The Document Foundation Blog

2015/04/10

The Document Liberation, one year after

Filed under: LibreOffice, Technology — italovignoli @ 14:16

Berlin, April 9, 2015 – The Document Liberation is a project of The Document Foundation, announced in early April 2014 to host the different libraries handling proprietary and legacy document formats within LibreOffice. The idea was to provide a single repository for other software projects willing to deploy the same libraries, in order to simplify the integration. The project is led by Fridrich Strba and David Tardon, two long time LibreOffice contributors.

During 2014, members of the project released a new framework library, called librevenge, which contains all the document interfaces and helper types, in order to simplify the dependency chain. In addition, they started a new library for importing Adobe PageMaker documents, libpagemaker, written as part of Google Summer of Code 2014 by Anurag Kanungo.

Existing libraries have also been extended with the addition of more formats, like libwps with the addition of Microsoft Works Spreadsheet and Database by Laurent Alonso. He is now working on adding support for Lotus 1-2-3, which is one of the most famous legacy applications for personal computers. Laurent has also added support for more than twenty legacy Mac formats to libmwaw.

Developers have created two export libraries – libepubgen for ePub and librvngabw for Abiword – and are currently working at improving import filters for Adobe Freehand – libfreehand – and Apple Pages – libetonyek.

Document Liberation libraries are available for Corel WordPerfect (including Graphics) and Corel Draw, Microsoft Works, AbiWord, Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Visio, Apple Keynote, Adobe FreeHand, Aldus PageMaker, plus many legacy Mac document formats and many e-book formats.

Each library under the Document Liberation umbrella exists as an independent project, with its own maintainer, release schedule and license, according to the Ethos of Free Software which is championed by The Document Foundation.

For more information: http://www.documentliberation.org.

2015/01/21

LibreOffice Viewer (Beta) now available for Android

Filed under: Announcements, Technology — Tags: , — italovignoli @ 12:06

Berlin, January 21, 2015 – The Document Foundation (TDF) is happy to see the LibreOffice Viewer (Beta) for Android released in the Google Play Store, allowing mobile users to access Open Document Format (ODF) files from devices such as tablets and smartphones.

The application, created by Collabora, is available from the following link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.collabora.libreoffice.

The first release of LibreOffice Viewer handles text documents and basic presentations. Support for spreadsheets have been included in an early form, while support for more complex presentations is planned for a future release. Users are invited to download and test the application, although care is advised for production environments.

“Support for Android is the result of cooperation between organizations as well as individual contributors,” said Michael Meeks, VP of Productivity at Collabora, “LibreOffice’s open ecosystem has again proved its ability to bring diverse groups together to produce great software without restrictions”.

The mobile app fulfils the wishes of many users who access ODF files on the go, and is also able to read proprietary document formats from other suites including Microsoft Office.

“This release is the first of a new series of mobile applications,” said Björn Michaelsen, a Director of The Document Foundation. “Individuals, companies and organizations are encouraged to participate in the open development process by joining the LibreOffice community.”

The LibreOffice Viewer (Beta) has been created by Collabora with the support of SMOOSE. It is built on foundational work by the LibreOffice community, SUSE, and the Mozilla Corporation, with additional development by Jacobo Aragunde of Igalia, and Andrzej Hunt and Ian Billet as part of Google Summer of Code.

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

2015/01/13

Behind the scenes at TDF: Infrastructure

Filed under: Community, Technology — Florian Effenberger @ 14:10
09.01.15 - 1

LibreOffice admin meeting in Munich, with Alex being the third person from the left

With the beginning of 2015, a new year packed with exciting projects and ideas around LibreOffice and The Document Foundation, we today finish our behind-the-scenes series, to share achievements in 2014 with our community and our generous donours, to whom we’d like to express our sincerest gratitude and thanks for their incredible and wonderful support and their invaluable contributions!

I’m Alexander Werner and I am responsible for the infrastructure of The Document Foundation on a contracted basis since March 2014. I have been with the project since its foundation in 2012, and been a longtime supporter of free and open source software. As a volunteer I helped setting up and maintaining our first server and optimizing it to handle the load of the first days.
The infrastructure is one of the most important things The Document Foundation provides for the community. As long as every part is working as expected, it is basically invisible. It is my job to make sure that this is always the case, mostly by orchestrating the different services on our growing number of virtual machines.

When the LibreOffice fork began, we started with only one server where all services were located – mailing lists, both private and public, website, mirror management, wiki and many more. As time went by, this server survived its first slashdot, but soon it became clear that more power was needed. So our infrastructure started growing organically as more and more servers were added. Our admins specialized on different parts of the infrastructure, while the whole configuration was centrally documented in a single ODT file.

It soon became clear that this was not a viable solution – our quest for infra 2.0, as we internally call it, began. The admin team worked under fast escalating load while looking for ways to optimize resource usage, inclusion of new volunteers, configuration documentation and management. Also high availablility of services became increasingly important. In our sparse free time we started creating concepts, tested HA with DRBD, Pacemaker and Heartbeat, evaluated different solutions for centralized documentation and started using tools for centralized configuration management.

It soon became clear that we needed more flexibility for working HA with the solution described above, so as interim solution we started virtualizing services first in paravirtualized guests with LXC and then switched to fully virtualized guests with KVM. For infrastructure documentation I suggested to use the documentation generator Sphinx. The source files for the documentation – human readable RST text files – are located in a git repository, and the online documentation is automatically updated on every push. For configuration management and deployment, I eventually stumbled upon SaltStack.

My daily work consists of working on various small recurring tasks such as helping people with mailing list troubles, adding and removing mirrors in MirrorBrain, installing updates and doing necessary reboots as well as handling unexpected incidents such as the Heartbleed bug.

In spring I started working on our Salt states, made them more reliable and made sure that all user accounts are now managed by Salt. I have setup a new virtualization host with VMs for Gerrit, Jenkins, Bugzilla and Plone. Apart from that I worked on improving the documentation of our services, looking for undocumented and unused services.

I also worked on our AskBot setup. While having set up the initial AskLibO instance, it was decided to contract Evgeny Fadeev, the primary developer of AskBot, to develop additional features needed by our community, which will then be made available upstream again. Despite that, I also did some changes such as enabling the newly-developed multilanguage support, fixed template bugs and administered the list of moderators.

Except for my ongoing work to improve the Salt states and adding more not yet managed servers to our Salt infrastructure, I also continued to concatenate various documentation sources into our centralized repository.

I also worked on a download counter that will be useful to track all our downloads by language, location, version and operating system.

But the most interesting, time consuming and fascinating part of my work was the planning, testing and setup of our new cluster/cloud infrastructure. As it was decided to virtualize all of our services, I looked for a solution that is easy to manage and maintain but provides powerful tools for easily creating highly available services.

After quite some time of evaluating I decided to go for oVirt – a KVM-based virtualization solution that provides a nice out-of-the-box experience, the simplicity of its setup was worlds apart from other solutions. It is also possible to provide fully high available services with only two nodes by having the management engine run as VM on the platform.

During the time of evaluation I also had contact to hardware suppliers and hosters, and after a good offer from manitu we decided to host our new platform on two large, dedicated servers, each with 256 GB RAM and 64 CPU cores. Until the end of the year, over 20 virtual machines were migrated and a third node was ordered that will be used primarily for crash testing and to increase the stability of the platform even more.

If you are interested in learning more about our infrastructure or helping out, consider subscribing to the website mailing list, where infra calls are announced or write a mail to alex@documentfoundation.org

2014/12/22

Create a Template for LibreOffice, and get a free T-shirt

Filed under: Announcements, LibreOffice, Technology — Tags: , — italovignoli @ 09:43

The Document Foundation launches a competition to increase the number of document templates bundled with the upcoming major release of Libreoffice, open to designers, artists, and creatively talented users.

Deadline for submission, to be included in LibreOffice 4.4, is January 4, 2015. Templates submitted after this deadline will be considered for later LibreOffice major and minor releases, like LibreOffice 4.5 or LibreOffice 4.4.1.

Templates will be selected by the members of the LibreOffice Design Team, and may be edited before the inclusion. Authors of the templates bundled with LibreOffice 4.4 will get a free T-shirt either at LibreOffice booth at FOSDEM on Saturday January 31, or Sunday February 1, 2015, or by post after FOSDEM, and will be credited with a mention on http://www.libreoffice.org/about-us/credits/. They will also have a chance to meet LibreOffice developers and the design team during and after the show.

To be considered for inclusion, templates must meet the following conditions:

  • They are an original work, and are not converted from existing templates.
  • They are licensed under Creative Commons CC0.
  • They are based only on fonts bundled with LibreOffice (Caladea, Carlito, DejaVu, Gentium, Liberation, Libertine G, Open Sans, PT Serif, Source Code, Source Sans).
  • They are based on LibreOffice styles, and not on direct element formatting. Styles must be created according to the expected use of the template.
  • They contain only a minimum of text (ideally, no text at all), as they will not be translated for LibreOffice 4.4. Because of that, language must be en_us.

To participate, either upload the template on TDF wiki or send it by email to templatecontest@libreoffice.org, and we will add it to the list. Templates will be collected here: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Design/Whiteboards/Templates_for_LibreOffice_4.4.

Please specify the category and/or the intended use of the template, and the license of the template. You can send any number of templates, provided that all of them meet the above conditions.

For more information about creating templates, please check here: https://help.libreoffice.org/Writer/Creating_a_Document_Template and
here: http://lodahl.blogspot.ae/2014/12/making-good-and-solid-templates.html.

As an example, categories of templates could be: books of various types, address/phone books, business cards, calendars, curriculum vitae/resumes, essays, expense reports, letters, lists, records and reports of various types, schedules, etc.

Be creative ! We look forward to bundle your template designs !

2014/04/24

Get ready for LibreOffice 4.3 bug hunting session

Filed under: Development, QA, Technology — italovignoli @ 11:20

The Document Foundation (TDF) announces the schedule of the first LibreOffice 4.3 bug hunting session, which will start with the availability of the first beta of the new major release in calendar week 21 (May 23 to May 25).

Participating will be easy. Details of the bug hunting session are on TDF wiki (https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/BugHunting_Session_4.3.0), where there is also a growing list of LibreOffice 4.3 new features and improvements to check for bugs and regressions (https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/ReleaseNotes/4.3).

To participate, it will be necessary to have a PC with Windows, MacOS or Linux, and LibreOffice 4.3 Beta 1 (available at http://www.libreoffice.org/pre-releases), plus a lot of enthusiasm.

Filing bugs will be extremely easy, thanks to the help of experienced volunteers who will be around on the QA mailing list (libreofficeqa@lists.freedesktop.org) and IRC channel (irc://irc.freenode.net/#libreoffice-qa).

A second LibreOffice 4.3 bug hunting session will be organized – with the same pattern – immediately after the release of LibreOffice 4.3 Release Candidate 1, in mid June.

2013/03/20

Impress Remote for Android: video and how-to instructions

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , — italovignoli @ 11:27

Impress Remote for Android is one of the coolest features introduced by LibreOffice 4.0. With version 4.0.1, it is compatible with every platform – Linux, MacOS and Windows – and works like a charm.

In order to install and operate the Impress Remote you must first download it from Google Play on your Android smartphone, and then follow a simple procedure, which is described in this wiki page and also in this video:

If you like the Impress Remote for Android, please remember that The Document Foundation is a not for profit entity which lives thanks to the work of many volunteers, but also thanks to donations, which support infrastructure, marketing and community development.

2013/01/07

Waving TDF Long Tail

Filed under: Community, LibreOffice, Technology — Tags: , , , , — italovignoli @ 14:10

TDF Long Tail

In 2012, developers hacking LibreOffice code have been around 320, with a majority of volunteers and a minority of people paid by companies such as SUSE, RedHat and Canonical (plus a multitude of smaller organizations such as Lanedo, which is also a member of our Advisory Board and builds a significant part of its business by providing development related value added services on top of LibreOffice code).

The graphic visualization of the individual commits has the shape of a “long tail“. The pie is an explosion of the work done by the top 33 hackers with 100+ commits: 16 volunteers, and 17 paid developers (11 from SUSE, 5 from RedHat and one from Canonical). At TDF, we do not have “paid volunteers” because we love transparency and truth.

If you are not familiar with the importance of the “long tail”, especially for free software projects, you might get some interesting insights from the following TED speech, by Clay Shirky:

Clay Shirky has inspired the work of Chris Anderson on the long tail (article, book and blog) with his 2003 essay “Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality“, which is a very interesting reading.

2012/10/31

Searching for infrastructure sponsors

Filed under: Community, Technology — Florian Effenberger @ 12:28

One of the most valueable assets of The Document Foundation, the charitable entity behind LibreOffice, clearly is its infrastructure. It provides the grounds where the community develops, markets, designs, improves and offers its free office suite for download.

That’s why it comes to no surprise that the infrastructure budget is one of the largest spendings. As of today, we spend about 700 € per month on infrastructure, which is more than 50% of our regular monthly operations budget – quite a lot for a foundation of our size.

The last months, the community has grown rapidly, and so we will also have an upward trend with regards to infrastructure, with costs growing more and more.

Therefore, we would like to take the opportunity to ask for infrastructure sponsors. Internet service providers, webhosters, universities and corporations can contribute to the success of LibreOffice. You can support the further development and growth of the community and the product, by sponsoring the use of dedicated machines for LibreOffice purposes.

Due to our setup, we specifically look for dedicated machines (“rented root servers”) that we can use. Virtual servers or shared webhosting unfortunately won’t fit.

As a rough estimation, here are some technical details on what would be desirable:

  • Quadcore CPU
  • 32 GB RAM, ideally with ECC
  • two hard disks with 1,5 TB/each for RAID1; smaller SSDs also welcome
  • one dedicated IPv4 address
  • one IPv6 subnet (/64 or larger)
  • automated reset service
  • remotely bootable rescue system
  • no extra fees for traffic (we approximately use between 2 and 5 TB on an average machine and month); forced traffic shaping after a certain threshold is fine
  • ideally, 1 Gbit/s bandwith instead of 100 Mbit/s

Support of any kind towards our infrastructure efforts is highly welcome, and we would like to thank everyone for their contributions!

If you would like to support our efforts, or have further questions, feel free to ask our infrastructure team at hostmaster@documentfoundation.org or ping Florian directly.

On behalf of the whole LibreOffice community and my infrastructure colleagues, thank you very much!

2012/10/18

The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 3.5.7

Filed under: Announcements, Technology — Tags: , , — italovignoli @ 15:35

Berlin, October 18, 2012 – The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 3.5.7, the seventh and possibly last version of the free office suite’s 3.5 family, which solves additional bugs and regressions, and offers stability improvements over LibreOffice 3.5.6.

The Document Foundation suggests all users to upgrade from previous versions to LibreOffice 3.5.7.

LibreOffice 3.5.7 is available for immediate download from the following link: http://www.libreoffice.org/download/.

Change logs are available at http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Releases/3.5.7/RC1 and http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Releases/3.5.7/RC2.

Extensions for LibreOffice are available from the following link: http://extensions.libreoffice.org/extension-center.

When downloading the software, you might consider about donating some money to The Document Foundation for the development of LibreOffice and the growth of the community, by accessing our donation page at http://donate.libreoffice.org.

2012/10/04

The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 3.6.2

Filed under: Announcements, Technology — Tags: , , — italovignoli @ 10:31

Berlin, October 4, 2012 – The Document Foundation (TDF) announces LibreOffice 3.6.2, for Windows, MacOS and Linux, solving bugs and regressions and further improving the stability of the program for corporate deployments. The best free office suite ever is quickly becoming the de facto standard for migrations to free office suites, thanks to the quickly growing feature set and the improved interoperability with proprietary software.

The growing number of LibreOffice adoptions by private and public enterprises is a demonstration of the improvements brought to the legacy code by TDF, thanks to over 500 developers who are focusing on stability and quality (in addition to new exciting features).

The latest public administration to migrate has been the city of Limerick, Ireland’s third largest city, where LibreOffice is now used on all 450 desktops in use at the city’s six main locations including the three public libraries, the fire department, the municipal museum and the City Gallery of Art.

The community behind LibreOffice will gather in Berlin for the second LiboCon from October 17 to October 19. During three days, company representatives and volunteers will discuss their experiences, learning from each other in the true spirit of the community.

Registration for the conference end on October 8, Registration for the conference ends on October the 8th. If you want to join in, please register at this address: http://conference.libreoffice.org/registration.

LibreOffice 3.6.2 is available for immediate download from the following link: http://www.libreoffice.org/download/. Extensions for LibreOffice are available from the following link: http://extensions.libreoffice.org/extension-center.

Change logs are available at http://download.documentfoundation.org/libreoffice/src/bugfixes-libreoffice-3-6-2-release-3.6.2.1.log (fixed in 3.6.2.1) and http://download.documentfoundation.org/libreoffice/src/bugfixes-libreoffice-3-6-2-release-3.6.2.2.log (fixed in 3.6.2.2).

The infographics offers a representation of the growth of the developers community over the last 12 months, in addition to the growth of downloads from TDF mirror system.

Some TDF Numbers as of September 2012

You can download the Hybrid PDF at the following link: TDF Infographics September 2012 – Hybrid PDF.

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