Five years of LibreOffice

“the group of 16 founders launched an independent free software project under the stewardship of The Document Foundation, to fulfil the promise made by Sun ten years before – at the time of the first announcement of OpenOffice.org – of an independent free software foundation capable of pushing forward the free office suite to the next level.
 
After five years, LibreOffice is acknowledged in the marketplace as the sole Microsoft Office contender, based on a sheer feature by feature comparison, and on the number of successful migrations.

To celebrate our 5th anniversary, we have put together a book based on the blog post of the people who have made the history, which is available in a mini (700 pages) and a maxi (1,300 pages) version. Enjoy.”
 
See Five years of LibreOffice
One of my fondest memories of FLOSS and GNU/Linux was installing that first release of OpenOffice.org. I read of it in the morning and made several installations by noon. I remember having to hunt for a mirror that wasn’t bogged down by connections. It wasn’t better than StarOffice but a year later OpenOffice.org was solidly out in front. Progress was slow after that but LibreOffice has been on steroids, growing rapidly out from under the thumb of Oracle which bought out SUN.

After GNU/Linux itself and probably FireFox, I think LibreOffice is one of the two or three most important FLOSS projects in the world. With all three, most of the lock-in schools felt for decades is gone and many governments are finding the door to freedom is wide open with just these three projects.

Gleanings from the book of blog-posts…

  • Libregreen – #18a303

  • Charles Schulz, 2011-5-18:”An old but famous Persian saying tells that caravans keep going on their path while dogs bark at them. The Document Foundation is a bit like a caravan, in that we’re a diverse community travelling towards one goal and not hesitating to include people on our way. We share our bread, we share our wine, we share our fire, and we even accept donations. Some people will call it awkward, will demand some “adult supervision”, will doubt each of our step, question our skills and postulate ulterior motives, but in the end, we shall prevail and we will be THE Free and Open Source Office Suite, innovative, open standards-based and developed in a transparent and inclusive way. Let the dogs bark. They really only wish they could be leading the party.”
  • Michael Meeks, 2011-06-03, wrote about rationalizing the code:”That shrunk our mirror load from 76Gb down to 11Gb for 3.3, which is now for 3.4 down to 7.6Gb a handy win (of ~70Gb) for mirror admins, making us more agile, and appreciated by our fantastic mirror network I hope.”
  • First Anniversary stats:”Downloads since January 25, 2011, the day of availability of the first stable release, have just exceeded 6 million from 81 TDF mirrors, and amount to 7.5 million when you add external sites (like Softpedia) offering the same package. In addition, there are many more users who install LibreOffice from a CD burned from the ISO images available online or bundled with a magazine. TDF estimates that there are 10 million users worldwide having installed from downloads and CDs. Over 90% of those are on Windows, with another 5% on MacOS.”
  • Kohei Yoshida, 2011-11-30: Performance improvement in opening ODS documents “The real power of using open source software in your deployment is it gives you the ability to join and contribute to the project to influence the direction of its development. That gives you real flexibility in planning, and in my opinion the best way to harness the power of using open source software. The monetary cost-saving side of the benefit comes as a side effect but should be thought of only as an added bonus, not the primary reason for deploying open source software.”
  • Lionel Elie Mamane, 2012-06-26: “Nearly all “enterprise/business applications” are more or less “read this from that database; do this work on it; push that to the database”. LibreOffice will never be a rapid application development platform a la Microsoft Office + Visual Basic for Applications without a solid database access / management component.”
  • Italo Vignoli, 2012-07-500: “Horacio Fernandez is the 500th hacker committing code to LibreOffice, since September 28, 2010”
  • Italo Vignoli, 2012-08-08: “LibreOffice is becoming increasingly popular in corporate environments. During the last months, several large public bodies have announced their migration to the free office suite: the Capital Region of Denmark, the cities of Limerick in Ireland, Grygov in the Czech Republic, Las Palmas in Spain, the City of Largo in Florida, the municipality of Pilea-Hortiatis in Greece, and the Public Library System of Chicago.”
  • Italo Vignoli, 2012-09-13: “LibreOffice Localization Program in Saudi Arabia announced to enhance Arabic language related features”
  • Italo Vignoli, 2012/10/17/: “LibreOffice is booming – Over 2 million downloads in September, over 540 developers, a community of over 3,000 volunteers from the five continents, over 100 languages (representing 95% of the world population)”
  • Italo Vignoli, 2012/12/26/: “This growth is reflected in the downloads
    of the Windows and MacOS X versions during 2012. The number of unique IPs who have downloaded LibreOffice has grown from just over 200,000 per week in January to well over 600,000 in December, for a total of 15 million unique IPs in 2012. Linux users, with very few exceptions, do not download LibreOffice as they can get the software from the repository of their distribution of choice.”
  • Italo Vignoli, 2013-03-27: TDF releases White Paper to help migrations to LibreOffice “According to the white paper, migrations to Free Software and especially to LibreOffice should follow a carefully crafted change management process, which needs to handle not only the technical aspects, which are actually the easiest ones to cope with, but also the barriers met when breaking long-term working habits.
     LibreOffice liberates the users from proprietary document formats by adopting natively ODF (Open Document Format), which is the standard document format recognized by the largest number of organizations and supported by the largest number of desktop software (including Microsoft Office).”
  • Italo Vignoli, 2013-05-09: “the government of Spain’s autonomous region of Extremadura has just begun the switch to free software of desktop PCs and expects the majority of its 40,000 PCs to be migrated by the end of 2013. Extremadura estimates that the move to open source including LibreOffice will help save 30 million Euro per year.”
  • Caolan McNamara, 2014-07: Coverity: “LibreOffice: 9,500,825 line of code and 0.13 defect density”
  • TDF Blog, 2015-08-05: “LibreOffice 5.0 builds on the success of the 4.x family, which has been deployed by over 80 million users (source: TDF estimate, based on users pinging for updates), including large organizations in Europe and South America.”

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in Linux in Education, technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Five years of LibreOffice

  1. oiaohm says:

    Please note firefox engine is a complete rewrite started in 2002. Netscape was acquired 1999.

    The reality was Netscape source code needs a hell of a lot of work. Netscape run out of resources. Microsoft got their engine on the cheap. Microsoft had to be sued so they paid the developers of their browser engine. It was not FOSS that brought Netscape down it was Microsoft acquiring a NDA source engine for free.

    Deaf Spy I have provided samples of stuff I have done in past. Sorry you are not the only one here who as contributed. I had not even posted here yet you just committed deformation.

    If you dig you will find the basic method reactos used to build to complier suite is based of my own person work. Of course I worked with them and we refined what I had already done. I have give back a lot of very import key parts that I had developed internally.

    https://github.com/first-asd/OpenBookSystem/tree/master/OpenBookInterface
    Come on the worse readme file ever. No description of what the application is.

    So what I presume is Deaf Spy suffers from NIH. (Not invented here syndrome). Because you write a description of what you are build and check if anything already exist matching that description. Why is so you don’t end up creating a project with just 1 developer so possibility poorly maintained.

    True I have started almost zero projects. Most of what I have done is fixes to existing projects lots of times expose information I have developed for private projects.

    Ah, and btw, we, developers, do hate GPL (since 3). New releases are increasingly either MIT, or Apache license, or MS-PL.
    Something interesting is GPLv3 works a less likely to suffer from NIH clones and are more likely to have properly written readme files.

    Really I am sick of developers who post a project on Github with poor documentation then claim they support FOSS. They don’t have a community around their project they are not working as part of a community project. So their works are complete fly by night garbage. Normally their garbage project turn out to be NIH competitors to project that have existing communities.

    There is no point releasing a project open source if it not going to get community support or at least decently documented so people can find out what it is without download it.

  2. dougman says:

    DeafGuy blames FLOSS for Netscape 6 failes, but little does he realize that Netscape as a company was just acquired by AOL at the time and pushed out the software.

    “This decision meant that Netscape’s next major version was severely delayed. In the meantime, Netscape was taken over by AOL who, acting under pressure from the Web Standards Project, forced its new division to release Netscape 6.0 in 2000. The suite again consisted of Netscape Navigator and the other Communicator components, with the addition of a built-in AOL Instant Messenger client, Netscape Instant Messenger. However, it was clear that Netscape 6 was not yet ready for release and it flopped badly.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netscape#Netscape_6_.28versions_6.0.E2.80.936.2.3.29

  3. Deaf Spy says:

    I’ve taught thousands to read the GPL v EULA and to use GNU/Linux with relish.

    So you are a preacher. I, on the other hand, am an actual developer and contributer to FLOSS. Do you still feel you have the right to feel superior to me and call me a slave?

    Ah, and btw, we, developers, do hate GPL (since 3). New releases are increasingly either MIT, or Apache license, or MS-PL.

  4. Deaf Spy wrote, “Now please feel free to show me your contributions to FLOSS. You will need to if you want to preach your superiority. Here is the difference between you and I. I know when FLOSS works, and when it doesn’t. You don’t.”

    I’ve taught thousands to read the GPL v EULA and to use GNU/Linux with relish. That’s a useful contribution. Otherwise FLOSS would be lonely, spinning on some hard drive somewhere. FLOSS works. The world is coming to know that.

  5. Deaf Spy says:

    Look, Deaf Spy. If you don’t get the concept of FLOSS that has been around for 30+ years now, perhaps you should just live with its existence. It is. Therefor, it works for people.

    Look, Pogson. I have created and contributed to FLOSS. I have created pieces of code, and published them as open source. I can prove it with the links to GIT repository. Here is just one sample:
    https://github.com/first-asd
    Now please feel free to show me your contributions to FLOSS. You will need to if you want to preach your superiority. Here is the difference between you and I. I know when FLOSS works, and when it doesn’t. You don’t.

    You see, Pogson. I am not a fraud like Ohio.

  6. ram says:

    You got that right! My company regularly pays open source developers to add features to open source software that we use. It is also the quickest way to get the feature set you want. That other people can use those features too does not hurt our business.

  7. Deaf Spy wrote, “Wait, wait, tell me, pray, how do developers make money when they give their product for free?”

    Sigh…

    • developers may be paid by their employers, like most everyone else…
    • developers may get to use the software they produce, like everyone else…
    • developers may get to use the software everyone else produces, like everyone else… and
    • developers may do it for fun, like everyone else does things out of duty, habit, loyalty, love, caring, sharing …

    Look, Deaf Spy. If you don’t get the concept of FLOSS that has been around for 30+ years now, perhaps you should just live with its existence. It is. Therefor, it works for people.

  8. Deaf Spy says:

    Aha, so Netscape has no fault that:
    1. They took very very long time to produce Netscape 6.
    2. Netscape 6 was slow and buggy as hell.
    3. Netscape 6.1. was slow and buggy as hell.
    4. Mail client and HTML editor never made it to version 6.

    Normal business cycle, eh?

    GNU/Linux has been solid from early on, making money for all the users and developers. Every penny not thrown at M$ is a penny earned.

    Wait, wait, tell me, pray, how do developers make money when they give their product for free?

  9. dougman says:

    Re: Companies that didn’t go bust like yours did, Dougie?

    Bust you say? LOL….obviously you are such a dimwitted limey. I sold it off to another business, as I have better things to do with my time then to fiddle with people’s M$ problems.

    I’m sorry, but deleting, reinstalling and rebooting doesn’t do it for me. Any OS that mandates that as a fix is a pile of dogshit. Then you have all the privacy concerns and telemetry data that’s collected; Linux will fix all that for people looking to leave M$ and venture out of the kindergarten OS.

  10. dougman says:

    Re: So, assuming you don’t care about the “4 freedoms”*, then LibreOffice is the poor man’s MS Office. That is, poor man with no access to pirate downloads. That’s a very-very poor poor man indeed.

    Ahh, so KUKU advocate’s stealing. What a lowlife!

  11. DrLoser says:

    Who needs to pay $100/year to create documents when you can use LibreOffice for $0 ad infinitum.

    Companies that didn’t go bust like yours did, Dougie?

  12. DrLoser says:

    Of course people prefered IE. Even before it was bundled with Windows, magazines gave out CDs which had Internet Explorer, and people installed it (because the Netscape CD/download cost a non-trivial amount of money).

    In the interests of balance and honesty, this is a woeful mis-representation of the truth. In fact Kurks is 100% wrong on the cost factors here.

    Ooh … Troll-Fight!

  13. DrLoser says:

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Richard Stallman

    And 502(c)(3) is so much fun, isn’t it?

    Clearly devised for the benefit of Humanity.

    Not remotely designed to squirrel shady money away in obscure places.

  14. olderman says:

    “So weak an argument, he chooses ad hominem attack. What makes either GNU or FSF not private?”

    “The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Richard Stallman”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Software_Foundation

    .

  15. kurkosdr wrote, ” a neckbeard with an axe to grind who couldn’t keep a job in the private sector”

    So weak an argument, he chooses ad hominem attack. What makes either GNU or FSF not private? The government certainly doesn’t own them. You could just as well describe RMS as a software entrepreneur. GNU, as far as I can tell is the basis for a multi-$billion per annum global industry. FSF is about advocacy and reaches millions in the promotion of FLOSS.

  16. kurkosdr says:

    Who needs to pay $100/year to create documents when you can use LibreOffice for $0 ad infinitum.

    So, assuming you don’t care about the “4 freedoms”*, then LibreOffice is the poor man’s MS Office. That is, poor man with no access to pirate downloads. That’s a very-very poor poor man indeed.

    Unless you want to argue that LibreOffice matches MS Office, in which case, go ahead and amuse us.

    *=aka, four sentences written down by a neckbeard with an axe to grind who couldn’t keep a job in the private sector (yes that the truth, RMS had a job and was fired, he didn’t left)

  17. kurkosdr says:

    Netscape did very well until M$ imposed monopoly.

    Oh… for the love of Zeus, Netscape was a paid for product, while MS gave out their product for free and it worked “well enough” (remember, this happened before the abandonment of IE by MS after version 5.5).

    Of course people prefered IE. Even before it was bundled with Windows, magazines gave out CDs which had Internet Explorer, and people installed it (because the Netscape CD/download cost a non-trivial amount of money).

    In plain english, what MS did with Windows + IE is no different than what Canonical and Mint do with GNU/Linux + LibreOffice, or what Google is doing with Android + Chrome, Gmail, Google Music, Google Movies, Google News etctetera.

  18. Deaf Spy wrote, “Isn’t it ironic that two of the “most important FLOSS projects in the world” are based on originally proprietary code from two companies who managed to run themselves out of business due to stupidity?”

    All kinds of businesses fail regularly. ie. startups have around 50% failure in a year or two. Even established companies can become less relevant or be bought out. It’s not stupidity to have a great concept and run with it through initialization, development, maturity and decline. It’s the cycle of life for businesses. Netscape did very well until M$ imposed monopoly. The code lived on to make Mozilla. StarOffice did very well and sold out to SUN for a handsome profit. SUN broke even on that investment in Year One, having put off buying Wintel PCs and paying M$ for permission to use them for ~20K users. The rest was gravy. GNU/Linux has been solid from early on, making money for all the users and developers. Every penny not thrown at M$ is a penny earned.

  19. ram says:

    No argument about the “stupidity”, but those companies did not collapse, they simply sold out. Maybe the major shareholders just wanted to retire?

  20. Deaf Spy says:

    Isn’t it ironic that two of the “most important FLOSS projects in the world” are based on originally proprietary code from two companies who managed to run themselves out of business due to stupidity?

  21. dougman says:

    Who needs to pay $100/year to create documents when you can use LibreOffice for $0 ad infinitum.

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