Category Archives: LibreOffice

Changing the Collabora Online default template language

The latest version of the Collabora Online Development Edition Docker image at the time of writing defaults to German language. This manifests as unexpected behaviour for English language input in new Collabora Online documents, such as quotation marks appearing inverted:


Fixing this involves changing the default language of the underlying ODF template files. In this example we’re using Collabora Online in a Nextcloud 12 host, running in Ubuntu 16.04:

1. Locate the ODF templates at /var/www/html/nextcloud/core/templates/filetemplates

2. Copy the templates to another system with LibreOffice loaded. Open them in LibreOffice (there are three files in ODF, ODS, and ODP format) and update the language to the English variant of your choice (for example English (New Zealand).

3. Copy them back to the Nextcloud host. Restart Apache and the Collabora Online Docker container, and confirm that new documents have the expected behaviour.



Watermarks template for LibreOffice Writer

For folks wanting a LibreOffice Writer template with a default set of high-quality, vector-based watermarks good to go, head on over to and download/share away. Any feedback or suggestions, let me know.

Apache OpenOffice for OpenIndiana (Hipster)

It’s been a long while since I’ve blogged anything on the OpenIndiana front – just a quick update regarding the recent announcement of an Apache OpenOffice package for the OpenIndiana rapid development branch, a.k.a. Hipster.

Installation from the current Hipster repository is straightforward, and aside from a rather long launch time (in the order of tens of seconds, something which definitely needs to be looked at), it opens an existing LibreOffice Writer document with absolutely no problems, retaining the customised footers, background images, and the proprietary PostScript fonts (once installed):

OpenOffice running on OpenIndiana

OpenOffice running on OpenIndiana

Great work from the various contributing developers to make this happen, and an important component of building a Nuxeo DM server based on illumos.

(EDIT: It appears there are issues with being able to save newly-created ODT-format files, whereas editing and saving existing files appears to be okay. Stay tuned.)

Freedom in video media production

ffmpeg to do screen captures: $0
Audacity to capture audio, perform clean-up and EQ: $0
GIMP to design titles and watermarks: $0
OpenShot to edit footage, add transitions and effects: $0
Web delivery transcoding to the free, patent-unencumbered Theora codec: $0
The Ubuntu OS to run it all on: $0

And seamless video playback (without stupid plugins) using Firefox

Theora playback in Firefox

Freedom rules.

Mobile Document Viewer – view ODF format files on Android

One of the most perplexing omissions from Google’s Android OS feature set is native ODF file format support. The Android market has applications up the ass for viewing Microsoft Office format files, but there is a seeming dearth of applications which will allow you to view your LibreOffice (or OpenOffice…) documents. Given Android’s open source nature, the lack of shipping support for ODF is puzzling.

Anyway, after having a sniff around I have found an application which on a basic level seems to work well enough – “Mobile Document Viewer”:

Running it on an ASUS Eee Slider tablet, I loaded up one of my ODT files which I could open with no problems:

Mobile Document Viewer on the ASUS Eee Slider tablet

The application however converts the content to HTML and displays it in a browser window – so the formatting goes somewhat AWOL, but otherwise the content itself loads up fine. As a cute extra there is text-to-speech support, if you fancy having ODF files read aloud to you.

The free version is ad-supported (hence my message from “Elaine”…), but given the paltry fee for the full version this is a no-brainer purchase.

Problems with fonts embedded in OpenOffice 3.3.0-generated PDFs

Interesting problem encountered after purchasing some fonts from and using them in OpenOffice to generate a PDF. When opening the generated PDF in Adobe Reader 9 and 10 on Windows, Reader would throw up an error saying “Cannot extract the embedded font..some characters may not display or print correctly.”:

Adobe Reader PDF error

In addition, certain sentences would appear as a series of dots (instead of words). Oddly, the same PDF would open and display just fine in Evince.

It turns out this is a problem affecting specifically OpenOffice version 3.3.0 – which was the exact version I was using on my OpenIndiana oi_148 x86 system. You can read the bug report here:

The solution – as outlined in the above bug report – was to upgrade to LibreOffice 3.4.0. As LibreOffice has yet to be ported to OpenIndiana, I installed it in an Ubuntu 10.10 virtual machine, and after importing my .odt file and exporting it as PDF again, the file opened up fine in Adobe Reader.

Looking forward to LibreOffice on OpenIndiana!

Swags of OpenOffice templates and clip art

Actually, they are promoted as being for IBM’s OpenOffice derivative Symphony, but given they are all ODF format files, they should work fine with OpenOffice and for that matter LibreOffice.

Get ’em here: