Welcome to The Document Foundation Planet

This is a feed aggregator that collects what LibreOffice and Document Foundation contributors are writing in their respective blogs.

To have your blog added to this aggregator, please mail the website@global.libreoffice.org mailinglist or file a ticket in Redmine.


Monday
30 November, 2020


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Here’s our summary of updates, events and activities in the LibreOffice project in the last four weeks – click the links to learn more…

  • November kicked off with a new Month of LibreOffice. This is a campaign we run twice a year, in which we award sticker packs (and the chance to win some bonus merchandise) to all contributors in the LibreOffice project. Thanks to everyone who took part – instructions for claiming your stickers will be posted here soon!

  • Our Turkish community reported back from the Linux and LibreOffice Migration at Eyüpsultan Municipality. They said: “Open source software has many advantages, including flexibility, high performance, major savings on licensing fees, independence from any particular company, and compliance with open standards. The benefits of open source software are recognized all over the world.”

  • On November 9, we talked to Arnaud Mez from our French-speaking community. He’s helping to spread the word about LibreOffice and free software in Congo, organising talks and “sprint” events. A big thanks to Arnaud for all his contributions!

  • Over in the Documentation project, community members announced the LibreOffice Calc Guide 7.0. This was a team effort of Steve Fanning, Gordon Bates, Kees Kriek, Annie Nguyen, Samantha Hamilton, Olivier Hallot and Jean Hollis Weber, coordinated by Felipe Viggiano.

  • More docs news: Paul Sutton has created some LibreOffice tutorial videos, aimed at beginners, and shared them on his website. He plans to make regular updates, so if you’re introducing someone to LibreOffice, check it out!

  • Finally, we chatted to Yusuf Keten, who has added new features to LibreOffice as part of the Google Summer of Code. He’s also decided to become a Member of The Document Foundation, the non-profit entity behind LibreOffice – so, welcome Yusuf!

Keep in touch – follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Mastodon. Like what we do? Support our community with a donation – or join us and help to make LibreOffice even better for everyone!


Friday
27 November, 2020


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Writer now has much better support for preserving the cached result of fields in documents. This is especially beneficial for Word formats where the input document may have a field result which is not only a cache, but re-calculating the formula would yield a different result, even in Word.

Motivation

A Collabora Office customer gave us a DOCX document, which is essentially a calendar for planned IT maintenance windows at some organization. These calendars are tables with fields in it. The document is halfway through towards changing it to a newer year: the formulas are already changed to calculate a newer year, but all the cached field results are still for the old year.

The request was to keep showing these results and not throw them away during save, either. Their primary workflow is to fill the calendar with manual entries, not to tweak the calendar layout itself.

Results so far

The calendar now looks like this:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/6o7pvix-dJ9QhCX65FUkWeQZ60B89sHqDpBvd7WVRLtAzBW1323odrQ13aV_CgEFvgh7Iee-ePq95oPOf1Q-jMxvX1MBsz9FhgKd9vymyrdMBIZbF459hNKE1dM4XLcwXkGYh8ksmok=w1920
Figure 1. New render result in Writer

Matching the reference rendering:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/GJd2zcnspXDb7Wa2p32TInf9C8MAgt92h3G6PYuUwUvpQi5f3AdRbl5yGq8FN7kUPMcZwuFpohTKmX33s8u-AxFSO9rZFgH4X-fwrg8jShtJoA1KyGws_-ymUvINmK-5xo2_hd7YmLI=w1920
Figure 2. Reference render result

While it looked like a broken calendar previously:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/bpOVqcZX2CcKouuADNyPx1PMyI3I6CyjIDIAnUbylsT-ZimxSkPcUaRbMDd8MzHlG3Uqw2d-TunD4m7U4DUlm_O_esJt6CAY-H7Z5tdQxZ6q_MYxgJphutr_-JRVYh8uLmspiiI532U=w1920
Figure 3. Old render result in Writer

You can see that the day numbers were broken previously and now they line up properly.

How is this implemented?

If you would like to know a bit more about how this works, continue reading… :-)

As usual, the high-level problem was addressed by a series of small fixes:

With these, it’s now possible to edit these calendars, without breaking the fields which provide the day numbers.

Want to start using this?

You can get a snapshot / demo of Collabora Office and try it out yourself right now: try unstable snapshot. Collabora intends to continue supporting and contributing to LibreOffice, the code is merged so we expect all of this work will be available in TDF’s next release too (7.1).


Thursday
26 November, 2020


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  • Mail chew, sync with Thais, COOL community meeting. Called out to help an older man with Altzheimers who had fallen and broken his hip with J. poor chap - not all interruptions to the flow are bad.
  • Plugged away at a proposal; call with Bob about Christmas, exchanged contracts on house.

Wednesday
25 November, 2020


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  • Damien arrived to help finsh & fibre-glass the roof with Martin (a new Father) - more insulating, located and fixed the missing silicon around the shower causing the free shower below.
  • Sales team call, poked at code with Kendy & Ash; procurement call, plugged away at some diagrams.

Tuesday
24 November, 2020


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  • Worked on a paper, some customer / support ticket handling. TDF team call. Poked at a PHP proxy related issue.

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The LibreOffice Quality Assurance ( QA ) Team is happy to announce LibreOffice 7.1 Beta1 is available for testing!

LibreOffice 7.1 will be released as final at the beginning of February, 2021 ( Check the Release Plan for more information ) being LibreOffice 7.1 Beta1 the second pre-release since the development of version 7.1 started at the end of May, 2020. Since the previous release, LibreOffice 7.1 Alpha1, 1131 commits have been submitted to the code repository and 245 issues got fixed. Check the release notes to find the new features included in this version of LibreOffice.

LibreOffice 7.1 Beta1 can be downloaded from here for Linux, MacOS and Windows, and it can be installed alongside the standard version.

In case you find any problem in this pre-release, please report it in Bugzilla ( You just need a legit email account in order to create a new account ).

For help, you can contact the QA Team directly in the QA IRC channel or via Telegram.

LibreOffice is a volunteer-driven community project and your help is much appreciated.

Happy testing!!

Download it now!


Monday
23 November, 2020


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  • Planning call much of the morning, sync with Miklos, beat back the E-mail queue. Partner call.
  • Excited by some water coming through the ceiling; teething troubles. Air-tightness-test, pulled down the internal pressure by 50Pa and see.

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Today we’re talking to Yusuf Keten, who added new features to LibreOffice as part of the Google Summer of Code…

To start, tell us a bit about yourself!

I was born on February 25, 1998 in Istanbul, Turkey. Currently I’m a third-year Computer Engineering student at Hacettepe University in Turkey. I really like coding. Nowadays, I am working on computer graphics. Also, I have academic projects about GPGPU programming. I am contributing to LibreOffice in my free time because of my enthusiasm for open source culture.

Apart from programming, I like to spend my time playing electric guitar, drawing. Also, I describe myself as a coffee lover! You can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Why did you decide to become a member of The Document Foundation, the non-profit behind LibreOffice??

I came across TDF when I attended a LibreOffice Bootcamp given by Muhammet Kara. He explained what TDF does, and its values. I was really impressed, because supporting an open source project is a wonderful mission. Also, there are lots of talented people in TDF. Therefore, I wanted to be part of this great organization and contribute to TDF’s activities.

What are you working on in LibreOffice right now?

I have been working on User Experience topics for nearly a year. I created a new Additions dialog as during my Google Summer of Code work. It provides an interface for adding any extension types such as fonts, templates etc. with only one click. Also, users can search extensions based on how many votes they have, downloads and comments. Check out my GSoC report.

Anything else you plan to do in the future?

In my GSoC project, there are still some bugs and missing features. I would like to fix these bugs and add these features. Also, I may add other new features to LibreOffice, if they is needed.

Even though I worked on User Experience parts until now, I may work on computer graphics aspects of LibreOffice in the future – because I’m improving my skills in this area.

We at TDF would like to share our appreciation for Yusuf for all his contributions! We’re really happy to have him on board as a member. Indeed, everyone in the community who’s active in our projects is welcome to become a member!


Sunday
22 November, 2020


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  • Up late, music, sermon, out for a walk, relaxed variously - watched Knives Out with J. and M. - fun.

Saturday
21 November, 2020


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  • David over to help, got larder shelves finally finished together; ready for J. to paint, made garage ladder safer, and David got the larder emptied & cleaned.

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Do you know someone who is still using Apache OpenOffice? Have they recently tried to open a .odt, .ods or .odp file and received this error message? “This document was created by a newer version of OpenOffice. It may contain features not supported by your current version.

AOO error message
The notice (pictured) that pops up in Apache OpenOffice doesn’t say so, but even the latest version of AOO (4.1.8, which was released earlier this month) does NOT support features like ODF 1.3, so updating to it won’t help. AOO users would need to “update” to LibreOffice. (LibreOffice users can avoid the problem for OO users by continuing to save files in ODF 1.2.)

Note: other features are lacking in AOO, for example the ability to save files in DOCX format, even though AOO can open DOCX files. LibreOffice can do both. Wouldn’t it be nice (helpful) if the “Update Now” button in AOO took a user to the LO download page?

See also this blog post at LibreOffice.


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I am way behind updating this blog, including mentioning the LibreOffice 6.4 user guides that have been published in 2020. These include Getting Started Guide, Writer Guide, Base Guide, Calc Guide, Draw Guide, and Math Guide.

Calc Guide 7.0 coverTwo volumes of the v7.x series of books have been published recently: Math Guide and Calc Guide.

You can download free PDFs of these books or buy printed copies of the v6.4 volumes (v7.0 print copies may be available later). See this page for links.


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LibreOffice 7.0 was announced on 5 August 2020. Since then three minor releases have appeared. Significant new features include support for OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.3; better performance; and improved compatibility with DOCX, XLSX and PPTX files. For details, see the blog post linked above.

LibreOffice produced a visual timeline of derivatives from OpenOffice.org, as shown below. (Click for a larger image.)
Timeline of OO/AOO/LO major releases


Friday
20 November, 2020


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  • Guilty pleasure of coding at some length to improve the performance of large file transfer from online for image previews, always nice to get a visible speedup. TDF board meeting, potential partner call.

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Are you using Apache OpenOffice? Have you recently tried to open a .odt, .ods or .odp file and received this error message? “This document was created by a newer version of OpenOffice. It may contain features not supported by your current version.

In this case, the document probably wasn’t created in OpenOffice, but in LibreOffice, a successor project. LibreOffice 7.0 introduced support for OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.3, which includes many new features and benefits.

LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice share the same roots, and while Apache OpenOffice’s last major release (4.1) was back in 2014, LibreOffice has since been developed much further with extra features and updates.

LibreOffice is still free and open source software, of course, so to get the most out of newer documents, download LibreOffice and give it a try!


Thursday
19 November, 2020


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  • Mail chew, patch review, chased problems here & there. Catch up with Kohei, COOL weekly call - burned by flaky DSL, called BT - can't see today's problems in the system until tomorrow; huh.

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LibreOffice’s documentation community creates handbooks, guides, tutorials and other resources to help users get the most out of the software. Everyone is welcome to join the team and help out – it’s a great way to build up experience for a possible career in technical writing!

Paul Sutton is producing a series of blog posts and videos aimed at newcomers to LibreOffice, explaining some of the basics. He also has some extra videos here – check them out.

A big thanks to Paul for his work, and making his content available under a Creative Commons license, for everyone to share! Follow him on Twitter and Mastodon.


Wednesday
18 November, 2020


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  • Called Barhams to try to work out where internal doors have got to; weeks of waiting - amazing. Chased some support tickets, partner call, sync with Andras.
  • Mended some of the ceiling lighting problems.

Tuesday
17 November, 2020


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  • Mail chew, slideware, monthly mgmt meeting. Poked at code variously.

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We’re just over half-way through the Month of LibreOffice, November 2020, in which we award sticker packs to all contributors in our projects and community! (Plus, a bonus chance to win extra merchandise: a mug, T-shirt or hoodie.)

So how’s it going? Well, we’ve already awarded 262 sticker packs:

Is your name/username not on that page yet? Do something about it! There are many ways to help out – you don’t need to be a programmer. Let’s see…

How to get your stickers

There are many ways you can help out – and you don’t need to be a developer. For instance, you can be a…

  • Handy Helper, answering questions from users on Ask LibreOffice. We’re keeping an eye on that site so if you give someone useful advice, you can claim your shiny stickers.
  • First Responder, helping to confirm new bug reports: go to our Bugzilla page and look for new bugs. If you can recreate one, add a comment like “CONFIRMED on Windows 10 and LibreOffice 7.0.3”.
  • Drum Beater, spreading the word: tell everyone about LibreOffice on Twitter or Mastodon! Just say why you love it or what you’re using it for, add the #libreoffice hashtag, and at the end of the month you can claim your stickers.
  • Globetrotter, translating the user interface: LibreOffice is available in a wide range of languages, but its interface translations need to be kept up-to-date. Or maybe you want to translate the suite to a whole new language? Get involved here.
  • Docs Doctor, writing documentation: Whether you want to update the online help or add chapters to the handbooks, here’s where to start.

Join in! We’ll be posting regular updates on this blog and our Mastodon and Twitter accounts until the end of the month…


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It is always an exciting time to see freshly minted ARM based silicon arriving in the form of Apple’s massive shift to the ARM based M1. This of course means work for Collabora’s LibreOffice team too. The code needs to be prepared for M1, step by step. Here we update you on the status of the work, and what needs to be done.

With the launch of the new Apple devices nearing, it is important that suitable software arrives around the same time as new hardware. Apple ensures this by a translation layer, so that software for Intel Macs can be used, using Rosetta translation.

Nevertheless, given the code size of LibreOffice, for the best performance it makes most sense to have a pre-optimized native binary. As such Collabora joined the Universal App Quickstart Programme back in July and has been doing work on enabling LibreOffice for M1 since then.

This effort is made possible by the kind support of those who buy LibreOffice Vanilla in the Mac app store. Thank you! And thanks too to Tor Lillqvist for his patience and hard work here.

The status of the work

All of these changes are in master, or in the gerrit queue getting past our CI automation:

  • Configuration changes (mostly there). It should now possible to configure and build a native LibreOffice on a Apple Silicon, as well as cross-compiling to x86_64.
  • Patching and fixing of lots of bundled libraries to make them build cleanly.
  • Then there is a first attempt at a new C++/UNO ABI bridge – we need to match Apple’s ABI by tweaking Linux’s ARM64 support to match. This allows UNO scripting to work (in theory).
  • We still have some failing unit tests, that need investigation, as well as some other bits, described below.
All of this means that LibreOffice should start and work on M1! So far it has had only very basic Writer & Calc testing. The more exciting, complex features are not yet tested.

What’s next .. want to get involved?

Post-launch, if you can get an M1 Mac, then help is always most welcome! We have several missing pieces that will require further work, with some unusual low-level bits.

  • The new C++/UNO ABI bridge requires more testing, to ensure the UNO scripting support works smoothly.
  • Enabling bits we didn’t compile in yet: Firebird, Java (when there is a JDK).
  • Scripts to combine builds for arm64 and x86_64 into one universal app (i.e. one where binaries are “fat,” consisting of separate parts for each architecture)
  • Adaptation to whatever new checks are added for universal apps in the App Store. This is an ongoing unpredictable part of our work: adapting 8 million lines of code to the latest updated rules, keeping our builds compiling and signing with the latest tool chains.
Of course we’ll continue to work to bring the best LibreOffice possible to Apple Silicon as time permits, and we are confident that even if we don

Monday
16 November, 2020


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  • Took babes to school, got some electrician's bits and pieces sorted out finally. Planning call at length, poked at some code, support tickets and slides.

Sunday
15 November, 2020


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  • Up late, relaxed, music with the babes, sermon on Daniel 5 - The Handwriting on the Wall. Out for a walk with the babes. Played Among Us with the extended worldwide family.

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The LibreOffice Documentation Team is happy to announce the availability of the LibreOffice Calc Guide 7.0, the most comprehensive guide for the Calc module, updated to the latest version of LibreOffice.

The Guide is available in PDF format and contains 545 pages, covering all basic and advanced features of the spreadsheet module of LibreOffice, and is a must-read book for exploiting the maximum of LibreOffice Calc.

The LibreOffice Calc Guide 7.0 is a team effort of Steve Fanning, Gordon Bates, Kees Kriek, Annie Nguyen, Samantha Hamilton, Olivier Hallot and Jean Hollis Weber, coordinated by Felipe Viggiano. Felipe joined the team this year and quickly helped the team to advance with the guide review and update.

“When searching for Calc help online, I noticed that it was possible to contribute with the LibreOffice documentation, and immediately requested to join the Documentation Team, where Mr. Olivier Hallot has been a great advisor ever since. The team’s reception was exceptional and working with such skilled writers has been awesome, giving me a rich opportunity to learn a lot about document production”, said Felipe Viggiano, coordinators of the Calc Guide. “Now I plan to contribute with other publications from Doc Team and help in the Calc Guide translation to Brazilian Portuguese”, he completed.

Felipe Viggiano, Calc Guide 7.0 Coordinator

The new Calc Guide 7.0 is available at the documentation website at https://documentation.libreoffice.org and the source files are on the LibreOffice wiki at https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Documentation/Publications#LibreOffice_Calc_Guide .

The Documentation team is a group of enthusiastic authors all over the world that contributes to the much demanded LibreOffice user guides, LibreOffice Help module, tutorials, reference guides and much more.

 

Happy documenting!


Saturday
14 November, 2020


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First problem - only LibreOffice 7.0 and newer works on macOS 11 Big Sur. Nobody knows why. So if you use older version you should update your LibreOffice to 7.0.3

Second problem - if you have a Retina screen (HiDPI), then you can't use LibreOffice, because all text will be blured. There is a bug 138122

So, Apple, thank you!


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  • David helped out, dunged out my old workshop, and moved most of it to the new world; got more curtains put up, had a roast dinner together & belated birthday cake.

Friday
13 November, 2020


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  • Partner call, admin, chased a customer problem with Mert & Aron, got a fix, and inspired in the evening another, and a development plan.

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Impress (and Writer and Calc) now has support for detecting 0-byte files on open/import based on their extension. This builds on top of the previous language-independent template improvements. This means that e.g. a 0-byte PPTX file will open as an empty Impress presentation, not in Writer.

Motivation

We regularly see customers wanting minimal templates, which are language independent and have no content. Such files are handy if your workflow is to first name an empty document (create it) and only then edit it (and not the other way around: first create the document, then save it by giving it a name). This is easy for .txt files: if it’s zero bytes, it’s empty. But then this approach is also expected to work for other file formats as well, where our original approach was more technical: if it’s an empty file, that that can be only plain text, so we (almost) always opened it in Writer, not matching the user expectations.

Instead of explaining the problem to people again and again (that a literally empty PPTX file is not a PPTX template), there is value in just adapting the code instead to "do what I mean".

Results so far

An empty PPTX file is now handled like this:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/zk3b0f2Rx3t5vFVuKiimujSJWYwPNH05PCf5Indih3OwMDeBrOUH1X7N22PO46kIbxTVzI0V3IV-bE0sMycTHGj2eRqKT6K7eQkZ0Py9QVCPIhV0pdKdGPLGH08xpw72wFQ-3eGyX4k=w1920
Figure 1. Empty PPTX file opening in Impress

You can see this is no longer opening in Writer as plain text but in Impress, which is clearly a less surprising behavior.

Here is what happens if you open an empty DOTX (template):

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/cVB_kK2wDyNIJjLt9v9UcNS4AagRCifwBofp70mHfNVzopvrN1cxcsVLhWfEArhab_PwSFkAvLlMUS1witevRcKeEn9UXYtw5o4VeGSztvnNUi6YMtR3t2DUIu1k2LLOUhnpckAnrwQ=w1920
Figure 2. Empty DOTX file creates a new Writer document

You can see that it is even recognized that this is a template format, so a new document is created, not the template itself is opened for editing.

How is this implemented?

If you would like to know a bit more about how this works, continue reading… :-)

You can see the code change in this commit. First, we restrict this trick to file URLs, and also to empty files.

Second, we look at the extension of the file and try to match an import filter that usually handles that extension. This helps, because then nominally the correct filter will be used for the import, so save will not ask for a filename (as it happens for new documents), but it will know what target filename and export filter to use.

Finally we need to avoid actually invoking the import filter, because no file content is not something an import filter has to handle if its filter detection would reject the file. (E.g. PPTX is expected to be a valid ZIP file.) This is important, because we want to avoid touching each & every file filter to not fail for empty file content — instead we want to handle this centrally, at a single place.

Want to start using this?

You can get a snapshot / demo of Collabora Office and try it out yourself right now: try unstable snapshot. Collabora intends to continue supporting and contributing to LibreOffice


Thursday
12 November, 2020


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  • HR call, first COOL community meeting, finally got to some hacking, cleaning up temporary file access.
  • Got some more curtains up in the evening - transparency is great, but less so in bedrooms.

Wednesday
11 November, 2020


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  • Sales call, sync with Thorsten, marketing & customer call ~concurrently. Tried to sort out builder / mechanical contractor conflict.

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