LibreOffice community interview: Robert Cabane, QA project

Robert Cabane

Today we’re talking to Robert Cabane, who helps out in LibreOffice’s Quality Assurance (QA) community:

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m now retired (aged 71), living in Bordeaux, France. Formerly mathematics teacher, successively in Paris and Bordeaux, and as such involved in the teaching of computer science (named “informatics” in Europe).

Since my retirement, I have been an active member of the Société Informatique de France. I have also been co-author of some textbooks on mathematics.

In my free time I like to go hiking in the Pyrenées mountains.

What are you working on in the LibreOffice project right now?

I like to detect bugs and check for them in Bugzilla! When you encounter something strange using LibreOffice, it’s not immediately clear whether it’s a bug or a feature… so I first look in Ask LibreOffice or the forums.

After that, searching in Bugzilla for a specific bug is a unique experience, because LibreOffice is an enormous piece of software. You have to test various keywords in order to eventually find a more or less corresponding bug description. If the bug is referenced, consider adding useful comments; if it’s not the case, try to propose a new bug, as well-documented as possible.

Why did you choose to join the project, and how was the experience?

I started as a user with StarOffice 5.2 (1999), simply because I needed a good office suite running under Linux, and I followed with and LibreOffice since its beginning.

My experience was excellent with Calc, good with Draw, and more difficult with Writer, essentially because of two reasons: writing mathematics with Writer isn’t as easy as it is with LaTeX, and exchanging documents with people who use Microsoft Word can be very frustrating at times.

Anything else you plan to do in the future? What does LibreOffice really need?

I think that some activism is still useful at the citizen level: using LibreOffice instead of Microsoft Office is now very common in local, regional and national associations, and should increase for evident reasons. And making donations eligible to tax deductions (as is the case in Germany) would be fantastic!

Big thanks to Robert for all his contributions! Everyone is welcome to join our QA community and help to keep LibreOffice rock-solid.