite, including Ubuntu.
Canonical, in fact, has a full-time developer, Björn Michaelsen, who maintains the LibreOffice package for Ubuntu. Michaelsen also sits on the TDF board. One outcome of the close relationship between the two projects is that the upcoming release of LibreOffice will be one of the first applications to be available as a snap package. For those who don’t know, Canonical has been working on a new package format for Linux applications, called Snap, that offers some level of security, in addition to ease of maintenance and delivery.
And now by “becoming a member of the project Advisory Board, Canonical will provide the experience and the insights necessary to improve the presence of free software – and LibreOffice – inside enterprises and public administrations worldwide,” said Marina Latini, Chairwoman of The Document Foundation in a statement.
When I inquired about the role of the advisory board, Italo Vignoli, one of the co-founders of TDF, told me, “Members of the Advisory Board are providing advice and guidance to TDF Board of Directors, which has already proved to be very important in the past (and will be in the future). During quarterly meetings, TDF BoD reports about the progress of the project, and Advisory Board members provide their comments, ask several questions, and offer their insights during the discussion.”
LibreOffice has had some notable success in Europe, with many government agencies adopting the software. Collabora, a UK-based company, offers enterprise solutions based on LibreOffice. Collabora has also partnered with open source cloud project NextCloud to offer an Office 365-like online productivity suite.