The Document Foundation Planet

 

October 21, 2014

Chris Sherlock

How to build only vcl modules from scratch in LibreOffice

After reviewing the component diagram on the LibreOffice wiki, the following will make the VCL module in LibreOffice:

make sal salhelper store cppuhelper cppu xmlreader registry unoidl dtrans \
binaryurp dtrans animations jvmfwk jvmaccess javaunohelper stoc i18nlangtag \
ucbhelper comphelper basegfx tools unotools i18nutil i18npool sot svl vcl

Update: this doesn't always work. Turns out that there is some sort of circular dependency between i18npool and another module, which make sorts out itself. 

I'm now trying:

make CppunitTest_i18npool_test_breakiterator ucb configmgr vcl

by Ta bu shi da yu (noreply@blogger.com) at October 21, 2014 10:35 AM

October 19, 2014

Charles Schulz

Free Software is Europe’s second chance

I have watched with some interest the latest consultation organized by the European Commission about funding priorities for research, software and cloud initiatives. The Digital Agenda for Europe has been a hot topic for a just a few years now and such a set of policies will create some real opportunities in Europe. Of course, the devil lies in the details, but it dawned on me that in all the years I worked on digital policies at the European level,  I had never really expressed why I think that Free Software is a strategic opportunity for Europe.

Contrary to a popular belief, international trade is actually quite regulated, not just among countries but among continents and economic regions as well. On a regular basis, these regulations (trade agreements, treaties) are discussed again among governments, revised, restricted or expanded. Such has been the case between the U.S. and the European Union since the sixties. Without embarking into a lengthy depiction of these bilateral trade negotiations, let’s cut to the case and state that while Europeans pevailed in some areas (food safety standards, environment etc.) the U.S. both managed to impose standards and their influence in the field of computers and microprocessors (among other things). Independantly of these trade agreements, Silicon Valley emerged thanks to a combination of high performing and flexible universities, available capital and direct or indirect government funding. These factors enabled entrepreneurs and adventurers of all kinds to experiment, fail and sometimes succeed in amazing ways.

This left Europe as an area which had (and has) lots of talent, but where the I.T. sector was anything but  priviledged. As this industry, like several others, works very much on the law of emerging returns of networks, entrepreneurs of Europe, engineers and scientists became attracted to Silicon Valley, moved there and joined the system that has been working so well for decades now. Europe did not take notice. It was only well into the first decade of the twenty-first century that the thinking in Brussels shifted from a relatively passive attitude to a more proactive stance, creating funding opportunities for the software industry and research.

Unfortunately for Europe, I and many others have felt the lingering influence of U.S. based software vendors in the decision making process of the European Institutions. In a sense it helped educating a few decision makers on the reality and the state of the art of the I.T. industry. But it also helped entrenching the already strong positions of some of these vendors.

While Free Software was not born in Europe, the relative disadvantage of the European I.T. sector compared to the U.S. can be greatly mitigated by enabling Free and Open Source Software models across the I.T. ecosystem and the industries increasignly relying on software as one of their core components. It is important to realize that the objective of building a Europe-based I.T. industry as strong or as rich as the U.S. one is a delusion. You cannot turn back the time, and the circumstances that led to the booming of the U.S. I.T. sector cannot be replicated entirely. I am aware the European Commission was sold on the idea that somehow we could replicate America’s crazy  software patent system and that somehow this would strengthen our economy. I am curious to see where that will end, but I’m very pessimistic in that regard.

Now, I do believe that if we think in competitive terms, we are in a David vs. Goliath situation. The story of David and Goliath, however, is not one where David gets super-powers and super weapons in order to win over his opponent. It is the story of David who, facing a formidable enemy, gets a boost of self-confidence thanks to his faith in the Creator and fights using the weapons he knows best, in other terms, the weapons of the weak, despite the many suggestions to use supposedly more effective ones by his Court. This is a powerful idea: it suggests that in competition one does not have to use the same means as its competitor, but that one can use its own strong points.

Europe has no strong proprietary vendor eco-system. We should be happy if these vendors grow and strive, but ultimately we must know that Free Software projects and companies can create jobs and values if we ensure that Free Software and its values are “enabled by default” across the many industries using, distributing or consuming software. Choosing a more “traditional” path leads us to hedge bets we may not be willing to or could not afford.

What does this “default to Free Software” mean? Here are a few broad ideas:

  • Mandatory Free Software and Open Standards for public procurement of I.T. solutions and data
  • Free Software grants for developers working on critical components, such as security. After all everyone benefits from their work, including proprietary vendors, and no one feels compelled to ever give back
  • Free Software mandatory in Education
  • Funding for software research only possible for components licensed under a Free and Open Source Software licence
  • Europe-wide legal entity model for Free Software projects, enabling flexibility and simple, transparent administration
  • Dissemination and education of Free Software community practices

These broad areas are an opportunity for Europe so that we can grow the number of jobs thanks to a strong and healthy Free Software-based companies, ventures, and projects hosted and operating in Europe. I know that the European decision makers can count on the entities who help shape Free Software everyday, among them The Document Foundation, KDE, OW2, the MariaDB foundation and many, many others. We are Europeans. We are talented and proud to serve our cultures and our continent.

by Charles at October 19, 2014 01:26 PM

Chris Sherlock

Refactoring LibreOffice: VCL FontCharMap

I have been looking at the VCL in LibreOffice, which is its cross-platform widget and window library. Whilst reading the SalGraphics class (more on this in a future post) I noticed a class called ImplFontCharMap . Curious, I looked more into it. Why the "Impl"-prefix? What about FontCharMap?

As it turns out, ImplFontCharMap is a Pimpl for FontCharMap. Now normally a Pimpl has very little code and is not directly accessible by any class other than the class that uses it. A Pimpl allows for better builds in C++, and a number of other reasons. In this case ImplFontCharMap was doing a LOT.

A font character map in VCL allows a font to be mapped to Unicode codepoints. The VCL font charmap allows you to find a character in the font based on the Unicode codepoint, find the next and previous character supported by the font (these are not necessarily contiguous) and the first and last characters supported. There is also a default charmap, which maps the BMP plane, including surrogates.

ImplFontCharMap had an internal reference counting mechanism to optimise sharing of charmaps. However, this was better changed to boost's intrusive_ptr, because frankly that implementation is far more well engineered and tested, not to mention I'm not a fan of maintaining code that isn't really specifically addressing VCL needs. (incidentally, the best rundown I found of intrusive_ptr can be found at this man's blog) The commit can be found here. You can see that I've been able to immediately remove AddReference() and DeReference().

You will notice, however, that there are a few classes who rely on ImplFontCharMap (now ImplFontCharMapPtr, a typedef to an intrusive_ptr) directly. In particular, SalGraphics was relying on returning the Pimpl! Frankly, that's madness in my view. As I've said, Pimpls are really intended to be tightly coupled to a particular class and should never be used directly. The class that needs the Pimpl should be used! You can see other side effects, because the Pimpl is really duplicating code that should be in FontCharMap. This is clearly a bit if a code maintenance nightmare.

Given that a Pimpl is one of the very few concepts in C++ that relies on tightly coupling two classes, I made FontCharMap a friend class of ImplFontCharMap and moved most public functions from ImplFontCharMap to FontCharMap. I kept the destructor and the functions getDefaultCharMap() and isCharMap() but you'll notice I made them private, hence the lowercase first letter of the function names. I do NOT want VCL based code to access the Pimpl! I thought this was a necessary compromise because the logic really was more entwined with the data itself. There is a function FontCharMap::GetDefaultCharMap() although it's not normally necessary as the default charmap is shared via intrusive_ptr and the default FontCharMap constructor just returns a reference to the default charmap. I have provided it because you can get a default font charmap that excludes symbols.

I realised at this point, after a chat with Kendy on IRC, that I had dealt with managing the Pimpl for FontCharMap, but now I was returning raw FontCharMap pointers. This was defeating my refactor, so I made the typedef FontCharMapPtr, which is an intrusive_ptr to a FontCharMap instance. I then refactored the code to use this instead of the raw pointer.

The second commit that implemented this can be found here.

Finally, I have to have a big shout-out to Caolán McNamara from RedHat who found a rather embarassing bug I introduced and fixed it. The issue was that I didn't initialize the ref counter variables, except where I did where I set it to 1... which was rather silly of me, though I was reliably informed by Michael Meeks that he has done the same thing in the past.

Anyway, this is how I refactored a relatively small class. It actually took a lot of effort to do. In the end, I created a unit test to ensure that FontCharMap was still working correctly.

by Ta bu shi da yu (noreply@blogger.com) at October 19, 2014 07:16 AM

October 17, 2014

Michael Meeks

2014-10-17: Friday

  • Early to rise; quick call, mail, breakfast; continued on slideware - really thrilled to use droidAtScreen to demo the LibreOffice on Android viewer.
  • Off to the venue in the coach; prepped slides some more, gave a talk - rather a hard act to follow at the end of the previous talk: a (male) strip-tease, mercifully aborted before it went too far. Presented my slides, informed by a few recent local discussions:
    Hybrid PDF of LibreOffice under-development slides
  • Quick lunch, caught up with mail, customer call, poked Neil & Daniel, continued catching up with the mail & interaction backlog.
  • Conference ended - overall an extremely friendly & positive experience, in a lovely location - most impressed by my first trip to Brazil; cudos to the organizers; and really great to spend some time with Eliane & Olivier on their home turf.

October 17, 2014 10:12 PM

Joel Madero

Supreme Court Brief – Interop

Well interoperability is becoming more of a problem as we move forward. Not to blame LibreOffice – as has already been stated many times on the web, one of the big problems is that Microsoft themselves don’t accurately stick to their own specs which can cause problems for anyone trying to use both LibreOffice and Microsoft Office. I’m still not sure what version of Microsoft Office my partner is using – I vaguely remember seeing him on a Mac so I suspect MSO 2011 for Mac. We’ve switched to docx (I sent him doc, docx, and pdf) and he returned the docx with his edits, some things I noticed:

1. TOC is very screwed up – I think that this is due to Microsoft Office and not LibreOffice though. I think they handle lower level headers (e.g., header2, header 3, etc . . .) in a different (and lamer) way than LibreOffice so the page number doesn’t go all the way to the right which is idiotic.

2. Page breaks are gone – and with them the page styles I had on. For some reason Microsoft converted all of them to “Converted” and then some #, no clue where that came from. Perhaps the biggest issue :-/

3. Not only were the particular styles lost, things like page margins went back to default instead of what we need them at.

Good news:

1. Comments are awesome and working fine – this is tremendously important for anyone trying to commingle their works and provide feedback;

2. Font was maintained;

3. My partner seems to think all of the bad news stuff isn’t that bad ;) He’s not asking me to use MSO or any such thing, says it’s all minor that we can fix at the end.

Nothing is beyond repair with a little time.


by joelmadero at October 17, 2014 04:09 PM

Official TDF Blog

LibreOffice Conference 2015 in Aarhus, Denmark, from September 23 to September 25, 2015

Aarhus WaterfrontBerlin, October 17, 2014 – The Document Foundation (TDF) announces that the LibreOffice Conference 2015 will be jointly organized by the Danish LibreOffice community in collaboration with local F/OSS groups and the Aarhus municipality, and hosted at the brand new Urban Media Space, from September 23 to September 25, 2015.

In addition, on September 22 the LibreOffice community will gather for several face-to-face meetings: Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Engineering Steering Committee, and Certification Committee.

Aarhus is a city of education, knowledge and research. Its university is internationally recognized for its contributions within, among other fields, social sciences, technology and science. Aarhus is known to attract talented students from around the world which also provides the city with a great diversity.

“Hosting the LibreOffice Conference will be an exciting opportunity for the entire Danish free software community”, says Leif Lodahl, a long time leader of the Danish LibreOffice community, a founder of The Document Foundation, and the architect of several large migration projects to LibreOffice. “We are looking forward to welcoming LibreOffice volunteers and advocates from every corner of the world”.

Support The Document Foundation

LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members can support The Document Foundation with a donation at http://donate.libreoffice.org. Money collected will be used to strengthen the foundation, support development related activities such as QA and localization, expand the infrastructure, and accelerate marketing activities to increase the awareness of the project, both at global and local level.

by italovignoli at October 17, 2014 11:21 AM

October 16, 2014

Michael Meeks

2014-10-16: Thursday

  • To the venue, crazy handing out of collateral, various talks with people; Advisory Board call, LibreOffice anniversary Cake cutting and eating (by massed hordes).
  • It is extraordinary, and encouraging to see how many young ladies are at the conference, and (hopefully) getting engaged with Free Software: never seen so many at other conferences. As an unfortunate down-side: was amused to fobb off an un-solicited offer of marriage from a 15yr old: hmm.
  • Chewed some mail, bus back in the evening; worked on slides until late, for talk tomorrow.

October 16, 2014 09:00 PM

Official TDF Blog

100,000 thanks

100,000 donations in 500 days, from May 1st, 2013, to October 13, 2014, with an average of 200 donations per day.

Three square numbers which have a greater meaning than their actual one, for the entire free software ecosystem.

Together with volunteers, contributing their time, and Advisory Board members, investing in The Document Foundation, individual donors are making the dream of an independent self-sustaining free software foundation – capable of pushing the best free office suite to the next level of awesomeness – a solid, enduring reality.

Back in 2010, when the independent foundation was announced, one of the most frequent objections was based on the false assumption that a large free software project cannot exist without a single large corporate sponsor.

After four years, we can not only affirm that the dream has come true, but that the dream has a bright future.

Thanks to donations, we have been able to fund hackfests (like the upcoming one in Toulouse, France, on November 15/16), QA volunteer netbooks for bug triage, tinderboxes for developers, improvements of ask.libreoffice.org for non-english users, LibreOffice booths at exhibitions, native language community events, a stronger independent infrastructure, and so on.

What is more important, we have been able to demonstrate that a large free software project does not need a single large corporate sponsor to thrive, but can rely on a diverse ecosystem based on companies but also on volunteers, supported by individual donors.

Companies come and go, while volunteers – and hopefully individual donors – stay.

So far, they have had the unique power of making a ten year long dream come true, and become history. With a simple donation at http://donate.libreoffice.org, they can keep the history alive, forever.

100,000 thanks, again.

by italovignoli at October 16, 2014 09:38 AM

October 15, 2014

Michael Meeks

2014-10-15: Wednesday

  • Up early; mail chew, interesting breakfast with the Krita guy. Freshened up, met up with Eliane & Olivier, coach to the dam; got the booth setup; partner call. Lunch with Olivier; booth duty. Enjoyed the opening talks; back to the booth to re-charge. Out in the evening for dinner, kindly driven by Artur.

October 15, 2014 09:00 PM

October 14, 2014

Joel Madero

LibreOffice for Lawyers – Update 2

Well – first interoperability problem. I wasn’t aware that Microsoft Word doesn’t support styles…having setup about 10 styles to handle all the nuances of legal writing, after sending it to my partner and having it returned I noticed that fonts were changed (both font type and font size). A bit unfortunate but not really sure how to correct it :-/

Workaround: Copy and special pasting as unformatted into my document after he sends me his docs. This is easy enough, but still, for people needing to have consistency, I could see this being a tad bit of a problem.

Still chugging along and only minor hiccups that I’ve been able to resolve with quick workarounds.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

EDIT: Apparently Word does support styles so now I have to do some future diagnostics to figure out what is going on. Still not sure if it’s LibreOffice problem with exporting to .doc or Microsoft Office problem with not handling styles correctly. Need to add it to the list of things to check out when I have time.


by joelmadero at October 14, 2014 09:55 PM

Michael Meeks

2014-10-14: Tuesday

  • Chewed some mail, great things going on while I'm asleep: seemingly I should sleep / wander off more often. Hacked a little on my backlog of things that need work.
  • Flight to FOZ, Brazil appears to be a lovely place; hacked on the flight, taxi to the hotel, hacked in the hotel at length - fun. Mail chew too; call with partner . Poked at tiled rendering foo until late; sleep.

October 14, 2014 09:00 PM

October 13, 2014

Michael Meeks

2014-10-13: Monday

  • Mail chew; call with Kendy, Laszlo, Tor; mail. Lunch with J. team call; more mail chewage, sync. with Matus & Andras. Hurried packing and dropped by J. for some train/plane/etc. to Brazil / LatinoWare.
  • Arrived rather early at LHR; had an interesting chat to a young movie maker off to Jordan; enjoyed rather a good sleep on a lengthy TAM flight to San Paolo.

October 13, 2014 09:00 PM

Leif Lodahl

Managing settings (on Windows)

I have written quite a few articles about installation and administration of LibreOffice on Windows. My latest post was an update on the installation parameters (read it here: http://lodahl.blogspot.dk/2014/09/silent-installation-on-windows-again.html ). This time I will write about a new and very convenient way of managing the user settings on each desktop computer. In earlier versions settings

by Leif Lodahl (noreply@blogger.com) at October 13, 2014 04:17 PM

Eike Rathke

14 Years Freedom of Choice, 14 Years Choice of Freedom

Today we can celebrate an anniversary, on Friday 13 October 2000 Sun Microsystems published the OpenOffice.org source code. I won't say "Happy Birthday, OpenOffice.org" because OpenOffice.org as a project died in April 2011 when the company who bought Sun Microsystems gave it the final stab, and there is a well alive successor now. But the birth of OpenOffice.org marked a milestone in the history of office productivity software. It provided the freedom of choice to a wider audience of users, being available on several platforms it freed users from being dictated what productivity software to use. For many people, developers, quality engineers, translators, authors and users it also meant the choice of freedom, the choice to contribute to Free Software, the choice to change the software world even if just a little, line by line. And it triggered another birth, the birth of the OpenDocument Format for office applications, starting the standardization of office productivity file formats.

For me it also provided the freedom to be able to work like I work today, being employed by a great company that pays my bills while I work on this freedom is a privilege I much appreciate.

Thank you OpenOffice.org!


by erAck at October 13, 2014 04:16 PM

October 12, 2014

Charles Schulz

Free Software & Money

There is an old, yet spreading misconception about Free and Open Source Software, whose effects are being felt almost everywhere. It is the notion that because Free Software is Free as in speech, it is somehow free as in beer. I have already written about this but I feel my point must be made a bit more clear.

I have been involved in Free and Open Source Software projects, circles and companies for over 14 years now and if you ask me what I really think is the clearest and most present danger to Free Software, you might be surprised by my answer. It is not this or that software vendor threatening Free Software projecs that worries me; it is not this or that pernicious regulation here and there putting Free Software at disadvantage that upsets me; the rate of adoption of any particular distribution, while a topic of personal interest, pales in front of what I think is our main problem. Free Software has been consciously or unconsciously designed to fight and adapt to all these hardships, and will ultimately be one of the key factors changing the way we live and think; there are very good chances of that. But we must deal with the unhealthy relation between Free Software and money.

In fact, it is not really that money and Free Software are strange bedfellows. Not only is there nothing prohibiiting anyone to generate revenues with Free Software, it is even encouraged. We have adopted a (sane) practice for years, which is to provide binaries and source code of entire Free Software stacks for free. Reading the GPL you may notice that this is not at all something to be expected; if anything, you may sell your binaries tomorrow, and only give away your source code. The unhealthy part comes when the expectation that not only all this should be free, but that your time, expertise and your entire work should always remain free.

This expectation is not only shared by a few individuals. In fact, an entire industry expects the OpenSSL (and now LibreSSL) developers to rely on fresh water and perhaps hugs to pay for their food and homes. I do not exactly know how we reached that point, but it is not recent. It may be that while some people did very well understand the whereabouts of Free and Open Source Software licenses and did ensure how to capture all the revenue without compensating the original authors, others by contrast did understand Free Software as the promise of a zero buck heaven to come. Unfortunately, this is all a sad misunderstanding, and a completely wrong way to look at FOSS.

Let’s review a few major aspects of this misconception.

1. You do provide the software for free and so does your support come for free

Yes – as long as there is indeed a Free Software project with volunteers willing to help. Note the sentence carefully: “volunteers willing to help”. This denotes two very important notions. The first one is that a project mostly relies on volunteers, aka people unpaid for what they do and the second one is “willing to help”, meaning, these volunteers could choose either not to help you or to do something completely different within the project. No one is here to serve a customer. A customer pays someone in exchange of a good or service. At what point did you pay anything?

2. If you want your software to be credible, you need to be responsible and fix bugs as soon as they arise

This is what many FOSS projects do. But sometimes the bugs that are being fixed are not the ones you just filed. And if you think your bug is more important than anyone else, assuming no one has already filed it, then you can either be patient, or pay one or more developer to fix it. If you want a credible software project, you must expect funding for developers. And that funding rarely comes from invisible money printing machines.

3. Wait… this is blackmail!

Do you have a job? Are you paid for it? The same thing goes for pretty much everyone. Now, if you only want to deal with volunteers, their help, support and goodwill will be voluntary as well. Think that what you may call blackmail is seen as normal business in any other aspect of life.

4. I thought your project was paying its developers?

It does depend on the project. But you must always assume that money is never a given for Free Software projects. There are really three non-mutually exclusive scenarios: the project entirely relaies on public donations; the project is entirely funded by a corporate entity; last but not least, the project has some sort of war chest where it is in a position of investing more resources than other projects (although it still must secure the chest on a regular basis). The third case is rare, and really only applies to Mozilla and Ubuntu (and even Ubuntu does rely on the business of Canonical). For the two remaining cases it is becoming clear that money is a factor and ultimately  conditions the project’s ability to fix bugs or implement patches that do not come from a paying party.

5. Surely developers must feel responsible and do the right thing.

They sure do feel responsible in case of a problem, at least most of them do. As for “doing the right thing” each of them are individuals with their own motivation to contribute to a FOSS project. Do not treat them like employees, and worse don’t think they are at your service.

6. I already pay for service with my local integrator/service provider . Why should I pay a second time?

You are right. You should not have to pay twice. But you should ensure that your supplier can deliver the service he’s selling to you, and that you carefully understand what the service is really about. Systems integrators, consultants, etc. should be part of the FOSS project they are distributing, and not just grabbing the software for free and selling the deployment to their customers, with no real support behind. Unless of course they know how to fix and patch the software themselves. This is why the Document Foundation has been working on a professional certication scheme for months now and it is hoped it will bring clarity to the market while strengthening the ecosystem of true experts.

Also, if your supplier does not contribute its patches back to the upstream project, you will ultimately have to pay for the costs of maintaining your own version of the software, thus generating even more costs for you.

As a conclusion, I would really like this post not to be understood as a rant of someone who discovered that Free Software does not bring money easily. I am not affected by that problem, fortunately. But I think a change in attitudes and mentalities is not just welcome but important, and necessary if we want Free Software to work and strive.

by Charles at October 12, 2014 05:26 PM

October 11, 2014

Joel Madero

User Expectations and the Reality of Our Community

Notice: I debated if I should write this or not – so in advance, I apologize if it comes off as overly aggressive.

Lately I’ve been seeing a spike in users demands both on the user mailing list, the chat room, and on bug posts. More and more I’m seeing things like “this is a blocker for me and therefore it should have a higher priority.” This is truly a problematic trend and I hope that those reading this will take a moment to reflect on the impact that such comments have on our community.

It is incredibly easy to point fingers and tell someone else to “fix it.” Fortunately, that is not how our community has worked, nor is it how it works now. Angry comments that criticize a regression, or try to manipulate priorities/importance in order to get higher attention, is only bound to lead to developers  and QA becoming unmotivated, avoiding the bug completely, etc . . .

So a couple incredibly important points:

  1. The Document Foundation (the non profit organization behind LibreOffice) has zero (yes, not one) paid developer. The implication of this is that there is literally not one single person on the project who can dictate how bugs are fixed.
  2. There are paid developers being paid by other companies – again TDF has zero power to influence these companies. They do incredible work and TDF has helped to develop an ecosystem where such third party, independent, companies can thrive.
  3. The remaining portion of our commits are wholly from volunteers. What does this mean – again, we have no power to dictate how a volunteer uses their time.

So what we try to do (at least in QA) is to do as much work as possible to help move the bug along, and then, it’s truly out of our hands. Things that can be done:

  1. Debug (for crashers especially): https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Development/How_to_debug
  2. Bibisect (for regressions, 64 bit linux required): https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/QA/HowToBibisect
  3. Clear, simple reproducible steps + clean document for a test case.
  4. Prioritize correctly: This means WITHOUT bias of “this affects me” (honestly if developers are going to trust our priority/severity at all even as a guidance on what to fix, we must do this without bias, I completely avoid prioritizing my own bugs, even after 3 years on the project and thousands of bugs triaged). For guidance: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/images/0/06/Prioritizing_Bugs_Flowchart.jpg
  5. Most important at all: GIVE BACK. More and more I’m seeing users who give no time and demand the world – this is really just a way to demoralize the entire community. There are lots of teams – please do more than complain, because that really does nothing to improve the greatness which is Libreoffice.

Two particularly troublesome things have come up recently, more so in the past. Complaints about regressions have increased and this demand on developers to fix their regressions immediately, drop all other priorities, etc . . . etc . . . Some have gone so far as to ask if developers have “any responsibility to test their commits.” Rest assured – they test like crazy, but with >10,000,000 lines of codes, crazy shit happens. So getting involved earlier (download the pre-releases, daily builds and test) again….helps us help you. It’s easy to wait until a release, give zero time, and then start spamming wherever possible to complain. Second, enterprise users demanding we do things for free and prioritize highly because “this makes using LibreOffice in my office impossible.” For those of you using LibreOffice in an office, who are making money off of all of our volunteers incredible work, please consider getting support . . . making money off of others work and then complaining about the product you get is surely not the best approach to building a happy and healthy open source project.

So lastly – the options for bugs, they are pretty clear but I find myself having to repeat them over and over again:

  1. Submit a patch yourself (the code is free, go check it out);
  2. Find a family, friend, spouse, etc . . . to submit a patch (what are friends for right? ;) );
  3. Pay for a fix (there are companies out there that are really quite fantastic);
  4. Wait patiently (yes that’s the last option – wait, complaining helps no one).

If you choose option #4 – I highly suggest doing the steps  from the QA side to help move it along (help us help you!) – debugs and bibisects in particular.


by joelmadero at October 11, 2014 09:35 PM

October 10, 2014

Joel Madero

LibreOffice for Lawyers (Update 2)

Well I have to say that LibreOffice is really outshining my own very high expectations. I’m incredibly impressed that it’s been able to handle basically everything I’ve thrown at it. We’re about 10 pages into our brief and so far all the “routine” work is going smoothly. There are quite a few quarks with regards to the table of authorities – maybe I just don’t know how to use them exactly right – but if we hope to penetrate the legal market in a real sense (especially in the United States), these quarks will have to be resolved. Mostly minor things:

1. Inconsistency with what is highlighted when you insert a new entry. (i.e. highlight the entry, go to insert -> Entry) and push ok. About half the time only a little mark is entered at the beginning of the entry to indicate that it’s now an entry that will be in the table, the other half of the time the entire entry is highlighted.

2. For some reason I’m getting a really strange entry (will try to get a cleaned/non confidential document together) that shows “1p” in the Table of Authorities for page (instead of “i, 1″ because the value entered is both on page “i” and on page “1”)…this one is a bit more problematic.

3. Enhancement could be made to make it much easier to remove entries or edit entries (Insert -> Indexes and Tables -> Entry).

4. Enhancement could be made for a toolbar that does entries (same entries as from #3 above) easily.

Note: This is just a laundry list of things – I don’t expect anyone to do these things, not demanding, not anything beyond observing ;) To all you lawyers out there reading this – I’d love to get a pool together that is dedicated to improving LibreOffice for lawyers. Comment or email me if you’re interested :)


by joelmadero at October 10, 2014 05:51 PM

October 08, 2014

Naruhiko Ogasawara

Tokushima prefecture published LibreOffice manuals under CC BY 4.0

A small LibreOffice related news from Japan.

Tokushima prefecture (their English page / Wikipedia), located Shikoku-island in Japan, published their own LibreOffice manuals (in Japanese) under CC BY 4.0 license.


Their migration to LibreOffice is quite an old news.  Japanese journalist already reported it (in Japanese) on August 2013.

Tokushima prefecture had been used OpenOffice.org several years ago with some proprietary software (e.g., Microsoft Office and Ichitaro; Japanese local office suite word processor developed by Justsystems, in Tokushima Pref.) licenses.

Since January 2014, they decided to use LibreOffice as a their primary office software, and not to renew license contracts of their proprietary office software.  The license fee they could reduce was estimated almost 100 million JPY.


And now, they just published their manuals which has been used for their LibreOffice migration.

Here is the rough translation of their comment on the publication page:
Tokushima prefecture utilizes LibreOffice as a fee-free usable office suite.We already created operation manuals for our employees to apply everyday works, and now we decided to publish them on our website to let residents know strength to use fee-free LibreOffice well.  Please use the manual anyone who has an interest, or who want to use LibreOffice but don't know how to use it.
Cool stuff.

They are not first end-user in Japan to publish their own manual under the public license.  JA Fukuoka city (in Japanese), the farmers' union in Fukuoka-city (in Kyushu island) also have published their own LibreOffice manuals (basics / advanced / macros) under CC BY NC 2.1 since December 2011.


Of course we, LibreOffice global community, already has tons of nice manuals/documents/videos as well, but unfortunately using English documents is a little hard for Japanese casual users.
I personally hope we would like to translate global materials into Japanese, but in parallel, it also would be nice that end-users create their own manuals (with community help) and publish them under the public license.

Thanks Tokushima prefecture, and JA Fukuoka city!

by Naruhiko Ogasawara (noreply@blogger.com) at October 08, 2014 12:54 AM

October 06, 2014

Joel Madero

LibreOffice for Lawers – Update

So – because briefs are so picky, the TOC and Table of Authorities has to be in a particularly finicky format. This is completely 100% manageable in LibreOffice by using “allow manual edits” in LibreOffice. Unfortunately, any update to the automated tables causes the user to lose their manual edits completely. Furthermore, paragraph styles are not carried over to the tables/indexes. For example if you have a header that is italicized, this is not italicized in the TOC – again, you can resolve this with a manual change, but these changes are lost if you update the table.

Will report enhancement request. Request will be as follows:

(1) Indexes/TOC should maintain manual changes where possible – a smart algorithm (probably hard to implement) to “guess” at what kinds of changes are wanted to be kept, examples include:

  1. Order of entries: For instance in the table of authorities, all entries must be in alpha order, not by how they appear in the document. You can copy/paste these into a reasonable order but an update pushes them back into the “automatic” order based on where the entries appear in the document;
  2. Paragraph Breaks: You might have the following situation “Someone v. Government,” BREAK, citation. Upon update, this all goes on one line again

(2) Character/Paragraph style should be maintained/carried over to indexes and TOC.

  1. For lawyers this is important as entries in TOC and Table of Authorities must be formatted in a particular style and that must be maintained not only in the body of the document but also in any and all tables/TOC/etc . . .

Overall LibreOffice is really doing an incredible job – I’d argue a much better job than I’d be facing in Microsoft Office right now ;) But this of course is a subjective (and perhaps biased ;) ) view :-b


by joelmadero at October 06, 2014 06:44 PM

October 05, 2014

Charles Schulz

Eyes & Ears – Anniversary Edition

Welcome to this month’s Eyes & Ears’s session. Would you believe it has been a year since I started these? Follow the music category on this blog to browse all the Eyes & Ears session since October 2013. Granted this blog is not really about music and books, but I do have a life aside Free Software and LibreOffice…

Let’s start this session with a track that is very special for me as it brings back memories of alternative parties and summers spent looking for rare tracks in Paris, Barcelona, Lisboa and London. The band is called the Mighty Strinth and it comes across as a new-jazz, drum’n’bass and ambient band, from the late nineties. At this point I may have already caught your attention. I’m not done though: the band relies only very little on actual eletronic arrangement, since most of it played by actual instrument, and the drummer must be one of the most talented one I’ve heard so far. It is rare enough to be able to enjoy one of their tracks online as there aren’t many of them.

<iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/170507791&amp;color=d7d3d1&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe>

Just when you thought we were done with the Chillout sessions of the Café del Mar, a new one got uploaded on SoundCloud  just a few days after I published the September edition of Eyes and Ears. For your enjoyment, here it is.

<iframe frameborder="yes" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/169288923&amp;color=bdb6b3&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe>

I recently discovered a wonderful artist called Julianna Barwick. Now, it seems I’m the last one to learn about her; her music is famous and I always passed aside her tracks. She has a beautiful voice and she records it in layers, so that it sounds like there’s a choir and not one singer only. The result is stunning. Below you can listen to one of her albums, The Magic Place.

<iframe height="150" seamless="" src="http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1291689333/size=large/bgcol=333333/linkcol=4ec5ec/minimal=true/transparent=true/" style="border: 0; width: 350px; height: 350px;" width="300">The Magic Place by Julianna Barwick</iframe>

Last but not least, I would like to remind my readers that this blog is hosted graciously by Daniel O, aka Daniel Memetic from Croatia. He is an accomplished DJ and Trace music composer. You can listen to one of its latest productions below.

<iframe frameborder="0" height="180" src="http://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?feed=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mixcloud.com%2Faerialtribe%2Fsonic-sentience-6-somewhere-over-the-rainbow%2F&amp;embed_uuid=692c9844-44d9-4390-812d-8b78e7229950&amp;replace=0&amp;hide_cover=1&amp;embed_type=widget_standard&amp;hide_tracklist=1" width="600"></iframe>

Sonic Sentience 6: Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Aerial Tribe on Mixcloud

 

The Eyes and Ears sessions will be back in November. Enjoy!

by Charles at October 05, 2014 02:40 PM

LibreOffice Documentation

LibreOffice 4.2 Writer Guide published

The Documentation Team has published the LibreOffice 4.2 Writer Guide. Free PDFs can be downloaded from The Document Foundation’s wiki. Printed copies can be purchased here. (Published by Friends of OpenDocument Inc.)

by Jean at October 05, 2014 04:39 AM

October 02, 2014

Kohei Yoshida

OpenCL test documents for Calc

opencl-doc-shot

Some of you have asked me previously whether or not we can share any test documents to demonstrate Calc’s new OpenCL-based formula engine. Thanks to AMD, we can now make available 3 test documents that showcase the performance of the new engine, and how it compares to Calc’s existing engine as well as Excel’s.

Download Platform
OpenCL-test-documents-Excel-64-bit.zip Excel (64-bit)
OpenCL-test-documents.zip Calc (Windows, 32-bit)
Calc (Linux, 32-bit)
Calc (Linux, 64-bit)
Excel (32-bit)

These files are intentionally in Excel format so that they can be used both in Calc and Excel. They also contain VBA script to automate the execution of formula cell recalculation and measure the recalculation time with a single button click.

All you have to do is to open one of these files, click “Recalculate” and wait for it to finish. It should give you the number that represents the duration of the recalculation in milliseconds.

Note that the 64-bit version of Excel requires different VBA syntax for calling native function in DLL, which is why we have a separate set of documents just for that version. You should not use these documents unless you want to test them specifically in the 64-bit version of Excel. Use the other one for all the rest.

On Linux, you need to use a reasonably recent build from the master branch in order for the VBA macro to be able to call the native DLL function. If you decide to run them on Linux, make sure your build is recent enough to contain this commit.

Once again, huge thanks to AMD for allowing us to share these documents with everyone!

by Kohei Yoshida at October 02, 2014 04:11 PM

Cor Nouws

Hamburg gets inspired by the Munich success

Let me start with the second part of the head line of this article. Munich is a success. And not a little one too.
  • Already during the 9 year long migration to LiMux (looking for a reason why Microsoft can't count 9 ;) ) the saved money counts to 11 Mln Euro.
  • From the money spent to consultancy, nearly 50% has benefited (regional) SMB.
  • The user satisfaction has clearly increased - though there are still items in which improving is possible.
  • More then 14.000 of the 15.000 systems have been migrated. A larger number then was set as target.
  • De savings on licenses will count, year after year, millions.
  • (Also see Symposium LibrOffice in de Praktijk)

    Now is this news? Not really. But it is something we cannot repeat enough - brief and clear.
    There only needs to be one Microsoft-partner driven 'investigation' (see.. and this..) or one new major who recently has been doing business with Microsoft (see..) and there are new headlines seeding wrong impressions. FUD. Let's just mention all it is.

    Then now the news :) One would of course say: such a huge success, where are all the others? Well, those are here (see..) but less visible. Munich simply is a real huge project that goes beyond just implementing LibreOffice.
    But this October there will be an IT-top gathering from the German government in Hamburg and one open IT-Top gathering from Open Source Business Alliance and the party the Greens. "The use of open source in science and administration isn't just handy, but also offers an ocean of opportunities for innovation and security." "Hamburg and Germany must gain independence from the IT giants".
    So it is. And it can be done!

    by Cor & OfficeBuzz (noreply@blogger.com) at October 02, 2014 02:53 PM

    Jacobo Aragunde Pérez

    LibreOffice on Android #4 – Document browser revisited

    I’m borrowing the post title that Tomaž and Andrzej used before to talk about the work that I have lately been doing at Igalia regarding LibreOffice on Android.

    You might know there are several projects living under android/experimental in our code tree; it is exciting to see that a new experiment for a document viewer that uses a fresh approach recently arrived to the party, which can be the basis for an Android editor. I was happy to add support to receive view or edit intents to the shiny new viewer, so we could open any document from other Android applications like file browsers.

    Besides, android/experimental hid some very interesting work on an Android-centric document browser that could be a good starting point to implement a native Android wrapping UI to LibreOffice, although it had some problems that made it unsuable. In particular, thumbnail generation was making the application crash – for that reason I’ve disabled it until we get a proper fix – and the code to open a document was broken. Fixing and working around these issues were the first steps to bring the document browser back to life.

    I noticed that the browser was inconveniently dependent of the ActionBarSherlock library, which is not really necessary now we are targetting modern Android versions with out-of-the-box action bar support. I replaced Sherlock ActionBars with Android native ones, and that allowed to remove all the files from ABS library from our source tree.

    I also took the freedom to reorganize the application resources (design definitions, bitmaps and so), removing duplicated ones. It was the preparation for the next task…

    Finally, I merged the document browser project into the new viewer with this huge patch, so they can be built and installed together. I also did the modifications for the browser to open the documents using the new viewer, so they become one coherent, whole application.

    Now both the viewer and the document browser can evolve together to become a true LibreOffice for Android, which I hope to see not too far away in the future.

    LibreOffice document browser screenshot

    by Jacobo Aragunde Pérez at October 02, 2014 10:56 AM

    October 01, 2014

    Collabora Community

    New LibreOffice infographic ready

    Here’s something we’ve been working on this month: a brand new illustration of the growth of LibreOffice.

    In the last week the graphic made it’s way to Brazil and Turkey, via Collabora Productivity partner EDX at LibreOffice Days (São Paulo), and Özgür Yazılım at ICT Summit Now (Istanbul). A banner version heralded LibreOffice’s merits to crowds in Quebec at S2LQ, presented by Collabora Productivity parent company CEO Philippe Kalaf.

    Other network members are currently translating the image for local use – look out for new versions on Twitter over coming weeks.

    LibreOffice infographic

    LibreOffice infographic

    LibreOffice-From-Collabora resellers benefit from localised promotional materials – contact us for details.

    by Sam Tuke at October 01, 2014 10:18 AM

    September 29, 2014

    Leif Lodahl

    Silent installation on Windows (again)

    pre.cjk { font-family: "Courier New",monospace; }p { margin-bottom: 0.25cm; line-height: 120%; }a:link { } One of many advantages of open source projects is for sure the eternal transition and evolutionary progress. This keeps people like my self busy just following the changes. Last week I was asked to help a large organization prepare their LibreOffice install package for Windows and

    by Leif Lodahl (noreply@blogger.com) at September 29, 2014 01:19 PM

    September 28, 2014

    Thorsten Behrens

    Happy Birthday LibreOffice!

    In a nice culmination of a month packed with family festivities and a gorgeous community event (our 2014 LibreOffice conference), today is the day that the LibreOffice project turns 4 years!

    LibreOffice turns 2^2 years

    LibreOffice anniversary

    The project certainly has come of age since that special moment on September 28th, 2010, when after weeks of preparation (and an insane succession of all-nighters), LibreOffice entered the world. Run on a shoestring, off of a box thankfully sponsored by one of our initial supporters (but surviving slashdot), as of today the project has matured into an international community of thousands of contributors, hundreds of developers and a (small) number of employed staffers.

    Highlighting just two of the rather (from a 2010 perspective) incredible achievements of the project – that the LibreOffice development team managed to clean up the inherited OpenOffice.org code base to a point that we’re leading the pack from a defect density point of view – and that as a first, substantial donated funds will be used to further a LibreOffice port into the mobile space.

    I’m insanely proud of being part of this, and would like to express my sincerest gratitude to all of you who helped making the LibreOffice project such a fun ride & success – you know who you are!

    Here’s to LibreOffice, here’s to our wonderful community. Happy Birthday! \o/

    Graphic based on an original svg from Chris Noack


    Filed under: LibreOffice, Personal Tagged: anniversary, libreoffice

    by thorstenb at September 28, 2014 12:16 PM

    September 27, 2014

    Official TDF Blog

    Happy Fourth Birthday, LibreOffice

    happybirthdayLibreOfficeConference2014happybirthday

     

    Today is the fourth anniversary of The Document Foundation and LibreOffice. Thanks to all TDF Members – Abdulaziz Ayed Alayed, Abe Takeshi, Adam Fyne, Adolfo Jayme Barrientos, Adriano Afonso, Ahmed Abdulmajeed, Ahmad Al Harthi, Akshay Anand, Albert Thuswaldner, Alexander Werner, Alexandre Vicenzi, Alfredo Parisi, Amit Bakore, Andras Timar, Andrea Castellani, Andrea Mario Trentini, Andrea Pescetti, Andreas Mantke, Andrzej Hunt, Anton Meixome, Aputsiaq Niels Janussen, Arnaud Versini, Barend Jonker, Bisal Singh Nayal, Björn Michaelsen, Brennan Thomas Vincent, Caolán McNamara, Carlos Moreira, Cédric Bosdonnat, Charles-H. Schulz, Cheng-Chia Tseng, Christian Kühl, Christian Lohmaier, Christina Roßmanith, Christopher Brian Sherlock, Christopher M. Penalver, Cor Nouws, Daniel Armando Rodriguez, Danishka Navin, Darshan Gandhi, David Emmerich Jourdain, David Ostrovsky, David Tardon, Diego Maniacco, Dinesh Patil, Domingo Sacristán Valdezate, Donald Evan Rogers, Douglas Vigliazzi, Dushyant Bhalgami, Eike Rathke, Eilidh McAdam, Ejnar Zacho Rath, Eliane Domingos de Sousa, Ellen Pape, Elton Chung, Enio Gemmo, Faisal M. Al-Otaibi, Felix Xiaofei Zhang, Florian Effenberger, Florian Reisinger, François Tigeot, Fridrich Strba, Friedrich Strohmaier, Gabor Kelemen, Gabriele Ponzo, Gerald Geib, Giordano Alborghetti, Gustavo Pacheco, Harri Pitkänen, Heinz Simoneit, Helio Jose Santiago Ferreira, Henderson Matsuura Sanches, Irmhild Rogalla, Italo Vignoli, Jacobo Aragunde Pérez, Jacqueline Rahemipour, Jan Holešovský, Jean-Baptiste Faure, Jean Hollis Weber, Jean Spiteri, Jesper Laugesen, Jesús Corrius, Joan Montané, João Fernando Costa Júnior, João Mac-Cormick, Jochen Schiffers, Joel Madero, Joren De Cuyper, José Guilherme Vanz, Kálmán Szalai, Katarina Behrens, Kees Kriek, Khaled Hosny, Klaibson Natal Ribeiro Borges, Klaus-Jürgen Weghorn, Knut Olav Bøhmer, Kohei Yoshida, László Németh, Laurent Godard, Leif Lyngby Lodahl, Leo Moons, Lionel Elie Mamane, Lior Kaplan, Luca Daghino, Luc Castermans, Lucian Oprea, Mahendra Kumar Yadava, Manal Alhassoun, Marc-André Laverdière, Marcos Souza, Marc Paré, Marina Latini, Markus Mohrhard, Martin Bayer, Mateusz Zasuwik, Matteo Casalin, Matteo Cavalleri, Matteo Ruffoni, Matúš Kukan, Michael Bauer, Michael Meeks, Michael Schinagl, Michael Stahl, Michał Newiak, Miguel Ángel Ríos Vázquez, Mihovil Stanić, Miklos Vanja, Milos Sramek, Miroslav Mazel, Muthu Subramanian, Naruhiko Ogasawara, Nikhil Nandkumar Walvekar, Noel Power, Norbert Thiebaud, Olav Dahlum, Olivier Hallot, Omer Eyal, Osvaldo Gervasi, Pallavi Jadhav, Paolo Dongilli, Paolo Mauri, Paolo Pelloni, Paweł Konefał, Peter Mato, Peter Schofield, Peter Szakal, Philippe Emile Clement, Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer, Pierre-Yves Samyn, Priyanka Gaikwad, Rajashri Bhat Udhoji, Ravindra Vidhate, Regina Henschel, Rene Engelhard, Ricardo Montania, Robert Einsle, Roberto Brenlla, Robinson Tryon, Rob Snelders, Robson da Costa Farias, Rodolfo Ribeiro Gomes, Rohit Deshmukh, Roopesh Kohad, Sanjib Narzary, Shinji Enoki, Sigrid Carrera, Simon Phipps, Sonia Montegiove, Sophie Gautier, Sourav Mahajan, Stanislav Horáček, Stefano Paggetti, Stephan Bergmann, Stephan van den Akker, Stuart Swales, Surbhi Tongia, Sushil Shinde, Sverrisson Sveinn í Felli, Tamás Zolnai, Thomas Hackert, Thomas Krumbein, Thorsten Behrens, Timothy Lungstrom, Tollef Fog Heen, Tomaž Vajngerl, Tommaso Bartalena, Tsahi Glik, Tushar Bende, Umesh Kadam, Valdir Barbosa, Valek Filippov, Valter Mura, Varun Mittal, Vinaya Mandke, Vitorio Furusho, Volker Merschmann, Walter Pape, Winfried Donkers, Xosé Calvo, Yaron Shahrabani, Yifan Jiang, Yogesh Bharate, Zeki Bildirici – and to all the less known but equally important anonymous contributors for this incredible journey. Together, we have built an incredible free software project, and the best free office suite ever.

    by italovignoli at September 27, 2014 10:56 PM

    September 26, 2014

    Stephan Bergmann

    Bottoming Out

    When you have a class like

    class C {
        C(): hasId(false) {}
        // ...
    private:
        // ...
        bool hasId;
        int id; // iff hasId
    };
    

    instances of which may under certain circumstances be labeled with an ominous, externally inflicted ID (with legal values anywhere in the INT_MININT_MAX range), Coverity Scan will tell you that you have a medium-sized security hole and you should better initialize that id scalar member variable in the C constructor.

    Is that helpful? I doubt it.

    What shall I initialize it with? Zero? Why zero, what’s so special about zero? If the invariant for C was that “id contains a valid ID iff hasId is true” before, has that now changed to the more complex “if hasId is true, then id contains a valid ID, otherwise id contains zero?” If I do maintenance work on that class a year from now, do I need to worry to reset id to zero when I reset hasId to false in some place in the code?

    A better value to initialize such a member variable with would arguably be bottom. After all, every C++ type is inhabited by that. But, alas, C++ doesn’t give you first-class access to bottom as a value to asign to a variable. The closest approximation is probably to leave the variable uninitialized and allow tools like Valgrind to detect violations of the invariant at runtime. The exact thing that Coverity Scan advises you not to do. Oh my.

    So a programming error that would have been identified by Valgrind becomes a programming error that is drowned in a too-complex class invariant? “Defensive programming” deluxe?

    Another option would be to combine hasId and id into a single member variable of type boost::optional<int>, but that can become unwieldy if multiple members shall be controlled by one conditional bool. Keep it simple.

    A somewhat acceptable approach to make Coverity Scan happy might be to explicitly value-initialize id via an empty set of parentheses,

        C(): hasId(false), id() {}
    

    That would still initialize id to that funny zero, but would at least give the adept reader a clue that it shall have no influence on any invariant, and is merely there to appease some automatic analyzer.

    Forgive my rant, it’s Friday.


    by stbergmann at September 26, 2014 03:40 PM

    Charles Schulz

    Reuniting LibreOffice and AOO – a personal take

    As we are approaching the 4th anniversary of the LibreOffice project in just a few days, an old theme has been reappearing on the Internet: Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice should reunite. I would like to share my perceptions on this topic although I think it is not a really important one, at least as long as the LibreOffice or Apache OpenOffice do not officially call for such a reunion. Before I start, let me remind everyone that what follows is my own opinion and neither the one of the Document Foundation, nor the one of the Democratic Party, the one of my Government, nor, at last, the one of Bob’s Shipping and Handling Company.

    I am obviously biased in my judgement; I’m even a party to this game. But I am also relatively well informed on these matters, and you may want to read Leif Lodahl’s excellent post for more background. Let me clarify first that reuniting the two projects is an inherently political concept that covers several questions. Among them, here are a few that need to be answered.

    1. How would we reunite?

     When the LibreOffice project was announced, the project asked Oracle to join and transfer the brand ownership to the new project. That didn’t pan out well. Oracle waited some time before deciding they would license the brand to the Apache Software Foundation, alongside the code of OpenOffice.org itself. There’s one important word here: Oracle licensed these assets.

    Credits: Senate of the State of Berlin

    Credits: Senate of the State of Berlin

    It did not give nor sell them to the ASF. The full ability to dispose of the brand name “OpenOffice” would be somewhat uncertain from the onset, and LibreOffice would then be the brand used. Even if that was not the case, how would it exactly work? Would we release the same software under two brands? Two distinct releases under two different names?

    2. What would we reunite?

    That’s where the licensing part comes in: The choice of license is probably one of the biggest technical hurdle to such a reunification. On the one hand the LibreOffice codebase can, thanks to its licenses, accept patches licensed under the Apache license, but the reverse is more difficult (although perhaps not absolutely impossible). This constrained flow of code would be decisive, in the scenario of a reunification, as it would lead to stop the licensing of any new patch under the Apache license while leaving the present licensing scheme of the Document Foundation intact. My educated guess is that I don’t see the Apache Software Foundation allowing that to happen .

    3. Where would we reunite?

    In other words: what repository? Where? Would we use the ASF’s SVN repository of the Document Foundation’s own infrastructure with Git as the version control system of choice? Perhaps a third party (existing or created ad-hoc) would be another option.LibreOffice_external_logo_200px

    4. Who?

    Who would be the parties deciding is another delicate matter. On one side, the Document Foundation is an obvious stakeholder. Depending on the kind of reunification (more on this below), there would likely be some areas of discussion that would be not even considered just because of the Statutes of the Document Foundation (a charity cannot just go ahead and give away its assets like that). Aside the Document Foundation and the Apache Software Foundation, Oracle would probably be at least a necessary party to the discussion; and obviously, IBM. I’m sure I forget a few… but judging by the table, the dinner would likely be a delicate matter to handle. Having said that, it is not entirely clear what would be the voice of the broader community: as it stands, the Document Foundation is the only entity here directly representing its members, who are individual contributors of the LibreOffice project. The ASF does that too, but Apache OpenOffice is but one tiny fraction of the whole ASF community.

    5. What kind of reunification do we want?

    Beyond the rather specific questions asked above, this question has broader implications, because this is one that points out the actual reason and meaning of an hypothetical unification of the two projects. Do we want a merge of equals into a new structure? Is it even possible? I have highlighted a few points above that suggest this scenario would be technically difficult. Do we want LibreOffice to merge into ASF and AOO ? Obviously I don’t, but the question has been asked before. Why would we do that? Is  it even possible?AOO4_website_logo Licensing differences suggest that the LibreOffice-specific contributions would need to be dumped. It would end up meaning that LibreOffice would dissolve into AOO and disappear with all the work done for naught, and given the difference in size between the two projects it would just be like an elephant trying to go through a doorlock.  Do we  want AOO to merge into LibreOffice? Licensing-wise it would be possible. Would ASF want that? I don’t know. The Document Foundation can, I think accomodate the project and its members. We have seen massive migration waves before. We can certainly integrate the AOO team. Ultimately, the contributors of each project would be the judges by voting with their feet. And that is not something the Document Foundation, Apache, Oracle nor IBM will ever control.

    6. What is it we’re trying to achieve?

    When members of the old OpenOffice.org project used to sometimes discuss the future of that project with the good folks at Sun Microsystems, they would often hear the same question thrown back at them: “Tell us why a foundation for OpenOffice.org would help fix the project’s issues”. Invariably, any point that was raised in favour of a foundation was brushed away by providing whatever solution that did not involve the existence of an independent foundation. It used to illustrate perfectly the difference between real outcomes and the foreseen results based on a rational argumentation: the two don’t necessarily match. With a strange twist of irony, I must now ask the same question: “Why would the reunification help fix any of these projects’ issues?” I will quickly list here areas of concerns and topics that are usually pointed as reasons to unite the two office suites:

    • common branding / stronger brand value
    • everybody can now contribute to the same code base (yeaah!)
    • there’s no point in having two similar office suites
    • no more interoperability issues

    The stronger brand value used to be a very good argument, perhaps even the best one, in 2010 and 2011. I started this post by highlighting that the LibreOffice project’s founders had actively sought Oracle’s consent to use OpenOffice for the new project. Now, we’re barely 72 hours away from the LibreOffice project’s fourth birthday. The project is doing well. There’s still much to do, but it has exceeded what many used to imagine would be possible. While the LibreOffice brand started from zero in 2010 and 2011, things have changed. Obviously, OpenOffice has a more known brand, as it capitalizes on 10 years of existence of its old project; I’m sorry to say that Apache OpenOffice has little merit in this achievement aside its very existence. But LibreOffice as a brand is now established and its brand value is growing pretty much everywhere. To destroy any one of these two brands all of a sudden would thus bear some painful consequences, although it may well happen in the end. Do we want this? Does anyone have an actual, sustainable and actionable plan for a brand transition? I have not heard of anything of that kind.

    The fact that a common project could now contribute to the same codebase, thus making a “better and stronger” office suite is somewhat moot. LibreOffice took whatever it wanted from Apache OpenOffice through the licensing specifics of the two suites; but in sheer contributions, Apache OpenOffice has now little to offer to LibreOffice. Besides, the two contributors’ pools are so different in size that the addition of AOO developers would not be really meaningful to LibreOffice while if the reverse was true, things would be very interesting. However, it means that here again we pretend to play with contributors like we’re measuring army regiments. Community members come and go as they please, and a reunification is not something everyone is necessarily looking forward to.

    There is indeed little value in having two similar office suites, although it is a fundamental expression of software freedom, and that alone should be enough. We also have something like 150 Linux distributions and if we really look around and apply this way of thinking,  we may want to merge with Calligra, Abiword and Gnumeric. That too, makes absolutely no sense. Remember, however, that neither AOO nor LibreOffice actually want to be “similar”, and despite a popular perception, they are growing rather different each quarter. The same can be said of Calligra, a project that runs on a very different code base. In a nutshell, clones may not make much sense, but choice is good especially if the choice involves real differences. There are now real differences between AOO and LibreOffice, in terms of features, of file format support, in terms of ecosystem and engineering processes as well. The choice between these two suites is becoming clearer as time goes by.  We shouldn’t forget that when we picture anything like a competition between Free and proprietary software, we are not implying that there should be only one option on either side.

    Last but not least, interoperability issues have been mentioned by several well informed parties as being a problem and ultimately a hindrance to the adoption of Open Standards such as ODF. While this is a rather complex issue, it is also not a blindingly critical one, in the sense that the issues that can be met tend to arise in specific environments. These usually involve a userbase using OpenOffice.org or AOO together with LibreOffice and documents that have already been migrated to ODF. Growing differences in implementations invariably lead to visible differences in the presentations of documents (although there is no data loss) and therefore generate frustration and users’ discomfort. The only possible solution to these hurdles (aside a careful and diligent migration expert leading the ball) is to have AOO and LibreOffice cooperate on specific interoperability issues. But make no mistake: anyone else who would use Microsoft Office or Calligra with ODF documents would ultimately create its own incompatibilities. The actual scope of the problem is thus broader and has been expected for several years now; this is just not a mere AOO-LibreOffice  issue. A merger would solve this in the long term, but would still force some users to abandon one implementation for another.

    Before I finish this very long post, let me just point out that when all is said and done on this topic, it really boils down to the actual will and intent of the stakeholders. It might seem unsavory for me to point this out, but to this day I still haven’t found any real reason for Apache OpenOffice to even exist. It does not mean that I hold this project’s members as idiots or incompetents, far from that. But if we talk about reunification, then it brings back the original question to the table: While we know why LibreOffice and the Document Foundation were created, we know of no real reason why Apache OpenOffice was started, aside one corporate will to license its own assets to a third party it is familiar with. So if the two projects were to reunite, one must pay close attention at the actual meaning of this movement and listen to the actual projects’ contributors. When Software Freedom is involved there is no point in bypassing the community.

    by Charles at September 26, 2014 09:27 AM

    September 25, 2014

    Björn Michaelsen

    Killing the NPAPI plugin

    “Alles hat ein Ende nur die Wurst hat zwei.”
    — horrible 1980ies german folk song lyrics

    So, three month ago, the ESC discussed if we would still support the NPAPI plugin to show documents in the browser. The discussion was ignited over an mostly innocent bug: fdo#45071, but the discussion soon dived into long-term viability of this technology and with Chrome “phasing out NPAPI support over the coming year” and as Mozilla Firefox “will no longer activate most plugins by default” it became quickly clear that trying to keep the plugin alive would be throwing good developer time after bad. So in LibreOffice 4.4.x there will not be a NPAPI plugin anymore, as the patch that was waiting on gerrit for a month is now pushed to the master branch. As by the time of release plugins will not be enabled anymore on the most common browsers using it, this likely will not make much of a difference to most users anyway.

    Luckily, LibreOffice is not only deprecating old technologies when they become more and more irrelevant — it is also moving towards new technologies when they gain relevance.


    by bmichaelsen at September 25, 2014 03:02 PM

    Official TDF Blog

    LibreOffice 4.3.2 hits the marketplace just before the fourth anniversary of the project

    happybirthdayBerlin, September 25, 2014 – The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.3.2, the second minor release of LibreOffice 4.3 “fresh” family. Most of the over 80 fixes focus on interoperability issues when reading or writing Microsoft Office DOCX, XLSX and PPTX files.

    LibreOffice 4.3.2 hits the marketplace just before the fourth anniversary of the project on Sunday, September 28, 2014. The community has been growing for the past 48 months, attracting at least three new developers per month plus a larger number of volunteers active in localization, QA and other areas such as marketing and development of local communities.

    With localizations available in over 100 languages, LibreOffice can be utilized in the native language by almost 5 billion people worldwide. “LibreOffice has a key role in reducing the digital divide in countries where the native language is not English”, says Eliane Domingos, a Brazilian native, Deputy Chairman of The Document Foundation. “As a foundation independent from software vendors, we have the privilege of being able to look after user interests instead of running after sales targets or quarterly earnings releases”.

    People interested in technical details about the release can access the change logs here: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Releases/4.3.2/RC1 (fixed in RC1) and https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Releases/4.3.2/RC2 (fixed in RC2).

    Download LibreOffice

    LibreOffice 4.3.2 “Fresh” and LibreOffice 4.2.6 “Still” are immediately available for download from the following link: http://www.libreoffice.org/download/.

    LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members can support The Document Foundation with a donation at http://donate.libreoffice.org.

    by italovignoli at September 25, 2014 01:00 PM

    September 24, 2014

    Cor Nouws

    a picture says a thousand words

    Now and then people ask me about LibreOffice or OpenOffice. Usually I point to the statistics about number of developers and such. And to the large difference in new functions. And of course the fixed old bugs. After explaining that to an artist, he came up with a nice drawing that I don't want to hide for you.

    A nice and funny drawing. On the other hand it's of course possible that such a split in a - originally single - project has negative impact on peoples joy in work and ambitions. And might that be the case - it's something that I always regret - I do hope that time will have a healing influence. As it usually does.

    by Cor & OfficeBuzz (noreply@blogger.com) at September 24, 2014 07:29 PM

    User Prompt

    Intermediate results of the icon tests: Crystal

    Introduction

    The introduction of the new Breeze icon set in KDE let us again wonder, what aspects of an icon set actually takes what impact on the usability of it. We investigated Oxygen and Tango Icons for the LibreOffice project before, but our focus then was on checking all icons of the standard tool bar. This time we focus on different icon sets and will use 13 common actions to compare them.

    With this series we are going to test at least 10 different free icon sets: Breeze, Oxygen, Tango, Faenza, Nuvola, Nitrux, Elementary, Crystal Project, Humanity and Treepata. These icon sets differ on various aspects: use of color and details, flat or not and sometimes even on the metaphor used.

    So, we generally want to analyze effects of icon design on the overall performance of an icon set. Statistics on this issue can obviously only be done after all icon sets have been tested. But with every test, we win some specific insights in strengths and weaknesses of each icon set tested.

    In this post we share some findings about the Crystal icon set.

    The study was finished by 513 participants (drop-out rate 5%) with an average handling time of 1:43 min.

    Results of Crystal icons

    Table 1 lists the aggregated quality indicators. They show how well all icons that we used for the test were suited to symbolize the different terms. It has a range from 1 (no fit) to 10 (perfect fit), whereas you would expect values of at least 9 for well represented terms.

    Table 1: Quality of the icon set for different terms based on assignment ratio (percentage of missing assignments) and conspicuity (or speed of picking icons).

    Term
    Quality Indicator
    Link7.5
    Open9
    New9.5
    Copy9.5
    Paste9.5
    Redo9.5
    Undo9.5
    Add10
    Remove10
    Save10
    Print10
    Search10
    Cut10

    Table 2 shows a cross-table with the percentage of false associations. These are terms where the intended icon was not chosen by the users, but some other icon was.

     Table 2: Cross-table of icons and terms with percentage of false associations. The direct match is inverted (1-value, e.g. 0.99 for Remove) to obtain comparable data.

    Results_Icontest-Crystal

    Discussion

    The Crystal icon set was the default in KDE 3.x and is still available in LibreOffice for instance. The style aims to have a distinctive “crystal” look, mainly consisting in icons that appear to be made of highly reflective surfaces.

    The icon set shows a couple of issues. First of all, New is just a plain sheet without any indicator of the underlying function. Actually, the Open icon is similarly reduced, at least in low resolution, but works however. Copy uses the same metaphor as the other sets, and receives a comparable high amount of mix-ups. Redo/Undo seems to be less structured because both icons uses the same color, but the results are very comparable to other sets. Obviously, the color information does not help here. And last but not least the Link icon shows some issues. The original set doesn’t contain any link icon, so it was taken from the Open Office repository that provides only a small size and not the conventional freedesktop organization. But to avoid the bias due to different set sizes we kept those non-standard icons in the study.

    If you know how to design icons and would like to help us to identify metaphors that work better, please contact us. Also, all raw results are publicly available on our open usability platform UserWeave.

    As mentioned before: These results only reflect the internal quality of the Crystal icon set. The final interpretation will be done soon. So stay tuned. And, of course, feel free to discuss these findings with us.

    by Björn Balazs at September 24, 2014 10:00 AM

    September 22, 2014

    LibreLogo

    The Big Draw on LibreLogo.org

    The annual LibreOffice conference was held in Bern at the beginning of September. Main topic of the conference presentation “The Big Draw on LibreLogo.org” was about the successful Wikipedia contribution using LibreLogo, see the slides in a hybrid PDF with some extra notes. Thanks to András Tímár for the presentation!
    bern

    by Németh László at September 22, 2014 08:44 AM

    September 19, 2014

    User Prompt

    Intermediate results of the icon tests: Humanity

    Introduction

    The introduction of the new Breeze icon set in KDE let us again wonder, what aspects of an icon set actually takes what impact on the usability of it. We investigated Oxygen and Tango Icons for the LibreOffice project before, but our focus then was on checking all icons of the standard tool bar. This time we focus on different icon sets and will use 13 common actions to compare them.

    With this series we are going to test at least 10 different free icon sets: Breeze, Oxygen, Tango, Faenza, Nuvola, Nitrux, Elementary, Crystal Project, Humanity and Treepata. These icon sets differ on various aspects: use of color and details, flat or not and sometimes even on the metaphor used.

    So, we generally want to analyze effects of icon design on the overall performance of an icon set. Statistics on this issue can obviously only be done after all icon sets have been tested. But with every test, we win some specific insights in strengths and weaknesses of each icon set tested.

    In this post we share some findings about the Humanity icon set.

    The study was finished by 522 participants (drop-out rate 7%) with an average handling time of 1:53 min.

    Results of Humanity icons

    Table 1 lists the aggregated quality indicators. They show how well all icons that we used for the test were suited to symbolize the different terms. It has a range from 1 (no fit) to 10 (perfect fit), whereas you would expect values of at least 9 for well represented terms.

    Table 1: Quality of the icon set for different terms based on assignment ratio (percentage of missing assignments) and conspicuity (or speed of picking icons).

    Term
    Quality Indicator
    Remove7
    Add9.5
    Open9.5
    Save9.5
    Copy9.5
    Paste9.5
    Redo9.5
    Link9.5
    New10
    Print10
    Search10
    Cut10
    Undo10

    Table 2 shows a cross-table with the percentage of false associations. These are terms where the intended icon was not chosen by the users, but some other icon was.

     Table 2: Cross-table of icons and terms with percentage of false associations. The direct match is inverted (1-value, e.g. 0.98 for Add) to obtain comparable data.Results_Icontest-Humanity

    Discussion

    The Humanity icon set is the default in Ubuntu. It is based on Elementary which, in turn, is more or less a fork of Tango. The design concept of Humanity focuses on usability with clear, consistent, and concise metaphors, on practicality, and on constant evolution. Does this user-centered approach works?

    It does. Humanity performs very well. Even the newly introduced metaphor for Save gets remarkably good results. Copy/Paste as well as Undo/Redo are mixed-up similarly to corresponding icon sets. The only bigger issue is found for Remove. Here the cancel metaphor fails and a lot of participants just do not assign any icon to the term.

    If you know how to design icons and would like to help us to identify metaphors that work better, please contact us. Also, all raw results are publicly available on our open usability platform UserWeave.

    As mentioned before: These results only reflect the internal quality of the Humanity icon set. The final interpretation will be done after all sets have been tested. So stay tuned and please participate in our follow-up tests. And, of course, feel free to discuss these findings with us.

    by Björn Balazs at September 19, 2014 11:06 AM

    Official TDF Blog

    Results for the 2014 Membership Committee election

    Our Chairman of the Board announced this:

    Dear members,

    with the preliminary MC election results posted last Friday, and having received no objections within the challenge period, that ended last night, it is my pleasure to now declare the official results of the 2014 Membership Committee Election.

    The board declares the following Members of The Document Foundation elected into the Membership Committee:

    • Cor Nouws
    • David Emmerich Jourdain (tied for first with Cor)
    • Jan Holesovsky
    • Charles-H. Schulz
    • Gabriele Ponzo

    The board declares the following Members of The Document Foundation elected as deputy members of the Membership Committee:

    • Klaus-Jürgen Weghorn
    • Andras Timar

    Full detailed election materials are to be found at

    https://elections.documentfoundation.org/2014-mc/

    , with the processed STV result here:

    https://elections.documentfoundation.org/results.php?election_id=6

    , and the list of all votes here:

    https://elections.documentfoundation.org/votes.php?election_id=6

    The board wants to take the opportunity to thank all past and new members of the Membership Committee for their service to the community, and all candidates for running. Congratulations to the newly elected committee members and their deputies!

    With best regards,

    Thorsten Behrens,
    on behalf of The Document Foundation board of directors

    by Florian Effenberger at September 19, 2014 07:41 AM

    September 18, 2014

    >Andrzej Hunt

    Some Impress Remote Improvements

    Over the course of the summer I’ve been adding some minor improvements to various parts of the Impress Remote — both on the Server and Android components.

    Remote Deauthorisation & Dialog Improvements (for WiFi connected remotes)

    (Implemented at the Paris Hackfest.)

    Impress Remote Removal

    Prior to this, authorising a remote was a permanent and irreversible action — now you can remove them again (this only applies to WiFi/network based remotes — Bluetooth remotes are managed using system utilities).

    At the same time some further improvement work was carried out on the dialog to remove some other annoyances (e.g. occasional flickering), in addition to the fixing of an (admittedly minor) memory leak (shhh, apparently I wasn’t aware that C++ didn’t have a garbage collector when I first started working on LO), and finally improving the pin-entry (i.e. auto-focus on the pin-entry box, and no useless/junk “0” in that pin box anymore).

    Ultimately it would be cool to use fancy new widget layouting to assemble the list of remotes, instead of the current custom vcl widget (which would make it easier to add more functionality in future if desired, and there is certainly no lack of ideas in that department), but that’s a story for another day (and no idea how simple/complex the conversion would be).

    Emulator auto-discovery

    This actually existed in the early days of the Android Remote, but unfortunately got lost at some point. It’s the work of only a few lines but makes the lives of developers simpler — especially so for first time developers who may not be aware of the networking infrastructure around the emulator (the “real” host is reachable under 10.0.2.2 from the emulator).

    Emulator Autodetection

    Emulator Autodetection

    (This was implemented at the LibreOffice Conference Hack-Night, where I was wanting to work on the bugs/features below, but couldn’t actually test the remote on my phone as my laptop’s Bluetooth adapter was borked, and the University WiFi was blocking the remote too. I couldn’t actually remember the correct host IP, and had managed to type it incorrectly on the remote development wiki page back in 2012 too…)

    Grid View Current Slide Highlighting

    The grid view previously offered no hints as to which slide is selected, that is now remedied:

    Impress Remote Grid Highlights

    Impress Remote Grid Highlights

    The design is far from final, and can easily be adapted in the resource files, but the functionality now exists.

    Refactoring and Bugfixing

    Over time the code has become a bit untamed — fixing a bug in the laser-pointer mode (where the displayed slide wouldn’t be updated when the slide is changed on a different device and/or server) involved some refactoring that not only deduplicated a chunk of slide-change listening code, but also allowed easier (and more correct/simpler) implementation of some of the above features, e.g. the grid-view highlighting.

    The future

    There’s never a shortage of ideas/bugs, just too little time. There’s no plan, but some things that might be cool would be features such as storage of presentations on the remote (to allow transfer between PCs), chromecasting of presentations (although that would be very complex / would require using the full LibreOffice on Android porting work + a good chunk more — a very pie in the sky idea), Android Wear integration (probably mainly for showing athestopwatch), in addition to just more polishing of the existing functionality.

    Finally, a big thanks to Google for sponsoring the initial implementation of the Impress Remote as part of the Google Summer of Code 2012, Michael Meeks as my first GSOC mentor, and the LibreOffice development community in general for their support and advice.

    by Andrzej Hunt at September 18, 2014 06:16 PM

    User Prompt

    Understanding Icons: Participate in final survey

    Please participate in our little game! (Study closed)

    It is fun, takes a maximum of 5 minutes and helps us to better understand effects of icon design.

    For more information please check our initial post on the idea and background of this series of small icon tests.

    by Björn Balazs at September 18, 2014 03:08 PM