Join LibreOffice in Seattle for a Bug Triaging Bee & Hackfest!

Who makes the best office suite? You do!

SeattleLibreFest_2014At the tail end of October, LibreOffice is headed to Seattle, WA for SeaGL, “a grassroots technical conference dedicated to spreading awareness and knowledge about the GNU/Linux community and free/libre/open-source software/hardware.” While we’re hanging out in Washington, we’re planning to have a LibreFest — a community event to bring users, developers, and contributors from the Seattle area together to help LibreOffice by squashing bugs, writing code, and increasing public awareness of this amazing Free Software office suite. The LibreFest will take place on Sunday, October 26th at the University of Washington in Seattle.

At the LibreFest, we’re planning to have two tracks available:

  • A Bug Triaging BeeA fun, community exercise for people of all experience levels, from newcomers to experienced QA Engineers
  • A HackfestFor developers and programmers interested in eliminating bugs and implementing new features

Testing bugs and writing code takes a lot of concentration, so we’ll have plenty of free food and drink available to keep you fueled up and working at peak efficiency. We’ll also be giving out LibreOffice Contributor T-shirts to all participants, as a thank-you for your hard work!

To Sign Up, send an email to qubit [at] libreoffice.org with your Name and T-Shirt size. Let us know if you’re interested in the Bug Triaging Bee, the Hackfest, or both!

For more information, please see the Seattle LibreFest event page.

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Fossetcon was amazing!

Following the LibreOffice Annual Conference in Bern, Switzerland, I headed to Olando, Florida for Fossetcon. This was my first trip to the Sunshine State, and I got a very warm welcome from all of the Fossetcon team.

When I arrived at the airport, Vernon Singleton was kind enough to pick me up and give me a ride over to the Rosen Plaza Hotel. Situated along a strip of various hotels and eateries, the Rosen Plaza was an all-in-one venue, providing lodging, conference space, and a few different dining options. In addition to my regular QA Engineer work, I was spending the week learning how to be the Release Engineer for LibreOffice, so I spent a fair amount of time glued to my computer, but did find time to run out to eat and use the pool.

WARNING: Floridians don’t know what crosswalks are. They will run you over. The same thing will happen in Dallas, TX, and perhaps in any other city in the South. Just wait until there aren’t any cars within a hundred feet or more, and then cross.

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LibreOffice 4.3 Bug Hunting Session

Pick up your shovels and shovel up your picks, ’cause it’s time (once again) for a LibreOffice Bug Hunting Session. We’re working to get LibreOffice 4.3 ready for everyone in the world to enjoy, and we’d love to have more hands on deck to test our our alpha and beta builds and report any and all problems we uncover.

As our handy-dandy 4.3 Release Plan wiki page explains, beta builds of LibreOffice 4.3 are ready as of this week. We’d like to bring as many eyes as possible together to test the software and confirm that no regressions have been accidentally introduced and check that all the components and basic features are working as expected.

We have some suggestions about what to test, but feel free to just download the 4.3 builds and see how they operate in your normal, daily workflow. Remember that 4.3 is beta software, so please backup any important data before starting any testing.

 

Thanks for your help!

LibreOffice at LinuxFest Northwest

Tucked up at the top of Washington state — only a few miles away from Canada — LinuxFest Northwest is a perfect example of a welcoming, regional FOSS conference.

Like the town of Bellingham that plays host to the weekend’s activities, LinuxFest Northwest isn’t gunning to get as big as possible. Rather, LFNW provides a smaller-sized conference that is much more accessible to newcomers to GNU/Linux than bigger, industry-lead events. When I gave presentations in the rooms at Bellingham Technical College, I had a marvelous mix of both experienced technical experts as well as individuals that had just shown up because they were interested in learning more about computers and Free/Open Source Software.

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Working on badges for the Document Liberation Project

I love free and open formats

The graphics are still a work in progress, but they’re coming along quite well. I think this one is my favorite so far, as the message is so universal, and the small splash of red is the perfect balance for the blue of the background.

Once I finish these badges and wrap up some related work, I’ll try to find time to create badges for TDF and LibreOffice as well. I don’t usually get time to spend on graphic design, which is too bad, because it can be so much fun. Working with Inkscape can be a little bit tricky at times, but I’ve been trying to follow good habits (e.g. resizing and aligning objects using exact numerical values), and that discipline is very helpful in staying sane when trying to work on a set of different graphics all at the same time.

Beautiful business cards

Business cards by Moo

Moo.com just sent me some amazing mini business cards. I hadn’t ever had a set of these small-format cards before, but I’ve received a few from colleagues in Europe and from Free Software hackers here in the US.

The potential for saving a few trees is rather nice, although as my friend pointed out, one might much more easily lose a smaller item in one’s pocket than one twice as large. But the really amazing thing is that they came in a box that seems color-coded to the design of my particular cards.

Others have told me that this is just a coincidence — that Moo has boxes that come with a variety of color highlights. Indeed, I received more than one box, and only the first box matched the green and white color scheme of the LibreOffice design. But I find it auspicious that the first box was the one that matched-up so well.

Perhaps this is a sign that the stars are coming into alignment and new opportunities are opening up for me. You know, if I believed in that kind of thing. Regardless, when I head out to conferences and meetings, I’ll carry my cards in the white box with green highlights, if only so I can show you how delightfully the cards sit in there. It’ll give me the perfect opportunity to share my card with you.

Introducing the Document Liberation Project: LibreOffice’s new tag-team partner

My friend tells me that it’s just a few days until Wrestlemania — pro wrestling’s flagship annual event. This Sunday (sunday…sunday), thousands of fans will show up to see luchadors pro-wrestlers perform in a small ring, throwing each other about and providing a spectacle of a performance for those in the bleachers and for the million or two at home. Given the imminent match-up, I find it quite fitting that The Document Foundation (TDF) has just announced the creation of the Document Liberation Project, a “home for the growing community of developers united to free users from vendor lock-in of content.”

On the face of things, one might not see a close comparison between computers and big, brawny men, but if you delve into the world of file formats and software, you’ll see how a fight is being waged every day — on desktops and laptops around the world.

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Musings: Crowdsource RECAP of PACER documents for next to nothing

Last night Lawrence Lessig spoke at Dartmouth College about Rebooting our Government. I’ve read Lessig’s articles and listened to his lectures before, and seeing him speak in person was quite a treat.

Lessig’s lecture highlighted his mission to give control of our government back to the people — to the citizens of the US. Fix Congress First is one of the groups encouraging this reform, and I suggest that you go check out their website right now!

Part of giving the Citizenry control is making sure that everyone has free, open access to all of our laws and court case records. Federal court records are in the public domain and are available online through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) electronic record system, however access to the PACER system is billed using a per-page rate.

Because the documents in PACER are public domain, once a document is accessed, it may be distributed without restriction or additional fee. As a result, several groups are currently working on opening the vast archive of documents in PACER so that anyone can access any of them, at any time, with no fees or strings attached.
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