Today, February 10, The Document Foundation non-profit organization has proudly announced the release and immediate availability for download of the LibreOffice 5.1 open-source and cross-platform office suite for all supported platforms.
It’s been a long time I have talked about the project that I started with GSoC 2015 some time back. We reached at pretty much exciting results by the end of the summer where we could see the integration working pretty well with LibreOffice. We finished and merged all the major work on the Libreoffice side alongwith just-made-it-work integration with gnome-documents. Things were still in the development stage for gnome-documents, and we needed good amount of effort to get it merged upstream.
The LibreOffice codebase is, to be frank, messy. This isn't a criticism of previous developers - it's still an amazing product and an amazing feat of programming given the number of platforms it runs on. The StarView guys, and later OpenOffice.org development team, did a great job. For instance, I was reading up on the font mapping code and I often saw Herbert Duerr's name, and I've got nothing but respect for the work that he did and his dedication to the project.
With the release of LibreOffice 4.4 last year, we began making incremental updates to the main menus, with the major overhaul happening in the upcoming 5.1 release. The work is guided by LibreOffice’s new Human Interface Guideline (HIG), which has given us the core framework, however some questions have arisen challenging the reasoning of our work. So this post is a summary of what we changed, primarily focused on why we’ve done it – and a little outlook of what is planned for the future.
The LibreOffice community is working hard on the next major release of LibreOffice 5.1 – planned for early February – with a bug hunting session focused on new features and fixes for bugs and regressions, to test the second release candidate.
The session will last 3 days, from January 15 to January 17, 2016. On those dates, mentors will be available from 08AM UTC to 10PM UTC to help volunteers to triage bugs, on the QA IRC channel and via email on the QA mailing list.
Recently, I read a blog article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols about an initiative from Collabora, an “Open Source consulting” firm, OwnCloud, an Open Source Cloud solution and the well-known LibreOffice office suite (actually a fork of OpenOffice.org, which itself is a fork of StarOffice), to release an online version of LibreOffice. Finally!
These two different approaches do not necessarily highlight the superiority of the word processor; after all one could imagine an html template instead of one in OpenDocument Format or proprietary one. What it shows, however, is that a word processor deals with documents in a visual way. A text editor sticks pretty much to the text itself. The rest can be dealt with in other ways, either externally or in a programmatic method (with LaTex for instance). My point here is to stress that the two kind of tools rely on broadly different approaches.