Distributing binary builds of vendor's LTS branches

Thorsten Behrens thb at libreoffice.org
Mon Apr 18 13:33:25 UTC 2022

Dear Ming,

quick answer (and I'm just speaking for myself here) -

Ming H. wrote:
> I am writing on behalf of a group of Chinese LO users.
Thx a lot for reaching out! Would be great to hear more about the use
of LibreOffice in China. I wonder if you or other people from the
chinese community would be willing to talk a bit about your
experiences, perhaps in one of the next TDF virtual townhalls (or
latest at our annual conference)?

> We are thinking of providing extended builds of old releases for
> which TDF has stopped making security updates, since many Chinese
> Windows users opt to stay at old releases for various reasons and
> are mostly unaware of the security consequences.
With my developer hat on, I don't really understand how providing
updates for old releases would help, if the users are unwilling to
upgrade in the first place. Or are there specific problems in newer
LibreOffice releases, that affect Chinese users in particular?

That's in any case an issue I would be very interested in learning
more about.

> My question is, is such a plan acceptable by the LO community in
> general, and the developers from those commercial vendors in
> particular?
I cannot speak for the community, nor for commercial vendors in
general (albeit running a company that does provide LTS products for

That said, there is I think broad consensus in the community, that
LibreOffice needs paid developers to maintain the code, and providing
LTS versions is one way of generating revenues. As such, publishing
free binaries from those vendor branches would certainly raise
eyebrows, at least from the vendor who pays the developers maintaining
that branch.

There might be other ways to address your problem; it's also possible
that the vendor who's branch you consider building would be fine with
providing free binaries for the Chinese market (hard to answer in the
abstract) - so don't take the above as a 'no', but rather as the start
of a conversation to solve the (apparent!) issue. :)

> Comments and advice are appreciated.  And if the developer mailing
> list is not the proper place for such inquiry, please redirect me to
> the correct channels.
I think for the moment, it's a good place to start. I've copied the
friendly TDF membership people, who are planning the townhall meetings
& are always happy to strengthen connections with the global community.

Let's hear what others think!

All the best,

-- Thorsten
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