LibreOffice contributor interview: Hazel Russman

A new year begins, and we kick off with our first LibreOffice contributor interview of 2017. This time we’re talking to Hazel Russman who helps out with documentation and translations…

Where do you live, and are you active on social media?

I’m British and live in North London. I don’t do social media but I have a web page at

Do you work for a LibreOffice-related company or just contribute in your spare time?

I’m retired. I help out the documentation team mainly as a translator and proofreader.

How did you get involved with LibreOffice?

I wrote a novel some years ago and used to get it into shape for self-publishing. I wanted to give something back, and the OOo site suggested that time might be more valuable than money. When LibreOffice forked off, I moved over to their team.

What areas of the project do you normally work on? Anything else you want to tackle?

I’ve done quite a bit of translation from German into English, especially for Base, which has an excellent German handbook. Until I translated it, there was hardly anything on Base in English. English is my native language, but I grew up in a German-speaking home. My parents were refugees from Hitler. I’m also quite well known on the team as a proofreader.

What was your initial experience of contributing to LibreOffice like?

Interesting and very satisfying. But I’ve never been much interested in socialising online.

Which is your preferred text editor, and why?

For plain text, I like gVim. It has all the Vim keyboard commands but also graphical controls. The best of both worlds, you might say. I do a bit of coding in my spare time and for that I use Geany. Both Vim and Geany do syntax checking, which is a great help.

What do you do when you’re not working on LibreOffice?

Lots of things! I have a dog who takes up a lot of my time. I am active in my local church and play the cello as part of an instrumental group attached to the church’s gospel choir. I am also quite active on Linux Questions, which is the only social networking that I can be bothered with.

Thanks Hazel! We’ll be posting more interviews over the coming weeks and months, so if you want to join the LibreOffice community, pop over to and choose how you want to get involved. We look forward to your input and contributions!