zondag 4 september 2011

Developing LibreOffice

It's been a while since I wrote here. And now some bits about LibreOffice development...
I won't start explaining much technical details here - that is beyond my competences. But recently I have been hanging around some day's on the developers IRC channel. That was for some help to get used to building LibreOffice from source because I like to work/test with new features, and to dig a bit in the code here and there.
Well building LibreOffice turns out to be really simple [1]. Not that is is necessary to do for bleeding edge testing: there are nightly builds available regularly [2].
When I say: building LibreOffice is really simple, I have to add that this is on Linux mainly. Which brings me more to the core message of this blog post.
While being on IRC and also lurking on the developer list -as usual- I became very much impressed by all the hard and tough work that the developers do. The ones doing it as full time job, but not less the ones that do it alongside other activities.
Windows for example: there is an enormous effort in improving building LibreOffice, making it faster, easier on Windows. Improvements are visible almost every day. And also issues that are specific for Windows, get a lot of attention of developers - assisted by valuable QA workers. You can see people diving deep and deep in the code, to find and remove the culprits bits that cause the users inconvenience. In these specific situations it is not because of bugs that were introduced recently, but for ones that have been lying below the surface for a long time, maybe even 15 years. And that became only visible because of recent changes. Now it is nothing special that software code has bugs, and also not special that older bugs surface with later changes. It was one of the issues in OpenOffice.org development: fixing old bugs will reveal others..
Not being stopped by that knowledge, LibreOffice developers take a strong bite deep in the code base for improvements now and even better future LibreOffice development. I'm not only impressed, but also get more and more confident in the future of this project.

1] http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Development#Getting_your_first_build_done
2] http://dev-builds.libreoffice.org/daily/

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