LibreOffice development in 2023 – TDF’s Annual Report

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In 2023, 11,272 commits were made to the LibreOffice source code, from 253 authors, in 21 repositories. We also took part in the Google Summer of Code, to support student developers

(This is part of The Document Foundation’s Annual Report for 2023 – we’ll post the full version here soon.)

Infrastructure for developers

TDF provides infrastructure for the developer community to continue their work on LibreOffice. These include Git and Gerrit, to make changes to the source code, along with Bugzilla (to track bug reports and enhancement requests), a wiki (to document changes), and Weblate (for translations).

Most technical discussions took place on the developer mailing list and IRC channel, with the latter providing more real-time communication. Members of the Engineering Steering Committee met weekly, to discuss the most pressing issues with the codebase.

Google Summer of Code (GSoC)

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Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is an annual programme in which student developers of free and open source software projects receive stipends from Google for their work. LibreOffice takes part in GSoC every year, and in 2023, five students developed features and updates in the software. They were mentored by developers from the LibreOffice ecosystem and TDF. Let’s go through them…

  • Improving OpenPGP encryption experience in LibreOffice by Ahmed Gamal Eltokhy: LibreOffice can encrypt documents using OpenPGP public key cryptography by making use of external applications such as gpg4win, GPGTools and gnupg. Thanks to Ahmed’s work, it is now easier to manage and search keys and faster to navigate large keyrings.
  • Selecting tests to run on Gerrit patches based on machine learning by Baole Fang: This project was inspired by Mozilla’s work on Firefox’s continuous integration. There is now a system in place that makes predictions on the test failure possibility of submitted code changes and decides the most efficient way to build the changes. As this kind of machinery is very new to everyone, we expect many tweaks to follow.
  • Search Field in Options by Bayram Çiçek: Searching through options is standard in applications these days, so it is about time LibreOffice learned how to do it. This makes it much easier for end users to find specific options and settings, by simply typing a few letters, rather than having to navigate though a large set of menus and widgets.

Screenshot of search field in LibreOffice options dialog

  • Convert Writer’s Java UNO API Tests to C++ by Dipam Turkar: The idea here was to reduce the dependency on Java during the LibreOffice build process. Half of the tests for Writer were converted.
  • Add APNG import/export support by Paris Oplopoios: APNG is short for Animated Portable Network Graphics. It is not an official extension to PNG, but nevertheless has broad support in web browsers these days. Thanks to Paris’s work, LibreOffice now fully supports this format.

For the full details about the students’ work, see this post. And thanks to Andreas Heinisch, Thorsten Behrens (allotropia), Heiko Tietze (TDF), Hossein Nourikhah (TDF), Tomaž Vajngerl (Collabora), Xisco Faulí (TDF), Stéphane Guillou (TDF) and Christian Lohmaier (TDF) for mentoring the students.

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