LibreOffice for enterprises

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Other than normal bugs, LibreOffice misses some features and tweaks that are important in an enterprise environment.

For a collected lists for features requested mostly by end users are at Development/Really basic missing features and enhancements.


Upgrade and updates through patches

The most demanded by IT professional in charge of large deployments. Have LibreOffice updated by patch deployment. This avoids the distribution of the full package into the enterprise and (wherever possible) the removal of the previous version.

Comment from somebody who has actually worked with MSI patching of OOo: It is a nightmare. We don't want to go down that route any more.

This subject was mentioned in this mail thread.

Interesting example: Mozilla Firefox

Upgrades through jar packages. If a jar file is placed in a given folder, Firefox will unpack it before launching the browser.

This Mozilla wiki page describes the update process as using not .jars but "MAR", a bespoke, very lightweight format. The code for it is tiny, which is quite nifty.

The discussion of the inception of the Firefox system might be relevant: moz#296303. The code was already tried to get implemented by a student at the GSoC event in 2015 and is still listed at the ideas page. (see also tdf#68274)

More resources

Searching for "cross-platform package management" turned up more and different results to "cross-platform software updates" Image Packaging System / IPS / pkg(5):

WebUpdate (designed by / used in the wxWidgets cross-platform GUI library community):

For Windows only, this might alleviate some of the nightmares described above?

Also, longer term, we'll should keep an eye on this:

They seem to aim to bring *nix-style packaging toolchains to Windows. If they succeed it'll vastly expand the range of "cross-platform" packaging systems we could look at (since there are several that claim to be cross-platform but only target Unix-like systems).


Calc should warn user when a cell text represents a valid number

Too often users have external data imported and some of the data are interpreted as text, but represents a valid number. Calc should warn users about that. This have severe consequences in calculations and is not easily detected.

In the "other" suite, a sign appears in the upper left corner of the cell with a tip.

In Calc, users can detect such anomalies by using menu "Display - Value highlight", but it is not intuitive.

Pivot Chart

Pivot charts are charts based on a pivot table data. This feature is not implemented into Calc. Many migration project suffers the lack of this feature while transposing Excel documents to Calc. tdf#83257 i#14506

Insert a graphic into a Calc spreadsheet header or footer

Enterprises love standadized documents layouts and brand logos on the header or footer is a must for their spreadsheets. Today LibreOffice does not allow to insert a graphic in the header or footer of a spreadsheet. To overcome, you have to put it in the header/footer background image with little control on size and position.


Need for improved collaboration tools: better "track changes", better "compare documents" needed

The ability to track changes of a document in a professional environment or a work group is a very basic and important requirement for an Office suite. LibreOffice Writer supports track changes, but the implementation has several short comings:

  • Tracked changes are not displayed in the margin, but 'destroy' the layout, because inserted and deleted text is both displayed within the text. A document with many contributors and commenters is barely readable in Writer.
  • The tracked differences between versions of a document or between documents as identified by Writer are sub-optimal.

For further description and links to work in progress, please see Track changes.

For related bug(s) in the LibreOffice bug tracker, please see: tdf#34355.

Enhancement of Watermark Feature

Watermarks are currently supported but the options are limited and especially text watermark feature is preserved as a workaround: How to put a watermark text on your documents - Leif Lodahl

Also, there are compatibility issues on watermarks to be fixed in Microsoft Office formats.

Related bug report(s): tdf#54053.


Linked presentation should open full screen

While Impress allows to launch a linked presentation, the link will not open the external presentation in full screen mode. The user will have to do it manually.

Programming and extensibility

Improvements on the BASIC IDE for macro editing

The BASIC Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is somehow frozen into an ancient era of information technology. With a feature-rich, extended and object oriented API such as LibreOffice API, a modern IDE demands to show the properties and methods of an object, like Eclipse or Netbeans, for example.

That lacking feature hurts many migration projects. VBA macros are a small (enterprise-wise) volume of documents, but are those with higher cost to migrate.

Extensions UI should be disableable

Security policies of many enterprises restrict the installation of non approved software in the desktop. Non approved software are considered a security threat and must be avoided. In case on LibreOffice, extensions installation falls into the category of undesired feature.

But extensions are an important part of the software and many features are implemented through extensions. The idea is to separate the extensions user interface libs and executables and have them packed into a controllable installation option. That way the extension GUI will not be shown to the user and will not be registered in the desktop, preventing user from installing extension either by the GUI or by drag and drop packages into the LibreOffice open window.

Command unopkg should however, be installed anyway. Related enhancement report: tdf#36017

Proxy authentication

On a enterprise where access to the internet is done by a proxy with authentication, you cannot copy a web page and paste into a LibreOffice document without loosing your linked graphics or objetcs. This is because the graphics are pasted as linked images and since LibreOffice does not have a proxy authentication dialog, the proxy will not let the graphic to be read.

The same issue raises if you plan to have your stock market prices inserted into a spreadsheet, behind an authenticated proxy. It will not work.

The bugzilla number is i#59287, tdf#46014.