LibreOffice ecosystem interview: Thorsten Behrens at allotropia

LibreOffice is developed by a worldwide community, made up of volunteers, certified developers and companies in the wider ecosystem. Today we’re talking to Thorsten Behrens, who serves on The Document Foundation’s Board of Directors and works for allotropia…

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m Thorsten Behrens, living in Hamburg, Germany. With a great team of LibreOffice experts, I run allotropia software GmbH, which specialises in Open Source and Open Standards consulting and products.

The code and the project itself had me involved from 2001 on (then still called

What does allotropia provide in the LibreOffice ecosystem?

We strive to be a full-service shop for all things LibreOffice. Just to list a few examples, we have helped companies to train their internal development team alongside a LibreOffice migration; we’re regularly developing bug fixes and new features for the office suite, and we’re also maintaining a number of extensions for the benefit of the entire ecosystem (e.g. the LibreOffice Eclipse development plugin, the Edit in LibreOffice Nextcloud plugin, or the LibreOffice Starter Extension).

Additionally, we’re offering LTS (long-time supported) versions of LibreOffice, via our partner CIB software GmbH. In the same vein, we also maintain customer-specific LTS branches, in case a larger organisation has decided to stick with one particular version of the suite.

And not to forget, allotropia also sponsors Michael Stahl, one of the editors of the OpenDocument Format, to keep the ODF standard evolving and keeping up with all the new LibreOffice features that need saving to disk.

What has allotropia been working on in LibreOffice 7.3?

Besides lots of smaller additions for LibreOffice 7.3, one of the highlights we’re currently working on is a port of LibreOffice to directly run in a browser – without any need for a server installation. We’re provisionally calling it LOWA – LibreOffice WebAssembly, since WebAssembly (WASM) is the underlying browser technology this is using.


Another feature we’re quite proud of, is the rewrite of LibreOffice’s old network file access code. That work was sponsored by The Document Foundation, has landed in 7.3, solved a number of long-standing problems, and at the same time got rid of over 17,000 lines of (pretty old) code.

Looking beyond this release, what else are you planning to do?

There’s just a ton of work still to do, to make the LOWA LibreOffice really usable, so that will keep us pretty busy this year. Beyond that, we’re always eager to help making the overall developer experience for LibreOffice better – that helps us too, in our daily work! Along those lines, there’s another project currently underway, called CoverRest, to bring better and nicer integration with code coverage, static analysis and general code checking into the LibreOffice development process.

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  1. By Óvári