The Document Foundation Planet


December 21, 2014

Eike Rathke

WhatsApp? Nein Danke!

Studie zu Messengerdienst WhatsApp: Gläsern chatten - Forscher sammeln unbemerkt Daten von WhatsApp-Nutzern und zeigen, wer wie oft online ist. Das zeigt auch, wie leicht man beobachtet werden kann.

by erAck at December 21, 2014 05:53 PM

Charles Schulz

Public Interest, Software Freedom and Open Standards

Christmas and the New Year are coming really close now and I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This year was truly exciting for me and I believe that 2015 is going to be a very special one. One of the things that keep coming back and that many of us enjoy during this time of the year is the Christmas cookies, candies and other very nice surprises that we are being offered, or that we bake or purchase. Let’s forget the extra pounds that’s part of the season’s inexorable consequences: this year, we had some another kind of early Christmas delights: Early December, the UK Government hosted the tenth edition of the ODF plugfest. All the participants went away saying it had been a tremendous success; the Document Foundation, its partners and the ODF ecosystem at large attended the event. Above all, there were two very good surprises during the event:ODF-logo

  • Google is now back at work on seriously implementing the ODF standard for Google Drive. This is major as Google Drive has the potential to become one of the major ODF implementations available. So far, its support for ODF had been hesitant or ambiguous, when not downright technically flawed. We are not being told that Google is committed to have a full, quality implementation of ODF for Google Drive and perhaps for its search engine for the Summer season of 2015. This kind of announcement does not happen everyday and I believe it will give a boost to the ODF ecosystem by extending its potential reach to millions of new users.
  • The efforts of the UK Government in adopting Free Software and Open Standards are real, actual, and not the effect of some politics-induced buzz. The UK is moving on several fronts, adopting Free Software on the desktop, the server (this is a huge undertaking obviously), creating and liberating a UK_Sealsubstantial amount of open data, and ensuring its infrastructure and services rely on open standards. It is useful to remember that such migrations are usually hard to lead to completion because of the complexity of the legacy systems and the habits of entire public sector entities interwoven with existing skills and suppliers’ relations. If properly carried on, this migration and the new policies born out of it will be of tremendous importance for any other government contemplating such a move. On the other hand, I cannot stress enough the importance of working with upstream projects and initiatives for a government like the UK Government. As I wrote a few months ago, we should expect technical problems and change management issues that must be addressed properly, otherwise the whole migration project could be at risk of failing. Upstream projects, such as the Document Foundation, can help by providing guidance on sourcing the best expertise, and important technological questions. These projects may in turn be helped through the investment of governments: more resources also mean more quality assurance, and features developed for the benefit of all. Public interest and software freedom are not always aligned, in the sense that software freedom grant rights to users of Free Software but does not imply users will get what they want; in this case however, these two notions could become very much aligned. The same holds true for Open Standards: if major chunks of the UK’s public sector’s pool of documents is migrated to ODF, there is something close to a liability – and an opportunity- for this Government to ensure the format continues to thrive and be improved.

All in all, we have some really good news for the end of the year. I look forward to 2015.


by Charles at December 21, 2014 02:51 PM

December 19, 2014

Andreas Mantke

Support Desert – Part One

I bought a new notebook at the Medion store twentyone  month ago. I handled it with care and bought a neopren carry case. I prevented the case of my notebook from getting scratches.

Two month ago I recognized some pink spots on the screen. I moved the notebook display a bit forward and backward and the spots disappeared. First I thought there could be an issue with the graphic card. But if it had been a problem with the graphic card it would disappear once I moved the display. Thus I searched a bit through the web and found out that there are cable between the mainboard and the display. I had a suspicion that one of this cable has been damaged.

I took my Notebook and drove to the customer center in Mülheim/Ruhr. The account manager wrote down my description of the problem and he confirmed my diagnostics. He sent the notebook to the dealer’s workshop. He told me and I got a confirmation by email that the repairing could take up to fifteen workdays. I had to search for an intermediate solution for this three weeks and reactivated my old very slow notebook (I was lucky that I had not scrapped it.). I hoped to get my new notebook back after this three weeks, but that didn’t happen. I’ll write how this story moved along in my next post.

by andreasma at December 19, 2014 11:14 PM

Official TDF Blog

Behind the scenes at TDF: Quality Assurance (QA)

Towards the end of the year, The Document Foundation would like to share achievements in 2014 with our community and our generous donours, to whom we’d like to express our sincerest gratitude and thanks for their incredible and wonderful support and their invaluable contributions!

As a start, Robinson Tryon, who is in charge of Quality Assurance (QA) since August, and summarizes the efforts in this important area:robinson-in-brussels

Hi all,

I’m Robinson Tryon and I’m a QA Engineer for The Document Foundation. I became quite interested in computers in high school and got my first taste of Free Software playing around with RedHat Linux on a spare machine.

In college I started to study computer science in earnest, and found myself very interested in the topics of human-computer interaction and computing freedom. I can’t remember who first introduced me to the Free Software Foundation, but I have fond memories from my undergraduate years of attending annual membership meetings at MIT and thinking of how I’d like to get a job where I could spend my time working on Free Software.

In the years since I graduated with a degree in computer science, I’ve been fortunate to be able to work with a number of different organizations and labs on Free Software projects. I’ve worked on a multimedia engine used to create training simulations for doctors and first-responders, tools for teaching non-technical people how to use programs such as git and ssh, and a series of web-based games designed to help libraries, museums, and other organizations crowd-source metadata for images and video in their collections. I was very excited to join the Document Foundation this year and bring my experience to the LibreOffice project.

My first contributions to LibreOffice came early-on in 2010 when the project was just starting out. The renewed energy and community-focus espoused by the leaders heartened me, and the reduced barriers to contribution sounded very promising. I tested out new builds and made a few small edits to the wiki, but didn’t get seriously involved until a couple of years later. Up until that point, I was just a user.

When I was still in college, I remember running Sun’s off of a Knoppix LiveCD. I desperately wanted to find an alternative to running MS-Office to type up all of my papers and reports, and just using a text editor wasn’t quite cutting it. Although I wasn’t always able to work on my own desktop computer in my dorm room, carrying around a Knoppix CD made it possible for me to boot-up and run a Free Software office suite on the public cluster machines.

By the time LibreOffice had its first release, I had upgraded from the CD and could carry around Free Software programs on a USB stick, ready to be run on any computer. I currently carry a USB stick with builds of LibreOffice for Windows, GNU/Linux, and Mac. My thinking is that if a friend ever needs a hand opening documents on a computer, it’d be great for me to have the right tool ready to go for them. In fact, using LibreOffice to help out a friend is what got me very involved with LibreOffice and the QA Team.

A friend of mine had a large number of documents in proprietary formats (word processing, spreadsheet, etc..) and reading through the LibreOffice documentation I found out that the suite has some excellent tools for conversion of documents from one format to another, including the ability to bulk-convert via the command line one hundred documents as easily as one document. While I was doing my research, I started to chat with contributors to the LibreOffice project, I attended a couple of QA Meetings, and before I knew it was an active member of the QA Team!

When I first started out contributing to LibreOffice, I focused on some basic bug triage tasks and filled-in missing pages on the TDF wiki. As my understanding of the project and its members grew, I was able to make contributions to Bugzilla, to the BSA, and MediaWiki, and was able to help set up tools such as ownCloud. I currently work on a large number of different QA tasks for LibreOffice, including generating binary-bisection or “bibisect” repositories, improving and updating QA documentation on the TDF wiki, and overseeing the implementation of improvements to Bugzilla. Right now I’m gaining experience as a Release Engineer for LibreOffice.

In addition to the technical tasks I undertake for LibreOffice, I work on LibreOffice outreach — both in the US and abroad. Although we have a large number of active users, only a small fraction of them are active contributors. We are always looking to expand the number of contributors in each of our teams, and are excited about getting more people involved in QA through our BugHunting sessions and LibreFests.

A LibreFest is usually a one or two-day event in which various LibreOffice teams may participate. LibreFests, just like hackfests, are typically held in person, as that’s the best way for us to collaborate with and teach new contributors. When the QA Team participates in a LibreFest, users are asked to perform basic or advanced bug triage, to bibisect regressions, and to file new bugs that they observe. With experienced LibreOffice team members present, users feel much more comfortable stepping outside their comfort zone and taking on QA tasks that they wouldn’t try to tackle by themselves.

In our BugHunting sessions, we spend a weekend (usually Fri-Sun) testing the latest builds of a new Release Branch. One of the tools we use to test the builds is MozTrap — a test case management system that help to ensure greater reliability and consistency. Through extensive use of LibreOffice, we hope to shake-out any obvious bugs and squash them before going further in with the release process.

Speaking of BugHunting sessions, this weekend (Dec 19-21), we’ll be having a BugHunting session for the upcoming 4.4 Release Branch. We’ve worked to make it easy for newcomers to participate. To join in, or just for more information, see:

LibreOffice 4.4.0 bug hunting sessionIf you’re looking for a way to participate in LibreOffice, or just curious about what we do in QA, please stop by our mailing list or our IRC channel. There’s so much more that we do that can’t be contained in a single blog post, and we’d love to tell you all about it!

by Florian Effenberger at December 19, 2014 06:30 PM

December 18, 2014

Official TDF Blog

The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.3.5

Coverity Scan Project LibreOffice OverviewBerlin, December 18, 2014 – The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.3.5, the fifth minor release of LibreOffice 4.3 “fresh” family, which is a stable release of the more advanced version of the software, targeted to individual and enterprise users. LibreOffice 4.3.5 contains over 70 bug fixes.

The Document Foundation suggests to deploy LibreOffice 4.3.5 in enterprises and large organizations when backed by professional support by certified individuals (a list is available at capable of providing value added support.

People interested in technical details can find change logs for LibreOffice 4.3.5 here: (fixed in RC1) and (fixed in RC2).

The image on the left provides the updates figures about LibreOffice source code as provided by the Coverity Scan Service on December 14, 2014. To learn about LibreOffice and Coverity Scan, you can read this blog post.

Download LibreOffice

LibreOffice 4.3.5 “Fresh” and LibreOffice 4.2.8 “Still” are immediately available for download from the following link:

LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members can support The Document Foundation with a donation at

by italovignoli at December 18, 2014 02:00 PM

December 17, 2014

Leif Lodahl

Fuzz about Google supporting odf

Since Google announced their new so called support for the open standard for documents; odf, there has been a lot of fuzz. And yesterday when the new version of Google Docs and Drive, there has been even more fuzz. I'm happy that Google is finally implementing support for odf BUT... and there is a but: Honestly I'm not impressed. I'm very disappointed. First of all because the support comes

by Leif Lodahl ( at December 17, 2014 06:22 PM

Making good and solid templates

p { margin-bottom: 7pt; line-height: 120%; }a:link { } When your organization is migrating from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice its important that you provide the users with some good and robust templates. If your users are using LibreOffice in parallel with Microsoft Word or if your users are collaborating with other users outside the organization, then your templates must take this into

by Leif Lodahl ( at December 17, 2014 04:52 PM

Stephan Bergmann

Evil Casts

Spot the difference in

#include <iostream>
struct S1 { int s1 = 2; };
struct S2;
S2 * f(S1 * s) { return (S2 *) s; }
struct T { int t = 1; };
struct S2: T, S1 {};
int main() { S2 s2; std::cout << f(s2)->t << '\n'; }


#include <iostream>
struct S1 { int s1 = 2; };
struct T { int t = 1; };
struct S2: T, S1 {};
S2 * f(S1 * s) { return (S2 *) s; }
int main() { S2 s2; std::cout << f(s2)->t << '\n'; }

The latter will print “1”, as would be expected. The former will probably print “2”. Or “1”.

The trouble is that in C++ a C-style cast involving a pointer to an incomplete type will “resolve” to a reinterpret_cast. (Or, at the compiler’s discretion, to a static_cast, if the type later becomes complete within this translation unit.) With no incomplete types involved, the C-style cast will consistently resolve to a static_cast.

“Broken cast” shows how such C-sytle casts on incomplete types are the worst of the worst. (The reason it went unnoticed for 10+ years is that the corrupted pFact member happens to always contain a null pointer when that code is executed, so writing false into it doesn’t really hurt. But also doesn’t reset bVisible from true to false, so that hot hack of yore is probably not needed so desparately after all…)

Noel Grandin wrote a Clang plugin to flag many of the clearly bad uses of C-style casts across the LibreOffice code base. Since “loplugin:cstylecast: warn about casts involving incomplete types” it now also flags “the worst kind of all.” (And unearthed the above WTF.)

by stbergmann at December 17, 2014 04:36 PM

December 15, 2014

Michael Meeks

2014-12-15: Monday

  • Mail chew, interview, sync. with Matus, more mail; lunch. Product Team call, sync with Michal, call with GL guys, Consultancy Team call, sync. with CL guys. Fed babes; read stories. J. doing PCC training - wrote LXF column.

December 15, 2014 09:39 PM

Official TDF Blog

TDF announces the second and final LibreOffice 4.4 bug hunting session from December 19 to December 21

The Document Foundation (TDF) announces the second LibreOffice 4.4 bug hunting session, which will happen from December 19 to December 21, 2014, immediately after the availability of the first release candidate of the new major release (with the final release planned for the end of January 2015).

Details of the second LibreOffice 4.4 bug hunting session are available on TDF wiki at A list of LibreOffice 4.4 features that have to be checked for bugs and regressions is also on TDF wiki:

To participate, it will be necessary to download LibreOffice 4.4 RC1 for Windows, MacOS or Linux from Filing bugs will be extremely easy, thanks to the help of experienced volunteers who will be around on the QA mailing list ( and IRC channel (irc://

by italovignoli at December 15, 2014 06:07 PM

December 14, 2014

Michael Meeks

2014-12-14: Sunday

  • Off to NCC, ran the older kids group looking at John 2; back for a fine lunch; applied slugging - slept on the sofa. Quartet practice, the Princess Bride "Get used to disappointment", tea, & sermon in bed.

December 14, 2014 09:00 PM

December 13, 2014

Michael Meeks

2014-12-13: Saturday

  • Lie-in, breakfast, dispatched M. to Sophie's all-day super-party, out to Brandon for a walk in the forest with everyone else. Back, read some chunks of The Economist; forced myself to get back to paperwork - reviewed a 60+ page chunk of legalese while babes watched a movie.
  • Pizza dinner, read stories, more work; bed.

December 13, 2014 09:00 PM

December 12, 2014

Andreas Mantke

Further Work on new LibreOffice Extensions Site

The LibreOffice extensions site is running on Plone and I’m working further on a new addon for the site. I added three new event features to the new Plone addon. The extensions site will sent an email message, if a member created a new extension project. This will help to review and publish new projects in time.

There are similar messages to the projects contact address:

  • once the workflow status of a project has changed (e.g. from submitted for review to published),
  • if someone add a new release to the project.

The edit form of a release is now reordered and get a structure with fieldsets. I placed the fields for the file upload (extension files) on two new tabs.

by andreasma at December 12, 2014 10:32 PM

Michael Meeks

2014-12-12: Friday

  • Chewed mail, interviews. Out for a lovely lunch in town with Bruce, Anne, Auntie Louise & J. Back for a partner call.
  • Finally got to read the nice ODF plug-fest summary / press release.
  • Customer call, partner call, sync. with Kohei. Worked until midnight on urgent beaurocracy / paperwork.

December 12, 2014 09:00 PM

Tim Janik

Remote Reference Counting in Rapicorn

In the last months I finally completed and merged a long standing debt into Rapicorn. Ever since the Rapicorn GUI layout & rendering thread got separated from the main application (user) thread, referencing widgets (from the application via the C++ binding or the Python binding) worked mostly due of luck. I investigated and researched several [...]

by timj at December 12, 2014 07:29 PM

Official TDF Blog

The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.2.8

Berlin, December 12, 2014 – The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.2.8 “Still”, the eight – and definitely the last – minor release of the most solid version of the software, ready for enterprise deployments and conservative users.

LibreOffice 4.2.8 solves a Calc sort problem and includes several fixes for the RTF import filter. Change logs with a complete list of all the fixes are available on the wiki: (fixed in RC1) and (fixed in RC2).

LibreOffice 4.2.8 is available from

LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members can support The Document Foundation with a donation at Money is used to grow the project both at global and local level.

by italovignoli at December 12, 2014 10:01 AM

December 11, 2014

Michael Meeks

2014-12-11: Thursday

  • Into Cambridge early, built ESC agenda; interesting partner meetings for the morning & a pleasant lunch . Chewed through mail, ESC call, met Lucy, synched with Neil.
  • Back earlyish; dealt with babes left & right. Bed.

December 11, 2014 09:00 PM

Collabora Community

Major announcements from the ODF Plugfest

The COIS organisation logoLast night Open Forum Europe and The Community For Open Interoperability Standards published a press release about the Open Document Format (ODF) Plugfest event from earlier this week.

Collabora attended and wrote our expectations for the meeting on Monday; now here are the outcomes. The announcements, some of which have already been reported, are very encouraging for the future of ODF and the spread of the native LibreOffice format. Here is the press release verbatim:

Cabinet office Plugfest builds momentum for ODF

On Monday and Tuesday, 8th-9th December, a group of technologists, SMEs, corporations, individuals, and representatives of Governments gathered in Bloomsbury, London over two days to collectively improve the implementation of Open Document Format (ODF).

“Plugfests provide both vendors and organisations implementing the standard with knowledge about ODF and the software that supports it.” said Linda Humphries, Senior Technical Adviser at the Government Digital Service. “The aim is to help vendors to improve their products so that users have a better experience when they exchange documents.”

The Government’s policy mandating ODF for editing and sharing documents, announced in July by the Minister, commits all departments to adopting the format to boost the strength and diversity of apps which read and write ODF documents. The Cabinet Office partnered with the OpenDoc Society to host this week’s event. Magnus Falk voiced Government priorities when his speech on Monday demanded “serious choice” for Government IT buyers, and a level playing field for suppliers based on the use of Open Standards and ODF.

Several major announcements highlighting an increased commitment to ODF were made. A major strength of ODF lies in its many independent implementations providing choice and flexibility. Ten independent implementations of ODF were represented, and significant technical progress was made in automated testing by 50+ delegates from 30 organisations, including 17 Government representatives.

The Dutch Government representatives commended the UK Open Standards policy, which shares it’s own aims, for delivering interoperability and avoiding vendor lock-in. They also announced they will host the next Plugfest in Summer 2015

“This week’s Plugfest marked a historic high for co-operation between ODF stakeholders in Government, software vendors, and small to medium enterprises” said Basil Cousins, Director of Open Forum Europe, “it’s encouraging to see the Cabinet Office participating in ODF implementation to drive their ground-breaking policy of file-format openness, interoperability and competition”.

Following strategic presentations and meetings on Monday from leaders including Government Deputy CTO Magnus Falk, Google’s Chris DiBona, Collabora’s Michael Meeks and Boris Devouge of Microsoft , Tuesday provided a day for technical development and testing. Particular progress was made with support for tracked changes within documents – a key feature for Government ODF users, which is yet to be implemented in Microsoft Office products and Google Docs. Compatibility between change-tracked documents was demonstrated in three Open Source implementations including LibreOffice, Apache OpenOffice, and EuroOffice, and 183 new tests were written to check formatting and interoperability with other applications.

“Interoperability is a core benefit of Open Standards such as ODF, and technically speaking the situation has never been better” said Michael Meeks, of the Document Foundation Board of Directors. “It was great to see the progress around change tracking, and we look forward to all vendors contributing to positive improvements in both implementations and the standard in this area. Across desktop, mobile, and server, ODF has never worked more consistently better”.

About Open Document Format (ODF)

Approved as an OASIS standard in 2005 and as an ISO standard in 2006, ODF is supported by a wide range of desktop office suites, web-based editors and mobile applications including leading commercial offerings from Google, Microsoft, and IBM, as well as multi-platform Open Source products including LibreOffice, OpenOffice, WebODF, EuroOffice, and Calligra Suite. It has since been adopted as an official document standard by national governments in Europe and Latin America.

About The Community for Open Interoperability Standards (COIS)

COIS is the British division of OpenForum Europe (OFE) which supports OFE’s Vision, Policies and Code of Conduct with the mission of creating a level playing field for ICT suppliers and freedom of choice for the citizen/user by supporting the drive to adopt Open Standards through the UK public sector. COIS seeks to connect the Public Sector with the technology community, guided by the Cabinet Office’s Open Standards Principles. It is committed to transparency, politically and technologically neutral, non profit & self funded with industry support and managed by a co-operation of industry organisations. Views expressed by COIS do not necessarily reflect those held by all its supporters.

by Sam Tuke at December 11, 2014 02:01 PM

December 08, 2014

Andreas Mantke

Work on new LibreOffice Extensions Site

The LibreOffice extensions site is build on the Content Management System Plone. I use currently the addon Plone Software Center to host the LibreOffice extension projects and their files. Because the structure of that software is a bit to complex for our contributors, I decided to develop a new Plone addon for the use case of the extensions site.

The new addon is based on the new content object framework Dexterity and has currently only three content types: center, project, release. I added nearly all necessary fields to the content types and worked a bit more on the views in the last days.

The view of the center content type shows a list of the recent extension projects and the most popular now. There are also links to display extension projects by category. But the center view is not finished yet. I’ll work on a search form for extensions with options.

I added to the project content type two new event manager. They notify the project owner about the change in the status of his project (change in workflow status) and as soon as a new release was added to his project. I could create them on core features of Plone.

I created a demo and test site with the new Plone addon at

The site will be updated regularly with the current source code from the github repository:

by andreasma at December 08, 2014 09:09 PM

Collabora Community

Google, Microsoft, and Collabora speak to Government hosted Plugfest

ODF Plugfest 10 logo

This morning British and American businesses are gathering for a strategic two day conference targeting the compatibility of documents used in Government. Under discussion is Open Document Format (ODF) — the family of Open Standard file formats used by LibreOffice by default. Although this is the 10th ODF Plugfest event organised by The OpenDoc Society, and the third to be held in the UK, this is the first time such an event has been hosted by central Government. The Government Digital Service (GDS), which is the in-house IT unit of the Cabinet Office, has provided premises, hospitality, and representatives for speaking. 50 Attendees from a range of international organisations are today hearing from leaders of the field, including:

  • Chris DiBona, Google’s Director of Open Source
  • Magnus Falk, Government Deputy Chief Technology Office
  • Graham Taylor, Chief Executive at OpenForum Europe
  • Chris Rae, Standards Professional at Microsoft
  • Michael Meeks, Vice President at Collabora Productivity
  • Dr. Steven Pemberton, National Research Institute, Netherlands
  • Boris Devouge, Senior Cloud architect at HP
  • Svante Schubert, Committee chairman at OASIS

Work on advancing the compatibility of ODF between supporting applications comes at a critical time for British technology policy. Having adopted the format as the defacto document standard for all departments, the question is now how and when public bodies will become compliant with the requirements. The move to ODF is driven by a shift towards Open Standards in the public sector, in order to realise the many benefits that they offer. Because of that, the degree to which files in ODF format work across the many applications that support them is crucially important. Improving compatibility is the purpose of Plugfest events, as Linda Humphries of the GDS writes:

“Plugfests provide both vendors and organisations implementing the standard with knowledge about ODF and the software that supports it. The aim is to help vendors to improve their products so that users have a better experience when they exchange documents… Speakers will share lessons learned. Developers also have the opportunity to engage in testing and coding to fix interoperability issues in private sessions.” — Linda Humphries, UK Government Digital Service

After a year of calls for greater flexibility and value for money from ICT services, the push for Open Standards has never been stronger. In January Chief procurement Officer Bill Crothers promised to end the “appalling” behaviour of some software suppliers to Government, proclaiming that an “oligopoly” of companies “have had it too good for too long”. Government Paymaster General Francis Maude echoed this sentiment in May, stating “Government must be militant about interoperability standards”.

ODF is a key standard for the public sector as it encompasses formats for exchanging the most commonly used documents, including reports, spreadsheets, and databases. Being vendor-neutral, free of license and patent fees, and supported by more than 20 different server, desktop, and mobile applications, it offers the freedom and independence that Whitehall now demands.

Two of today’s presentations come from Collabora staff: Product Manager Andras Timar and Vice President Michael Meeks. They’ll share interoperability experiences from working on LibreOffice-From-Collabora, the results of which are all included in stock LibreOffice releases from The Document Foundation. As the second largest contributor to LibreOffice (the world’s most popular Open Source ODF implementation), we’re one of the many ODF stakeholders participating in today’s Plugfest, working together to deliver the industry’s best — and most open — document formats.

by Sam Tuke at December 08, 2014 10:00 AM

December 07, 2014

Leif Lodahl

Please help with testing

Some years ago I developed an extension for LibreOffice for direct search for clip art from I have recently been working on a new version that use a new OpenClipart API. Please help me test this extension: Install it and use it. Post your result and comments to this blog post. I would like to know witch operating system and LibreOffice version you are using. I'm specially

by Leif Lodahl ( at December 07, 2014 03:37 PM

December 02, 2014

Björn Michaelsen

To Win in Toulouse

Now the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and a trunk.
– Animals, The House of the Rising Sun

So, as many others, I have been to the LibreOffice Hackfest in Toulouse which — unlike many of our other Hackfests — was part of a bigger event: Capitole du Libre. As we had our own area and were not 30+ hackers, this also had the advantage that we got quicker to work. And while I had still some boring administrative work to do, this is a Hackfest were I actually got to do some coding. I looked for some bookmark related bugs in Writer, but the first bugs I looked at were just too well suited to be Easy Hacks: fdo#51741 (“Deleting bookmark is not seen as modification of document”) and fdo#56116 (“Names of bookmarks should allow all characters which are valid in HTML anchor names (missing: ‘:’ and ‘.’)”). Both were made Easy Hacks and both are fixed on master now. I then fixed fdo#85542 (“DOCX import of overlapping bookmarks”), which proved slightly more work then expected and provided a unittest for it to never come back. I later learned that the second part was entirely nonoptional, as Markus promised he would not have let me leave Toulouse without writing a unittest for commited code. I have to admit that that is a supportable position.

Toulouse Hackfest Room

Toulouse Hackfest Room

Scenes like the above were actually rather rare as we were mostly working over our notebooks. One thing I came up with at the Hackfest, but didnt finish there was some clang plugins for finding cascading conditional ops and and conditional ops that have assignments as a sideeffect in their midst. While I found nothing as mindboggling as the tweet that gave inspiration to these plugins in sw (Writer), I found some impressive expressions that certainly wouldnt be a joy to step through in gdb (or even better: set a breakpoint in) when debugging and fixed those. We probably could make a few EasyHacks out of what these (or similar) plugins find outside of sw/ (I only looked there for now) — those are reasonably easy to refactor, but you dont want to do that in the middle of a debugging session. While at it, I also looked at clangs “value assigned, but never read” hints. Most were harmless, but also trivial to get rid of. On the other hand, some of those pointed to real logic errors that are otherwise hard to see. Like this one, which has been hiding — if git is to be believed — in plain sight ever since was originally open sourced in 2000. All in all, this experience is encouraging. Now that there are our coverity defect density is a just a rounding error above zero getting more fancy clang plugins might be promising.

Just one week after the Hackfest in Toulouse, there was another event LibreOffice took part in: The Bug Squashing Party in Munich — its encouraging to see Jonathan Riddell being a commiter to LibreOffice too now, but that is not all, we have more events coming up: The Document Foundation and LibreOffice will have an assembly at 31c3 in Hamburg, you are most welcome to drop by there! And next then, there will be FOSDEM 2015 in Bruessels, where LibreOffice will be present as usual.

by bmichaelsen at December 02, 2014 10:31 PM

November 30, 2014

Charles Schulz

Supporting LibreOffice users everywhere

Helping people using LibreOffice is possible through several channels. Today, this page on the LibreOffice’s website points to several existing options:

  • searching the available documentation
  • searching the help module that is embedded inside LibreOffice
  • checking the archives or asking a question on one of the mailing lists of LibreOffice dedicated to users support (we have one in English, the others provide community support as well, but in other languages)
  • using the same mailing list(s) but through a forum-like interface called Nabble
  • relying on te Ask LibreOffice website
  • asking for help on IRC
  • digging (deep) into our wikidiscover_

At this stage the state and range of these options provide some real choice for LibreOffice users. However, managing social networks for LibreOffice (as I usually do) has made me realize that we have users requesting help pretty much all over the Internet, and that many of them are not even aware of the options above!   twitter

The way this issue is visible is by browsing our Twitter feeds (@libreoffice and @tdforg) ,our Facebook page and Google + community. What happens on each of them is different, but the need tends to be the same. On Twitter, we regularly have questions from users; but the specific format of micro-blogging on Twitter makes it rather hard to provide effective help; what happens then is that it turns into a conversation or a direct recommendation to use the different channels for community help (mailing list,, etc.) The silver lining with Twitter is that people on Twitter usually feel heard when the answer comes directly from the @libreoffice account. In the end there may be no solution provided on Twitter – although it does sometimes, thanks to volunteers who are on Twitter – but what’s sent along the replies in 140 characters is a strong social value.

googleplusGoogle + is a very interesting place, as a relatively important part of the activity inside the LibreOffice officially G+ community is geared towards users support already. Inside this community one meets people who cannot usually be found on our mailing lists – their home is the LibreOffice Google + group. This makes for an active group and an actual community.

Facebook is in this regard very different. Facebook has the larger, broader audience of all these networks. But it would be difficult to describe it as a community. People come and go, although the page seems mostly used as a way for everyone to get updates about LibreOffice and its project. Often times a few people will ask questions – yet it  is rare to find anyone that will answer and provide help like on Google + or on a community support website.facebook

Going back on our existing, official community support channels, one thing seems to become clearer. The website is growing in audience and as a community (which is a good thing). The users mailing lists do grow, but not as importantly as the Ask website. The English spealing users mailing list does not seem to gain much in audience, but its content tends to appeal more towards power users. Interestingly enough I got the same impression on the French speaking users mailing list.

Where does that take us?

Here are a few questions I would like to put out to interested readers and community members. Given all of the above, do you think we should expand our community users support options? In particular, here are a few ideas I was thinking about, keeping in mind, however, that for each of them we need volunteers:

Feedback welcome!

by Charles at November 30, 2014 03:09 PM

November 28, 2014

Caolán McNamara

LibreOffice Coverity Defect Density 0.00

So today's statistics for the latest coverity run over LibreOffic:

LibreOffice:  5,973,881 lines of code in Selected Components and 0.00 defect density

Defect density is measured by the number of defects per 1,000 lines of code, identified by the Coverity platform
11,751 Total defects, 21 Outstanding, 331 Dismissed, 11,399 Fixed
That's the dashboard reported figure. There are 21 unresolved warnings at the moment which works out at a true defect density of 0.003515303, we're in rounding to 0 territory. I reckon 11 of the remaining are really false positives but I'd still like to figure out how to "wiggle" the code to get their data validity check detected correctly.

by Caolán McNamara ( at November 28, 2014 09:32 AM

User Prompt

How do you use Libreoffice Impress?

As discussed in the recent postings about Writer and Calc, Libreoffice’s default toolbars haven’t been changed in 9 years, since OpenOffice 2.0. Our goal is to update Libreoffice’s default toolbars by removing seldom used buttons in order to give room for more useful functions.

Figure 1: Toolbar of Libreoffice Impress as implemented in 4.3.

To make sure that changes are done according users’ needs, we want to know how you use Libreoffice Impress: Which features are relevant for you? How do you interact with the application? How do you want the toolbar configured by default?

Please go to our test platform and answer a few question about your workflow and opinion. It takes only a few minutes and helps us to steer the development. (study closed on 2014-Dec-03)

As always, we appreciate all of your comments, so please share your opinion!

by Heiko Tietze at November 28, 2014 12:04 AM

November 25, 2014

Naruhiko Ogasawara

Joint meeting of Kanto LibreOffice HackFest & DocFest Tokyo/Fall 2014

Last Saturday, 21st November, we, the LibreOffice Tokyo community, held the second HackFest in Hon-Komagome, Tokyo.  Main target is joining Bug Hunting Session.  As wiki says, we had mainly followed the MozTrap manual test,

This event was a joint event with FLOSS translators' meeting, called DocFest.  My Friend, who arrange the venue, Kentaro Hatori is leading Japanese translation of GNU Health passionately.  And some people from different projects has worked together, and talk about their own projects.

Working so hard

So we need coffee and some sweets :D

We have several kinds of participates:
  • 4 LibreOffice offline, and 1 online (via IRC) bug hunters
  • 1 LibreOffice Impress Remote translator
  • 3 GNU Health translators
  • 1 Debian JP member
  • 1 Fedora / GNOME translator
And what we've done are:
  • Filed bugs: fdo #86552, #86553, #86557
  • Bug confirmation: fdo #86390
  • Developing new LibreOffice extension
  • Impress Remote translation preparation
Fortunately, following day (Sunday, 22nd, November) Fukuoka LibreOffice community held another meeting, and they had a Bug Hunting time slot (great!), so we still have several problems need to investigate:
  • In Draw, sometimes characters disappear some characters with huge Japanese fonts.
  • Base hang up when the "Use Wizard to Create Report..." launched on Windows
    (can't reproduce in Ubuntu)
  • Base hang up when the "Create Report in Design View..." launched on Windows
    (can't reproduce in Ubuntu)
  • In Calc, password lock feature of macro libraries doesn't work well (seems locked, but after save and reopen, it unlocked)
  • (Old bugs till 4.3)  In Calc, when a library is password locked, Japanese strings in the library is broken.

Now we're investigating these issues, and some of these will be filed to fdo.

And thanks to Christian Lohmaier, we had a VM that has a bibisect repo and whole source code.  It helped us pretty well.

Thanks, everyone!  We did well, but still some effort will needed.  Keep going!

This day was "Ni-no-tori," special day in Japan
And there was a festival nearby the venue.  Good!

by Naruhiko Ogasawara ( at November 25, 2014 02:40 PM

November 24, 2014

Official TDF Blog

The Document Foundation announces new Certified Developers

Berlin, November 24, 2013 – The Document Foundation (TDF) has just appointed two Certified Developers, Jan-Marek Glogowski (Landeshauptstadt München) and Samuel Mehrbrodt (independent), bringing the total number to 44. Jan-Marek Glogowski is the first Certified Developer working as an employee inside a large organization deploying LibreOffice on thousands of PCs, and supporting the deployment with bug fixes.

In addition, the first batch of Certified Developers appointed in October 2012 has been renewed: Thorsten Behrens (SUSE), Stephan Bergmann (Red Hat), Cédric Bosdonnat (SUSE), Rene Engelhard (independent), Jan Holešovský (Collabora), Tor Lillqvist (Collabora), Christian Lohmaier (TDF), Luboš Luňák (independent), Lionel Elie Mamane (independent), Eilidh McAdam (ITOMIG), Caolán McNamara (Red Hat), Michael Meeks (Collabora), Björn Michaelsen (Canonical), Petr Mládek (SUSE), Markus Mohrhard (Collabora), Eike Rathke (Red Hat), Michael Stahl (Red Hat), Fridrich Štrba (SUSE), David Tardon (Red Hat), András Timár (Collabora) and Kohei Yoshida (Collabora).

Certified Developers are able to assist enterprise deployments of LibreOffice by providing professional Level 3 support, with feature development and bug fixing, to solve application and interoperability problems. The Developer Certification Program is intended to help identify qualified developers to support deployment of LibreOffice in the public administration and the enterprise.

Details about TDF Certification are available on The Document Foundation site at: The updated list of Certified Developers is here:

by italovignoli at November 24, 2014 03:08 PM

November 20, 2014

User Prompt

Results of survey about Libreoffice Calc’s toolbar configuration

Our goal is to unclutter the toolbars from functions that are rarely used and to add those that are more frequently used. In order to verify improvements that we were making to Libreoffice Calc’s we asked users about their needs and preferences toolbars. Here are the results.


Current usage

The first two questions were about formatting: ‘How often do you format text in Libreoffice Calc?’ related to font and text properties, and ‘How often do you format cells in Libreoffice Calc?’ concerned border and background properties. Participants could answer between 1 as ‘never’ and 6 for ‘always’ in six steps.

Figure 1: Current usage of functions.

Figure 1: Current usage of functions.

There is no clear result in terms of functions that are always used by every user. But most formatting features seem to be used regularly, with the exception of border color which is less frequently changed.

Since we want to promote the usage of styles in Calc, we then asked ‘Do you apply Styles for formatting in Calc?’.

Table 1: Do you apply Styles for formatting in Calc?

Responses [n]
I don't know about this feature

About 40% use styles to format sheets or cells in Calc, but 25% do not even know about this feature, which illustrates the need for its improvement and promotion.

Removal of toolbar buttons

Thereafter we asked ‘Do you agree with hiding the following buttons from the toolbar?’ with the option to reply from 1 as ‘No, don’t hide’ to 6 as ‘Yes, hide it’ in six steps.

Figure 2: Removal of functions from toolbar (axis mirrored).

The results make clear that formatting is an important function to users even in Calc, as most participants want to keep those buttons on the toolbar. In addition to formatting, users want the easy access to add charts from the toolbar. We get agreement to remove Open gallery, Insert hyperlink, Open data sources, Show navigator, and Spell checking from the toolbar, but not to a definite extent.

Addition of toolbar buttons

Finally the participants could tell us which function should get added to the toolbar with the question, ‘Which features would you like to add to the toolbar for quick access?’. The reply was possible via multiple choice answers.

Figure 3: Functions to add to the toolbar.

Figure 3: Functions to add to the toolbar (max=119)

Cell management options for the addition and removal of rows and columns is the feature of most interest to slightly above 50% of all participants, followed by formatting stuff. The least important feature is Create pivot table with 21% and Enable auto filter with 34% interest.

If you want to rerun the analysis, here are the raw data and R scripts:


With the last question ‘Do you have any further recommendation how to improve Libreoffice Calc’s toolbar?’ we offered the participants to enter free text for all wishes (Xmas is coming). This option was used by about a quarter of survey participants.

Several people want improvements to styles:

“Styles should be set upfront to promote their use.”

“Skip everything that deals with manual editing of text and replace these functions with (applying) styles …. A useful set of default styles, targeted at spreadsheets rather than generic usage would be a GREAT (if not to say obligatory) start.It would help a lot for the use of styles to see a preview in the list…”

“I think that, overall, styles in LibreOffice are a great feature. However, its behavior is cryptic for more casual users.”

Several others want more features packed into the toolbars:

“Most toolbar buttons should be “split buttons” to add more functionality per button…”

“Add “Auto-sum/average/max/min/count”; Add “Freeze window”; Add “Hide/Show column/row”; …”

“Maybe add a conditional formatting dropdown button”

“Add define print area, add print area, remove print area …”

Some are afraid of too many changes:

“Please, if you have to change, change slowly. one function at a time each major release…”

And we got a lot of useful ideas too:

“…putting document-scope actions into the main toolbar (like export, save, print, layout), and try to move context-related actions somehow closer to where the action is done (like highlight, cell color, data format).”

“Formula toolbar at the bottom. Responsive design to the toolbars.”


The result illustrates our dilemma: users generally do not want to relinquish any functions, but want more functions added. But in respect to the first question about the actual usage, we believe that focusing on formatting makes the most sense. So we plan to:

  • Provide a preview of the selected style in sidebar
  • Create more (sane) styles for Calc
  • Fit as many frequently used functions into the toolbar as possible using split buttons
  • Remove the following buttons: Open gallery, Open data sources, Show navigator (again, it affects the default setting only; you can still configure the toolbar for your personal needs)

You may have noticed that we didn’t ask about standard functions like Save, Print, Copy/Paste etc. in this survey. Those generic functions should be implemented consistently over all applications. So we adopt the insights from Standard toolbar in Libreoffice as well in Calc.

As always, feel free to comment the hell out of this blog post.

Survey was also held on the Libreoffice Chinese website and 11 users took it so far. Here are the results (raw data only) from this test.

by Heiko Tietze at November 20, 2014 01:18 PM

Charles Schulz

Standards and Weapons

I have been writing a lot about the benefits of standards -especially open standards- for economic growth and citizens’ empowerement. Today however, I would like to explore, or at least highlight  a more obscure side of standards.

Standards can be used as weapons; by weapons I mean tools of influence, economic and technological domination from one country, one company over others. Standards are not just developed by means of sitting around a table with other parties and deciding how it will be developed. Sometimes, a party will push forward the base of a standard, and by sharing this base, will ultimately influence the whole industry or ecosystem through the outcome of standardization: the existence of the standard and its adoption. Other times, the very fact that a standard is being developed and pushed on the market is a threat to existing other standards. In a way, this is what could have happened with ODF, only in this case the Microsoft Office binary file formats were never standards in the first place. But then the very fact that OOXML was ever submitted to the ISO created the second standard that partly broke the momentum of ODF adoption.

 Other examples can be seen in other industries as well. Is there anything that can be done? Well, for one thing, it is important to realize that standards can become a rather dynamic affair. A standard with an expected power struggle, that is a standard that is already a bone of contention between two companies or two countries can be turned around into a struggle of different nature between different opponents.

Another important consideration is that a standard should always be contemplated not just in terms of what problem it claims to be solving but through a variety of parameters. Chiefly among them, the identity of its authors, the intellectual property rights and regime applicable to its specification, the state of the standard implementations and the players providing them, the existing standards in the same field, etc.

My humble experience in the field of digital standards makes me think that no standard is ever innocent, not in itself but by the intent of its authors or implementors. Even a nice and deeply useful standard such as ODF is a big stone thrown in the backyard of Microsoft. At this point you may be wondering if this post is essentially a change in position from what I’ve written here thoughout all these years (after all, this blog is called “Moved by Freedom, Powered by Standards”). It actually isn’t in any way. Standards are tools; they are opportunities for collaboration, economic and technical improvement. But they are limited in regulating the good or bad will of their stakeholders, and truth be told, I don’t think any process or tools could ever do that ex ante. The development rules, the IPR, the transparency of the process can be very effective in regulating the defects as well as whatever issues specific to standard itself may appear. They can even help fostering an effective ecosystem around the standard. But once you step up to a more strategic level, you need to go beyond the standards’ internal and external qualities (the specification itself, its IPR, its development process, etc.) . You need to understand who is doing what in the industry, who are the contenders and established players, the technological and legal disruptions, and even the political intent driving to the adoption of a standard or discouraging it. You need to understand why there’s even a standard in the first place.

With what has been previously called “true open standards”, things tend to improve insofar as their true openness guarantee the absence of vendor lock-in. Yet true open standards are assessed dynamically, never on the basis of predefined rules. As an example, one may demand that the IPR mode of a standard be only Royalty-Free. If there are two Royalty-Free competing standards, both satisfy this requirement, yet perhaps one of these two is ultimately controlled by a vendor, while the other one has a genuine inclusive development process. The history of ODF and OOXML is an interesting case in regard of using pre-defined criteria that may lead to a partial assessment of a standard.

All in all, standards are tools, and tools can often be used as weapons. It is never about the tool itself, but about the hand guiding it. Anybody can use a hammer, even me and my two left hands. But you can choose to hammer nails to suspend picture frames on a wall, or you can choose to use the hammer to throw it in the face of someone. The hammer is not responsible of your choice, for you only have had an intent guiding the hammer. Standards are no different; they can be both tools of liberation and economic welfare, or they can be used as competition crushers and weapons of economical warfare. In any case, judge by the hand first and the tool second.

by Charles at November 20, 2014 11:30 AM

November 17, 2014

Michaël Lefèvre

Back from Toulouse

Past weekend, I’ve attented LibreOffice Hackfest Toulouse.

As Kohei wrote some days ago about Seattle’s one, I didn’t know really what to expect.

This hackfest took place inside a bigger event : Capitole du libre. It’s a community oriented event that you can compare in some way to fosdem. There were many booth from independents projects (Mozilla, OpenStreetMap, Kde, Haiku, OpenSuse, …) and lot’s of presentations covering freedom and free software during Saturday. On Sunday most of the rooms host training and visitors can get advices. Another hackfest (akademy-fr around kde) was held during the weekend, but I didn’t visit them.

We were mostly 5 developers attending the hackfest, and while not coding we enjoyed talking with visitors on accessibility (mostly blind people), documentation, open bugs. Some of them where teachers facing political decisions : in France, during secondary schools depending where you’re living, kids could have netbook, casual laptop (with Ubuntu or Windows) or tablet (Android or iOS). And of course this could change : politicians like announcement, especially before being elected. So teachers simply have to adapt their tooling over time. Michael took the opportunity to propose CloudOn solution for iPad. Most of the visitors where supportive of document ownership, and just try to cope with the administrative situation.

On a coding side, Bjoern fought again bookmarks, Markus and Michael improved OpenGL rendering, Arnaud while not running in the stairway, reserving lunch, looking for keys, sweets or whatever, improved Basic code. On my side, I’ve was easyhacking the code.

Thanks for every one for sharing cpu cycles through icecream, your valuable advices and more specificly Arnaud for organizing the event, and thanking all of us for coming ;)

un → fr

by lefevre00 at November 17, 2014 05:37 PM

Naruhiko Ogasawara

Kanto LibreOffice Hackfest & Tokyo-area Debian meeting

This is an later report also, sorry.

The Debian community in Japan is very active.  Debian JP (Japanese) is a Japanese organization to promote Debian in Japan, since 1998 (!).  There are several Debian developers / maintainers,  and they have monthly study parties in Tokyo-area, and Kansai-area.

We, the LibreOffice Tokyo community is much younger than Debian's one (just two years old), but we also have monthly Meetup.

Anyway, as the Debian global project does, Debian JP wants to collaborate on upstream projects like LibreOffice, so we held joint Meetup in 25th October (Thanks Hideki Yamane to offer to do together, and Takahide Nojima to arrange the Meetup), in SQUARE-ENIX's beautiful seminar room.  This is 119th (!) meeting of Tokyo Debian, and our third LibreOffice Hackfest.

Group photo by Hideki.  Thanks!

Hideki already wrote a nice article to report the good Meetup, so I add a little.

Understanding LibreOffice packaging in Debian is so nice for me as an Ubuntu user.  We learned Debian package of LibreOffice has many patches, and had discussed to apply these patches to upstream.

As our Hackfest, I tried my first Easy Hack, since the HackNight of the last LibreOffice conference, Bern (wow, 2 months needed).  I couldn't commit a patch at that time, but after a few days later, I finally sent a patch and accepted.  It was my first commit to LibreOffice.  Yeah!

Others tried to fix a libvisio bug, to translate UI in Pootle, to create a document how to report a problem for Japanese casual users, ...  Pretty nice Hackfest we did :)

by Naruhiko Ogasawara ( at November 17, 2014 02:39 PM

Preparing next LibreOffice Hackfest, as an offline Bug-hunting session

Short notice :)

We, the Tokyo LibreOffice community now preparing to have the LibreOffice Hackfest on this Saturday (22th, November).   That day is within the LibreOffice Bug Hunting Session, the global event aimed to do as much testing on the 4.4.0 as possible, so our main target is bug-hunting.

Of course we can collaborate IRC channel #libreoffice-qa globally, but chatting in English is a little tough work for some of the Japanese people (includes me :), that's why I want to have an offline bug-hunting, to provide opportunity for discussion in our mother tongue, Japanese.

HackFest in Tokyo is one of Japanese offline bug-hunting events, other people in LibreOffice Japanese Team prepare

I (freenode nick: naruoga) will be online in #libreoffice-qa channel from 1am to 11am UTC on 22th, November.  Because of the time difference, it's not a core mentoring slot, but I hope we'll see you LibreOffice QA people.

by Naruhiko Ogasawara ( at November 17, 2014 12:52 PM

November 14, 2014

User Prompt

About the performance of the Sifr icon set

Since the release of Libreoffice 4.2, the new flat and monochrome icon theme Sifr was introduced, which has received a lot of positive feedback from the community for its modern design. So in order to test the icon set’s perfection, we have run an icon test similar to two previous tests done in 2013 with Tango and Oxygen. Here are the results from the test.


The icon test on our User Weave test platform aims to analyze icons using quantitative data instead of subjective preferences. All icons are presented in random order, with every term tested one at a time. The participant’s task is to find the appropriate icon to the presented term as quickly as possible. Learn more about this method in Extracting the DNA of icons.

Libreoffice with Sifr icons.

Figure 1: Libreoffice with Sifr icons.

The current test consisted of 24 icons from LibreOffice’s standard toolbar.

We used the tooltip labels to describe the function. The text was localized in English (n=240 participants), German (n=72), French (n=38), Polish (n=11), Italian (n=8), and Hebrew (no one chose this language).


Icon test

Figure 2 shows the calculated quality indicator for the Sifr icons (red) versus the (reanalyzed) sets with Tango and Oxygen icons (gray and black). The lower the indicator the less mistaken the icon was and the quicker it was chosen


Figure 2: Calculated quality indicator.

Typically, some icons are mutually mixed-up. The next image shows the percentage of those false associations. On the horizontal x-axis, the presented term is shown with the chosen image on the vertical y-axis. Gray shades are logarithmic scale.


Figure 3: Mix-ups: x-axis shows the term, y-axis the percentage of false assigned images. Gray shades are log scaled.

If you want to rerun our analysis we provide all raw data and R scripts for the analysis of the icon test (run evaluate.r): Sifr_Icontest.tar.gz


After the icon test we asked the participants a few demographic questions.

After the icon selection test was completed, we asked the participants a few demographic questions.

Since the test is about icons, it might be interesting to know which icon set users select deliberately: “What icon set do you use in Libreoffice?” The answers comprised of the distributed sets for all operating systems as well as the option to answer with “The predefined default icon set”. The following table combines these result with the question “How old are you?” in six categories. The last row and column contain the total percentage for age or icon set.

Table 1: Use of icon sets by age.

Icon set
Total [%]
Total [%]3.3129.1435.7616.569.274.30n=302

We then asked “Which is your primary operating system?”. Again, the table combines this data with the chosen icon set.

Table 2: Use of icon sets by operating systems.

Icon set
Linux (GTK+)
Linux (Qt)
Linux (other)
Mac OS
Total [%]
Total [%]25.5018.217.956.2941.06n=302

And finally we wanted to know “How often do you use the following LibreOffice Application?”.

Table 3: Average usage of applications from 1=never to 5=daily.


Unfortunately it is not possible to link any of the demographic results to the data from the icon test.

If you want to rerun our analysis we provide all raw data and R scripts for descriptives  (run descriptives.r): Sifr_Descriptives.tar.gz


Sifr is a popular icon set. It is chosen deliberately by about 20% of the participants, not only by younger users and not only by Linux or MacOS users. And it performs pretty well. The results are similar to Oxygen and Tango which are known to be great icon sets. We treat this as another confirmation for out method.

On the other hand, this particular selection of icons from the Libreoffice standard toolbar shows some issues. There is a significant mix-up between the functions for spell checking, and Copy/Paste are confused more often than in the other icon sets. This is a common problem of monochrome designed icons that lack on the color dimension. Rather related to Libreoffice the functions Gallery, Navigator, Data Sources, and Page Preview are barely understood.

We documented the issues last year:

With the conclusion and recommendations:

Next steps

The Libreoffice design team is working hard on toolbars to improve the UX for the upcoming release 4.4. The toolbar is decluttered in that less frequently used functions are removed and more relevant ones have been added. Tooltips are being standardized and updated. About Sifr, we have decided to make it the default for Mac OS in the upcoming release.

by Heiko Tietze at November 14, 2014 06:48 PM

Jacobo Aragunde Pérez

LibreOffice workshop at A Coruña University

Last week I went back to the University of A Coruña, this time to stand at the opposite side of the classroom and conduct a workshop about LibreOffice.

I was invited by Juan José Sánchez Penas as part of the subject System Information Design (Deseño de Sistemas de Información) which belongs to the Master in Computer Science Engineering (Mestrado de Enxeñería Informática). The goal was introducing students to a real world project and see how the techniques they learn are applied in practice.

The table of contents:

  1. An introduction to LibreOffice project: its long history since the 80s, current status and the awesome community that powers it.
  2. A high-level overview of the project architecture to present its main design philosophy.
  3. Accessibility in LibreOffice: how it is designed and current status. You will probably find this chapter familiar.
  4. Quality assurance techniques and tools: what the community does to assure the quality of our releases.

Find below the slides I prepared for the workshop, with versions both in Galician and English. Files are hybrid PDFs to make them easy to modify and reuse; feel free to do it under the terms of the CC-BY-SA license.

by Jacobo Aragunde Pérez at November 14, 2014 12:37 PM

November 13, 2014

User Prompt

How designers think about ‘Save as…’

The metaphor of a floppy for Save is one of the most controversially discussed and challenged icons. There are haters who argue that many younger people never have seen a floppy (except at the Save icons). And there are lovers who favour the clear and unique depiction of the floppy.

The German newspaper ‘Stuttgarter Zeitung’ and the ‘Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation’ ran a competition to design a new icon for ‘Save as…': (German only webpage). The task was simple: Design an icon for Save-As. Thousands of suggestions have been submitted, most likely overwhelming to the organizers as well.

Approaching the ideas

Looking at the bunch of ideas we got thought that a categorization makes sense. We grouped icons by the metaphor that the designer might had in mind (examples are chosen randomly from the sample).


Arrow Icons

  • Arrows and check-marks
    Designers seem to love arrows. Many icons consist of a downward pointing arrow or convey mainly on arrow like symbols. The idea behind is that Save is an action


    Icons with checkmarks

    where users put something into a container (this container varies largely). Similar to the arrows, a check mark is very common. The designers might have a finalization or affirmation in mind, saying something like ‘Action conducted successfully’.


Storage metaphor

  • Storage
    The next big category is the medium. Several submitted proposals still trust in the floppy, more or less symbolic. Other ideas want to associate Save with an USB stick, chips (mostly as known from SD cards), hard discs, compact discs, and clouds (we tried to sort this list by the number of items in the category).


Icons using text

  • Text
    Other metaphors trust in text. Locks, keys, and safes are used quite often to indicate the safety aspect of the Save action (whereas a safe might have literal reasons). The letter S was suggested very often, disregarding that the label in languages other than English (Save as) or German (Speichern unter) does not start with S, for instance French (Enregistrer sous). Funny in this respect is the idea with a squirrel whose tall is inverted S shaped (there are at least three participants with this idea!).


Utilizing memory

  • Memory
    Surprisingly often a brain was suggested as metaphor. The idea is obviously to memorize stuff. And consequently elephants must not be missed due to their proverbial long term memory. Those icons reveal the problem with size and level of detail: the submitted images had to have a size of 275 px, but toolbar icons usually have only 22 by 22 px. And a brain that is resized to 22 pixels does not differ from a cloud, for example.


Symbolic approaches

  • Symbols
    Last but not least we have a large number of icons that are designed symbolic or are mainly abstract. If an established metaphor should really get replaced it might be a good idea to introduce an abstract symbol. By doing so you trust in learnability – and in the fast technical development: All concrete icons may be outdated tomorrow.

Official Evaluation

Evaluating all the ideas cannot be done in a definite or complete manner. Due to the huge amount of submissions it is just a subjective impression, probably ignoring some great ideas. The organizers ran the evaluation in two steps: first the users were asked to vote. That was done by presenting some randomized icons with the option to up-vote as many icons as desired but each only once. However, publicity over social media was explicitly approved. (This might have significantly biased the result.)

Unfortunately the icons were presented in 275 x 275 pixels using an endless list (by scrolling down the content is being refreshed). As a thumb of rule from our icon tests we recommend to have at least 100 values for a valid result. This was not possible for this large data base.

In the second step the 20 most favoured icons have been evaluated by experts (10 from the amateurs and 10 done by professionals). And the winner presented today on world Usability Day is…  Check it on the page (or at table 1 below).

Objective Analysis

Our evaluation of icons is different as we measure quantitative data: error rate and response time. Since we do not have errors in this test, our result is just a table with the number of associations and the average response time. To compare the newly introduced icons with the well established floppy we added the respective symbol from the Oxygen icon set which is known to perform very well. Here are the results:

Table 1: Results from the icon test with different Save-As icons.

Chosen [n]
Response time [s]
Official rank


The organizers write on their page: “The competition does not claim to set future standard for design. The major focus is on fun in creative dealing with the rapid changes in data storage and the usability of IT product.” From this point of view the competition was a full success.

Lesson two learned is that good design requires professional designers. There are so many aspects to consider beyond the metaphor. Technical skills are obviously required but one has to consider a common design language, a branding, color, accessibility and so on as well. It’s great to get supported with ideas and to receive input, but the final work should be done by experts.

And eventually we come to the resume, again, that a floppy is still a good symbol for Save or Save-As. It might be outdated as a physical object but has become iconic on itself. One the other hand, we appreciate the reflection on finding new symbols, but rather for other terms. And as usability experts we should point out that good icons don’t work on their own. The symbols have usually surrounding objects, so position and grouping is relevant, the access is supported by a tooltip which should be clear, and as third aspect the function itself needs to be known by the user. Learn more about this trilogy in ‘Semiotik in Usability. Guidelines for the Development of Icon Metaphors‘.

by Heiko Tietze at November 13, 2014 03:54 PM

Eike Rathke

xkcd 1446 - Landing

Earthlings yesterday followed the Philea landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko after 10 years of space travel. Impressive. See what really happened in the xkcd Landing documentary. Start at slide #0 and space-time travel with the right cursor key. Don't get confused by the first empty slides, it's on purpose, space is huge.

by erAck at November 13, 2014 12:54 PM

November 12, 2014

User Prompt

Once again: Survey on Libreoffice Calc’s toolbar

After server crash yesterday evening all should be running now. So again: Please participate in our survey: (study closed on 17-Nov-2014)

(Learn more about the background in yesterday’s blog post. And please comment there, if you want.)

by Heiko Tietze at November 12, 2014 09:05 AM

November 10, 2014

Collabora Community

Why LibreOffice Certification matters

The new certification programme, announced on Wednesday by the Document Foundation (TDF), for professionals who train and migrate to LibreOffice as a service, is a watermark for the growth and development of businesses in the Open Source productivity ecosystem. Thirteen newly qualified individuals form the basis of the programme, representing six different companies and six independents.

Italo Vignoli

Italo Vignoli – Certification Committee Chairman

The need for new types of certification reflects the growth and maturation of businesses supporting LibreOffice, as well as the leadership of the Document Foundation and its readiness to meet that need. Over the last two years The Document Foundation have granted certification to 45 software development engineers. Graduates include employees of leading Open Source multi-nationals Red Hat, SUSE, and Ericsson.

As a non-profit organisation with charitable status, The Foundation provides a degree independence and authority which corporate bodies can never achieve. With its three-tier management structure, TDF is well suited to non-partisan setting of standards and assessment of certificate applicants. Yet because many leading LibreOffice service providers are also board members, the foundation is uniquely positioned to assay best practice and learning resources, and foster cooperation between companies which may otherwise be marketplace competitors.

“In fact, LibreOffice Certification is the first of this kind to be managed by a community based Free Software project, as all other certifications in the open source environment are managed by a company” — Italo Vignoli, Certification Committee Chairman

The peer-to-peer certification process covers a broad range of themes from “certification theory” to “growth potential”. Some subjects are special to the application’s Open Source roots, including “basic knowledge and understanding of Free Software communities”, and “Free Software licenses”. Certification both incentivises professional learning, and provides a public directory of qualified experts for those seeking services related to LibreOffice.

Four of the six companies with newly qualified staff are Collabora partners, and 13 of 45 engineers already certified are members of our team. With more certified staff than any other company, we’re delighted to be part of the training and development of LibreOffice experts, and look forward to promoting certification to our international network of educators and integrators.

by Sam Tuke at November 10, 2014 10:55 AM

November 07, 2014

Caolán McNamara

LibreOffice Coverity Defect Density 0.02

Coverity Defect Density: LibreOffice vs Average

We run LibreOffice through Coverity approximately once a week. According to Coverity's overview dashboard our current status is:

LibreOffice: 7,271,857 line of code and 0.02 defect density

Open Source Defect Density By Project Size

Line of Code (LOC) Defect Density
Less than 100,0000.35
100,000 to 499,9990.5
500,000 to 1 million0.7
More than 1 million0.65
Note: Defect density is measured by the number of defects per 1,000 lines of code, identified by the Coverity platform. The numbers shown above are from our 2013 Coverity Scan Report, which analyzed 250 million lines of open source code.
The "lines of code" here is 7,271,857 vs 9,500,825 in older reports because I'm now building against system-libraries instead of building those in-tree in order to speed up the process. Those "external" libraries have always been marked as "ignore in analysis" in coverity so that change has no effect on the defect density of our own code.

If anyone knows how we could rework our code or otherwise automatically silence that would be great. This false positive keeps cropping up in uses of uno::Sequence so they keep popping up.

We're now at that happy place where we are getting a very small and manageable number of actually new warnings in "really" modified code each run rather than getting the same old one again and again as general refactoring perturbs the code enough that they get newly detected.

by Caolán McNamara ( at November 07, 2014 09:08 PM

Charles Schulz

The Document Foundation sets precedents & paves new opportunities for Free Software

These past weeks have marked a significant twist in the way the Document Foundation is supporting the LibreOffice project and in general, the Free and Open Source Software world. Three distinct pieces of news should indeed be put together in order to shed light on the way the Document Foundation is changing the way Free Software projects can work in order to grow and gain traction. In chronological order, here are the three announcements you should pay attention to:
– The Document Foundation opens a tender to develop a full viewer (and limited editor) for Android
CloudOn, a member of the Advisory Board of the Document Foundation and a very active contributor of code, releases its new, full touch-based document viewer and editor for the iPad, entirely based on LibreOffice.
– The Document Foundation extends its certification programme to migration and training professionals.

Put together, a new story is emerging. Part of it was expected since the beginning of the LibreOffice project, while other parts came up unexpectedly, yet welcome. Let me explain. The other day I was writing about the roles of Free and Open Source Foundations. The funny thing about that is that while some foundations have roles that are easy to understand, several others operate in ways that may not make immediate sense to all. It seems that the Document Foundation falls in this latter category.

The Document Foundation role is to support and grow the LibreOffice & Document Liberation project and promote Free Software and Open Standards. You will notice in this statement two key points; first, it is not directly the role of the Document Foundation to develop the LibreOffice code: the community of volunteers is in charge of that and second, the actual role of the foundation is actually to protect and cater to the community’s needs and logistics.

At this point, it should be clear that at least in the case of the Document Foundation, we don’t hire developers to work on LibreOffice. But we feel there’s a difference between being a non profit entity distributing t-shirts and an entity actually supporting and growing the project. As such, we have overcome the lack of skills and time to develop an Android client by dedicating resources to this development, enabling talented developers to work on this project during a fixed period of time and funded by the foundation. Clearly, if such a development had been so easy we would already have an Android version.

The second case is a bit different, but highlights that the licensing choices of the LibreOffice project do not make it some sort of project for hobbyists. Here, we have a dynamic startup investing in the codebase and in the project in order to bet its own business on LibreOffice. The result is a visually stunning, touch based document viewer and editor for the iPad; it is also the only client able to read and edit documents in OOXML, ODF and several other formats on this device. Is it proprietary? I’m afraid it is. But the important lesson here is on two levels: in order to create such a product, CloudOn had to invest heavily in the development of LibreOffice (i.e, make actual, sizable contributions to the LibreOffice codebase) and, despite everything we have heard in the past, our licensing scheme is flexible enough to accomodate many different kind of scenarios without ripping off the actual project from its resources and code.

Last but not least, the certification for migration and training professionals is an important announcement: by assessing a reasonable level of competence and knowledge on LibreOffice, the certification aims at turning the market into a readable and transparent set of service offerings the customers can choose from while benefiting from a real stamp of minimum quality to be expected.

The conclusion at this stage I take from these three announcements is that the Document Foundation moves into new territories that will ultimately help LibreOffice and the FOSS world in general. By setting these precedents, the Document Foundation finds ways to strengthen the business ecosystem and invest resources into much needed strategic initiatives. This is what an independent foundation can do for the community it stems from and it is a powerful, yet at times intriguing model that prompts a new thinking on Free and Open Source Software projects.

by Charles at November 07, 2014 04:39 PM