In late September, I attended my first LibreOffice Conference in Aarhus, Denmark. There were 150 participants from more than 30 countries present, and it was an incredible experience.
Though the conference didn't officially start until September 23, my work started the day before at what we called the "Community Day." After a general get together, Native Language Project (NLP) community members met to discuss relevant processes, tools, resources, development, and marketing. In the evening, we rejoined the rest of the contributors for dinner.
The next day, Leif Lodahl and Thorsten Behrens gave an encouraging welcome speech, citing that one of the event's main goals was to bring together a wide range of contributors. Bjoern Michaelsen of Canonical and Michael Meeks of Collabora then gave keynote address. After that, Meeks, Italo Vignoli, and Florian Effenberger gave a detailed report on the state of the LibreOffice project.
The conference featured several well-attended talks about Open Document Format (ODF) from Behrens, Andras Timar, Svante Schubert, Jos van den Oever, Vasily Melenchuk. Van den Oever presented on the future of ODF, while Timar talked about LibreOffice and ODF.
Timar gave an overview of the work of the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications Technical Committee and a status report on the inclusion of LibreOffice ODF extensions into the next version of ODF standards.
While these presentations focused on technical aspects of LibreOffice and ODF, others shared success stories from around the world:
- Vignoli presented on the Italian Defense Ministry's migration to LibreOffice.
- Marina Latini spoke about the city of Bari, Italy's migration to LibreOffice, touching on some of the issues they encountered, workarounds, and solutions.
- Niels Schmidt Petersen shared how open source software has changed the Danish library sector.
- Kotaro Watanbe and Shinji Enoki of Japan team presented on the successful migration to LibreOffice in non-technical organizations.
- Franklin Weng of Taiwan shared a county government's LibreOffice migration success story.
As I said earlier, a goal of this LibreOffice conference was to celebrate diversity. The work of the Italian community under LibreItalia is very impressive and inspiring, and different members of the community presented different aspects of their project.
- Vignoli, a founding member of The Document Foundation, shared some interesting insight and thought about marketing and media management based on his long experience.
- Elanjelian Venugopal and Arun Kumar talked about localizing to Tamil and its deployment in Malaysian Tamil-medium public schools.
- Nguyen Vu Hung presented on the Vietnamese localization of LibreOffice.
- During a discussion, Vignoli and Sophie Gautier of the Document Foundation said that NLP is one of the most important parts of the project.
- Christian Lohmaier discussed the translation process used in LibreOffice.
- Ani Peter of Red Hat presented about Zanata, a web-based system for translators, content creators and developers to manage localisation projects.
- Giovanni Caligaris talked about localization of Paraguay's indigenous language, Guarani. A quite interesting effort indeed!
I co-presented with Chandrakant Dhutadmal, a member of LibreOffice India community, about The Document Foundation's efforts in India and future plans for the community there. India has 22 official languages, so lots more need to be added to LibreOffice.
Apart from NLP works, we discussed different organizations working in favor of LibreOffice. The Indian government recently launched an ambitious Digital India plan, and in this context the Indian LibreOffice community needs to be more active to take the advantage of the country's digital advancement.
The next LibreOffice Conference will take place in September 2016 in Brno, Czech Republic. Thanks to all who worked tirelessly to make this event a huge success. Jai Ho LibreOffice, Jai Ho Community!