Collabora Online – A Real Alternative

Managing Change

As humans we’re bad at change; we much prefer what we know and actively protect the status quo. Like it or not, the uncertainty we’ve all experienced over the last two years has forced change upon us. This has challenged organisations to find real alternative solutions to new operational challenges, such as homeworking, and question many of the norms that had previously been ‘set in stone.’

For most organisations, office document functionality underpins their productivity. We’ve all relied on it for years without giving it much thought – it was ‘set in stone.’ Yes, software updates and improvements in functionality have been introduced over the years, but the basic environment has remained familiar, which has helped maintain productivity.

As its name suggests, office document software has been optimised for a traditional office environment. For most organisations pre-pandemic this meant manageable, predictable office buildings in which their staff gathered together to work. The need to enable and support widespread homeworking changed all of this.

What Had Been Relied On No Longer Worked So Well

Practically overnight, many organisations found that the office document software they had relied on for so long was not as suitable when used in a distributed, less-controllable, homeworking environment. In fact, many simply found it too difficult or too expensive to make it work! As a result, many needed to find an affordable solution that was quick and easy to implement, but, importantly, was familiar to their staff.

Commenting, Michael Meeks, General Manager of Collabora Productivity, said:

“Familiarity is so important when it comes to maintaining productivity. Staff in many organisations were already unsettled by their new homeworking reality so the introduction of a new look and feel to learn would have simply added to their uncertainty, and further undermined productivity.”

Collabora Online – A Real Alternative

Unlike many other reduced functionality office document solutions, Collabora Online provides a feature rich and familiar look and feel. Built on the Open Source LibreOffice Technology core, Collabora Online offers a real alternative for organisations experiencing problems with their existing office document solution. In addition to its  familiar look and feel, Collabora Online provides tried and tested collaboration functionality ideally suited to the demands of a homeworking environment.

Tip of the Spear

Migration away from any well-established application is never completely straightforward. After all, we don’t like change. But when faced with specific operational challenges, many organisations are finding that the introduction of Collabora Online is both straightforward and affordable. As such, it can represent the ‘tip of the spear’ for those looking to start or progress a wider migration strategy that enables them to address vendor lock-in, give greater control over data sovereignty as well as to protect data security, within a distributed working environment that looks here to stay.

Michael Meeks concluded:

“Reliance on a small number of dominant vendors is not inevitable! Office document migration is a realistic first step to prove the wider strategy and can help secure some important early wins, such as improved collaboration, better productivity and much greater control over distributed data. This is the best place to start getting your data back under your control.”

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Collabora presenting the 2021 LibreOffice & Online growth infographic

In the aftermath of this year’s LibreOffice conference, we are glad to provide you with the latest update of our LibreOffice growth infoGraphic, including beautiful visuals and interesting numbers! We do hope you appreciate it and would love to hear your feedback. And of course, it is great if you find the format, in which it is presented, convenient to share.

Despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic in general, the statistics around LibreOffice collaboration are impressive. Although the total number of contributions to the LibreOffice core has slightly dropped compared to the year before, our developers remain top code contributors to LibreOffice with 4188 code commits (32.3%). The popular Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE), for home use & small teams, saw over 70 million Docker image pulls! We are glad to acknowledge, that the move of Collabora Online to GitHub has resulted in an increased number of contributions from the community. We are truly grateful to the growing number of partners, customers and volunteers for making this work possible.

The number of worldwide Collabora Online partners has raised to 230, the Collabora Office app for Android, iOS and Chrome OS saw 500,000 installations and the last year’s joint online conference by LibreOffice and SUSE did welcome over 130 participants from all over the world.

Would you like to see some previous versions of the info graph? Please find them here: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 & 2016.

So, without further ado, please have a look at the updated LibreOffice growth infoGraphic on 2021 here:


Try Collabora Office and Collabora Online!

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A Business Perspective on Open Source – The Enterprise Open Source Day

Business perspectives on Open Source

Together with our friends and partners from Factor Group, Canonical, Nextcloud, Linbit, and OpenNebula, we will be highlighting business perspectives on the use of open source in the enterprise during Enterprise Open Source Day on 10 November 2021. The summit will feature talks from leading industry leaders such as Mark Shuttleworth, Frank Karlitschek and Michael Meeks. Details of the program are available on the event page.

Open Source in large organizations

Open Source is becoming more and more important for businesses building secure collaboration platforms. Over the last years, the various platforms have matured and are as capable, and often better than proprietary solutions, to offer the scale, security and integration large organizations need.

With our partners, we are pleased to invite everyone to participate in the Enterprise Open Source Summit, a virtual event focused on transition strategies and the subsequent successful use of open-source solutions in the corporate environment.

The summit will take place on November 10, co-organized between open-source industry leaders Canonical, Nextcloud, Collabora and Factor Group as well as Linbit and OpenNebula.


Each of us has years of experience with open source in finance, retail, energy, manufacturing, telecommunication, public sector and other areas. We will share our knowledge in a program of keynotes, lightning talks and demos, bringing several customers to talk about their experiences as well. Participants will be able to get answers to their questions first-hand from industry leaders.
The following questions and strategies will be discussed at the event:

  • Migration from deployed commercial products to open-source solutions
  • Commercial support for open-source solutions and related concerns (scaleability, stability, integration, vendor lock-in and more)
  • Security and creation of fault-tolerant solutions

Find a more complete overview of the program on this page.


Tickets for the Enterprise open-source Event are available at 150 USD. However, different early bird options are available, offering significant discount on the admission. Secure your seat at the event page.



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Collabora developers mentor successful GSoC Projects

Autumn is just around the corner. For many participants in the GSoC 2020, a busy and instructive summer full of hacking on open source projects came to an end a few weeks ago. Commits have been contributed and final reports have been written. This year experienced Collabora Productivity developers were again mentors for various projects of the Google Summer of Code for the LibreOffice project. Here are some examples of projects our team helped to succeed!

Analysing Writer documents with the “Style Inspector”

The “Style Inspector” is a great new tool. You can access it through a new icon (an eye combined with a pencil) in the Sidebar (also via “Sidebar Settings”). The Style Inspector displays in full detail (and hierarchical) all styles and also direct formatting applied to a cursor position in a Writer document. So you can analyse, identify problems and clean them up. Sometimes formatting in documents is messy and people mix styles with direct formatting. The Style Inspector allows you to see that.
The feature is available for testing in pre-released development versions of LibreOffice. Shivan Kumar Singh picked up the proposal from the LibreOffice Design Team. He was mentored by Collaborans TomažVajngerl and MikeKaganski with Heiko Tietze from the LibreOffice Design Team. Take a look into Singh’s final report! It is an inspiring a guide on how to approach a big project like LibreOffice.

Improving the way to find and add extensions

There are many useful extensions to LibreOffice and users should be able to find them easily! Like in app stores like Gnome Software or the Play Store. That is basic idea behind “Tight Integrations” and the proposal from the LibreOffice design team. Yusuf Keten made this his GSOC project a success and added the possibility to search and sort the through extensions without having to leave LibreOffice. You start this new way to search with a clear yellow star with a download arrow, that is in the templates dialog, at the icons in the view options, or from the galleries pane in the side bar.
If you are curios about this handy extensions feature you can already test and find it in the latest LibreOffice pre-releases. Yusuf was mentored ba Collabora’s Muhammet Kara and Heiko Tietze from the LibreOffice design team. Find all the details of Yusuf’s work in his final report.

I learned a lot of things during the GSoC. Although GSoC is finished, I will continue to contribute to LibreOffice. I am very happy to be part of the LibreOffice community.(Yusuf Keten)

Access the Tight Integrations manager through the icon in Gallery
Browse, search and sort through Templates, Galleries & Icons in the new extension dialog.

Changing the contour – shadows are becoming blurry

New blurry shadow option

Did you know, that in LibreOffice the shadows are just a copy of the object? There are already a lot of settings to change their appearance, like its colour, its angle, the transparency and distance behind the object. Mentored by Collaboran’s TomažVajngerl and Miklos Vajna, Ahmad Ganzouri added another option. The “Blurry Shadows” make use of the already implemented BitmapFilterStackBlur and make the shape of the shadow look very realistic. Find the details around the development in Ahmad’s final report. We have seen the Blurry Shadow option in the master branch and expect it to be available to all users in Version 7.1 of LibreOffice. The option can be easily accessed via the “Area” dialog in “Objects & Shapes” or directly via the corresponding Sidebar module.

The blur setting can be defined Area dialog.

Searching for a mentor? Join us GitHub!

Google Summers of Code are an excellent opportunity to learn working in many open source projects. But where to find mentors during the rest of the year? We recently moved the code of Collabora Online to GitHub. You will find a growing community there, with easy hacks to get started. Community Mentor Muhammet Kara and the rest of our team of open source developers are there and willing to share their vast experience.

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Hear and discuss about Collabora’s contributions in the ecosystem at the openSUSE & LibreOffice conference 2020

From Thursday, 15th to Saturday 18th 2020 the openSUSE & LibreOffice Conference takes place as a virtual and joint event. We are glad to be one of the sponsors and to be able to contribute no less than 14 talks from our team members. To make it easier for you to keep track of all the topics, we have prepared a little overview of our talks. See you in the livestream!

⋅ Schedule Day 1, Thursday 15th 2020

Schedule Day 2, Friday 16th 2020

⋅ Schedule Day 3, Saturday 17th 2020


Day 1, Thursday 15th 2020

Keynote by Collabora’s Michael Meeks

10:30 UTC, Michael Meeks

Accelerating the adoption of Open Source! How does Collabora do that together with their partners and customers? About another year of investment into LibreOffice alongside the community, the ecosystem and our choices. #Collabora #Ecosystem Read more!

Bringing the Sidebars Online

12:30 UTC, Ashod Nakashian

Adding the Sidebars, with the rich and advanced editing features, to Online was challenging. Learn, how we succeeded! #OnlineUI Read more!

Bringing the NotebookBar to Online

13:30 UTC, Szymon Kłos

The story behind introducing new (optional) user interface for Online. Learn about the milestones of this new feature sponsored by Collabora. #OnlineUI Read more!

Implementing Vulkan-capable drawing using the Skia library

14:00 UTC, Luboš Luňák

Skia is a unified modern drawing across all platforms, so this is about the nice visual performance of LibreOffice and Collabora products. How is the implementation going? #LibreOfficeDev Read more!

Making Online trivial to setup

15:30 UTC, Muhammet Kara

We have recently released a big step in improving Collabora (thus LibreOffice) Online and lowered the barrier to liberating the documents of home-users. This is a quick presentation shows how the one-click installation app for Online works, and where we are at now. #OnlineInstallation Read more!

Day 2, Friday 16th 2020

Faster Jail Creation with Bind-Mount

11:00 UTC, Ashod Nakashian

A jail is an essential part of the secure work and collaborating in Collabora Online. Learn about the design and challenges of setting up jails… fast! #OnlineDev Read more!

OOXML / PDF Digital Signing in Draw and elsewhere

11:30 UTC, Miklos Vajna

LibreOffice did have support for digital signing for ODF files. Collabora extended this to OOXML files and to signing existing PDF files. Come and see where we are, what still needs to be done, and how you can help. #DigitalSigning Read more!

The history & pre-history of LibreOffice

13:30 UTC, Michael Meeks

Come and hear some of the stories of the beginning, and before the beginning. Hear a developer’s perspective on the first ten years of the project and how companies had to do with this, alongside amazing volunteers. #LibreOffice Read more!

Chrome OS as a new platform

16:00 UTC, Jan Holesovsky

Hear about the Chrome OS and the work we have made to enable the Collabora Office Android app for easy consumption on Chromebooks. #Mobile Read more!

Improvements to PDF support in Collabora Online

18:00 UTC, Tomaž Vajngerl

Recently we added possibility to open PDFs with Collabora Online, which opens the PDF in Draw as a series of embedded PDF graphics (each one in its own page). In this talk, hear about additional improvements to the PDF functionality – like searching and handling of PDF annotations. #PDF Read more!

Day 3, Saturday 17th 2020

History of Online & Mobile

12:00 UTC, Jan Holesovsky

Come and hear about the history of Collabora Online, LibreOfficeKit, Leaflet and other building bits that led to the Online as we know today. #Mobile Read more!

Re-using the Sidebar on phones

12:30 UTC, Szymon Kłos

The talk about work done by Collabora Productivity for improving UX on mobile phones. Editing on smartphones has never been easier. Hear some technical details in this talk. #Mobile #OnlineUI Read more!

Online – Improving visual consistency

13:00 UTC, Pedro Silva

For users it is most important that UI elements are easy to recognize. Hear about improvements that have been made on that front in Collabora Online. #OnlineUI #CSS Read more!

Mobile – Development on iOS

13:00 UTC, Tor Lillqvist

Important recent improvements in Collabora Office on iOS. #MobileUI #UX Read more!

Ecosystem, Branding & Investment

15:30 UTC, Michael Meeks

Setting up the project for growth. See how we can build a model whereby volunteers and ecosystem entities work alongside each other to drive the success of LibreOffice. #Ecosystem Read more!

Spanish Summit (Conferencia Latinoamericana): Collabora Online – UX

16:00 UTC, Pedro Silva

in PT/ES. For users it is most important that UI elements are easy to recognize. Hear about improvements that have been made on that front in Collabora Online. #OnlineUI #CSS Leia mais!

How to become a part of this

Very easily. The attendance openSUSE and LibreOffice conference 2020 is free of charge. Just subscribe to the conference website, meet the community and join three days of discussion about the latest developments with regard to LibreOffice and openSUSE. The complete schedule of the virtual conference is here at your disposal.

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