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.
We install Linux on every one of our Reglue computers. Included in that installation is the entire suite of LibreOffice. Unfortunately, a number of Reglue Kids began complaining about homework assignments being rejected. Most times they were scolded and told to re-submit the assignment in the proper format…you know, that well known proprietary one. Sometimes students were given a lower grade for not following the submission instructions.
A little more than two years ago, the open source consulting company Collabora took over the job of commercialising LibreOffice, the free office suite that is produced by an army of developers.
At that time, a number of LibreOffice developers moved from the Germany-based Linux company SUSE and became staff of Collabora.