Stuff Michael Meeks is doing
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Today we announced the reason why my blog has been more than normally boring for some weeks: the core of the SUSE LibreOffice team is finding a new home inside Collabora (based in nearby Cambridge UK) and providing support for LibreOffice. That's a change that brings huge opportunities - taking LibreOffice to one billion+ Office / Productivity users, more aggressive pricing, and over time, growing the community of those paid to work on and around LibreOffice. It should also make it easier to execute efficiently on the many smaller opportunities in the marketplace.
Now is a great time for this to happen - we've got LibreOffice 4.1 released, and a great minor point release in 4.1.1 out, so the release schedule is calming down. LibreOffice as a product is increasingly excellent in both features and quality, with an impressive set of large deployments and migrations around it. It is a great time too from a Document Foundation (TDF) perspective - with Christian Lohmaier working full-time for TDF, and Florian Effenberger's help all of the core release engineering, infrastructure work and administration around TDF is handled in-house. I fully expect this to have exactly zero impact on LibreOffice's time based release schedule.
So - as you can see, I'm excited about this move and all the possibilities, but what about a perspective on SUSE (their announce).
It seems to me that the ability to say 'no' to profitable but peripheral business in order to strategically focus the company is a really important management task. In the final analysis I'm convinced that this is the right business decision for SUSE. It will allow Collabora's Productivity division to focus exclusively on driving LibreOffice into Windows, Mac and Consulting markets that are peripheral to SUSE. It will also retain the core of the existing skill base for the benefit of SUSE's customers, and the wider LibreOffice community, of which openSUSE is an important part.
Over the last weeks, I've been deeply impressed by a unique experience of the level of integrity and concern for all stakeholders including employees and the wider Free Software community that SUSE's management have shown. There is always a sadness to moving on after so many years of service with many friends at SUSE, but it's nice to know that my friends are in good hands.
Working at SUSE and with openSUSE for the last decade plus has been a source of great pleasure and satisfaction, for me at least, and I thank all those I've worked with for their patience, tolerance and kindness. One of the one of the great joys of my role has been getting to know, and working with a broad spectrum of talented individuals across the company and the software stack from the base-system through to the applications. SUSE really has exceptional people across the board, it is sad in a sense to leave them. The good news is that, you can join them: SUSE is hiring and there are open slots, checkout SUSE careers to become part of the ongoing story.
What else can I say ? Collabora's Productivity division is mid-way through day two. Much remains to be decided and done, but it is an exciting road ahead. I'm looking forward to working hard to make doing business with Collabora Productivity around LibreOffice something that is easy to initiate, and beautiful to experience.
The Document Foundation, continues un-disturbed by this, its diversity and stability will become clearer - SUSE will continue to be an Advisory Board member alongside Collabora - a net gain of a seat. Collabora joins a long line of recent additions there, with more in the pipeline. Collabora will also be sponsoring the LibreOffice conference next month in Milan - I look forward to seeing you there.
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In case it's not painfully obvious: the reflections reflected here are my own; mine, all mine ! and don't reflect the views of SUSE, Novell, The Document Foundation, Spaghetti Hurlers (International), or anyone else. It's also important to realise that I'm not in on the Swedish Conspiracy. Occasionally people ask for formal photos for conferences or fun.Michael Meeks (firstname.lastname@example.org)