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LibreOffice Conference 2011

I’ve recently been to the LibreOffice Conference 2011 in Paris. It’s very nice to finally meet in person all those “names” from the malinglist and the bug reports. Although meeting most people for the first time, I left the conference with a strong feeling of a community (which I’m proud to be a member of), this is a very motivating feeling.

During the conference I had the chance to work on LibreOffice related issues:

  • Hebrew translation for version 3.5 (up by 2%).
  • Fixes to the Hebrew translation for version 3.4 (noticed a few string changes in 3.3 not included in 3.4).
  • Patch to fix a small typo in the code (noticed while trying to find the meaning of the string before translating).
  • Patch to fix the appearance of the BrOffice logo in RTL UI instead of LibreOffice (fix to the 3.3 branch, already fixed in 3.4).
  • 3 patches (1, 2, 3) to cleanup unused “.chaos” file types with Michael Meeks‘s encouragement and help with doing some digging in the code.
    Apparently, even non programmers can write patches with the appropriate help.
  • Check about 30 RTL and Hebrew related bug reports for my RTL issues presentation, verifying them with 3.4.3.

The 3 patches began when I noticed a few weird strings to translate in the context of installation media – good luck to those who will try to install LibreOffice from 5.25″ disk, 3.5″ disk or a tape drive. These 3 strings are now removed from the code with other 36 unused strings. So translators – please take the strings to translate with a grain of salt.

Post conference tasks (always ending up with more stuff to do after a conference):

  • Recreate my RTL issues presentation so that the live example of bugs could be presented as slides.
  • Keep advancing with the Hebrew translation (3.5 and 3.4 fixes).
  • Finish the fdo bugzilla search for RTL bugs. I found out some other people who reports bugs (and try to coordinate with them).
    A list of RTL related bugs in LibreOffice I know of is here:עברית_בליברה_אופיס (still work in progress, in Hebrew).
  • Create a meta bug for the RTL bugs, and prioritize the issues to focus on what’s important to make sure is fixed for version 3.5.
  • Start testing version 3.5 for RTL bugs (daily / weekly builds).
  • Help Christoph Noack with finding which PaperCuts we have in LibreOffice and try to get them fixed.

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Filed under LibreOffice,

LibreOffice Conference 2011

The first LibreOffice conference is approaching (12th-15th of October), and I’m very excited about it. I recently sent a talk proposal for RTL issues in LibreOffice.

I guess that most of the developer aren’t aware from personal experience to the RTL issues. And I hope that with this talk I could make them think some more about RTL when they code LibreOffice.

If the talk will be accepted, most of my example are going to be from Hebrew. I’ll be very happy to get help from Arabic speakers so I could show some more issues and examples. If there are other languages that want to join – let me know.


Filed under LibreOffice,

Oracle Open Office 3.3 Vs. 3.3

The H Open Source have announced that Oracle have released it’s Oracle Open Office 3.3. I was very happy to see that title on my RSS feeder, and checked to see that version 3.2.1 is still the main version, and that RC8 is on its way. Then I read the whole item on the H, to learn it not only me (hence I could stop trying to clear my browser cache).

I do think having Oracle’s support for is a good thing, as a lot of organizations are looking to buy support from a big company. But this doesn’t justify what is going here with this press release by Oracle which make me, as an member, feel like a there is some kind of a ripoff going on. How can they release an enterprise product before the “community” version is final? Is there anything Oracle or its developers aren’t telling us? I can’t prove anything, but this really looks ugly.

Many people, including myself, have invested a lot of time and effort in the coming 3.3 release. I believe that Oracle should treat the community better and should think how to motivate the individuals in it instead of demotivating them which things like this. In cases like this, I’m happy the project was fork into LibreOffice by the The Document Foundation.


Filed under

Oracle PDF Import Extension 1.0.4 is here

Today, Oracle have uploaded version 1.0.4 of its PDF Import Extension to the extension repository. The repository have had version 1.0.1 for the last year under Sun’s branding. The extension is the 3rd most popular in the extension repository with just over 3,000,000 downloads in 2010. An improvised changelog would be issues #90800, #106853, #109406 and #110871.

The major change for me is the addition of Hebrew support (and probably other RTL languages). With the new version, Hebrew is imported correctly and not in a reversed order. The Hebrew support was done by Tk Open Systems which sent the original patch, later to be improved by Philipp Lohmann from Oracle (see #90800 for more info). More work is still needed (see #115184), but this version is a big step forward.

After doing some QA and checks for Philipp’s code fixes back in October, it’s nice to see the results released and to have others enjoy them.


Filed under

a very good day for bidi in

As a follow up on my report from last month about bidi status in 3.3, today was a very good day for bidi in The short story: two important bugs were fixed for 3.3, and we now have the bidi keyword for IssueZilla system.

It began with the fix to a cosmetic bug in the main screen which caused the icons to repaint improperly. While this isn’t critical at all, it just looks really bad to have it on the main screen. And I don’t want people to get the wrong impression. Thanks you Philipp Lohmann for fixing #97556.

Costmetic bug in RTL UI

Costmetic bug in RTL UI

The second bug was that AutoFilter isn’t working for RTL sheets (regards whether the UI is LTR or RTL). This issue was reported yesterday and got fixed in 24 hours. Thank you Niklas Nebel for fixing #114944. It took us longer to isolate the bug than to get a patch for it. I wish this will happen more (:

For closing, and in response to the bidi meta issue, a new keyword was created in the issuezilla: bidi. Till now, there was a bidi sub component in the UI, but this isn’t always helpful as sometimes it’s better to report against the actual component. The keyword will help us to better tag the issues for easy listing.

The thank you list is long, as there were more than a few people behind the scenes today. I’ll only mention Netanel, my partner to the Hebrew l10n team.


Filed under Israeli Community, LibreOffice,

LibreOffice first steps

It has been 12 hours since the LibreOffice announcement, and the projects starts to do its first steps.

  1. Neil Brown had submitted the first patch to LibreOffice, after waiting for 3 years (!) while the patch was available at the issues system (#80637).
  2. Michael Meeks had published “Minutes of first LibreOffice technical group call“. The general plan is to accept patches (“no large / risky / de-stabilising (new) feature work”) from the community and also merge the changes already done to (existing CWS).
  3. The public is welcome to help cleaning the existing code, Gil Forcada already started. see the EasyHacks list for the tasks to be done.
  4. LibreOffice mirrors now also contain the source code for the beta release done in the morning.
  5. Patches are welcome at or using the Bugzilla. See “Get Involved Developing LibreOffice” for more info.

You’re welcome to join us…


Filed under LibreOffice,

Welcome The Document Foundation and LibreOffice

For those who haven’t heard: Community announces The Document Foundation

The community of volunteers developing and promoting sets up an independent Foundation to drive the further growth of the project

The Internet, September 28, 2010 – The community of volunteers who develop and promote, the leading free office software, announce a major change in the projectâs structure. After ten yearsâ successful growth with Sun Microsystems as founding and principle sponsor, the project launches an independent foundation called “The Document Foundation”, to fulfil the promise of independence written in the original charter.

The Foundation will be the cornerstone of a new ecosystem where individuals and organisations can contribute to and benefit from the availability of a truly free office suite. It will generate increased competition and choice for the benefit of customers and drive innovation in the office suite market. From now on, the community will be known as “The Document Foundation”.

Oracle, who acquired assets as a result of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, has been invited to become a member of the new Foundation, and donate the brand the community has grown during the past ten years. Pending this decision, the brand “LibreOffice” has been chosen for the software going forward.

The Document Foundation is the result of a collective effort by leading independent members of the community, including several project leads and key members of the Community Council. It will be led initially by a Steering Committee of developers and national language projects managers. The Foundation aims to lower the barrier of adoption for both users and developers, to make LibreOffice the most accessible office suite ever.

The Foundation will coordinate and oversee the development of LibreOffice, which is available in beta version at the placeholder site: Developers are invited to join the project and contribute to the code in the new friendly and open environment, to shape the future of office productivity suites alongside contributors who translate, test, document, support, and promote the software.

Speaking for the group of volunteers, Sophie Gautier – a veteran of the community and the former maintainer of the French speaking language project – has declared: “We believe that the Foundation is a key step for the evolution of the free office suite, as it liberates the development of the code and the evolution of the project from the constraints represented by the commercial interests of a single company. Free software advocates around the world have the extraordinary opportunity of joining the group of founding members today, to write a completely new chapter in the history of FLOSS”.


So welcome The Document Foundation and LibreOffice. I already can see how does the community benefits from this due to the merge with go-oo:

Q: What does this announcement mean to other derivatives of
A: We want The Document Foundation to be open to code contributions from as many people as possible. We are delighted to announce that the enhancements produced by the Go-OOo team will be merged into LibreOffice, effective immediately. We hope that others will follow suit.


So, will Oracle contribute the trademark to the community ? Time will tell…


Filed under LibreOffice,, Proud to use free software

Hebrew translation and Bidi issues in Openoffice 3.3 (beta)

In the last few years the Israeli government founded some work on by Tk Open Systems Ltd. During the years, the work has resulted with an “Israeli version”, released after the official release and includes a lot of patches to improve support for Bidi and Hebrew specifically. Although most patches were submitted to the “hamburg”, a lot of them weren’t used and are still waiting for inclusion.

The funding the that projects stopped a year ago (9/2009), and the last release of the Israeli version is 3.1.1. Since then we had a quiet period in which 3.2 and 3.2.1 were released. While still enjoying the fruits of the projects in these version, it seems that it’s time for the community to take over, as we lost hopes for yet another funds from the government.

In may Netanel and I started talking about taking over the Hebrew translation, and in June we got Hebrew added to the pootle server. We started with about 80%, and got to 86% in time to get to the list of languages getting a language pack built for. This was a first achievement as Hebrew didn’t have a language pack since early on the 2.x versions. I believe that working as part of the l10n group and with release schedule will only benefit for the Hebrew translation process.

We used the language pack to test the translation and improve it. We also were able to get to 89% with the help of more volunteers.I believe it’s now much more consistent than before. In the process with manually checked Writer thoroughly, while Calc and Impress got less attention due to the time frame. But we fixed some major translation issues in all of the three components.

While testing the translation we also started to report Bidi issues we saw in 3.3 beta, hoping they will be fixed for the final release. For example, the main screen on windows has is getting repainted wrongly when moving the mouse over the options (text, spreadsheet..). This looks very badly as this is the main screen! See issue #97556 for details main screen in RTL UI

In RTL UI the main screen doesn't get repaited properly.

In addition to report new issues, we also started to keep track of the already opened issues regarding Bidi and Hebrew. I’m following the issue system for a few years now, but seeing the list of issues organized in the wiki gave me a better orientation in the problems we have. E.g. finding some related or similar issues and mention each other in the comments, when someone goes to first one, he could also fixed the other as the problem is similar and probably comes from the same code.

Organizing also the already closed bugs in 3.x, gave me a some kind of a changelog for the Bidi and Hebrew related issues. In that manner, version 3.1 was a very good for Bidi, thanks for a lot of efforts and work with the Bidi meta issue #79434. The wiki page is in Hebrew, but looks quite OK with Google translate (see here).

Hoping to have 3.4 a major release (Bidi wise), I’ve opened issue #114236 as another meta issue for Bidi related issues. I’ve kept Hebrew specific issues out, as to get it more general and also relevant for Bidi users in other languages. Any help of those issues will be more than welcome (starting with votes and ending with patches).


Filed under i18n & l10n, Israeli Community,

Norway: ODF and PDF as official goverment formats

Looks like the Norwegian made a step forward regarding open standards:

Public enterprises should not use other file formats than ODF (version 1.1) and PDF as attachment at the exchange of documents by email. This rule will apply from 1. January 2011.

Besides ODF, they also decided on an encoding, so UTF8 character set standard will be for all new government IT projects.

Source: and Leif Lodahl


Filed under Open Standards,

“Get” icon on a new laptop

I recently saw a new bought Toshiba laptop. While the laptop had Vista installed, and also the Microsoft Office 2007 trail eddition, it had an icon named “Get”.

I guess they didn’t just install due to some limitaion from Microsoft (I’m just speculating), but still – putting such an icon isn’t common (at least with the laptops I’m seeing).

I hope more and more hardware manufactuers will install free software by defualt.


Filed under Free software applications,, Proprietary software