LibreOffice backers want community to join 'bug hunt'

The goal is to make 'the best free office suite ever'

The organization behind LibreOffice is hoping community members will help it uncover problems with an upcoming release of the open-source office suite via an international "bug hunt" next week.

Scheduled for Dec. 28 and Dec. 29, the event will see volunteers "gather on the Internet from five continents" to scout out bugs in LibreOffice 3.5, "the best free office suite ever," according to a statement released Wednesday by the Document Foundation.

"Filing bugs will be extremely easy, thanks to the help of several experienced people who will be around to help users and supporters with tips," the group said. The title of "bug hunting hero" will be awarded to the individual who "has been able to spot the highest number of bugs, report them correctly and file them on BugZilla," it added.

A second bug-finding session is planned for January after LibreOffice 3.5 Release Candidate 1 surfaces.

The announcement comes several months after the group released version 3.4.2 of the suite, which it deemed "enterprise-ready."

The Document Foundation created LibreOffice as an offshoot of the OpenOffice.org codebase. Earlier this year, Oracle decided to stop selling a commercial version of OpenOffice.org and submitted the code to the Apache Foundation, where it is now an incubator project.

Its bug-hunt efforts speak to a couple of important underlying themes, namely the relative pace of innovation on LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org, as well as the need for any viable open-source project to build out a loyal community.

To that end, on Tuesday the Apache Software Foundation released an "open letter" to the "Open Document Format ecosystem," in which it revealed that the 3.4 release of the suite is planned for early 2012, and the effort has a "rapidly growing community and project infrastructure."

"The permissive Apache License 2.0 reduces restrictions on the use and distribution of our code and thus facilitates a diverse contributor and user base for the benefit of the whole Open Document Format ecosystem," the statement added. "Within an Apache project it is possible to rise above political, social and commercial differences in the pursuit of maximally effective implementations of freely available open standards and related software tools."

"Each participant in an Apache project is free to set their own boundaries of collaboration," the statement added. "However, they are not free to use our trademarks in confusing ways. This includes OpenOffice.org and all related marks."

The note didn't mention LibreOffice. While the Document Foundation and ASF have expressed mutual desires to work together, so far there's been no public indication that the projects will be merged.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
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