early releases, continuous integration, warm bodies and cool machines

All the streamlining in LibreOffice package done upstream at LibreOffice itself, by Rene at Debian and the tiny bits and pieces I do on top of that at Ubuntu are beginning to pay off:

Yesterday a package containing a prerelease of the upcoming LibreOffice 3.6 major series has been uploaded to the upcoming Ubuntu Quantal series (due to be released as stable in October 2012) — a month earlier than we did a year ago on Oneiric. While this package is far from perfect in its current state, having it in this early is giving us a lot more real world test coverage — of which upstream LibreOffice will without doubt profit too. This will help improving the LibreOffice we will finally ship with in Quantal as it gives us more time to detect and fix errors in all of LibreOffice, LibreOffice packaging and Ubuntu Quantal — the platform it is build upon. So if you want to help in testing: get Quantal and start torturing LibreOffice on it.

This is approaching continuous integration as it should be. Speaking of which, not only do we have LibreOffice on Ubuntu being tested earlier by warm bodies, but also by cool machines: The Jenkins Bot Job that dutifully builds the LibreOffice package daily — and already gave early warning twice about changes in the stack below LibreOffice that caused the LibreOffice build to fail, which was very helpful — will now be switched to build the head of the libreoffice-3-6 upstream branch. Development on the release branch has slowed enough so that we can use that test builder now not only to detect conflicts/incompatibilities in Quantal as it is moving ahead, but also in upstream LibreOffice on the release branch.

One nitpick that we should probably fix is the collision of the LibreOffice and Ubuntu branding in the new splash screen — something that was bound to happen with the two brand colors being orange and green:

There are multiple possible solutions to this, the most simple one: removing the ubuntufied orange progress bar and making it white like upstream, but I cant help but notice that some of the other proposals like ‘clean’ although not winning the vote on g+ would not be that problematic. Your input on this topic is welcome, but having installed Quantal (and testing LibreOffice) is a prerequisite. 😉


13 thoughts on “early releases, continuous integration, warm bodies and cool machines

  1. P.S.: This is also the first time that we put the package in the upcoming Ubuntu release before even upstream released its first final.

  2. That “This bug will not be actioned until a detailed report on the expected outcome has been stamped by the committee” wontfix comment reads like something on an old OOo report.

    1. The difference here is that at OOo this was done for features and bugfixes. This is a mostly as style question and as you can see below: “Orange progress bar fits perfect here” vs. “I hope this bug will be solved as well” things are not that clean cut. Such bugs quite often are by a vocal minority, so giving it some time to find out what is really useful for the product and the larger userbase isnt too bad. Otherwise I risk changing the color of the progress bar every second day (and exchanging the splash screen on the other days).

      1. Hm, as the reporter of that bug I recognize I might sounded like that. But I hope I’m not a “vocal minority” 😉

      2. Well, just switching the color to white is quickly done, so it is not super urgent for the Quantal release allowing some time for other proposals ;).

  3. Hi,

    Great work in getting this release out for testing, I am sure it will make a big difference to get an extra month or so of user feedback. One question though, how is the integration of the global menu coming along? Is there a chance that Libre Office will be in a sufficient state for the global menu to be active by default? This is surely missing in Ubuntu now. It is a real shame that one of the most prominently used application in Ubuntu does not integrate well with the desktop experience. Are Canonical actively supporting the document foundation with engineering time to resolve this issue?

    This is a great time to show the millions of Ubuntu users that Libre Office is a first class release and integrates well in to their desktop Ubuntu experience.

    Best regards

    1. Hi John,

      good point: Yes, this is a wart on the LibreOffice experience on the Ubuntu desktop currently. And yes, we are investing in this area. I will blog about that shortly.

  4. The splash screen is only needed because LibreOffice starts up so slowly. The real solution is to dramatically speed up LibreOffice loading.

    On the other hand I hate splashes in the first place. I like Firefox start-up process on Windows: program appears in task-bar minimized without splash displaying on task-bar icon “Starting Firefox…”

    The splashes are annoying because it is expected that end-user is just starting LibreOffice and just waiting to get the program started. But I like to do things in between – for example look at the data when waiting to LibreOffice Calc starts-up, so Firefox approach would be million ways better.

    On the other hand on Ubuntu, do it the same logical way, display progress in LibreOffice icon from Launcher.

    1. “The splash screen is only needed because LibreOffice starts up so slowly. The real solution is to dramatically speed up LibreOffice loading.”

      We are working on that. Your patches are welcome! 😉

  5. Hi Björn,
    please note that while you could just replace the splash screen with “Clean,” there’s no fitting Start Center and About illustration available currently. Another problem is that the particular motif (the formation of triangles) in the splash screen is not part of LibreOffice’s official branding.
    Also, mixing and matching Ubuntu’s and LibreOffice’s brand colours sounds like a bit of a bad idea.

    So, two ideas:
    * keep the upstream splash, complete with the white progress meter (and empower LibreOffice’s brand a bit more)
    * ask Canonical’s designers to create a splash screen and associated branding in Ubuntu’s delectable dark purple (and strengthen Ubuntu’s brand)

    1. Thanks Astron. I will consider both your proposals — and dump the “clean” idea. Input by the LibreOffice Design team is most appreciated.

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