[libreoffice-marketing] Re: [libreoffice-design] Moving to LibreOffice 8?

Eyal Rozenberg eyalroz1 at gmx.com
Thu Apr 6 20:12:22 UTC 2023

To put last thing first: I'm not staunchly opposed to bumping the 
version number to 8. So think of this as a theoretical discussion.


Noting Italo's explanation that:
 > 80% (and probably more) of what we communicate is targeted to 
"normal" software users, and not to community members or to people with 
a technical background, who are already using LibreOffice.

, it seems to me that the strongest argument in favor of 
higher-frequency major version bumps is that it can increase 
media/Internet visibility for the new version somewhat, and thus likely 
to attract the attention of more potential new users, which is a good thing.

I find other arguments, though, to undermine this position more than 
buttress it.

Nigel Verity wrote:
 > If I see that some software I use regularly has gone from 7.5 to 7.6, 
say, I wouldn't rush to upgrade

Great, what's the problem? Why should we be in a rush to get existing 
users to upgrade from 7.5 to 7.6? we're not failing to meet our 
quarterly sales targets in The Big Office Corporation (TM). It's 
actually better if we don't pretend it's important to upgrade to the 
next minor version if it isn't.

Italo Vignoli wrote:
 > major releases of Microsoft Office are managed by marketing

Microsoft office is a commercial product, a commodity. And the company 
developing it is a vehicle for securing profits for its investors, not 
benefit to humanity (nor the users of office productivity suites). So, 
we should be at least skeptical about copying MS behavior regarding MSO 
in which their marketing wing is calling the shots.

Moreover - MSO versioning is kind of a mess; and even though I use MSO 
quite a bit (for reasons not relevant to this email) - for the life of 
me I can't tell what exactly changes between versions and whether I 
should bother to make sure and use a newer one.

 > managed by marketing and not by developers

This is a false dichotomy. I'm not an LO developer; I didn't suggest the 
developers take over the version numbering; and I don't know that that 
would be a good thing. But decisions by marketers solely may also not be 
so great.

 > marketing

about that...

LibreOffice is not a commodity. We don't exchange copies or licenses to 
use LibreOffice for money. And the set of people and organizations who 
use office suites, and the office suites they use, are not a market. 
_Some_  of that space is a market, but not our part (and there's also 
the ecosystem around LO, some of which is market-ish.) And while 
marketing experience is certainly useful in promoting the adoption and 
use of LO, there are still fundamental differences between doing that 
and "marketing" it. Some of them are practical (i.e. what "works" for 
commercial software isn't exactly what "works" for pitching LibreOffice 
use) but some of them are matters of principle and the kind of 
relationship and commitments between projects/producers/developers and 
users, or even non-users.

The major version number is not some sacred part of these commitments. 
But - like Jan Dittirch says - what would our users think of us if they 
had been aware that we bump version numbers as a "stimulus-evoking 
action" to rile up some of the "animals", and have the other "herd 
animals" follow? (And yes, I know those terms have not been repeated by 
other discussants.)

Paul Hofseth wrote:
 > For Libre office number eight it might suffice to claim the usual 
"the changes will assure your improved experience and safety"

But it would be mostly a falsehood. I mean, any commit improves the 
experience of some people to some extent, but it's not true that the 
changes of 7.5 to 7.6 "assure your improved experience and safety". 
Moreover, people notice this kind of rhetoric - even non-tech-savvy 
newbies. And they realize that "Oh, so LibreOffice is another one of 
_those_ initiatives. The ones alienated and estranged from us, whose 
communiques must be carefully scrutinized for exaggerations and 

I would rather we not be that.

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