Sunday, May 25, 2014

A report on LibreOffice India Community Ideation Meet-Up

03.00 P.M.-05.00 P.M. IST.
Red Hat Office, Tower 10, Magarpatta City, Pune, India.
irc@freenode: libreoffice
hashtag: #libreofficeindia


LibreOffice is one of the flagship products of a movement called 'FOSS'. It is one of the best office application suite which is available free of cost for most of the platforms and in many languages across the world. The application is useful for everyone from a student to a researcher and across various domains. Rajesh Ranjan and Chandrakant Dhutadmal were in a discussion for quite some time about the promotion and proliferation of this beautiful product and were not quite sure about the reach of this product in India. Hence, we had started a thread on marketing list of LibreOffice. After discussions with Charles-H. Schulz and Prof. Kannan from IIT Mumbai, we thought of having an Ideation meet up in India to discuss the current state of penetration of LibreOffice in India and how to increase the reach with the help of the Community.

Agenda of the meetup

1. Get to know each other
2. Introduction about LibreOffice marketing movement in India
3. Raise brand awareness on LibreOffice in India
4. How to attract volunteers to contribute to LibreOffice
5. Plan of Action

1. Get to know each other

Initially we thought the response to this event would be poor as it was planned on a short notice and also with small budget, but there were around 14 people face-to-face and one online who participated in the event. Thanks to Red Hat for hosting this event. We all got to know each other as well as the areas of interest where the participants could contribute. The members were from literally all aspects of LibreOffice community Viz. Development, Localization, Marketing, Testing and Documentation. Hence we can expect good contribution from these members in future. Participants of the events : Rajesh Ranjan, Chandrakant Dhutadmal, Keral Patel Anish Patil, Krishna Babu, Ankit Patel, Shankar Prasad, Shantha Kumar, Saibal, Shubhra Joshi, Sangeeta Kumari, Vishakha Dhutadmal, Ani Peter, and Manoj Giri. We discussed the agenda and background of the event through one small presentation

2. Introduction about LibreOffice marketing movement in India

By the time we met for the discussion, we knew that though LibreOffice is being used by many in India, the penetration level is too low. There are efforts done by individual organizations like C-DAC, Red Hat and IIT Mumbai on individual basis, but there is no collaborative effort in this direction. C-DAC has been involved in training (face-to-face) various Govt. offices and educational institutions on how to use LibreOffice since quite some time now. Prof. Kannan and his team has also put good efforts in terms of creating large number of self-instructional audio video tutorials on LibreOffice, in English (about 60), and with audio dubbed into many Indian languages (a total of about 500), SELF workshops on LibreOffice and to a lesser extent on Linux, Tamil Nadu Govt switching over to BOSS and  some more offices are switching to Fedora and other distributions which is good for LibreOffice. Prof. Kannan’s team is also trying to come up
with print edition of LibreOffice Manuals (500 copies) to promote LibreOffice in colleges, who need a "printed book" for the software to be included in their curriculum.

Having localized version of LibreOffice is important from promotion point of view. Currently, there are as many as 16 Indian languages where Localization teams exist.  Chandrakant Dhutadmal has already requested to create new teams for all those Indian languages that are currently not present.

3. Raise brand awareness on LibreOffice in India

Discussion amongst the members present on how to raise the brand awareness in India took place. Following are the point in nutshell which participants thought would be helpful.

*Introduction of Swags, T-Shirt, Sticker, Badges is very important.
*Conduct demo sessions in various colleges/ schools.
*Conduct LibreOffice development oriented Workshops.
*Using the social media extensively.
*Contacting SMEs/ Start-ups/ System Administrators
*Try to add LibreOffice in school/college curriculum
*Conducting various small events across the country.
*Help community members in participating in International events to interact with other contributors and learn more from them to replicate the model in India.
*Create Success stories and highlight them
*Organizations like C-DAC are already using LibreOffice. Can we target more such large organizations
*All FOSS based OS and related orgs use LibreOffice. We can also target other OS’s popular in market.
*Shipment of Physical CDs is necessary as downloading of softwares becomes difficult in India because of various problems which individuals face
*Support related to installations and other technical aspects needs to be provided to the end users. So, can we create virtual support groups.
*Pre-installation of LibreOffice on Laptops and Computer systems could also boost the penetration of LibreOffice.

4. How to attract volunteers to contribute to LibreOffice

*Start “LibreOffice Ambassador” type of Program
*Screen casting of applications use and how to contribute for libreoffice.
*Language specific events can be done for localization. C-DAC is already willing to contribute translation for languages - already mails are there on list.
*Software Testing and Quality Management is important – Projects and Groups like FUEL Project, FLTG, SSCG can help in this regards.
*More Dictionaries can be integrated in LibreOffice.
*India Specific artworks can be created.

5. Plan of Action

This is just to start. We need to discuss more on plan of action. These are just few task we are going to do in another 1-2 months:

*Create success story in an educational institution: Chandrakant Dhutadmal volunteered to conduct one event in educational institute within a period of one month. Currently schools are having vacations.

*Conduct “Bhasha Computer Mela”- Shubhra Joshi and Sangeeta Kumari volunteered to coordinate and arrange the event in a school.

Pix of the events can be browsed here.

Thank you all for attending and supporting the event!

The report is published on mailing list of libreoffice already.

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