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LibO

Sysadmins: Is LibreOffice a viable office suite choice for your users?

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LibO

At some point in our lives, we have all been in a situation that required us to make use of a software suite for productivity. For most of us, that software has been Microsoft Office. Some of my earliest technology encounters (aside from taking typing classes in elementary school) involved sitting down at a desktop computer to type up a homework assignment, or a surprise five-page expose on the universal themes permeating The Grapes of Wrath. (Insert eye roll here.)

[...]

Another aspect that sysadmins need to consider is cost. With the trend toward subscription models, making a decision now requires a different calculus. A subscription option allows you to always have the most up to date version, although it only covers one software license unless you are purchasing for a business. You still have one-time purchase options, however, it will never receive updates in the future outside of routine maintenance patches. For small business sysadmins, every dollar counts. If you can save your company money on software licensing and still have a robust productivity suite, you will not struggle to prove your value to the company.

So, what is a forward-thinking, frugal, open source sysadmin to do? As this is not a trick question, the answer is simple: Use open source software to solve the issue. I want to look at what open source can do for us in the productivity space.

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LibreOffice 6.3.5 Released and LibreOffice 7 on the Way

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LibO
  • LibreOffice 6.3.5 available for download

    The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.3.5, the 5th minor release of the LibreOffice 6.3 family, targeted at individuals using the software for production purposes, who are invited to update their current version. The new release provides bug and regression fixes, and improvements to document compatibility.

  • LibreOffice 6.3.5 Is Now Available for Download with 84 Bug Fixes

    LibreOffice 6.3.5 comes more than two months after the LibreOffice 6.3.4 update and it’s here to improve the overall stability, security and compatibility of the open-source and cross-platform office suite.

    A total of 84 bug and regression fixes are included in this maintenance update, which is still recommended to power users and technology enthusiasts, improving LibreOffice’s core components. The full changelogs are available for tech-savvy users here and here.

  • LibreOffice 7 Continues Plumbing Its Vulkan Rendering Support

    Landing last November in the LibreOffice development code was Skia drawing support to replace Cairo and in turn that opens up for Vulkan rendering of this cross-platform, open-source office suite.

    Skia+Vulkan is working out for LibreOffice and in fact the debut version that was going to be LibreOffice 6.5 was renamed to LibreOffice 7.0 as the current version now under development following the recent LibreOffice 6.4 release.

10 great LibreOffice-only features

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LibO

LibreOffice is a successor project to OpenOffice.org (commonly known as OpenOffice), as you can see in this timeline – click to enlarge...

We release a new major version every six months – so let’s check out some of the great features our community and certified developers have added in recent years!

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Events: LibreOffice at FOSDEM, GTK Hackfest in Brussels and Kiwi TCMS in Sofia, Singapore, Kiev & Moscow

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LibO
OSS
GNOME

openSUSE Tumbleweed, openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference, LibreOffice/LibOCon 2020

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LibO
SUSE
  • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/07

    Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

    At SUSE we had so-called hackweek. Meaning everybody could do something out of their regular tasks and work for a week on something else they wish to invest time on. I used the time to finally get the ‘osc collab’ server back in shape (Migrated from SLE11SP4 to Leap 15.1) – And in turn handed ‘The Tumbleweed Release Manager hat’ over to Oliver Kurz, who expressed an interest in learning about the release Process for Tumbleweed. I think it was an interesting experiment for both of us: for him, to get something different done and for me to get some interesting questions as to why things are the way they are. Obviously, a fresh look from the outside gives some interesting questions and a few things translated in code changes on the tools in use (nothing major, but I’m sure discussions will go on)

    As I stepped mostly back this week and handed RM tasks over to Oliver, that also means he will be posting the ‘Review of the week’ to the opensuse­factory mailing list. For my fellow blog users, I will include it here directly for your reference.

  • Call for Papers, Registration Opens for openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference

    Both openSUSE and LibreOffice are combining their conferences (openSUSE Conference and LibOcon) in 2020 to celebrate LibreOffice’s 10-year anniversary and openSUSE’s 15-year anniversary. The conference will take place in Nuremberg, Germany, at the Z-Bau from Oct. 13 to 16.

  • Call for Paper for LibOCon 2020 is now open

    The openSUSE and LibreOffice Projects are combining their annual conferences together for one year in 2020 to have a joint openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference. This joint conference, which is combined this one year to celebrate 10 years of the LibreOffice Project and 15 years of the openSUSE Project, will take place at the Z-bau in Nuremberg, Germany, from October 13 to 16, 2020. The goal of the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference, brings together fun, smart and open-source minded community members to discuss and present topics relative to the two projects as well as open-source software development topics.

    The Document Foundation invites all members and contributors to submit talks, lectures and workshops for this year’s event. Whether you are a seasoned presenter or have never spoken in public before, if you have something interesting to share about LibreOffice, the Document Liberation Project or the Open Document Format, we want to hear from you!

LibreOffice Dependencies, Development Workshop at Free Software Winter Camp 2020 and More

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LibO
  • Trying to build a slightly larger slice of Libreoffice with Meson

    One of the few comments I got on my previous blog post was that building only the sal library is uninteresting because it is so small. So let's go deeper and build the base platform of LO, which is called Uno. Based on docs and slides from conference presentations, it is roughly the marked area in LO's full dependency graph.

  • Great Response to the LibreOffice Development Workshop at Free Software Winter Camp 2020

    Every Winter the Anadolu University in Eskişehir, Turkey, hosts a large Free Software Winter Camp. This year it took place from Jan 25 – Jan 28, 2020, covering over 50 different classes with more than 40 different topics, and close to 1500 participants tutored by over 100 instructors. One of those classes was the LibreOffice Development Workshop, sponsored by Collabora Productivity.

    For the four days of intensive training 20 students from all over the country were accepted. While the workshop itself was free, the participants were expected to cover the costs for travel and accommodation. This year 16 students showed for LibreOffice Development Workshop given by Collabora’s Muhammet Kara – a number which was a significant increase compared to the number from the previous year!

  • Which Service is Better for Essay Writing: LibreOffice Writer, Microsoft Word, or Google Docs?

    What to do to all those who are not satisfied with MS Word and Google Docs? Install LibreOffice! This is an editor based on OpenOffice, created in 2011, in terms of performance, it is more stable. The program is free, like its predecessor, and is also available on different operating systems. To work in LibreOffice does not need the Internet. LibreOffice Writer supports document styles. These features will be very convenient for future editors and journalists. You will immediately get used to using headings of levels 1 and 2, frames and quotes. Not quite an ordinary advantage, but LibreOffice can be installed on a flash drive and take the program with you: the editor will start directly from the flash drive. This is convenient if, for example, you want to show your achievements to a teacher, but are afraid that his/her editor will not open your document.

Building (a very small subset of) LibreOffice with Meson

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Development
LibO

At FOSDEM I got into a discussion with a LibreOffice dev about whether it would be possible to switch LO's build system to Meson. It would be a lot of manual work for sure, but would there be any fundamental problems. Since a simple test can eliminate a ton of guesswork, I chose to take a look.

Like most cross platform programs, LO has its own platform abstraction layer called Sal. According to experience, these kinds of libraries usually have the nastiest build configurations requiring a ton of configure checks and the like. The most prominent example is GLib, whose configure steps are awe-inspiring.

Sal turned out to be fairly simple to port to Meson. It did not require all that much in platform setup, probably because the C++ stdlib provides a lot more out of the box than libc. After a few hours I could compile all of Sal and run some unit tests. The results of the experiment can be found in this Github repo. The filenames and layouts are probably not the same as in the "real" LO build, but for a simple experiment like this they'll do.

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Luxembourgish for LibreOffice and a Timeline

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LibO

  • LibreOffice in Luxembourg: Ready for work

    Michel Weimerskirch, the extension’s maintainer, explains more: “My goal is to provide good quality spell-checking tools for the Luxembourgish language. LibreOffice is available on all major platforms for free, and also has the necessary programming interfaces I needed to even implement a phonological rule that could now be implemented using standard spell checking libraries. Since then, LibreOffice has grown to be even more mature, so that nowadays there is definitely no reason anymore not to use it in a professional environment.”

    Paolo Vecchi, a local LibreOffice supporter – and recently elected as member of the Board of Directors of The Document Foundation – worked with Michel Weimerskirch to publish the new dictionary on the LibreOffice extensions portal, and will coordinate with the local Government and European institutions established in Luxembourg to help them upgrade to the most complete and professional open source office suite.

  • LibreOffice, OpenOffice(.org) and StarOffice timeline

    History time! LibreOffice is a successor to OpenOffice(.org) and StarOffice before that. We have new major releases every six months, bringing important new features, security updates and compatibility improvements… (Click to enlarge)

LibreOffice and Debian at FOSDEM (DebConf/MiniDebCamp)

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LibO
Debian
  • Come meet the LibreOffice community at FOSDEM!

    Yes, LibreOffice is at FOSDEM in Brussels – come to our stand (H.A1) and chat with our community – and also grab cool swag! (T-shirts, stickers, candy and more…)

  • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2020-01

    I spent some time migrating highvoltage.tv from a Mediadrop instance to a PeerTube instance. Overall, I think it provides a much better user experience and it has some great new features.

    PeerTube allows federation with other instances (read more about the fediverse on Wikipedia), my instance follows a few other instances that hosts free software and electronics content (like share.tube and diode.zone). During tis process I also discovered and enabled HLS (HTTP Live Streaming). If you’ve noticed how NetFlix switches between resolutions without any pauses or stuttering when a connection goes bad/saturated, then that’s exactly what HLS enables. It fragments mp4 files into a a whole lot of smaller files in different resolutions, allowing to quickly switch between resolutions. The only big downside is that content consumes quite a bit more disk space (about 50% more), but I think it’s worth it.

    I haven’t created much content in 2019 but I hope to do a whole bunch of Debian Package of the Day vidoes this year and also some interviews with interesting people.

    [...]

    The last 3 days of the month I was at MiniDebCamp FOSDEM, a get together of Debian contributors preceding the FOSDEM conference. We were hosted by HSBXL, an interesting hacker space in Brussels. Turnout was quite good, with more than 50 people showing up, working on all kinds of things and with impromptu lightning talks at the end.

    The first two days of the minidebcamp I worked on a Python script for parsing DebConf archive metadata and automatically uploading videos to our peertube instance. Initially I used the PeerTube CLI tools, which has a huge dependency chain and a somewhat intrusive setup. I made good progress with this, but started hitting some limitations and seeked out a proper Python module instead. I found peertube-uploader, a Python CLI script, but it’s a bit too basic for our use case. After talking about it with Stefano over dinner, we ended up concluding that it’s going to be best to use the PeerTube API (which is well documented with examples) with some inspiration from peertube-uploader. I should find some quiet time over February to finish that up.

    On the last day I worked a bit on the Calamares framebuffer session, which is part of my Calamares roadmap for buster. Soon you’ll be able to pass a kernel command line parameter like “calamaresfb” and then the Calamares will start up without loading an entire desktop environment or a Xorg/Wayland session, which can be beneficial for low memory/resource systems. It still looks a bit ugly but upstream has mentioned some potential solutions that I’ll try out at some later stage.

  • DebConf Video team sprint (and stuff) @ MiniDebCamp FOSDEM 2020

    I’ve been (very pleasantly!) surprised by the number of people present at the MiniDebCamp, as well as the variety of topics they were working on. A great atmosphere, the welcoming environment provided by the HSBXL, and the low-key organization were something that I think other event organizers can get inspiration from: just get a room, and basic amenities (power, tables, seats, heating), and this will turn into a successful event!

LibreOffice 6.4 Released, This is What’s New

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LibO

LibreOffice 6.4 is here, serving as the latest stable release of this hugely popular open source productivity suite And, as you’d expect, LibreOffice 6.4 features a veritable crop of core updates and key improvements.

The Document Foundation, the non-profit organisation who help steer development of this free office software, say LibreOffice 6.4 is a “performance-focused” release that features “almost perfect support for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX files.”

It’s also the first major release of LibreOffice to be made in the suite’s tenth anniversary year.

For more on what’s new, read on!

Read more

Also: Performance-focused LibreOffice 6.4 is available for download

We Love Performance... So We Love LibreOffice 6.4 With This Office Suite Now Running Faster

LibreOffice 6.4 released

LibreOffice 6.4 Released. This is What’s New.

LibreOffice Office Suite 6.4 Released [Ubuntu PPA]

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Today in Techrights

Planet Changes and Cilium

  • Planet Arch Linux migration

    The software behind planet.archlinux.org was implemented in Python 2 and is no longer maintained upstream. This functionality has now been implemented in archlinux.org's archweb backend which is actively maintained but offers a slightly different experience.

  • Cilium drops 1.7 release, upping insight and manageability

    Network and API connectivity project Cilium has been released in version 1.7, providing users with a UI for observability platform Hubble and the option to apply cluster-wide network policies. Cilium is an open source project developed by US startup Isovalent to provide and secure network connectivity and load balancing for workloads such as application containers or processes. It is based on a virtual machine-like construct called Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) which can be found in the Linux kernel.

OSS and Development

  • Someone is selling the free, open source Playnite launcher on Steam for $100

    Playnite is a free open source PC application designed to be an all-in-one answer to the growing number of game launchers we've all got on our desktops. In other words, it combines libraries from the likes of Steam, Epic Games Store, Uplay and GOG Galaxy, and then lets you organise them however you see fit. Jody tried it last year and came away impressed. I should emphasise the "free" above: it is available straight from the source here and, according to the site, "no features are locked behind a paywall and the complete source code is available under the MIT license". The MIT license basically surrenders the software to any kind of use with no restrictions, including resales.

  • uGet is an open source download manager for Windows and Linux that also supports Torrents and Video downloads

    The GUI has four panes, a menu bar and a toolbar. The Status pane in the top left corner displays all downloads and the ones which are Active, Queuing, Finished, and Recycled (deleted). The total number of downloads for each category is displayed next to its name, and you can click on any of these to see the list of items contained. Switch to the Category pane to jump between the default and the ones you have created. You can use the Category menu to add new sorting options, set the default download folder for each category, maximum active downloads, and also the maximum upload and download speeds. The pane below the toolbar is the download list pane; anything that you select in the status pane is displayed here. It shows the name, the file size of the download that has been completed, the total size, the progression percentage, time left to complete the download, and the upload/download speeds of each file. The View menu can be used to customize the columns that are displayed in the list pane, and the other visual elements of the program. Highlighting an item in the download list brings up its summary on the bottom pane.

  • Open Source Music Tagger Picard 2.3 Released With Custom MP4 Tags Support

    Free and Open source MusicBrainz announced the point release of Picard 2.3 with major changes to the user interface, tag, and desktop integration support. MusicBrainz stores all the metadata of the music and Picard is the official tag editor that helps in identifying and organizing the digital audio recording.

  • For Square Crypto, the Way to Bitcoin Mass Adoption Is Open Source

    When Jack Dorsey founded Square in February 2009, Bitcoin was all of one month old. In fact, Satoshi Nakamoto and Dorsey were likely laying the groundwork for their respective creations concurrently in the year prior. Ten years later, the two would converge in what now seems like an inevitable collision. Square launched its Venmo-like payment service, Cash App, in 2013. The application features common stock investing, and i

  • Gold-nuggeting: Machine learning tool simplifies target discovery for pen testers

    Recognizing this analogy with the precious metals industry, researchers at Delve Labs have developed Batea, an open source tool that leverages machine learning to find valuable information in network device data.

  • ’Second Revolution’ In Electronic Bond Trading

    Sri Ambati, chief executive and founder at H2O.ai, told Markets Media that the firm’s open source platform can perform one billion regressions in less than five seconds.

  • Google ‘AutoFlip’ can resize video using AI

    The way we consume video has changed a lot over the course of the last decade. We now watch videos on our mobile devices from anywhere and because of this, video content comes in a wide variety of formats. Google recognizes this shift and so last week their AI team announced ‘AutoFlip’ an open-source framework for “intelligent video reframing.”

  • This open-source framework, ‘AutoFlip’, can do automated video cropping using AI

    Many times when we see a video on mobile devices is badly cropped, it is not much you can do about it. Understanding this problem, Google’s AI’s team has built an open-source solution on top of MediaPipe, Autoflip, which can reframe a video that fits any device or dimension (landscape, portrait, etc.). AutoFlip works in three phases. The first phase includes scene detection; the second is the video content analysis, and the third is reframing. For this tool, if a video and a target dimension are given, it analyzes the video content. Later it develops optimal tracking and cropping strategies, which finally enables it to create an output video at the same time limit in the desired aspect ratio.

  • Tech Events in Africa: Nerds Unite, Open Source Festival and #CodeZone

    It’s a new week and another opportunity to meet up with like-minded people, become better in your chosen field and seal those deals for your startup. And we at TechNext want to help with a list of tech events happening around you this week.

  • An unofficial version of Brave browser brings native ARM64 support

    Privacy-focused Brave browser launched late last year after almost four years of being in the works. The browser is based on the Chromium open-source project and joins the likes of Microsoft Edge that is built on that platform. However, while Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft’s offering currently support ARM64 PCs natively in the stable channels, Brave does not. That might change, as Windows Insider MVP Jeremy Sinclair was able to compile an unofficial build of the open-source Brave browser that natively supports ARM64 PCs. The recompiled build (version 1.6.33) uses Microsoft’s ARM64 Chromium libraries and can run natively on those PCs like the Surface Pro X. Samsung Galaxy Book S. Native support results in improved performance and efficiency since the browser will not have to run in emulation.

  • The Brave web browser is taking on Google Chrome: Is it safe?

    The creator of Brave, Brendan Eich, also created JavaScript and co-founded the Mozilla Project that led to the development of the Firefox browser. Brave is based on the open-source Chromium browser that’s also the basis for Google’s Chrome, Opera and most recently Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser. Open-source means that anyone can take the source code and build whatever they’d like out of it, but it doesn’t mean that all the browsers are the same. In the case of Brave, they chose to focus on user privacy by blocking trackers, scripts and ads by default. The natural by-product of blocking all this activity that usually goes unnoticed by the average user is faster load times. Brave can also make use of the wide variety of extensions for Chromium-based browsers via the Chrome Web Store at chrome.google.com.

  • This new tool could improve economic analysis of sub-national climate policies in the US

    Empowered by the Paris Agreement and a lack of national leadership on climate policy in the United States, state and local governments are leading on their own climate initiatives. California, New York and Colorado have set ambitious greenhouse gas emission and renewable energy targets for 2030. Just last week, Massachusetts introduced sweeping climate legislation targeting net zero emissions by 2050. As these environmental and energy policies move ahead, experts need to invest in economic data and tools that allow them to conduct robust economic analysis, to better inform policymakers, stakeholders and the public on how to design robust alternative climate and energy policies.

  • 2020 Open Access Award Finalists Named

    The Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences is a humanitarian/bioethics award presented annually by Bioinformatics.org to an individual who has, in his or her practice, promoted free and open access to the materials and methods used in the life sciences.

  • Are we having fund yet, npm? CTO calls for patience after devs complain promised donations platform has stalled

    At the end of August, JavaScript package registry NPM Inc said it intended "to finalize and launch an Open Source funding platform by the end of 2019." But instead of a platform, what's available at the moment might be better referred to as a feature of the npm command-line interface (CLI). The announcement was received with some skepticism at the time and the project hasn't managed to defy that expectation: There was a minor milestone last November with the addition of the "fund" command to npm v6.13.0. But not much has changed since then.

  • RcppSimdJson 0.0.2: First Update!

    RcppSimdJson wraps the fantastic simdjson library by Daniel Lemire which truly impressive. Via some very clever algorithmic engineering to obtain largely branch-free code, coupled with modern C++ and newer compiler instructions, it results in persing gigabytes of JSON parsed per second which is quite mindboggling. I highly recommend the video of the recent talk by Daniel Lemire at QCon (which was also voted best talk). The best-case performance is ‘faster than CPU speed’ as use of parallel SIMD instructions and careful branch avoidance can lead to less than one cpu cycle use per byte parsed. This release syncs the simdjson headers with upstream, and polishes the build a little by conditioning on actually having a C++17 compiler rather than just suggesting it. The NEWS entry follows.

  • Nvidia Blames ‘Misunderstanding’ for Activision Faux Pas

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Web Standards

  • Inrupt, Tim Berners-Lee's Solid, and Me

    All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I have joined a company called Inrupt that is working to bring Tim Berners-Lee's distributed data ownership model that is Solid into the mainstream. (I think of Inrupt basically as the Red Hat of Solid.) I joined the Inrupt team last summer as its Chief of Security Architecture, and have been in stealth mode until now.

    The idea behind Solid is both simple and extraordinarily powerful. Your data lives in a pod that is controlled by you. Data generated by your things -- your computer, your phone, your IoT whatever -- is written to your pod. You authorize granular access to that pod to whoever you want for whatever reason you want. Your data is no longer in a bazillion places on the Internet, controlled by you-have-no-idea-who. It's yours. If you want your insurance company to have access to your fitness data, you grant it through your pod. If you want your friends to have access to your vacation photos, you grant it through your pod. If you want your thermostat to share data with your air conditioner, you give both of them access through your pod.

  • World wide web founder scales up efforts to reshape internet
  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee's Inrupt is Redesigning the way the web is to Work and Apple is working with them on their Data Transfer Project

    Inrupt, the start-up company founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee to redesign the way the web works, is expanding its operational team and launching pilot projects in its quest to develop a "massively scalable, production-quality technology platform."

  • Inconsistent user-experiences with native lazy-loading images

    The specification for web browser native support for lazy-loading images landed in the HTML Living Standard a week ago. This new feature lets web developers tell the browser to defer loading an image until it is scrolled into view, or it’s about to be scrolled into view. Images account for 49 % of the median webpage’s byte size, according to the HTTP Archive. Lazy image loading can help reduce these images’ impact on page load performance. It can also help lower data costs by clients that never scroll down to images far down on a page. Historically, lazy-loading was implemented by responding to changes in the scroll position and tracking the image element’s offset from the top of the page. This could degrade page-scrolling performance. Comparatively, the new native lazy loading for images is easier to implement and doesn’t degrade scrolling performance.