Wilhelm Tux is raising funds for the implementation of digital signatures on PDF documents in the free Office Suite LibreOffice.
Our fundraising project is completed, PDF signatures are a part of LibreOffice since version 4.4. And starting with version 4.5 digitally signed timestamps are also part of the PDF signatures.
Special thanks to all of our sponsors, who have made this success possible in the best of open source tradition!
Sometimes it's just not enough to talk about what's good. Sometimes one just has to do it. Or, to put it with Maya Angelou: "Nothing will work unless you do."
Since the beginning of its activities Wilhelm Tux has advocated the use of Free Software, expecially in public administration and in enterprises. For many of these organizations, the desktop (ie. the personal productivity environment of each employee) is the central means of work.
Primarily, for the majority of users this means an "Office" suite, which allows to create and work on text documents, presentations, spreadsheets etc. This market has been dominated for many years by one supplier (Microsoft).
But for quite some time now free Office Suites exist, which are absolutely up to the requirements of everyday work in private as well as business environments. The best known and most widespread of them being the free Office Suite LibreOffice. It contains, besides the well-known features, an editor for vector graphics and an editor for mathematical formulas. Another, very useful function allows PDF documents to be created directly from the original LibreOffice document.
Why digital signatures?
PDF has established itself as the de-facto standard for inter-enterprise and inter-platform document exchange. Therefore it is becoming increasingly important that the recipients of such a docment can check whether the document that they are reading really is the same one that the sender has written, or whether it has been modified since. Just think, for example, of a document that exists in multiple versions, only one of which has been authorized for publication. Or think of a contract, where both parties must be absolutely sure to sign the exactly same document.
That's why the possibility to digitally sign PDF documents (see article on Wikipedia) was created years ago already. Unfortunately, this still requires additional, usually proprietary software, which in turn requires additional drivers and configuration ...
In order to close that gap, a Google Summer of Code project aimed at developing new functionality, that would allow to create digitally signed PDF natively and directly in LibreOffice.
Unfortunately, development of the code could not be properly terminated then, so that it is currently not working satisfactorily and can thus be activated under the "experimental features" of LibreOffice only.
At the LibreOffice Conference in Bern we had the chance to chat with some of the core developers of LibreOffice about that. It was estimated that the effort required to bring this feature into production would be between 5 and 8 working days.
Wilhelm Tux is trying to find sponsors for those max. 8 days of development work!
To that purpose, we have contacted different companies, organizations and individuals, of whom we know that this topic is of interest for them. The feedback that we got has far exceeded all expectations and has further convinced us that digital PDF signatures are in real-life demand by Swiss enterprises, administrations and individuals! One of the possible reasons being that digital signatures according to the ZertES are considered equivalent to handwritten ones.
May we count on your support? Any contribution, large or small, from companies and individual sponsors, is more than welcome!
Who can implement this?
The company Collabora specializes in enterprise installations of LibreOffice environments and also executes customer-specific modifications and extensions. To that purpose, they employ some of the core developers of LibreOffice. This allows the developers to continue work on the free development branch beside their work for Collabora. What's special about their business model, though, is that all customer-specific modifications are merged back into the free development branch ("main tree") of LibreOffice.
That was, for us, the main reason why we chose Collabora as our partner for this project, as it means that we can ensure that PDF signatures will be freely available for all users world-wide.
On top of that, we find the development and business model of Collabora very open and worthy of imitation. It shows that even smaller companies can make money with Open Source Software and at the same time contribute to the further advancement of Free Software. And that all users can then profit from that development.
In the first phase, Wilhelm Tux will try to gather the required funds by collecting pledges from enterprises, institutions and individuals. We require a total of EUR 8'000 (ca. CHF 10'000).
As soon as the required amount has been pledged, the fundraising will be closed. Those who have pledged a contribution, will transfer the amount to the account of Wilhelm Tux.
As soon as the required amount is available in our account, Wilhelm Tux will formally contract Collabora to finalize the existing "experimental" feature for the generation of digitally signed PDF documents in production grade and to integrate it into the stable branch of LibreOffice.
We will watch over a timely implementation and publication under an appropriate Free License in the main development tree of LibreOffice.
Should the development fail or the code not be able to be integrated into the main development tree of LibreOffice, any by then unused funds will be refunded on a pro-rata basis upon request, or will be used for another Open Source Project.
Please register as a sponsor here and fill in the contribution form. You will then receive an e-mail from us that contains all information required to verify your pledge.
You can find the list of current sponsors here. We can publish your name or company/organization there upon your request.
As soon as the required amount as been pledged, we will contact you in order to organize the transfer of the pledged contribution.
After the order has been placed with Collabora, you will receive updates on the process of the development as well as a final report.
If all went well, be sure not to miss the party. A separate invitation will follow!
We welcome small and larger amounts! We do not want to set limits (lower/upper), i. e. any donation is fine and very welcome! Please note that payments can be made to our account using the IBAN in any currency like USD, EUR, CHF, GBP etc. (No money transfer is necessary before you hear from us, i. e. after enough funds are committed.) We just opened a PayPal account. As soon as the account is verified we'll post details or a donate button here.
What happens if the fundraising target sum will not be met?
Basically, you don't need to transfer any money unconditionally before enough funds are committed. If the fundraising is successful but for other reasons the development should fail or the code cannot be integrated into the main development tree of LibreOffice for some reason, you may ask for a refund. Alternatively, you can agree to use the amount for another Open Source Project (see Paragraph The procedure).
What are the bank account numers, IBAN, BIC of Wilhelm Tux?
The international bank account (IBAN) is: IBAN CH49 0900 0000 3043 1076 8 Beneficiary (payee): Wilhelm Tux, Berne, Switzerland Within Switzerland a/c no. 30-431076-8 can also be used.
Bank Identifier Code (BIC): POFICHBEXXX Address of the (Post)Bank (if necessary): PostFinance AG, Mingerstrasse 20, 3030 Berne, Switzerland
Please note: you don't need to transfer any money before enough funds are pledged. We'll inform those who pledged a donation!