Tag Archives: LibreOffice

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LibreOffice 4.2.5 RC1 announced with many improvements

The Document Foundation announced LibreOffice 4.2.5 Release Candidate 1. Many bugs have been fixed since the 4.2.4 final release improving the usability and stability of the product.

Important fixes and changes include:
– Text rotation fixes
– Set-all language menu addition
– Support to import gradfill for tet colours
– Adjust output file extension when exporting
– Handle brightness+contrast from msoffice
– Fix for a coverity analysis report of an uninitialized pointer field
– Crash when pasting impress page into another impress page fixed
– Improve mapping between ATK and UNO roles
– Fixed COW when writing a nested structure during RTF import
– Crash found when exploring fixed
– Fix deletion of paragraph following table
– Comment width now limited
– Limited the range shrinking in charts to really large ranges
– KFileDialog crash fix
– A freeze during file save fixed
– and many more (changelog)…

You can download the packages from the official page.

Remember that this is a Release Candidate and though expected to be stabler than Beta may still have some issues which need to be fixed before the final release.

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How to install Sifr icon set for LibreOffice 4.2 on Ubuntu

With the recent release of the Long Term Support version for Ubuntu, “Trusty Tahr,” users were treated to the latest version of LibreOffice, the open source productivity suite that comes bundled with many Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. The packaged version of LibreOffice that exists in Ubuntu does not follow the regular release schedule of LibreOffice, as Canonical only allows security updates for packaged software between version releases of Ubuntu.

Users can install the most recent updates on their own, but without doing this they receive major software updates like LibreOffice 4.1 along with their Ubuntu update every 6 months. LibreOffice 4.2 came out some time ago, but most Ubuntu users did not see it until April, when it updated alongside Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. The update came with some nice changes, like a new launch screen, but in the Ubuntu update, it did not come with the option of an alternative icon set, like the new flat “Sifr” icons. If you would like to try out the new modern icons on your own, here is how to do that.

  1. Open the terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run the following command:
    sudo apt-get install libreoffice-style-sifr
  2. Once the process has completed, head over to LibreOffice and open a document.
  3. Select “Tools” from the application menu
  4. Select “Options”
  5. Select “View” from the left-hand menu
  6. Under “Icon size and style” change the style from “Automatic” to “Sifr”
  7. Click “OK” to enjoy the new icons

Screenshot from 2014-05-08 15:33:19Screenshot from 2014-05-08 15:32:49

Congratulations! You now have a consistent, modern, and flat icon set for LibreOffice. Other icon sets may be installed in this fashion, but I recommend Sifr. Enjoy!

Note: Sifr theme is already available for Arch Linux users, just select it from ‘View’ option as mentioned above.

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LibreOffice 4.2.3 arrives with Heartbleed fix

The Document Foundation has announced the release of LibreOffice 4.2.3 which is available for free download. The foundation says “LibreOffice 4.2.3 ‘Fresh’ is the most feature rich version of the software, and is suited for early adopters willing to leverage a larger number of innovations. For enterprise deployments and for more conservative users, The Document Foundation suggests the more mature LibreOffice 4.1.5 ‘Stable’.”

The version also comes with a fix for the most terrifying bug ‘Heartbleed’. In addition the release comes for HiDPI monitor support. Other notable fixes  to improve compatibility with Microsoft’s Docx include fix for nested tables anchored inside tables, layout problem with automatic spacing and verwriting of WW8Num* character styles. You can check out fixes and improvement in the changelog here.

How to install it?

All Ubuntu derivatives

sudo apt-get purge libreoffice-core
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/libreoffice-4-2 && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install libreoffice
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Microsoft tells UK govt – moving to Open Source will cause dissatisfaction

The UK government is all set to move away from vendor-locked proprietary to Open Source, Open standard solutions. Microsoft is, obviously, scared and is trying to spread incorrect and misleading information about Open Source/vendor-free technologies.

In a blog post the company ‘warns UK citizens and businesses, “You may not be aware, but the UK government is currently in the process of making important selections about which open standards to mandate the use of in future. These decisions WILL likely impact you; either as a citizen of the UK, a UK business or as a company doing or wanting to do business with government.”

Moving to Open Standard will definitely have an impact on people

Yes, there is no doubt Microsoft it is going to have an impact on people and that is going to be a positive impact. The move to Open Source and Open Standard technologies will ensure that UK citizens and businesses won’t be held hostage to one company. It would mean that instead of locked into Microsoft solutions, citizens and businesses will be able to use ‘standard’ based solutions which can be provided by any competent player.

The MS blog further adds, “An important current proposal relates to sharing and collaborating with government documents. The government proposes to mandate Open Document format (ODF) and exclude the most widely supported and used open standard for document formats, Open XML (OOXML). We believe this will cause problems for citizens and businesses who use office suites which don’t support ODF, including many people who do not use a recent version of Microsoft Office or, for example, Pages on iOS and even Google Docs.”

Not really, as soon as ODF becomes the mandatory standards companies like Apple and Google (it’s really disturbing to see Google’s extremely poor support ODF) will immediately start supporting ODF.

Microsoft’s OOXML is just a smoke screen

The the company starts talking about its controversial OOXML. “Microsoft Office has supported ODF since 2007, but adoption of OOXML has been more widespread amongst other products than ODF. This move has the potential to impact businesses selling to government, who may be forced to comply. It also sets a worrying precedent because government is, in effect, refusing to support another internationally recognized open standard and may do so for other similar popular standards in the future, potentially impacting anyone who wishes to sell to Government.”

The market is not adopting ODF for the very reason that Microsoft is NOT letting ODF adoption – this blog post is an example of it. Funny that first Microsoft will do everything to block adoption of ODF and then use is as an argument that ODF is not very well supported.

As far as OOXML is concerned, Microsoft bribed, played nasty tricks and bought votes to get their OOXML approved as an ISO standard. There was already an document standard approved so what was the point of having two standards? The whole point of standard is there should be one Standard which everyone can follow. Ironically Microsoft doesn’t fully support ODF and it doesn’t supports it’s own controversially approved OOXML format. It’s a mess to work with Microsoft formats with 3rd party solutions and you are locked into buying Microsoft products to use that format. Whereas with ODF – it’s open standard and Open Source – which not only just works but people and companies can save millions by using Open Source (and free of cost) solutions like LibreOffice.

Moving to open standard will cut cost, Microsoft!

Then comes the FUD, “We believe very strongly that the current proposal is likely to increase costs, cause dissatisfaction amongst citizens and businesses, add complexity to the process of dealing with government and negatively impact some suppliers to government.”

The cost Microsoft is talking about is unfounded. There are so many case-studies (most recent one being those of Munich government and French Police where they saved millions of dollars by moving out of Microsoft’s vendor lock). There are so many other examples where companies and governments are saving millions of dollars by moving away from Microsoft technologies and adoption Open Source and Open Standard technologies.

The complexity that Microsoft is talking about is ‘created’ by Microsoft and the more we continue to use Microsoft products, the more things will continue to get complicated. Microsoft would love to make it even more complicated and harder for people to migrate to Open Standard and Open Source technologies so they stay locked into Microsoft products and every time someone wants to move away Microsoft can posts such blogs warning them of complications.

The best solution is to get out of Microsoft ecosystem as soon as possible.

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Best word processors for GNU/Linux

Word processing is an important part of work – and not just office work; everyone needs word processors at some point. This is the first article in the series ‘Best Open Source Apps’ and here I will talk about the most popular open source word processors for GNU/Linux: AbiWord, Calligra Words and LibreOffice Writer. I didn’t take OpenOffice Writer because it is not all that different from LibreOffice Writer.

The factors I’ve considered for each contender are:

  • Ease of use and intuitiveness
  • Support for ODT, DOCX and PDF formats (because at times you just can’t avoid DOCX, no matter what.)
  • Interoperability (how a file created in one word processor renders in another.)

Here’s what I did to test them out:

  • I created a file in each of them from scratch.
  • Added some headings, an image and a table, and tried to play with each of these elements, to determine the user-friendliness. (Don’t look at the contents of my file. They won’t make sense to everyone.)
  • Saved it in ODT, DOCX and PDF formats and tried to open each of them in different apps. Additionally, for AbiWord, I also tried its native ABW format.

AbiWord
AbiWord is a part of the so-called GNOME Office. Thanks to its resource-friendliness, it comes preinstalled in most Xfce and LXDE distros. Obviously, it’s a GTK+ app, but unlike others of its kind, it looks rather ugly when run on KDE — since it doesn’t seem to follow the GTK+ style set in KDE’s settings. For some reason, horizontal touchpad scrolling also doesn’t work.

A sample file in AbiWord
A sample file in AbiWord

AbiWord might be lightweight, but that does not mean it lacks features. It has a traditional menu-based interface, and has all the options you might expect: Headers and Footers, Footnotes, Styles, PDF Export, Mail Merge, etc. However, to keep things light, it avoids interactive UI in favour of the conventional button-based UI.

For example, the Format Table dialog allows border editing via buttons for enabling/disabling the borders for the selected cell(s). This can get complicated at times, if you have an oddball table like the one above.

The Format Table dialog in AbiWord
The Format Table dialog in AbiWord

One thing I particularly liked was the Create and Modify Styles dialog. It shows only those styles which you have used in the document, thus getting rid of the clutter.

Styles dialog in AbiWord
Styles dialog in AbiWord

Now, I saved this file in ABW, ODT, DOCX and PDF formats, and opened it in different apps.

The ABW format is supported only in AbiWord, so obviously, it works fine.

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Now you can run LibreOffice in a browser

More troubles are around for NSA-friendly Microsoft. LibreOffice, one of the fieriest competitors of Microsoft Office is now available on Google Chromebooks (or anything that runs the Chrome browser) and Apple’s iPad.

The app is available via cloud so just like Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365 users don’t have to install any app and it runs directly from the browser.

Italo Vignoli, The Document Foundation, said, “rollApp iPad and Chromebook users don’t download or install the software, as they access LibreOffice inside the browser. rollApp streams an on-demand copy of the office application from its cloud architecture down to the iPad and Chromebooks and allows to work with files (open, save, and edit documents) directly in the cloud storage: Dropbox, Google Drive and Box.

How can I run LibreOffice on Chromebooks or Chrome browser?
Just vsit the rollApp page and launch the app online.

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The Document Foundation Announces LibreOffice 4.1.2

The Document Foundation (TDF), the organization behind free and open source office suite LibreOffice has announced the release of LibreOffice 4.1.2. The new version is available for Linux, Mac OS and Windows.

This marks the second update of the 4.1 series and brings a large number of improved interoperability features with proprietary and legacy file formats.

LibreOffice 4.1.2 arrives one week after the LibreOffice Conference in Milan, where the community has gathered from all over the world to discuss software development and quality assurance, in addition to ODF, interoperability with proprietary document formats, community and marketing.

Linux users can update the office suite from the repos of their distros.

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CloudOn joins TDF Advisory Board

CloudOn, one of the leading mobile productivity platforms that allows users to create, edit and share documents in real time across devices, has joined the advisory board of The Document Foundation (TDF).

TDF looks after the development of LibreOffice, the free and open source office suite that competes with Microsoft Office.

According to Michael Meeks, VP Productivity at Collabora and TDF Board Member, “We are thrilled to be working alongside CloudOn, and are pleased to see the smooth way they have integrated into the community, with code already included, and their participation in Engineering Steering Committee meetings.”

LibreOffice 4.1 arrives with better interoperability

The Document Foundation has released the 4.1 version of LibreOffice, the free and open source office suite for Linux, Windows and Mac OS. TDF says that this release is not only the “best but also the most interoperable free office suite ever.”

LibreOffice 4.1 features a large number of improvements in the area of document compatibility, which increases the opportunities of sharing knowledge with users of proprietary software while retaining the original layout and contents.

Since Microsoft’s Office suite dominates the landscape, interoperability is key for LibreOffice. While Microsoft refuse to work with other file formats, LibreOffice supports as many file formats possible and in this version “numerous improvements have been made to Microsoft OOXML import and export filters, as well as to legacy Microsoft Office and RTF file filters. Most of these improvements derive from the fundamental activity of certified developers backing migration projects, based on a professional support agreement.”

One of the core features of 4.1, which offers PDF like quality and interoperability are font embedding in Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw – which helps in retaining the visual aspect when fonts used to produce the document are not installed on the target PC – and import and export functions new in Excel 2013 for ODF OpenFormula compatibility.

Those who don’t know LibreOffice 4.1 also allows to open and edit Hybrid PDFs directly in the suite. As we covered yesterday that Apache Open Office introduced a new side-bar, borrowed from IBM’s Lotus Symphony, LibreOffice is also importing this feature from AOO as an experiment.

TDF says that “LibreOffice developers are working at the integration with the widget layout technique (which will make it dynamically resizeable and consistent with the behaviour of LibreOffice dialog windows).”

The latest version of LO should arrive on the official repos of your distros soon, Ubuntu/Linux Mint, openSUSE and Arch users can install it from the unstable or testing repos.

LibreOffice users can use exploit GPU and APU for spreadsheet work

The Document Foundation, the organization behind the development of LibreOffice, has announced the chip maker AMD as a member of its  Advisory Board.

“It is exciting to work together with AMD and their ecosystem to take advantage of AMD’s cutting edge innovation right inside LibreOffice,” said Michael Meeks, SUSE Distinguished Engineer and TDF Board Member, “The growth in performance and parallelism available in the GPUs of today, and particularly with AMD’s revolutionary APUs of tomorrow, is something we’re eager to expose to LibreOffice users.”

According to a press statement:

HSA is an innovative computing architecture that enables CPU, GPU and other processors to work together in harmony on a single piece of silicon by seamlessly moving the right tasks to the best suited processing element. This makes it possible for larger, more complex applications to take advantage of the power that has traditionally been reserved for more focused tasks. While the biggest impact will be for AMD APU users, supporting benefits of the work will improve the LibreOffice core data structures enabling larger spreadsheets to calculate faster for all users. This is only the start of exposing the power of the HSA enabled APU to business users providing better analytics and decision making across the board from finance to science.

With the addition of AMD, the Advisory Board of The Document Foundation now has eleven members: AMD, Google, RedHat, SUSE, Intel, Lanedo, the King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST), the Inter-Ministry Mutalisation for an Open Productivity Suite (MIMO), the Free Software Foundation (FSF), Software in the Public Interest, and Freies Office Deutchland e.V.