Second ever LibreOffice Hackfest in Italy, with 15 participants

Development mentor Jan Iversen writes:

“Italy has a very big LibreOffice community but with only a few developers, so when LibreItalia had its yearly conference this weekend, we tried to start changing the situation. The second hackfest in Italy was only around four hours – but the time was well spent.

After a short introduction from Marina (Chairwoman of The Document Foundation) our development mentor gave a presentation, explaining how everybody can help LibreOffice. Slides were in Italian, the talk was in English, and comments were in Spanish.

There were in total 15 people including power users, contributors, source code committers and certified developers – a broad range to address. There was less interest in getting a build done, and much more interest in two other aspects:

  • How can we grow a local development community, ranging from people helping QA to “hard-core” developers?
  • The ladder to enter development is too high, so what can we do do make development attractive for new people?

Jan presented our toolbox, which is actually quite extensive. Opengrok surprised everybody. None of the fast developer notebooks could match the fast search times. A search for “jani” took 15ms and was called cheating, so we did another search for “Ponzo” which took just 16ms.

The online editing feature in Gerrit made even the skilled developers look up. We had a longer discussion about when not to use this feature, but everybody saw the clear advantage.

In the end, there was only one question: when do we have a full two-day Hackfest? Osvaldo promised to arrange one in his University during the first quarter of 2017.

No visit to Italy is complete without pizza. LibreItalia arranged dinner in a nice pizza restaurant (sorry, not the typical European style, but real pizza!). It was amazing to feel and see, how big the hospitality is there, and how eager people were to learn.

So in all, a big thank you to LibreItalia for giving me this chance to promote developers. I am sure it will not be last time I visit Italy.”