LibreOffice 4.5 to provide PDF signing and timestamping

Collabora Productivity has completed integration of trusted timestamping and digital signing into LibreOffice. Used extensively by governments and information security companies, these features make LibreOffice the first comprehensive Open Source PDF signing solution. The work was commissioned by Swiss non-profit Wilhelm Tux after a successful crowdfunding campaign in October.

Trusted timestamping will be released in upcoming LibreOffice 4.5. It securely tracks the creation and modification of documents — once a document has been timestamped, it is impossible to compromise or dispute its integrity. Certificate signing of PDFs, which Collabora recently published in LibreOffice 4.4, guarantees a document’s origin and authenticity. Combined, these new features enable LibreOffice to generate documents suitable for a wide variety of secure and legal settings.

“The addition of signatures and timestamps to LibreOffice makes LibreOffice the obvious for a range of buyers” says Michael Meeks, Vice President at Collabora Productivity. “These enterprise features are the latest to cater to professional users, and reflect the demanding environments to which LibreOffice is being deployed”.

The signatures that are produced are interoperable with all PDF readers supporting the PDF/A standard, including products from Adobe. The signing process makes use of certificates and cryptography native to the operating system used, with Windows versions of LibreOffice using Microsoft’s included certificate manager. Mac and Linux versions include the NSS cryptographic library shared by Mozilla Firefox. Industry standard x.509 certificates are used for signing documents, and can be obtained from a wide range of certificate authorities.

Trusted timestamping implements IETF standard RFC 3161, and requires validation from a Time Stamping Authority (TSA). Several TSA’s provide the service free of charge, while Open Source TSA server applications may be deployed and operated independently.

“The use of PDF signatures and timestamps is required by Swiss law in many regulations concerning the exchange of documents with Government bodies, including the EÖBV for notary documents, and ElDI-V for tax receipts” said Markus Wernig, Chairman of Wilhelm Tux. “I’m pleased and amazed that Collabora have achieved the features in such a short time”.

About Collabora Productivity:
Collabora Productivity delivers LibreOffice products and consulting. With the largest team of certified LibreOffice engineers, it is a leading contributor to the LibreOffice code base and community. LibreOffice-from-Collabora provides a business-hardened office suite with long term multi-platform support. Collabora Productivity is a division of Collabora Ltd., the global software consultancy specializing in providing the benefits of Open Source to the commercial world, specialising in automotive, semiconductors, digital TV and consumer electronics industries.
About Wilhelm Tux:
Wilhelm Tux is a Swiss non-profit, non-government organisation founded in 2002. It’s focus is advocating Free and Open Source Software, the use of Open Standards in the public sector, and on protection of digital civil liberties. The group and it’s partners work to establish a favourable environment for the adoption of Free Software in Switzerland. In the past Wilhelm Tux served as a member of the constituting committee of the Swiss standardization body eCH, and has since taken an active role in public debate on digital issues within the public sector.

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