(Submitted by Marc Paré, November 5, 2012)
Kohei Yoshida is a well-known individual on the LibreOffice project. To many, he is considered as one of the core group of developers who have contributed to the steady development and code improvement of the project, and one of the leaders of the calc component. Kohei takes a little time out from his busy schedule to let us know a little more about himself and why the LibreOffice project appeals to him.
LibreOffice can only exist since people are working on it: so please, tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Kohei Yoshida. I’m a Japanese national currently living in Raleigh, North Carolina. I used to work in the environmental science field but decided to change my profession to software engineering to make it more aligned with my passion and obsession. I’m very glad I made that switch. Now I can justify my obsession instead of apologizing for it since I’m now getting paid for it.
In what other software projects have you been involved?
Besides LibreOffice? Not much actually. Of course, I was involved in the OpenOffice.org project back in the old days, but that’s about it.
I once worked at SlickEdit as part of their development team for about one year, before I moved on to join Novell to work on OpenOffice.org full-time.
Where do you live (and/or study)?
I live in Raleigh, North Carolina.
What do you do when you’re not working on LibreOffice?
Bits and pieces of various things, such as taking my son to his Taekwondo practice, watching TV, mostly documentaries and news to learn about interesting developments around the globe, working out to stay in good shape…. that sort of stuff.
When do you usually spend time on the project?
That’s easy. Since this is my full-time job, I do it just like how other people go to work. But I also put a fair amount of personal time into it to mostly move forward some of my side projects that would not warrant using my employer’s time.
What is your preferred text editor? And why?
Unlike many other core developers who use mostly either emacs or vim, I do use SlickEdit which is a well-capable commercial code editor. It has built-in symbol database that scales very well with very large code base such as LibreOffice code base. It also has tons of other useful features that save me lots of time and effort. The fact that I used to work there developing the editor probably helped me initiate myself with the editor, and get stuck with it, so to speak.
How did you hear about LibreOffice?
Well, it’s hard not to have heard about LibreOffice as I’ve been there since day one.
Why did you get involved?
I got involved through my employer, SUSE.
What was your initial experience of contributing to LibreOffice like?
Again, this question may not apply to me personally since I was involved in LibreOffice from day one. But I think it’s worth saying that the new git-based repository made my job 100 times easier than our old system, which was basically nothing more than just a hand-crafted, custom patch management system wrapped around the upstream cvs/subversion/mercurial repos. If you are familiar with the Go-oo project, that’s what I’m talking about here.
Now that I look back, the system back then with the Go-oo project, it was terribly inefficient and not a great place to go wild with one’s creativity. I didn’t necessarily think that back in the days, but now I do.
There were rough edges even with the system we use in the LibreOffice project when we just started. But the good news is that we have since improved our system and most of the kinks are now gone. I’m very happy about that.
What have you done since then?
Well, I’ve done a lot of things since the project started. Due to the nature of my work, I tend to go to many corners of Calc, so it’s hard for me to list individual achievements. That said, overall, what I’ve done can be categorized as follows: 1) code cleanups, 2) new features and enhancements, and 3) core refactoring for better maintainability/performance/memory footprints. Recently, I’m mostly focusing on performance enhancements and core refactoring to make the code more readily extensible, easier to maintain and generally perform better. These changes are not very visible to the end users, but in my opinion just as important as more visible features.
I’ve also worked to extract some of the code into external projects, and have it maintained outside LibreOffice. Projects such as mdds and orcus are good examples of that effort.
What do you think was your most important contribution to LibreOffice so far?
The improvement in the pivot table engine, which is finally in a very good shape as of 3.6, and numerous unit test code I’ve written since inception of this project.
How will that improve things for users?
Hopefully users will have to wait less for things to get done when using pivot table. Also, having more code automatically tested by our unit test framework means less chance of having regressions. Unfortunately the coverage of our unit test framework is still not high enough, and we should still stay diligent in writing more and more test codes to accompany bug fixes. But things are improving, and hopefully as we make more releases and make more code changes (accompanied by more test code) we will increase the coverage of our unit test.
What is your vision for the future and/or what would you most like to see improved in LibreOffice?
My vision for this project is to make the code more modular; extracting more code into mdds, orcus etc to offload code maintenance, and more unit test coverage to improve the quality of the binary that we release. Of course, I can’t forget about making Calc run a lot speedier in all areas. But to achieve that goal we need to make lots of changes in lots of areas.
I would also like to someday spend some serious time tinkering with and understanding the drawing layer code. For now, I only know just a little, barely enough to get by. But some day that level of knowledge won’t be enough to carry out large scale refactoring or re-architecting of Calc’s drawing layer, which relies in large part on the common drawing layer code that all apps depend on. So, I’d like us to improve that situation one day.
The chart code is another beast that we don’t have an intimate knowledge of. Several of us have spent some time in that code, including myself, but the code still feels “foreign”. I’d like to see that changed.
Also, we really need to do something about the poor performance of ods and xlsx imports. But this is a difficult problem to solve, and while I have some ideas to improve the load performance, it’s for the long-term rather than short-term. I have some prototype ideas in orcus. The challenge is to figure out how to materialize those ideas to make them happen in LibreOffice proper. That won’t be easy, but we have to move in that direction some day.
Lastly, I’d really like to refactor Calc’s core cell storage to take advantage of newer CPU’s vectorization support, take advantage of GPU, or perhaps allow some super computer cluster to be plugged in to massively speed up formula calculations. Achieving that will be a major architectural challenge, but it’s a very interesting one.
What advise would you give new developers to make their first LibreOffice hacking steps easier?
Get a good idea of what you want to accomplish with this project, and if possible, try to establish a main area of interest, and keep forging ahead.
Anything else interesting you get up to when not hacking?
Not much, actually. I tend to spend a lot of time researching the latest on clean energy development. Too bad I can’t do much about it myself and I can only get to learn what awesome stuff other people have been doing in that area. But I do believe that we have a global-scale energy crisis, and I really appreciate those who are trying to solve this very hard problem. Meanwhile, I do my part by trying to make the application run faster which will consume less CPU power which will in turn draw less electricity and generate less excess heat.
Thanks a lot for your answers and time. We look forward to more of your great code in our favorite office suite.
The following is an open letter The Document Foundation has sent to the City of Freiburg, Germany, as a statement regarding the current discussion about Freiburg’s IT strategy. The letter in its original format is available at http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/File:OffenerBriefFreiburg.pdf
At the same time, The Document Foundation has signed the open letter of the Open Source Business Alliance at http://www.osb-alliance.de/fileadmin/Themen_News/121116_B_Stadt_Freiburg.pdf
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,
als Herausgeber der freien Office-Suite LibreOffice bedauern wir die Überlegungen der Stadt Freiburg außerordentlich, sowohl einen Rückschritt hin zu proprietärer, geschlossener Software, als auch eine Abkehr vom offenen OpenDocument-Standard durchzuführen. Mehrere Thesen des Gutachtens erscheinen bereits im Ansatz falsch.
Nach unserer Kenntnis wurde kein Experte für freie Software und Open Source zu Rate gezogen. So ist in Fachkreisen anerkannt, dass die Gründung von LibreOffice gerade nicht zu einer Schwächung der Entwicklergemeinschaft geführt hat. Vielmehr wurde erst durch die Gründung des wirtschaftlich unabhängigen LibreOffice-Projekts die Zahl der Entwickler deutlich gesteigert. 
Die Document Foundation, eine gemeinnützige, rechtsfähige Stiftung des bürgerlichen Rechts mit Sitz in Berlin, garantiert die dauerhafte und kontinuierliche Weiterentwicklung von LibreOffice, unabhängig von den wirtschaftlichen Interessen einzelner Hersteller. So konnten neben großen, internationalen Unterstützern wie Intel, Google, Red Hat und SUSE auch immer mehr deutschsprachige Unternehmen in die Mitarbeit eingebunden werden. Diese bieten kompetent Migrationsberatung, Anwendungsentwicklung und professionellen Support an, was zudem neue Arbeitsplätze gerade auch in Deutschland geschaffen hat. Die im Gutachten aufgestellte Behauptung, der Support für freie Software sei nur eingeschränkt gewährleistet, erscheint deshalb nicht haltbar.
Vernachlässigt wurde aus unserer Sicht auch der Aufwand für die Migration und Schulung auf aktuellere Microsoft-Produkte, die sich insbesondere in der Bedienerführung, als auch in zahlreichen technischen Details von ihren Vorgängern unterscheiden, und somit teure Anpassungen an Fachanwendungen erforderlich machen.
Die Migration auf freie Software ist dabei keine bloße Theorie, wie unter anderem das positive Beispiel der Stadt München zeigt, die durch ihr professionelles Migrationskonzept schon mittelfristig Vorteile erzielen konnte. Aktuelle LibreOffice-Migrationsprojekte finden beispielsweise in den Kopenhagener Krankenhäusern, der Region Umbrien, den Provinzen Mailand und Bozen, den Städten Las Palmas (Spanien), Limerick (Irland) und Largo (Florida) statt. Unsere jüngst durchgeführte LibreOffice Conference in Berlin, mit 200 Teilnehmern aus über 30 Ländern, wurde sowohl vom Bundeswirtschafts- als auch vom Bundesinnenministerium unterstützt, die sich über die Bedeutung freier Software im Klaren sind und offene Dokumentformate und freie Software dadurch bewusst fördern wollen.
Viele Aufgabenstellungen sind aus unserer Praxiserfahrung durchaus lösbar. Zu bedenken ist, dass eine Rückmigration hin zu proprietärer Software die Bindung an und Abhängigkeit von einer einzelnen Lösung einer einzigen Firma zementiert und Investitionen für Lizenzkosten erforderlich macht, anstatt in ein existierendes Ökosystem einheimischer Firmen zu investieren, welche bei der Migration kompetente Hilfestellung leisten können.
Zudem bedeutet eine Rückmigration mitnichten, dass die Aufgaben kleiner werden – im Gegenteil, eine solche Entscheidung macht einen zusätzlichen enormen personellen, finanziellen und zeitlichen Aufwand erforderlich, der im Interesse aller Beteiligten, insbesondere auch im Interesse der Steuerzahler, vermieden werden sollte.
Die Rückmigration hin zu proprietärer Software ist aus unserer Sicht eine falsche Entscheidung, opfert die Stadt Freiburg dadurch doch Freiheit und Unabhängigkeit. Würde sie die gleichen Mittel in die Umsetzung des ursprünglichen Beschlusses investieren, so wären die angesprochenen Probleme sicherlich lösbar.
Als gemeinnützige Stiftung The Document Foundation bieten und vermitteln wir Ihnen gerne fachliche Unterstützung in allen Fragestellungen rund um offene Dokumentenaustauschformate und den Einsatz unserer freien Office-Suite LibreOffice an.
The Document Foundation
The Document Foundation
A tecnologia da informação (TI) é uma das áreas ainda dominada pelos homens no Brasil. Em outros países, como a Alemanha, o Japão e os Estados Unidos, a realidade é bem diferente – cada vez mais mulheres têm se interessado pelas crescentes e vantajosas oportunidades de emprego nesta área. Mas, no Brasil, apesar dos avanços, menos de 20% dos profissionais de TI são mulheres. “Somos tão capazes quanto os homens, mas poucas pessoas admitem e se beneficiam disso”, aponta a desenvolvedora Eliane Domingos de Sousa, uma das fundadoras das Nerds de Batom. Criado em abril durante um fórum em Duque de Caxias (RJ), o grupo serve de apoio às discussões sobre as dificuldades e barreiras que encontram na área e como estimular a participação feminina na TI. Eliane conversou com a Gazeta do Povo durante a 9.ª Conferência Latino-Americana de Software Livre (Latinoware), em Foz do Iguaçu.
Hoje os cursos tecnológicos são os mais procurados por quem está ingressando no ensino superior. A preferência das mulheres por carreiras clássicas, como Direito, Medicina e Pedagogia, é uma questão cultural ou de falta de incentivo?
As duas coisas. A tecnologia está presente em todas as áreas, desde a Medicina até a Pedagogia. Mas ainda há um pensamento machista muito forte quando se trata da mulher na tecnologia. De cada dez mulheres que começam um curso nesta área, apenas duas se formam. É muito comum os homens qualificarem as mulheres como incapazes de, por exemplo, programar ou desenvolver um sistema.
Falta também iniciativa das próprias mulheres?
Sim, principalmente se pararmos para analisar como era no passado. Antes era raro uma mulher ter um diploma de curso superior, hoje elas já são maioria nas universidades. Em quase tudo, somos tão capazes quanto os homens, basta querermos.
Você sentiu preconceito enquanto estava estudando e depois como profissional?
Sim. Depois de formada, fui fazer um curso de aperfeiçoamento e na sala eu era a única mulher. Confesso que não via muita boa vontade dos colegas em me ajudar. O que era bem diferente entre eles. A postura do próprio instrutor era a mesma. Falando sobre isso e vendo que o problema era comum com outras colegas e percebendo a pouca participação nos encontros da área, decidimos criar, em abril, as Nerds de Batom.
O preconceito aparece nos anúncios de emprego?
É muito comum ver “Procura-se desenvolvedor, do sexo masculino, com experiência...” Essas coisas também acabam desestimulando e restringindo o mercado de trabalho. Isso sem falar na diferença salarial.
Em países em que este setor é valorizado as profissionais de TI também sofrem este preconceito?
Não. Nos Estados Unidos e na Europa, para citarmos alguns, isso é muito diferente: as mulheres têm as portas abertas para a tecnologia. O Brasil não acordou para isso, corre um sério risco de novamente ficar à margem desse desenvolvimento, e poderá perder ainda mais talentos se não valorizar as mulheres. Pior, ter de pagar muito caro pela tecnologia que poderia ele mesmo produzir.
Como romper essas barreiras e em que áreas as mulheres podem se destacar?
O primeiro passo é não se deixar abater por comentários preconceituosos. Na área de tecnologia da informação, são vários os ramos: você não precisa ser apenas um desenvolvedor ou um programador, há muita oferta nas áreas de web designer, redes sociais, consultoria, criação de sites. Nós, mulheres somos muito detalhistas, e isso é um ponto positivo quando se fala em informática e na aparência das coisas. Em segundo lugar, os governos também precisam atentar para isso e estudar formas de atrair as mulheres para o universo da tecnologia.
* Fonte: Gazeta do Povo, 11 nov 2012
Berlin & Barcelona, November 7, 2012 – The Document Foundation announces the first group of LibreOffice Certified Developers, who are recognized for their ability to hack LibreOffice code to develop new features or provide L3 support to enterprise users. They are: Bjoern Michaelsen (Canonical), Caolan McNamara (RedHat), Cedric Bosdonnat (SUSE), Christian Lohmaier (Volunteer), David Tardon (RedHat), Eike Rathke (RedHat), Eilidh McAdam (Lanedo), Fridrich Strba (SUSE), Jan Holesovsky (SUSE), Kohei Yoshida (SUSE), Lionel Elie Mamane (Volunteer), Lubos Lunak (SUSE), Markus Mohrhard (Volunteer), Michael Meeks (SUSE), Michael Stahl (RedHat), Petr Mladek (SUSE), Rene Engelhard (Volunteer), Stephan Bergmann (RedHat), Thorsten Behrens (SUSE), Timár András (SUSE) and Tor Lillqvist (SUSE).
Certification is a key milestone for building LibreOffice ecosystem, and increase the number of organizations capable of adding value around the best free office suite ever (and, hopefully, help to spread the adoption over proprietary and open source office suites). LibreOffice Certified Developers have been peer reviewed by the Engineering Steering Committee, which has appointed Bjoern Michaelsen, Jan Holesovsky and Stephan Bergmann to manage the certification process for developers.
Certified developers extend the reach of the community to the corporate world, and offer CIOs and IT managers a professional recognition in line with corporate requests for added value development and support services. TDF will soon extend certification to Migration Professionals and Training Professionals, starting from early 2013.
The LibreOffice Certification Program is outlined on the project website at the following address: http://www.documentfoundation.org/certification/. There is also a specific mailing list – email@example.com – dedicated to the certification project, which is reaching all the members of the Certification Committee. Requests for information and applications should be addressed to this mailing list.
FOSDEM has been the first public appearance of The Document Foundation, after the release of LibreOffice 3.3 at the end of January 2011. The conference has been instrumental, so far, for the extraordinary growth of LibreOffice hackers community. FOSDEM 2013 should escalate what we have been able to achieve in 2011 and 2012!
Do you want to share your experience in starting to hack the code, or tell about the tweaks in your build environment, or talk about the code changes you have done or those that you have been preparing, or share some insight on your QA work? Or maybe what you plan for translation or infrastructure?
Please submit your speech proposal on this page, by adding the information on a copy of the table. We really like you to share in the way that fits you best, be it 5, 15 or up to 30 minutes.
We might have to choose between the various proposals, as time is limited. So please give a clear description of your talk, including goals and target audience.
The deadline is December 23, 2012. This will allow the DevRoom managers to spend most of their holiday time by putting together the schedule, which will be published in early January 2013 in order to allow early booking of flights and accommodations.
FOSDEM is a free conference to attend, and we will try to seek sponsorship. But funding is limited, so please only request it if you cannot attend otherwise, and we will try to do our best to support you.
Come and hear about the growth and success of LibreOffice and how you can get involved in this exciting project at the cutting edge of Free Software. Hear from many of the core developers, work out how best to get your most annoying problems fixed, and find how best to get plugged into the team. Co-ordinate with your co-developers, get caught up with the latest developments all over the project, meet friends you’ve hacked with on-line, all this and more. If you’re just a user and want to go deeper, to help improve things we’ll have something for you too.
When and where?
On Sunday, February 3rd, 2013, from 09:00 onwards. We have to leave the room by 17:30 at the latest.
Email for Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Discussions with developers and code hackers take place on email@example.com
Discussions with marketers for the organization of the DevRoom take place on firstname.lastname@example.org
Berlin, November 1, 2012 – The Document Foundation (TDF) announces LibreOffice 3.6.3, for Windows, MacOS and Linux. This new release is another step forward in the process of improving the overall quality and stability for any kind of deployment, on personal desktops or inside organizations and companies of any size.
LibreOffice has quickly become the de facto standard for migrations to free office suites, thanks to the growing feature set and the improved interoperability with proprietary software. Instrumental for the overall progress is the growing developer base, which has just reached the number of 550 since the launch of the project, making LibreOffice one of the fastest growing free software projects of the decade.
After the City of Munich and the French Government, which are migrating from OpenOffice.org to LibreOffice, it is now the turn of several provinces in Italy, including the largest one in term of inhabitants. In addition, there are many private companies switching to LO, like the largest furniture manufacturer and retailer in Romania, with 1,000 Windows and GNU/Linux desktops.
LibreOffice hackers community will gather in Munich for the second LiMux HackFest (http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Hackfest/Munich2012) between November 23 and 25. As usual, there will be code, but also beer and pasta, in the true spirit of a free software project.
LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members can support the efforts the development and the advocacy efforts of The Document Foundation with a donation – with many options, including PayPal and credit cards – at http://donate.libreoffice.org.
LibreOffice 3.6.3 is available for immediate download from the following link: http://www.libreoffice.org/download/. Extensions are available from the following link: http://extensions.libreoffice.org/extension-center.
Change logs are available at http://download.documentfoundation.org/libreoffice/src/bugfixes-libreoffice-3-6-3-release-22.214.171.124.log (fixed in 126.96.36.199) and http://download.documentfoundation.org/libreoffice/src/bugfixes-libreoffice-3-6-3-release-188.8.131.52.log (fixed in 184.108.40.206).