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LibO

Sysadmins: Is LibreOffice a viable office suite choice for your users?

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LibO

At some point in our lives, we have all been in a situation that required us to make use of a software suite for productivity. For most of us, that software has been Microsoft Office. Some of my earliest technology encounters (aside from taking typing classes in elementary school) involved sitting down at a desktop computer to type up a homework assignment, or a surprise five-page expose on the universal themes permeating The Grapes of Wrath. (Insert eye roll here.)

[...]

Another aspect that sysadmins need to consider is cost. With the trend toward subscription models, making a decision now requires a different calculus. A subscription option allows you to always have the most up to date version, although it only covers one software license unless you are purchasing for a business. You still have one-time purchase options, however, it will never receive updates in the future outside of routine maintenance patches. For small business sysadmins, every dollar counts. If you can save your company money on software licensing and still have a robust productivity suite, you will not struggle to prove your value to the company.

So, what is a forward-thinking, frugal, open source sysadmin to do? As this is not a trick question, the answer is simple: Use open source software to solve the issue. I want to look at what open source can do for us in the productivity space.

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LibreOffice 6.3.5 Released and LibreOffice 7 on the Way

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LibO
  • LibreOffice 6.3.5 available for download

    The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.3.5, the 5th minor release of the LibreOffice 6.3 family, targeted at individuals using the software for production purposes, who are invited to update their current version. The new release provides bug and regression fixes, and improvements to document compatibility.

  • LibreOffice 6.3.5 Is Now Available for Download with 84 Bug Fixes

    LibreOffice 6.3.5 comes more than two months after the LibreOffice 6.3.4 update and it’s here to improve the overall stability, security and compatibility of the open-source and cross-platform office suite.

    A total of 84 bug and regression fixes are included in this maintenance update, which is still recommended to power users and technology enthusiasts, improving LibreOffice’s core components. The full changelogs are available for tech-savvy users here and here.

  • LibreOffice 7 Continues Plumbing Its Vulkan Rendering Support

    Landing last November in the LibreOffice development code was Skia drawing support to replace Cairo and in turn that opens up for Vulkan rendering of this cross-platform, open-source office suite.

    Skia+Vulkan is working out for LibreOffice and in fact the debut version that was going to be LibreOffice 6.5 was renamed to LibreOffice 7.0 as the current version now under development following the recent LibreOffice 6.4 release.

10 great LibreOffice-only features

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LibO

LibreOffice is a successor project to OpenOffice.org (commonly known as OpenOffice), as you can see in this timeline – click to enlarge...

We release a new major version every six months – so let’s check out some of the great features our community and certified developers have added in recent years!

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Events: LibreOffice at FOSDEM, GTK Hackfest in Brussels and Kiwi TCMS in Sofia, Singapore, Kiev & Moscow

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LibO
OSS
GNOME

openSUSE Tumbleweed, openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference, LibreOffice/LibOCon 2020

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LibO
SUSE
  • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/07

    Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

    At SUSE we had so-called hackweek. Meaning everybody could do something out of their regular tasks and work for a week on something else they wish to invest time on. I used the time to finally get the ‘osc collab’ server back in shape (Migrated from SLE11SP4 to Leap 15.1) – And in turn handed ‘The Tumbleweed Release Manager hat’ over to Oliver Kurz, who expressed an interest in learning about the release Process for Tumbleweed. I think it was an interesting experiment for both of us: for him, to get something different done and for me to get some interesting questions as to why things are the way they are. Obviously, a fresh look from the outside gives some interesting questions and a few things translated in code changes on the tools in use (nothing major, but I’m sure discussions will go on)

    As I stepped mostly back this week and handed RM tasks over to Oliver, that also means he will be posting the ‘Review of the week’ to the opensuse­factory mailing list. For my fellow blog users, I will include it here directly for your reference.

  • Call for Papers, Registration Opens for openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference

    Both openSUSE and LibreOffice are combining their conferences (openSUSE Conference and LibOcon) in 2020 to celebrate LibreOffice’s 10-year anniversary and openSUSE’s 15-year anniversary. The conference will take place in Nuremberg, Germany, at the Z-Bau from Oct. 13 to 16.

  • Call for Paper for LibOCon 2020 is now open

    The openSUSE and LibreOffice Projects are combining their annual conferences together for one year in 2020 to have a joint openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference. This joint conference, which is combined this one year to celebrate 10 years of the LibreOffice Project and 15 years of the openSUSE Project, will take place at the Z-bau in Nuremberg, Germany, from October 13 to 16, 2020. The goal of the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference, brings together fun, smart and open-source minded community members to discuss and present topics relative to the two projects as well as open-source software development topics.

    The Document Foundation invites all members and contributors to submit talks, lectures and workshops for this year’s event. Whether you are a seasoned presenter or have never spoken in public before, if you have something interesting to share about LibreOffice, the Document Liberation Project or the Open Document Format, we want to hear from you!

LibreOffice Dependencies, Development Workshop at Free Software Winter Camp 2020 and More

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LibO
  • Trying to build a slightly larger slice of Libreoffice with Meson

    One of the few comments I got on my previous blog post was that building only the sal library is uninteresting because it is so small. So let's go deeper and build the base platform of LO, which is called Uno. Based on docs and slides from conference presentations, it is roughly the marked area in LO's full dependency graph.

  • Great Response to the LibreOffice Development Workshop at Free Software Winter Camp 2020

    Every Winter the Anadolu University in Eskişehir, Turkey, hosts a large Free Software Winter Camp. This year it took place from Jan 25 – Jan 28, 2020, covering over 50 different classes with more than 40 different topics, and close to 1500 participants tutored by over 100 instructors. One of those classes was the LibreOffice Development Workshop, sponsored by Collabora Productivity.

    For the four days of intensive training 20 students from all over the country were accepted. While the workshop itself was free, the participants were expected to cover the costs for travel and accommodation. This year 16 students showed for LibreOffice Development Workshop given by Collabora’s Muhammet Kara – a number which was a significant increase compared to the number from the previous year!

  • Which Service is Better for Essay Writing: LibreOffice Writer, Microsoft Word, or Google Docs?

    What to do to all those who are not satisfied with MS Word and Google Docs? Install LibreOffice! This is an editor based on OpenOffice, created in 2011, in terms of performance, it is more stable. The program is free, like its predecessor, and is also available on different operating systems. To work in LibreOffice does not need the Internet. LibreOffice Writer supports document styles. These features will be very convenient for future editors and journalists. You will immediately get used to using headings of levels 1 and 2, frames and quotes. Not quite an ordinary advantage, but LibreOffice can be installed on a flash drive and take the program with you: the editor will start directly from the flash drive. This is convenient if, for example, you want to show your achievements to a teacher, but are afraid that his/her editor will not open your document.

Building (a very small subset of) LibreOffice with Meson

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Development
LibO

At FOSDEM I got into a discussion with a LibreOffice dev about whether it would be possible to switch LO's build system to Meson. It would be a lot of manual work for sure, but would there be any fundamental problems. Since a simple test can eliminate a ton of guesswork, I chose to take a look.

Like most cross platform programs, LO has its own platform abstraction layer called Sal. According to experience, these kinds of libraries usually have the nastiest build configurations requiring a ton of configure checks and the like. The most prominent example is GLib, whose configure steps are awe-inspiring.

Sal turned out to be fairly simple to port to Meson. It did not require all that much in platform setup, probably because the C++ stdlib provides a lot more out of the box than libc. After a few hours I could compile all of Sal and run some unit tests. The results of the experiment can be found in this Github repo. The filenames and layouts are probably not the same as in the "real" LO build, but for a simple experiment like this they'll do.

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Luxembourgish for LibreOffice and a Timeline

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LibO

  • LibreOffice in Luxembourg: Ready for work

    Michel Weimerskirch, the extension’s maintainer, explains more: “My goal is to provide good quality spell-checking tools for the Luxembourgish language. LibreOffice is available on all major platforms for free, and also has the necessary programming interfaces I needed to even implement a phonological rule that could now be implemented using standard spell checking libraries. Since then, LibreOffice has grown to be even more mature, so that nowadays there is definitely no reason anymore not to use it in a professional environment.”

    Paolo Vecchi, a local LibreOffice supporter – and recently elected as member of the Board of Directors of The Document Foundation – worked with Michel Weimerskirch to publish the new dictionary on the LibreOffice extensions portal, and will coordinate with the local Government and European institutions established in Luxembourg to help them upgrade to the most complete and professional open source office suite.

  • LibreOffice, OpenOffice(.org) and StarOffice timeline

    History time! LibreOffice is a successor to OpenOffice(.org) and StarOffice before that. We have new major releases every six months, bringing important new features, security updates and compatibility improvements… (Click to enlarge)

LibreOffice and Debian at FOSDEM (DebConf/MiniDebCamp)

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LibO
Debian
  • Come meet the LibreOffice community at FOSDEM!

    Yes, LibreOffice is at FOSDEM in Brussels – come to our stand (H.A1) and chat with our community – and also grab cool swag! (T-shirts, stickers, candy and more…)

  • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2020-01

    I spent some time migrating highvoltage.tv from a Mediadrop instance to a PeerTube instance. Overall, I think it provides a much better user experience and it has some great new features.

    PeerTube allows federation with other instances (read more about the fediverse on Wikipedia), my instance follows a few other instances that hosts free software and electronics content (like share.tube and diode.zone). During tis process I also discovered and enabled HLS (HTTP Live Streaming). If you’ve noticed how NetFlix switches between resolutions without any pauses or stuttering when a connection goes bad/saturated, then that’s exactly what HLS enables. It fragments mp4 files into a a whole lot of smaller files in different resolutions, allowing to quickly switch between resolutions. The only big downside is that content consumes quite a bit more disk space (about 50% more), but I think it’s worth it.

    I haven’t created much content in 2019 but I hope to do a whole bunch of Debian Package of the Day vidoes this year and also some interviews with interesting people.

    [...]

    The last 3 days of the month I was at MiniDebCamp FOSDEM, a get together of Debian contributors preceding the FOSDEM conference. We were hosted by HSBXL, an interesting hacker space in Brussels. Turnout was quite good, with more than 50 people showing up, working on all kinds of things and with impromptu lightning talks at the end.

    The first two days of the minidebcamp I worked on a Python script for parsing DebConf archive metadata and automatically uploading videos to our peertube instance. Initially I used the PeerTube CLI tools, which has a huge dependency chain and a somewhat intrusive setup. I made good progress with this, but started hitting some limitations and seeked out a proper Python module instead. I found peertube-uploader, a Python CLI script, but it’s a bit too basic for our use case. After talking about it with Stefano over dinner, we ended up concluding that it’s going to be best to use the PeerTube API (which is well documented with examples) with some inspiration from peertube-uploader. I should find some quiet time over February to finish that up.

    On the last day I worked a bit on the Calamares framebuffer session, which is part of my Calamares roadmap for buster. Soon you’ll be able to pass a kernel command line parameter like “calamaresfb” and then the Calamares will start up without loading an entire desktop environment or a Xorg/Wayland session, which can be beneficial for low memory/resource systems. It still looks a bit ugly but upstream has mentioned some potential solutions that I’ll try out at some later stage.

  • DebConf Video team sprint (and stuff) @ MiniDebCamp FOSDEM 2020

    I’ve been (very pleasantly!) surprised by the number of people present at the MiniDebCamp, as well as the variety of topics they were working on. A great atmosphere, the welcoming environment provided by the HSBXL, and the low-key organization were something that I think other event organizers can get inspiration from: just get a room, and basic amenities (power, tables, seats, heating), and this will turn into a successful event!

LibreOffice 6.4 Released, This is What’s New

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LibO

LibreOffice 6.4 is here, serving as the latest stable release of this hugely popular open source productivity suite And, as you’d expect, LibreOffice 6.4 features a veritable crop of core updates and key improvements.

The Document Foundation, the non-profit organisation who help steer development of this free office software, say LibreOffice 6.4 is a “performance-focused” release that features “almost perfect support for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX files.”

It’s also the first major release of LibreOffice to be made in the suite’s tenth anniversary year.

For more on what’s new, read on!

Read more

Also: Performance-focused LibreOffice 6.4 is available for download

We Love Performance... So We Love LibreOffice 6.4 With This Office Suite Now Running Faster

LibreOffice 6.4 released

LibreOffice 6.4 Released. This is What’s New.

LibreOffice Office Suite 6.4 Released [Ubuntu PPA]

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More in Tux Machines

EasyNAS 1.0 Beta 3 is out

This version is a bug fix version. Shutdown & Restart are working properly, network setting is working fine, Chinese language is now downloadable, Firmware updates is now faster, Addons installation works fine. You won’t need to download the ISO of the new version, just use the Update feature in the menu and you’ll get the new full new version including Beta-4 and the final release. You’ll see many updates for all components , update it when it’s available. Read more

Linux 5.6-rc3

Fairly normal rc3 as far as I can tell. We've seen bigger, but we've
seen smaller ones too. Maybe this is slightly on the low side of
average at this time, which would make sense since this was a smaller
merge window. Anyway, too much noise in the signal to be sure either
way.

The overall stats look fairly regular too: about 55% drivers (staging,
sound, gpu, networking,  and usb look noticeable, with some noise
elsewhere). The bulk of the staging diff is actually the vsoc removal,
so that's nice.

Outside of drivers, we have the usual suspects: arch fixes (powerpc,
s390, x86, but also a late csky update that I couldn't find it in
myself to worry about). Filesystems (ext4 and btrfs) and networking.
And misc sprinkles of small fixes elsewhere.

See the appended shortlog for details,

             Linus
Read more Also: Linux 5.6-rc3 Released As A "Fairly Normal" Kernel

Programming: Thoughts From Jussi Pakkanen, Releases From Debian Developers, GSoC Projects and Python Leftovers

  • Jussi Pakkanen: Open source does not have a reward mechanism for tedious

    Many software developers are creators and builders. They are drawn to problems of the first type. The fact that they are difficult is not a downside, it is a challenge to be overcome. It can even be a badge of merit which you can wave around your fellow developers. These projects include things like writing your own operating system or 3D game engine, writing device drivers that saturate the fastest of transfer links, lock free atomic parallelism, distributed file systems that store exabytes of data as well as embedded firmware that has less than 1 kilobyte of RAM. Working on these kinds of problems is rewarding on its own, even if the actual product never finishes or fails horribly when eventually launched. They are, in a single word, sexy. Most problems are not like that, but are instead the programming equivalent of ditch digging. They consist of a lot of hard work, which is not very exciting on its own but it still needs to be done. It is difficult to get volunteers to work on these kinds of problems and this is where the problem gets amplified in open source. Corporations have a very strong way to motivate people to work on tedious problems and it is called a paycheck. Volunteer driven open source development does not have a way to incentivise people in the same way. This is a shame, because the chances of success for any given software project (and startup) is directly proportional to the amount of tedious work people working on it are willing to do.

  • ledger2beancount 2.0 released

    I released version 2.0 of ledger2beancount, a ledger to beancount converter.

  • digest 0.6.25: Spookyhash bugfix

    digest creates hash digests of arbitrary R objects (using the md5, sha-1, sha-256, sha-512, crc32, xxhash32, xxhash64, murmur32, and spookyhash algorithms) permitting easy comparison of R language objects. It is a fairly widely-used package (currently listed at 889k monthly downloads with 255 direct reverse dependencies and 7340 indirect reverse dependencies) as many tasks may involve caching of objects for which it provides convenient general-purpose hash key generation. This release is a one issue fix. Aaron Lun noticed some issues when spookyhash is used in streaming mode. Kendon Bell, who also contributed spookyhash quickly found the issue which is a simple oversight. This was worth addressing in new release, so I pushed 0.6.25.

  • Google announces 200 open-source mentors for the 2020 GSoC event

    With this year's Google Summer of Code event right around the corner, the organizers considered this to be the perfect time to announce the mentoring organizations for the participants. In this year's edition of GSoC, there will be 200 mentoring organizations, including 30 new teams. Read on to find out more details of this open-source event.

  • Python 101 2nd Edition Sample Chapters

    I have put together some sample chapters for the 2nd edition of Python 101 which is coming out later this year. You can download the PDF version of these sample chapters here. Note that these chapters may have minor typos in them. Feel free to let me know if you find any bugs or errors.

  • Python 3.7.6 : The SELinux python package.

    The tutorial for today is about the SELinux python package.

  • Release 0.7.0 of GooCalendar
  • Python in Production

    I’m missing a key part from the public Python discourse and I would like to help to change that. The other day I was listening to a podcast about running Python services in production. While I disagreed with some of the choices they made, it acutely reminded me about what I’ve been missing in the past years from the public Python discourse.

  • Python Packaging Metadata

    Since this topic keeps coming up, I’d like to briefly share my thoughts on Python package metadata because it’s – as always – more complex than it seems. When I say metadata I mean mostly the version so I will talk about it interchangeably. But the description, the license, or the project URL are also part of the game.

  • Better Python tracebacks with Rich

    One of my goals in writing Rich was to render really nice Python tracebacks. And now that feature has landed. I've never found Python tracebacks to be a great debugging aid beyond telling me what the exception was, and where it occurred. In a recent update to Rich, I've tried to refresh the humble traceback to give enough context to diagnose errors before switching back to the editor.

DPL Sam Hartman proves blackmail is alive and well in Debian

Debian has gone as far as humiliating and shaming people on a number of occasions to force them to bend over and submit to the monoculture. That may work with one or two victims at a time, as revealed in the Debian Christmas lynchings but the number of people expressing concerns about Israel appears to be too large for plain vanilla blackmailing. Read more