Over the last few years we’ve posted many LibreOffice contributor interviews on this blog. Today, we catch up with Sam Tuke who is a member of the marketing community and helps out with QA too…
Where do you live, and are you active on IRC/social media?
I live in Berlin, Germany. Originally I’m from Suffolk, England. I like Twitter and Mastodon for community news. For my business, which makes Free Software newsletter app phpList, I use Facebook and Telegram too.
In which areas of the LibreOffice project are you active?
While in high school I started a small business building computers for local people. They needed an office suite to come with their new PCs, and OpenOffice.org was the perfect fit. I’ve been a user and advocate ever since, following my friends to LibreOffice when it was established.
Later on I became a full time Free Software developer, and after that a campaigner. From 2014 I worked on marketing LibreOffice-related products at Collabora. It was an exiting time and I had the opportunity to announce LibreOffice for Android and LibreOffice Online.
What was your initial experience of contributing to LibreOffice like?
Much like other open source apps: find and use a complicated bug tracker to report an annoying problem. But I was encouraged by quick follow up by a friendly bug triager, and since then several issues that I reported have been fixed and released. Satisfying!
What does LibreOffice need most right now?
Marketing. It’s a brilliant software suite which offers great potential value to most people alive today, particularly when you consider the mobile and web-based products. Reaching all those people who stand to benefit from LibreOffice is hard work, but it’s worth doing. Italo Vignoli and Mike Saunders have been making strides in this direction, and that’s fantastic to see.
Also: focus. With so many different kinds of users out there, LibreOffice can suffer from being too powerful for it’s own good. LibreOffice has had the benefit of contributions from a variety of usability experts and professionals. There’s plenty more to do, but recent releases, and particularly LibreOffice 6.1 include gratifying improvements from Kendy, Heiko, Andreas and others, which I’m eager to see.
What tools do you use for your work?
Markdown everywhere: Gedit, Writer, Nextcloud notes, and Pandoc to convert between them. Sometimes I also use Thorsten’s odpdown to make presentations.
Calc handles internal financial reporting at the firm, with many charts, and a few arcane formulas which LibreOffice fortunately includes. Draw is great for quick colourful diagrams like server infrastructure and organisational charts.
What do you do when you’re not working on LibreOffice?
Since finishing a Master’s degree in spring I’ve become a mentor of startups in West Africa, and had time so speak at more Free Software conferences at home and abroad. In order to keep up with new interns at work I’ve also been reading textbooks on marketing and security – perfect for long sunny evenings in the park.
Thanks Sam! Stay tuned to the blog for more interviews. In the meantime, if you’re new to the LibreOffice project and want to help us make it even better, start here!