All story began with a bug report earlier this month, raised by a user who spotted that version 7.0 is now branded as “Personal Edition” with the statement in the About dialog that “The Personal edition is supported by volunteers and intended for individual use.”
This created some sort of controversy as some people pointed out that terms like “personal edition” and “intended for individual use” could hamper the growth and use of LibreOffice.
The outrage forced the LibreOffice board to release an official statement.
The board assures that LibreOffice is not opting for a new license and users won’t lose any functionality.
None of the changes being evaluated will affect the license, the availability, the permitted uses and/or the functionality. LibreOffice will always be free software and nothing is changing for end users, developers and Community members.
The Document Foundation Clarifies “Personal Edition” Branding
LibreOffice is supported by what they called “ecosystem companies”. Commercial operations which provide funding and/or staff directly to TDF, together with community contributions from volunteers and users. Around 68 per cent of the contributions to the source code are from ecosystem companies.
The idea is to improve the funding model for LibreOffice by “finding the right balance between the free product and the enterprise supported product.” It is already possible to get a commercially supported version of LibreOffice, such as Collabora’s one at €17 or $18 per user/year.
There will be a new concept called the “LibreOffice Engine” to describe the core software in both personal and commercial editions, similar in concept to the “Intel Inside” slogan.
The intention is to differentiate LibreOffice Personal from LibreOffice Enterprise, and to suggest that the commercial version, only available from ecosystem members, is for “production environments and strategic documents.”