What's preventing your organization from using Free/Open Source Software today?

Short Form


It's 2014, and even your parents have heard the terms "open source" and "linux". Your project dutifully releases source code and contributes to the community, but you're still dependent upon proprietary software, even when perfectly good FOSS alternatives exist. If there's an open alternative, why aren't you using it? As a project, what specific actions can you take to help other FOSS projects escape proprietary software and use your software instead?


This year at LibrePlanet, I formulated a plan to contact Free Software projects, the non-profits behind these projects, and other, FOSS-friendly organizations, and ask them if they were using open file formats and LibreOffice throughout their organization. If they were still stuck with a proprietary offering, I planned to offer my help to migrate.

The response I received was nearly immediate — I got feedback from a couple of organizations right away and started to formulate plans to help their migrations. Sometimes the barriers to adoption were non-trivial, but often the perceived barriers were based on old information, outdated software, or misconceptions.

In this talk, I’ll share insights I’ve gained from helping organizations and projects with their own migrations. Topics will include:

  • Discovering which projects can serve your needs and which projects could benefit from your tools
  • Building a positive relationship between projects from scratch
  • Identifying barriers to migration and routing around them
  • The benefits of helping other projects migrate to and effectively use your software
  • Beyond dogfooding: Future collaboration between projects


community, outreach, dogfooding, collaboration

Speaking experience

In 2013 I gave two talks at the LibreOffice Annual Conference hosted in Milan, one covering Tools/Processes for QA, and one providing an introduction for new contributors to the project:
("talk page":http://conference.libreoffice.org/2013/en/program/libreoffice-community-1/to-infinity-minus-one-improving-the-tools-we-use-for-qa
"talk page":http://conference.libreoffice.org/2013/en/program/libreoffice-community-2/how-to-get-involved-in-qa

In March I organized and lead a Document Freedom Day lunch discussion with educators, technologists, developers, and students to examine the existing state of open standards and FOSS use in New England, and to lay the foundation for a grassroots effort to increase adoption of these technologies across the New England and Quebec regions:

In my role as LibreOffice Community Outreach Herald, I've represented The Document Foundation and LibreOffice at SCALE, LibrePlanet, and FOSDEM, and will present "LibreOffice as a Lesson Plan: What FOSS can teach our students":http://linuxfestnorthwest.org/2014/sessions/libreoffice-lesson-plan-what-foss-can-teach-our-students at the upcoming LinuxFest NW in April.


  • Corny island pirate posing cropped 20130907 120149

    Robinson Tryon

    The Document Foundation


    Free Software evangelist and hacker, web developer, and LibreOffice Community Outreach Herald.

    Robinson is a volunteer in LibreOffice, splitting his time between community outreach and QA. He’s also shepherded improvements to project infrastructure including Etherpad, MediaWiki, ownCloud, and the BSA.

    He’s spent time working on interactive training programs for doctors and first responders at the Interactive Media Lab at the Geisel School of Medicine, and consulted on projects including Metadata Games, a Free/Open-Source game suite for libraries, archives, and other institutions.

    When he’s not speaking about LibreOffice or hacking on code, you may find him tinkering in his basement, growing beans and hops in his garden, brewing beer in his kitchen, roasting something over the fire, or floating around a lake somewhere.