LibreOffice Community Meeting and Hackfest in Hamburg: the results

The LibreOffice community communicates mainly over the internet, using our mailing lists, IRC channels and other services. But it’s often good to meet in person, to discuss ideas face-to-face, tackle problems together, and enjoy good company over food and drinks! And from April 6 – 8, in Hamburg, we did just that…

Friday: Meet and Greet

Some participants arrived early and had a chance to explore the fascinating Hanseatic city of Hamburg, with its river, canals and lake in the centre (Binnenalster, shown below). In the evening we sampled local food at the Groeninger Privatbrauerei.


(Picture: Thomas Ulrich)

Saturday and Sunday: Hackfest

Starting on Saturday, we had around 45 participants, who split into two groups. One group focused on a hackfest – that is, a joint coding session for fixing bugs, working on new features and sharing information. Here’s a summary of the achievements from each participant:

  • Miklos Vajna: mostly mentored Patrick, Nithin, Linus and Zdeněk (aka raal)
  • Michael Stahl: mentored Nithin and remote participant Heiko; worked with Christian Lohmeier to install a GUI text editor as an alternative to Emacs and Vim; reviewed some old Gerrit patches; and investigated regression tdf#77919 (it was already fixed on master but it wasn’t obvious how)
  • Regina Henschel: worked on the topic “Make drawing layers ODF conformant”
  • Tamás Bunth: mostly worked on HSQLDB migration; also picked a random Firebird-related bug
  • Heiko Tietze: solved (remotely) issues with inline tooltips on tracked changes, with help from Michael Stahl
  • Michael Meeks: tweaked, reviewed and merged patch(es) for a 5-10x speedup for VLOOKUP
  • Xisco Fauli: spent most of his time trying to make LibreOffice Viewer work on Android emulator; also showed Marina Latini how to create a bisect repository from scratch
  • Markus Mohrhard: reviewed patches for Zdeněk, and analysed a Calc memory corruption issue
  • Patrick Jaap: worked on tdf#115094, a bug relating to misplaced images in tables when importing .docx files
  • J-NA: worked on fixing up sw uitests with Linus
  • Marina Latini: fixed Italian translation typos; worked on fixing a GPG problem
  • Nithin: worked with Miklos on adding line feeds to section styles
  • Linus Behrens: improved sw uitests, making them more pythonic with J-NA; removing unused includes
  • Lothar Becker: explained the LibreOffice certification programme to Silva from the Albanian community
  • Zdeněk Crhonek (raal): looked at building the LibreOffice Viewer app for Android
  • Jan-Marek Glogowski: worked on font problems in the Qt5 backend
  • Tim Janik: talked to people, discussing toolkits and technology
  • Sophia Schröder: fixing up help, and some translation work
  • Stephan Bergmann: mentored people; worked on fixing regressions with UBSAN, and fixing repaint issue in basic IDE
  • Rheinhard: observed and interacted, as he’s writing about open source communities

So lots of great work from everyone involved – thanks so much for your contributions! The hackfest showed that meeting face-to-face is really effective for fixing issues and sharing information.

German community meeting

At the same time as the hackfest, a meeting of the German-speaking LibreOffice community took place. Last year we met in Berlin (text in German) to discuss various ideas and issues in the project, especially from a German-language perspective, and we followed them up this year to see what progress had been made.

Specifically, we talked about attending more conferences in the German-speaking region, with a more targeted focus: instead of just telling people what LibreOffice is (which most Linux users already know, for instance), we should focus more clearly on bringing in potential new contributors.

Then we turned to the topic of education. It was noted that the Citavi citation software no longer works with LibreOffice 6, and the community lacks materials that could be used to create courses (both online and in schools) about LibreOffice.

We also discussed having more regular face-to-face meetups. Silva Arapi from the Albanian community shared her experiences, but in a larger country like Germany, it’s difficult to get everyone together in the same place. So one idea was to organise more local events, like the Duisburg “Stammtisch” run by Andreas Mantke.

Finally, we set up some “action items”, including the creation of a new “Get involved” flyer for events, and a German translation of the “Get involved” page on the website.

Wrapping up

On the whole, it was a fun and productive event, with some familiar faces, some new faces, and lots of coding, ideas and proposals. Many thanks also to Bjoern Michaelsen and Thorsten Behrens for organising the event, serving up coffee and mentoring developers. And another big thanks to freiheit.com who generously hosted us – and even let us play on their pool table!

We plan to run more hackfests and local community events in the future, so keep an eye on this blog and our social media channels to hear about them: Twitter, Google+ and Facebook!