ROSE Blog Interviews: The Document Foundation's Jacqueline Rahemipour
ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange
On October 31, Jacqueline Rahemipour posted a letter on the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list called Every end is a new beginning. The letter, which was signed by Rahemipour and 32 other OpenOffice.org contributors, addressed Oracle's response to the recent creation of The Document Foundation. The letter says, "Oracle's official response to the announcement of The Document Foundation was clear – Oracle will continue OpenOffice.org as usual. The result is now indeed the lately postulated conflict of interest for those community members who are in charge of or representing project, but to whom it is not enough 'to continue working as we always did'." The letter ends with the contributors announcing that they are leaving their positions with the OpenOffice.org project: "The answer for us who sign this letter is clear: We want a change to give the community as well as the software it develops the opportunity to evolve. For this reason, from now on we will support The Document Foundation and will – as a team – develop and promote LibreOffice."
After reading the letter, I emailed Rahemipour and asked her to tell us a little more about herself and her plans for 2011:
RK: Tell us about yourself and what you do.
JR: I am a member of the management board and founding member of the German non-profit organization OpenOffice.org Deutschland e.V. For more than five years I was co-lead of the Germanophone OpenOffice.org project. Going forward I will also support LibreOffice and The Document Foundation. In my daily job, I work as an OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice consultant and trainer. I published several books and articles on the topic of OpenOffice.org.
RK: What do you love about working in an open source-related job?
JR: I love the spirit of open source, the freedom of thought, and I like to have an active role improving the software I use for my daily work. Actually, my main working areas are quality assurance, marketing, and localization.
When I got in contact with the OpenOffice-project many years ago, I was just a normal user with normal questions. But I was so amazed and encouraged by the enthusiasm of the other community members that I decided to volunteer as much as I could, to give a little bit back of what open source software gives to me.
RK: You're speaking to a group of women from other fields who are considering switching careers. Why should they consider moving into an open source-related career? What should they know about the open source environment to prepare them for the transition from a different field?
JR: Working in an open source environment means working in a male-dominated domain, much more so than in other areas of IT-business, so you have to be prepared to struggle with prejudices. But the one thing I learned in my many years contributing to open source is that women who have entered and found the projects that perfectly fit their skills are well-respected and reliable and stay long-term.
OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice are slightly different from other open source projects because they aren't as developer-focused as other projects might be. There are many chances to connect with the project and work in areas other than development, such as marketing, user support, or documentation. So women working in an open source
environment is not as challenging as it might seem to be, as long as they find the right project and do their job very well.
RK: What do you think will be the "hot topics" in open source for 2011?
JR: LibreOffice, for sure. :-) I am curious how its community will grow in the upcoming months. It seems to me that the project has grown up and is now truly independent. This also will mean hard work for all contributors, but this is also exiting and motivating.
RK: What will your focus be for 2011, particularly with The Document Foundation?
JR: I will continue with my work in quality assurance and localization for LibreOffice. Furthermore, there is much to do to make LibreOffice and The Document Foundation known, especially by German users and companies. We will organize many local events in Germany and get in contact with the people to explain what LibreOffice is and why we support The Document Foundation.
RK: What question do you wish I'd asked? And how would you answer it?
JR: "How about your plans concerning OpenOffice.org?" I am still connected with the OpenOffice.org Community because I was involved in many interesting projects with many enthusiastic people and I learned a lot during this time. I won't terminate my work on OpenOffice.org for now, and I will finish my current projects for both OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice.
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