Collabora launches enterprise-ready LibreOffice in the Mac App Store

The world’s most popular Open Source Office Suite is now available on OS X via one-step install following Collabora Productivity’s launch today of two new apps in the Mac App Store. End-users can get LibreOffice on OS X with automatic updates, long-term maintenance, and optional professional support, for the first time.

LibreOffice-from-Collabora for Mac splash screen
LibreOffice-from-Collabora for Mac splash screen

For $10 LibreOffice-from-Collabora provides the enterprise-hardened productivity suite for business and public sector, including three years of maintenance updates. LibreOffice Vanilla is the latest code from ‘LibreOffice Fresh‘ by the Document Foundation, packaged and maintained by Collabora free of charge as a service to the community.

Professional training and fast-response support are additionally available from the company, exclusively for LibreOffice-from-Collabora.

“Collabora continues its march into new markets bringing the power and flexibility of Open Source to professional users” said Michael Meeks, Collabora Productivity General Manager. “Simultaneously we’re introducing an easy new way to get LibreOffice Fresh from the Document Foundation, while providing in-app donation links to support their work”.

Editing spreadsheets in LibreOffice-from-Collabora Calc
Editing a spreadsheet in Calc
A slideshow in LibreOffice-from-Collabora Impress
Editing a slideshow in Impress

“The Mac App Store now offers individuals the same new features and business-critical stability enjoyed by Collabora Productivity’s enterprise customers” said Philippe Kalaf, Collabora CEO. “For a fraction of the cost of competing apps, Mac users get the leading office suite in its class with a direct path to the best support available”.

The Mac App Store joins existing Collabora Productivity outlets Google Play and AWS Marketplace for Desktop Apps. LibreOffice-from-Collabora can be purchased directly from LibreOffice-from-Collabora.com for 50 users or more. Desktop and Android editions will be joined by web-based LibreOffice Online later this year. LibreOffice Online is developed by Collabora Productivity and IceWarp.

LibreOffice is an Open Source project by the non-profit Document Foundation, and the work of thousands of talented independent contributors worldwide. Collabora thanks the community for their effort, cooperation, and achievement.

A document in LibreOffice-from-Collabora Writer
Editing a document in Writer
Reviewing recent documents in LibreOffice-from-Collabora
Reviewing recent documents
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.

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LibreOffice for Android: prototype editor preview

Contents

  1. Suite improvements
  2. Under the hood
  3. Reaching out
  4. Joining in

A continuous effort

Since January, Collabora’s engineers have been working on the next generation of LibreOffice for Android: a fully functional mobile office suite, running natively, ready to edit rich documents. Thanks to Document Foundation sponsorship, we’ve spent the last three months working intensively towards this vision. Today we’re delighted to present a new prototype with spreadsheet, slideshow, and text editing built-in.

Writer: formatting text
Writer: formatting text
Calc: selecting cells
Calc: selecting cells

Suite improvements

Like LibreOffice Desktop, LibreOffice for Android has separate components for different types of task. On Android, we include Writer, Calc, Draw, and Impress.

All components of the the prototype benefit from the following features:

  • Text editing with on-screen keyboard
  • Simple text formatting with bold, italic, underline and strikethrough
  • Text selection by touching and holding part of a section of text (aka ‘long push’)
  • Easy resizing of shapes and images by tapping them to select, then dragging one of eight directional handles and releasing
  • High quality rendering of a wide range of filetypes, including Open Document Format, OOXML, and MS Office file formats (both binary and rich text format)
  • One tap access to the on-screen keyboard for quickly switching between viewing and editing mode
  • Smooth scrolling between pages

In addition to these, each component has its own distinct features.

Writer

  • Document saving support, updating the originally opened file by default
  • Support for movable embedded images, drawings, and shapes

Calc

  • Touch-triggered selections of table and spreadsheet cells flows across columns, rows, and pages with the drag of a finger.
  • The “parts” sidebar switches between spreadsheets within the document

Draw

Impress

  • The “parts” sidebar shows a scrollable overview of all slides
  • User interface interaction and overlays are now far more accurate

Under the hood

Powerful internals

The editor consists of two parts: LibreOffice core compiled for the Android platform, and a Java component that is responsible for the user interface. They interact with each other via LibreOfficeKit — a thin C++ library that allows any application to access LibreOffice’s powerful internals via a consistent interface.

All three parts (LibreOffice core, LibreOfficeKit, and the Android interface) have been extended to enable them to handle user-specified selections, cursor placement and movement, and commands like loading a document and applying formatting. The signals we’ve implemented make way for other LibreOffice-powered applications to support editing too.

Input and interface accuracy

  • Highlighted text selections can include table contents, allowing for formatting of contents of multiple document sections simultaneously. Previously selections used different internal identification systems and had to be selected separately.
  • All Impress interaction data has been ported to TWIPs — or ‘twentieth of an inch points’, from millimetre based measurements, resulting in much finer internal measurements, and improvements to display and selection for all versions of the application.

Impress: slide overview in sidebar
Impress: slide overview in sidebar
Impress: more accurate selection via TWIPs
Impress: more accurate selection via TWIPs

Performance

More efficient rendering of documents tiles: those relating to non-visible areas are deprioritised and rendered in the background without blocking the initial page view from loading. The result: faster loading of documents for the user and more efficient use of the mobile device’s resources.

Documentation

  • We’ve added extensive javadoc/doxygen comments to pre-existing and updated methods
  • We’ve included javadoc/doxygen comments for all new classes and methods

Performance: non-visible pages deprioritised
Performance: non-visible pages deprioritised
Writer: cross-page text selection
Writer: cross-page text selection

Reaching out

On the rare occasion that our engineers hands haven’t been busy under LibreOffice’s hood, they’ve been writing up their work in blogs and demonstrating it at conferences.

Joining in

This is the start of a journey that you can be part of — get involved with any number of ongoing LibreOffice activities, including LibreOffice for Android documentation, demonstration, and development.

  • Unstable daily builds can be found here
  • A user introduction is available on the Document Foundation Wiki
  • A developer introduction is also available
  • Report any problems you find to the bug tracker, and attach any documents related to the issue so developers can investigate

To complete this prototype preview we’d like to again thank The Document Foundation for making the work possible, and remind you that, as a charitable foundation, donations power their work. Support the foundation by donating via their website.

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Why LibreOffice Certification matters

The new certification programme, announced on Wednesday by the Document Foundation (TDF), for professionals who train and migrate to LibreOffice as a service, is a watermark for the growth and development of businesses in the Open Source productivity ecosystem. Thirteen newly qualified individuals form the basis of the programme, representing six different companies and six independents.

italo-vignoli
Italo Vignoli – Certification Committee Chairman

The need for new types of certification reflects the growth and maturation of businesses supporting LibreOffice, as well as the leadership of the Document Foundation and its readiness to meet that need. Over the last two years The Document Foundation have granted certification to 45 software development engineers. Graduates include employees of leading Open Source multi-nationals Red Hat, SUSE, and Ericsson.

As a non-profit organisation with charitable status, The Foundation provides a degree independence and authority which corporate bodies can never achieve. With its three-tier management structure, TDF is well suited to non-partisan setting of standards and assessment of certificate applicants. Yet because many leading LibreOffice service providers are also board members, the foundation is uniquely positioned to assay best practice and learning resources, and foster cooperation between companies which may otherwise be marketplace competitors.

“In fact, LibreOffice Certification is the first of this kind to be managed by a community based Free Software project, as all other certifications in the open source environment are managed by a company” — Italo Vignoli, Certification Committee Chairman

The peer-to-peer certification process covers a broad range of themes from “certification theory” to “growth potential”. Some subjects are special to the application’s Open Source roots, including “basic knowledge and understanding of Free Software communities”, and “Free Software licenses”. Certification both incentivises professional learning, and provides a public directory of qualified experts for those seeking services related to LibreOffice.

Four of the six companies with newly qualified staff are Collabora partners, and 13 of 45 engineers already certified are members of our team. With more certified staff than any other company, we’re delighted to be part of the training and development of LibreOffice experts, and look forward to promoting certification to our international network of educators and integrators.

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