The essential issue is that money which is supposed to be paid to companies that provide support for LibreOffice is not being paid. And since that makes up most of the funds that enable development, The Document Foundation, the agency that manages LibreOffice development, has had to put together a plan for raising funds.
Meeks, who works as general manager at Collabora Productivity, a company that sells LibreOffice support, told iTWire: "I think the community reaction in summary is 'go slower', there are a lot of moving pieces that intersect here - the board has been talking about them for a long time, but the community have come fresh to them, and need time to digest them, to interact and ask questions before coming up with proposals.
"That's very positive, I think. At the core of the situation currently we have the problem of the perception that LibreOffice either creates itself (via the magic of volunteers), or that TDF creates it (by unknown means or by donations)."
"Turning TDF donations into feature/function improvements is not only a process that at best is approximately 10% of that total development, but also one that has been completely blocked for 18 months despite approved budgets, ranked tasks etc," Meeks pointed out..
"Combined with that, TDF does approximately nothing effective to tell anyone about the ecosystem that does so much. It passively discourages enterprises from paying by heavily emphasising gratis over libre - in a really unhelpful way."
He said there were always many problems with any non-profit, not just TDF - but these particular longstanding issues had a large, negative impact on the LibreOffice mission.
"It's been great to see the range of positive ideas for improved positioning in Italo's [Vignoli, TDF chief] proposal - that go beyond splash-screens and about dialogs. The existing set-up, which lacks any plausible linkage from economic investment into the desktop code to any return for the investor is a really fundamental problem.
"It also means that while we continue to serve our desktop customers, and improve LibreOffice on the desktop, Collabora is investing in Online: the in-browser, collaborative editing, privacy respecting, on-premise hosted awesomeness.
"Collabora/LibreOffice Online [Collabora does 95%+ of the commits] is going really well and is delivering a FLOSS alternative to Google Docs and Office 365 for tons of users. That is a growing business that funds our re-investment into LibreOffice: so all good.
"The controversy here was really sparked by the desire of some to bring the known damaging LibreOffice Desktop / TDF economic model to Online - and to do so extremely quickly. That led to brain-storming around creating a parallel marketing solution to try to de-risk that, and finally improve the problems with the desktop too."