The Document Foundation launches a €50K challenge

The Document Foundation, the group responsible for forking the OpenOffice.org project away from Oracle's control and into the shiny new LibreOffice suite, has announced a drive to raise €50,000 to set up as a legal entity.

The Foundation, formed by numerous OpenOffice.org community members tired of the overbearing hand of Oracle preventing them from progressing the development of the popular open source productivity suite, has passed several recent milestones. It's released a full feature-complete version of its LibreOffice productivity suite, and announced deals with companies including Canonical to have LibreOffice replace OpenOffice.org as the default productivity suite in several Linux distributions.

There remains one major milestone to pass, however: currently, the Foundation doesn't actually exist in law. In order to do so, it needs to register itself as a legal entity - and for that, it needs cash.

"After thorough investigation, the Steering Committee came to the conclusion that a foundation based in Germany would provide the best stability, not only for our users, but also for adopters, developers and enterprises," Foundation founder Florian Effenberger claimed in a statement released today. "To achieve this stability, a capital stock of at least €50,000 is considered best practice in Germany."

With a product that is given away for free, there's only one place to turn for that injection of cash: the community. "The amount of volunteer work that has been put into The Document Foundation is just amazing," Effenberger explained. "However, volunteer work alone can't fund the necessary capital stock, which is why we have started a public race for donations, targeting contributions from enterprises and public administrations adopting LibreOffice, and those interested in an independent, vital and growing ecosystem around free office productivity software."

All donations received by the Foundation will go towards setting up home in Germany as a legal entity, with any cash raised in excess of the €50,000 required for capital stock going directly into the Foundation's budget for future expenses and operating costs.

If, heaven forbid, the Foundation fails to reach its goal, the Steering Committee has declared that it will up sticks from Germany, using however much money it has managed to raise by the deadline of the 21st of March to set up in another country such as the UK.

"Now that we have our first release of LibreOffice, which has been downloaded and installed all around the world, the time has come to legally establish the future home for our community," Effenberger concluded in his begging letter.

Raising €50,000 in just over a month is certainly a tall order - but the Foundation has a lot of big-name backers from the OpenOffice.org community and further afield. According to the Foundation's figures, it has already received donations totalling 15 per cent of its target.

More information on why the Steering Committee is looking for cash - and the all-important details on how to donate - are available on the Foundation's dedicated Challenge Website.