Community Member Monday: Onyeibo Oku

LibreOffice is a truly international project – its user interface has been translated into over 100 languages, and our community is made up of contributors all across the globe. Today we talk to Onyeibo Oku from Nigeria, who is helping to promote LibreOffice and open standards…

Tell us a bit about you!

I live in Enugu, which is in Enugu State, Nigeria. I lecture in a state university – and I also do graphic design and love music! By music, I mean “music” as an art – not just for consumption.

Although I didn’t go through formal training or education in music, I learned a bit of sight-reading (slow though), interpretation of chords, movements etc. and I play the keyboard (piano etc.). I communicate my understanding of music through digital sequencing. That implies that I compose and arrange sometimes. My choice of reference (genre) is wide but I appreciate classical, contemporary classics, jazz and choral music the most.

Sometimes I’m active on IRC: I spend some time in the #fedora-qa (quality assurance) channel on Freenode. I also visit #python when I run into problems with my programming. For communication I use Telegram, and I am also on Twitter and LinkedIn.

How do you use LibreOffice in your work?

I write reports and do grade sheets with Libreoffice. Every lecturer prepares result sheets – I do mine with LibreOffice. I also collaborate with students authoring research papers using Writer. The commenting feature is indispensable.

How are you promoting FOSS and LibreOffice?

I operate the ##floss4arch channel on Freenode. There, I discuss the benefits of open source tools in the practice of Architecture with students of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology. I am a Fedora Ambassador, and a (former) council member of the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA).

What are the challenges to adoption of FOSS in Nigeria?

The major challenge with adopting FOSS in Nigeria is the perception of “free”. Free things are considered “inferior”. Despite this mindset, it is hard to find a Nigerian who uses the internet without experiencing open source solutions like Firefox. Therefore, they’re mostly oblivious to how open-source products are pushing standards worldwide. Since Nigeria is weak in enforcing copyright laws, the average citizen has a skewed interpretation of licensing and the importance of software “freedom”.

What does LibreOffice need most right now?

For me, I think Libreoffice Calc should be able to retain header images when saving to MS Office DOC/DOCX file formats (and vice-versa). Currently, logos placed within headers disappear when the document is migrated to Microsoft’s format. A better commenting feature would certainly attract increased usage among the academics. Writer also sometimes seems jerky when working on documents with numerous pages.

What tools do you use for your work?

Apart from LibreOffice, I use Inkscape, GIMP, Blender, and Scribus. Python comes in when I need to automate tasks that support it. Then, I use Geany and Gedit for coding. Lilypond, Timidity++, Ardour and Audacity come into play when I need to arrange or sequence music.

Anything else you want to mention?

Yes – I work with FOSS 90-95% of the time. Open source software technologies are revolutionary!

Thanks to Onyeibo for his time! Anyone can help to promote LibreOffice and open standards in local communities: discover our existing native language projects, and also the regional mailing lists. If you want to start a new community, leave a comment below and we’ll get in touch!