The LibreOffice extensions and templates website (https://extensions.libreoffice.org) got back his customized home page again since about a week. This site was created inside a Plone policy add-on package a time ago and its source code got some CSS-fixes some weeks ago. Great to see that it is again up.
There was the information that it would be difficult or impossible to install software on MS Windows 10 students edition without using the App-Store. Most often they use this version of MS Windows because they are short in money. Thus if they should pay for the installation of a free software from the App-Store they mostly will refuse to install and use this software. Especially if they should pay for every major version again (thus two times a year).
It’s moreover antisocial to charge this students for the installation of free software. Especially if you ask students (and others) to do volunteer work on the free software project and share their work.
If a free software project is going that direction you know that its members / leaders lost their society compass.
But it seemed nobody took care of an update of the available LibreOffice versions on the LibreOffice extensions website (https://extensions.libreoffice.org/extensions). This new version was added there just recently. Thus the contributors of the LibreOffice extensions website get a notice of the new LibreOffice version and the opportunity to mark their extension as compatible with that version very lately.
But there are some contributors of the LibreOffice extensions website which reacted very quickly and marked their extension compatible with the newest LibreOffice version. I want to thank them for their quick reaction and their contribution to the project.
New projects often started as a volunteer project with enthusiastic people. The project growed over the time and it got some or a lot of donation (or sponsor) money. That was the time, when the leading people of the project got the impression that it is not possible to drive the project with volunteers only. They decided to spend money for one or more employees. This employees in connection with the leading people of the project built a group. Both sides had an interest in keeping the project running as it is and take full control. The leading member most often had a personal or business interest in the outcome of the project. The employees had a personal interest too, because they need to pay their bills and thus need the income.
The whole group of employees and leading members had in common that they had a lot of time to work on the project. Thus they marginalized the pure volunteer contributors, because they could only work on the project in their spare time. At some point the pure volunteers realized that dominance of the other group and once they felt excluded or got no positive feedback and support for their volunteer work, they quit their contributions and left the project.
That was the time when the remaining (volunteer) member / contributors of the project complained about the insufficient number of volunteers in the project. But instead of reorganizing the project and revise its whole structure and processes, the leading group went into the same direction and replaced the missing volunteers with employees or paid work. But that didn’t solve the problems, because more pure volunteers felt not respected and considered, why they should do the work without paying.
This process will not stop until the group of leading members and employees remember that they are an important part of the issue and that the organization of the project will need a radical disruption (a new start). That includes not only the technical or organizational construction but the employed or contracted people too.
It would be necessary for a healthy new start of a volunteer project that the driving people would be able to take a look from ‘10,000 feet’ onto the project and wouldn’t be captured in the current organization and structure of the project. Thus the current leading members and employees / contractor wouldn’t be most likely the best choice to rethink and start the process of disruption. It would need a new group of active members / volunteers to drive things forward without interference of the current group of leading members and employees / contractor. The latter one had to step aside. But it most likely would need a conflict to reach such a situation.
I created a new section for documentation and howtos and added first content about LibreOffice and Plone to it. You could get there my documentation about non-code LibreOffice extensions and a howto about the development of a validation function for file extensions that could be changed by the Plone site-administrator without getting his hands dirty inside the code of a Plone add-on.
I made a bunch of changes to the Plone add-on which drives the current LibreOffice extensions website during the last weeks. I especially made it easy to enter the file extensions for extension, image and documentation files and change them if needed. This is possible without the need of any programming skills. I had to create new validators for this purpose and replace the old ones with them.
I made some changes and fixes on the Plone add-on that drives the current LibreOffice templates website. This changes makes it possible for a site administrator to set allowed file extensions on the site within the template center content type (without the need to touch the source code).
I worked on some further improvements of the Plone addon tdf.templateuploadcenter. A site administrator is able to edit the allowed image and template file extensions. Thus I wrote a new validator for this file extensions. I created a field to inform contributors about the currently allowed file extensions (with dynamic content).
The add-on provides not only projects with releases but also small projects where the template files are uploaded to the small project content type directly.
Today I made a new release of this Plone add-on, which drives the current LibreOffice templates website. The Plone add-on and its release are published as Free Software under the GPL-2 (General Public License version 2): https://pypi.org/project/tdf.templateuploadcenter/