Friday, November 22, 2013

The Document Foundation elections: an intimacy between you, your choices and (maybe) the NSA guy

As many who follow the LibreOffice mailing lists know, soon we will have the elections for the Bord of Directors again. Without doubt, there will be a lot of good candidates and the choice will be difficult. Different competencies, personalities, sensibilities. As many parameters as there could ever be. Nonetheless, there is one parameter that was eliminated from before the first election: the corporate pressure.

From the very beginning of The Document Foundation, the Steering Committee and the initial Membership Committee knew that while corporations can contribute a lot to open source, they can also in some moments try to use the community bodies for their own interest. That is the reason that all elected bodies of The Document Foundation have the 30 per cent rule, where no more then 30 per cent of any body can have the same affiliation. In the same spirit, the election system was designed the way that it is technically impossible for anybody to know how a given member voted. From the experience with the "old good times" of, it was obvious that corporate influence can do a lot of harm and skew the elections in a considerable way. And even if the rule of 30 per cent is in place, it might be hard for a election officer or for a MC member to stand strong before a corporate pressure. And this was the reason why we chose a design that makes it impossible even for the election officer to know whom you voted for. This information is known only to you.