Freitag, 31. Dezember 2010

Sort of "LibreOffice Portable"

I'm an ordinary member of the German non-profit organization OOoDeV that cares about free software; in our case this is LibreOffice. At the end of the year, they send some small presents to its members ... so a small package arrived at home.

What a surprise! A LibreOffice bag, a LibreOffice lanyard, and a nice Christmas card ... thanks to the creators for both the idea and the great items!!! Next stop: FOSDEM ;-)

Now, I'll pack another (bigger) bag - we will have some short vacation and I'll be back soon. Thus, please enjoy the first days within the new year ...

Happy New Year!!!
See you,

Donnerstag, 23. Dezember 2010

Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday Season!

Hi all,

also from my side Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. I hope you will have some time to take a deep breath, enjoy the time with your family and your close friends.

And - very important to me - my deepest thanks to all people who directly and indirectly supported us to turn LibreOffice into reality. Starting from the developers turning ideas into code, to the people who helped me to "survive" this year by easing my day life :-)

Well, and you may notice that I've disrespected the branding guidelines to make up a small present for you ... ;-)

Some special regards to the User Experience team located at Oracle in Hamburg - during the last years, I've usually spend a day or two in January to visit them. This year, I miss the time ... and thus a great opportunity to see them :-(


Montag, 13. Dezember 2010

Go-Go-Gadgeto ... Printer


In the last four days, I felt like playing in a bad movie. Coming back from a business trip, I was a bit exhausted. Then, several things broke - and the repairs will require quite some investments. Since today, our flat looks like being "ruined" - the guys and the stuff who work on our kitchen occupy the whole flat, although the kitchen is just a small room. Kitchen parts, no space left ... and dust everywhere. Home sweet home.

Printing for Fun

In one of my last posts, I've stated that our laser printer said (more or less) goodbye. So we ordered a new one ... easy if you "just" need some grayscale output. But, scanning documents gets more and more important to me. At work, we do have several of these scanners that are able to convert a pile of paper into a PDF. Can a person, who loves the idea of a Document Foundation, resist to buy something like that? Unfortunately (see above), not. :-)

There has been a great offer for such a device (a model my favorite printer maker) ... to make it short: It's now possible to insert a stack of paper, press two buttons, automatically process the documents via the duplex document feeder, and finally send it to a pre-defined group of people. For example, my father will get a copy of the scan via email, and the scanner will save the same document in a folder on my notebook computer (via SMB). And it's really fast - featuring a 667 MHz PowerPC processor. Waaaah!

Finally, the printer works like a charm with Linux ... Postscript compatible, PCL emulation, network administration. To me, it is just astonishing how affordable such devices became. (Especially there are no hidden costs for toner or other supply material). And if I now could understand how to use these certificates and all the security stuff ...

Mmh, it seems I sound like a small boy having a new toy. Maybe I really feel a bit like that ... :-)


However, I've spend some hours to continue the work on the LibreOffice icons. Initially, Bernhard requested some guidance within a steering Committee phone call to know whether an own set can be included. He provided an initial version of the icons which can now be refined. Based on his work, and some initial feedback by Jaron, I started to rebuild the 16px versions without affecting too much of the style (I hope). Here is the current (not yet complete) set:


Samstag, 4. Dezember 2010

Interviews, and ... Lost in Translation

Great! I just stumbled across the two first interviews that have been conducted with LibreOffice developers. And although I may claim that I've invested quite some time into this project (and it's predecessors), I don't know that much about it's hackers ... and especially the new guys. So please enjoy reading the interviews with Norbert Thiébaud and Joseph Powers. I certainly did :-)

I also enjoyed the interviews done in other projects ... and some days ago, I wanted to share one of the German interviews done with Jacqueline Rahemipour with the rest of the LibreOffice community. But, I got "Lost in Translation".

Here is a part of the German interview published on

Okay, well, if you prefer other languages, then let's simply state that the original text states "Interview mit Jacqueline Rahemipour". And what happens if you run the Google Translation? Let's see ...

Mmh, now we got the translation including "My name is Joost Andrae". Although Joost is a great guy working for Oracle, what happened here? It seems, that Jacqueline and Joost have run too many QA sessions together :-)

Still wondering ...


Freitag, 3. Dezember 2010

Printers. And if you really need them ...

Interesting how - at the moment - I really depend on the non-digital physical paper stuff. Yesterday evening, I had to print several copies of a both very important and urgent document - in sum, several hundred pages. After some of them: "Toner empty"

Haha, I'm prepared for that! So I did all the exchanging and cleaning stuff to end up with a printer that now spends the new toner to add "visual artistry" like clouds, stripes, ... everything you really don't need if you want to get perfect printouts :-)

So, I spend the whole evening until 2:30 am, and re-started this morning without that much improvement until now ... It seems that LibreOffice work has to wait until this printer finally managed that print job. Once it works, it runs very well ...


Dienstag, 23. November 2010

It's (sometimes) all about Design!

Just to spread the news - there is now a dedicated mailing list for design topics. More precisely, it'll become the home of the LibreOffice Design Team that cares about User Experience Design (make it just work ...) and Visual Identity Design (... and look great).

How did we get there? We got more and more traffic on the Marketing mailing list. A huge part of those discussions covered Branding aspects and Visual Design. Furthermore, you may have noticed some ideas how to improve the user interface. And, the number of questions by developers increased - they asked for some User Experience (utility, usability, ...) support.

After some discussion, I asked the TDF Steering Committee for a dedicated mailing list. Here it is:
At the moment, we discuss the relationship between the already existing teams and how to support each other with regard to cross-sectional topics (on a different list). We also talk about how to set up a dedicated "work space" in the wiki. But the most important thing might be, to simply say hello to each other.

Consequently, please expect some changes ... We will report about our progress.

Looking forward to make LibreOffice just rock!


Donnerstag, 18. November 2010

LibreOffice 3.3 Artwork Improvements ... going on :-)

Hi all,

since I will leave soon to visit my family, just a short life sign. Okay, maybe not that interesting for you ... but here is one of the most recent artwork elements that got updated. It is the "Side Pane Graphics" for the welcome page of the LibreOffice installer for Windows.

And, I felt free to propose something to the BrOffice guys ... let's see if they like it :-)


Dienstag, 16. November 2010

LibreOffice Logo Resources

Hi all,

just to mention that "anywhere". We now have an improved LibreOffice logo download location which incorporates the latest changes and also provides a revised SVG source file.

EPS upload is not yet supported / allows by the wiki, so this is work in progress. And, graphics which have been created for the special use on websites will be uploaded soon (those graphics are optimized, pixel perfect, for the use in a given size).


Montag, 15. November 2010

LibreOffice 3.3 Artwork Improvements

Hi all,

I do have some files with unfinished work "lurking" on my hard drive since quite a few days. I've spend the last evenings discussing interesting stuff like branding and artwork with some interested people ... not yet on the lists. But I hope this will change.

However, before the graphics data gets too old, I'd like to present the current progress ... and pick the "Splash Screen" (please click on it to see the original size).

So far, the following feedback / ideas have been incorporated:
  • Marketing Team/Community: General update of the logo that moves the text closer to the document symbol. That required to move the progress bar a bit - I hope that this can still be considered by the development.
  • Graham/Ivan/Others: Use of the new "Color Logo Contemporary" using gray instead of black for e.g. the text and the document symbol.
  • Ivan/Christoph: Added a slight gradient for the logo elements.
  • Marketing Team/Christoph: Minor update to now use the recently updated colors.
  • Ivan: Using a very slight embossed effect (inner shadow) to make the logo a bit more 3Dish. Derived from here.
  • Ivan/Christoph: Different kind of gradient for the background. This will only work here, due to the different technical implementation in the "Start Center".
  • Christoph: Some "pixel-perfect" re-alignment of the items. Not ideal yet, but it should now appear much sharper than the old Splash Screen.

Okay, although some small refinements, I consider the perceived quality much better than the original one (LibreOffice 3.3 Beta 1). It seems that we are on a good way to finalize what we currently call "Initial Branding" ...

What do you think?


Sonntag, 14. November 2010

Non-Modal Messages

One guy from the Sun UX team sent me a note  that some new ideas (or better: serious thoughts) are documented within the OOo wiki covering "non-modal messages". That is great news, since avoiding "Modal Dialogs" should be one of our top priorities when designing new or changing existing functionality.

We discussed that since quite some time - the more I am happy that my contributions have been referenced on that page. So what is available when talking about "in context" and "non-modal" information:

Samstag, 6. November 2010

Website Progress ... And Looking Back!

To me, it is quite fascinating how things progress at the moment within the LibreOffice website team. Here, I just want to pick a message by Michael who talks about the "Drupal LibreOffice CMS Development Site". Many people already contribute to make up the framework, plan the workflows, document requirements.

Parts of the site development are also artwork and branding related. And since I was involved in the very first design, I thought it would be nice to share what design was planned. We had to make some compromises with regard to the fidelity - caused by technical constraints (compatibility for rather old browsers) and time. So here is the original visual design "one-pager" ...

Maybe you find it interesting and (even more) maybe you want to look for the tiny differences :-) Maybe your last chance, since I hope the visual design for the whole project including the website will continue to progress.

So, thanks to the whole website team for your great engagement! Go on :-)


Montag, 25. Oktober 2010

LibreOffice Presentation Template ... First Steps

LibreOffice Presentation Template

Besides some basic marketing material, people already asked several times for a LibreOffice Presentation Template. This has even been a topic in the today's marketing conference call or the last steering committee meeting. After the latter, I started to create something ...

It seemed to me that some "snappiness" is missing. Presentations are different from other marketing material, so I started to refine the logo a bit ... it is meant to be a "contemporary logo". Think of it like a seasonal logo that might be tweaked more often according to the "spirit of the time".

For the presentation template, I drafted the first designs in Inkscape and started to create an Impress template from scratch ... thanks to Italo's material I do have some clue what to expect. As a first step, I propose to come up with the following Master Pages:
  • Start Slide
  • Default Slide (large fonts, maybe smaller fonts)
  • Sub-Header Slides (in the different accent colors)
  • "TDF / LibO Advertising Slide" (half of the slide is used for some logos)
  • Closing Slide
Anything missing? Please tell me! (hint: Marketing List *g*)

Until then, you might have a look at the current design ideas ...

Default Slide (large font)

Sub-Header Slides (LibreGreen, LibreBlue)

The remaining master pages haven't been created yet. I hope that I'll be able to publish a more complete set tomorrow, so that you can have a look at it and propose changes. There may be many tiny issues ... creating good templates is sometimes like creating a rather complex piece of software. Finally, it should just work.


Besides the presentation template stuff, we already have a proposal to include the color yellow in our branding palette ... some people requested it to make it complete. You may have a look at the marketing ideas page (by the way, there are also other greatly improved color proposals ... e.g. by Ivan).

Questions and Missing Answers

Finally, is everybody aware of that? :-)


Montag, 18. Oktober 2010

1001 Document Icons


The Document Foundation. Well, it seems about documents and their creation ... but how to make that visible? How to come up with both a rather unique symbol and something very familiar?

We've seen so many icons on the different operating systems - most of them are based on a common metaphor: a sheet of paper with a folded edge (a so called "dog-ear").


You already know that our document symbol is different. We thought: Why not unfold the edge? Make it an unique triangle!

Of course, we had a lot more thoughts ...

First, the triangle is shaped like an arrow. It is directed to the upper right and therefore indicates positive progress. Next, the triangle isn't enclosed - it is somewhat open, or even a bit libre.

Additionally, we do not only want to create paper based documents, we are already able to work with many kinds of documents of the digital age. So we somehow fixed the old metaphor and made it compatible with the future :-)

As already said, it is also a very distinctive symbol in comparison with the usual "document icons". Distinctiveness means being unique and providing a good recognizability.

Finally, the shape and the simple layout makes it easy to work with. Have a look at my last blog post that deals with some qualities of good logos.

Well, as always (in life) you may agree or disagree ...

Key Visual

The triangle is also a great "key visual". Being straight and clean, it can be re-used to visualize the intended message. Examples?

Let's have a look at the LibreOffice artwork. More specifically, let's have a look at the splash screen ...

The triangles form a pattern in two of the corners. You may notice that the triangle of document symbol itself is aligned with the pattern and that all the triangles point towards the same direction.

Completely different is the "10th community anniversary" graphic. It re-uses the triangles to form ... just guess :-) And still, same direction.

Well, I hope this little "document symbol" journey was interesting for you. Now I can safely go on to add this item to our growing LibreOffice branding page. Tomorrow, of course.


Samstag, 16. Oktober 2010

Colorful and Pretty

A few days ago, somebody wrote on the LibreOffice marketing list:
"In any case, when you're designing the new logo graphics, can you
please make them colorful and pretty? The OpenOffice logo was a bit corporate, conservative and... dowdy... :-)"

I would like to add some thoughts here. And more specifically: What helps to turn an image into a good logo?

Let's start with the hypothesis, that "enhancing a clean and simple design is much easier than simplifying a complex visual design". Why is that important? Let's look at some questions that help to decide if something is a well designed logo ...


Can the logo be easily recognized?

If used in context, a logo needs to be recognized really quickly. One thing you can do is to provide a very clear shape that doesn't need much additional "visual explanation". For example, the STOP sign being octagonal and red can be easily recognized with a glimpse (to be honest, we are trained to recognize it, but it is much easier since the shape is very simple).

By the way, one of the next blog posts will discuss the Document Foundation logo in more detail.

Can the logo be used on different backgrounds?

A versatile logo can be used on different backgrounds - background colors. Well you might say, why not simple adapt the colors? Sometimes you have to adapt the colors, but if you do that, then the impact of the logo is reduced, too.

Is it possible to scale down the logo without much loss?

Logos used in different ways - within the product, on conferences, on websites, ... so the logo design itself has to be very flexible. For example, it should both work well when used on a gigantic banner and when used in the installer. Here is some example for the real Windows Installer (103 x 58 pixels) ...
You see, if you use text withing a logo, then the font has to be very clear. If one decides to use "joyful" fonts, then you will run into serious trouble when scaling :-)

Does it look good when displayed in one color only?

We may assume that everybody owns a color display - so displaying color is neither a huge problem on websites nor in the product (except: people with color blindness).

But, if you start to pay for T-Shirts or for large scale printings, then "monochrome" logos are a huge advantage. Or maybe you want to use flock-finishing ..

Does the logo allow to be used in different contexts?

As already said, a logo is used in different places ... also in the software itself. So a question should be whether it distracts when people do "real work" (e.g. when it is displayed in the StartCenter).


Please not that these examples do not (yet) consider any special guidelines. I just wanted to show what is possible with the current LibreOffice logo ... Please decide for yourself if the questions above can be easily answered.

What to wear? Timeless and simple ...

Or a more elegant alternative ...

Where to go for the developers? I mimicked the style of an old computer terminal ...

Carry on! Some bags, e.g. for the next trade fair.

Business card as un-usual. Some distinctive shape for a business card ... people will remember, I'm sure.

More Color, More Art

Having a very clear logo design, it is rather easy to derive a set of more creative graphics ... you might remember the 10th community anniversary graphic. So my proposal is to first get the basic tool right, and then using them with a lot of creativity. Go on!

By the way, Bernhard talked about product branding at the OOoCon some years ago - have a look: Visual Identity of Now and in Future - Logos, Icons and other branding bugs in OOo2 and OOo3 (OOoCon 2006)


And now some additional ideas ...

Dienstag, 12. Oktober 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to all the people who helped to grow LibreOffice and!

And - personally - a "Thank you for everything!" to all the volunteers and Oracle guys which I met over the past years and which I consider to be my close friends.

And by the way, the graphic (PNG, SVG) can be found on the temporary marketing page in the TDF Wiki. Spread the news ;-)


Montag, 11. Oktober 2010

Fontastic! How LibreOffice got its font ...

Two days ago, I talked about the LibreOffice colors and the reasons of the intermediate branding. Today, I picked a small but very important topic ... the font for the LibreOffice writing.

The Font

The two main requirements: look serious but modern, being available for all the contributors to create additional artwork. Simple, isn't it?

Within the branding initiative, a small team of well known contributors started a discussion concerning fonts. Thus, there is a very helpful compilation of different fonts and their use. After trying some of them, I decided to go for "Vegur". It just fits, I think.

Libre vs. Office

Focusing on the typographical emphasis, I had to make some decision whether we want to put emphasis on Libre, or Office, or both. Of course, we wanted to highlight the "Libre" part, so we used bold characters for that (next to the LibreGreen color). The default "Office" remains unchanged and therefore - hopefully - keeps a minimum of elegance and non-obtrusiveness.

Typographic Tweaks

A logo is a bit different from body text, therefore there was a need to tweak the font a bit. When using Vegur out of the box, then each of the characters sticks out at the intended size. To make it more compact, to let it appear as a whole, the letter-spacing had to be changed (distance between the letters). The good thing is, that decreasing the letter-spacing does also lead to fake ligatures (the straight connection between the two 'f').

Well, that's the story covering the font ... what will be the next? Don't know yet, but stay tuned! Or just tell me :-)


Samstag, 9. Oktober 2010

United Colors of Liberty

Why green?

Looking back some days, since the Document Foundation idea and LibreOffice has been announced, there have been both many questions and many proposals. But - as far as I remember - nobody ever asked: "Why green?"

Maybe our FAQ makes it very clear, LibreOffice is an intermediate name until all trademark questions are resolved. But since we had to use another name, we also had to substitute all the branding elements within the software. Despite being meant as a placeholder, we put - given the available time - a lot of effort into the branding you can now see in LibreOffice Beta, on the Document Foundation website and other locations.

Interested? I would like to explain how we came up with the visual design, the message "behind" the graphics. So let's start with the first blog posting ... let's start with "United Colors of Liberty" :-)

Base Color

The base color is a saturated green - why? When we thought about a new logo for LibreOffice, one member within our group presented a draft using this color for the term "Libre". Although we had also other proposals, I started to like the idea and also worked out a rough design proposal with the elements you already know (the document icon, the LibreOffice text, ...).

I picked some green and checked how "versatile" it was, how it behaved on different backgrounds. This is something I missed a bit with regard to the branding refresh. The bright and friendly blue is a bit picky with regard to the background color ... "Open" is rather bright and "" is black. Both have to be presented on the same (bright) background. For LibreOffice, I reduced the luminance to make it a bit more versatile.

But does it fit to our project? Each color has a certain meaning depending on the cultural background. The most common one for green seems to be "nature"; and that is what we want to achieve ... a friendly and natural evolution. Moreover, our friends at already use green in combination with blue. In my point-of-view, it fits very well.

But nothing decided yet ... it was still a proposal. We discussed all designs during a phone conference and when people decided to continue with the LibreOffice design you know now, I've asked whether they prefer green (the new color), or blue (the color). Interestingly, all participants agreed to go for green. It appeared to be a good choice.

So, we had the base color #18a303 (R24 G163 B3)  - a more friendly name might be LibreGreen :-)

Background Colors

A very easy task ... for the background we chose either white or rather bright gray, because it is very neutral. But might this be too boring? Maybe ...

Accent Colors

For several reasons, we needed some accent colors that nicely match with LibreGreen. The great little application Agave helped me to come up with three additional color proposals.

I repeated the steps in Agave several times until having a set of colors featuring different intensity (brightness). Those colors were good, but still needed some further polish. So I tweaked saturation and brightness until having a more or less balanced palette. One of those colors, LibreBlue, is also intended to build a visual bridge to

Especially one of the brighter LibreBlues has been used to provide a fresh look to both our website and the planet, e.g. for the bullets. All have been used to beautify the download buttons - have a look.

What I missed to do was some more research concerning color blindness issues like I did for the Notes2 (improved comments in Writer) colors. But that should be okay, the Libre colors are just meant to be accent colors and don't represent a palette for e.g. icon creation. Nevertheless, I assume that they don't perform that bad ...

Closing Words

I hope you enjoyed this first story covering the colors we are now able to chose from ... primarily. As I said, it is a temporary branding / name, but there was no reason to pick just "anything" without thinking. What do you think?

If you want to know more, just write a comment or contact us via our mailing lists. Next time, we might dig into the mysteries of the document icon, the arrows, or even the font/text creation. Let's see ...


Freitag, 8. Oktober 2010

Suspend Mode

Since quite some time we work on The Document Foundation thing ... pretty intensively, if I may say that. So - for me - it's time for suspend mode ... at least for two days. We do have some guests (family), therefore I hope you don't mind if my level of activity decreases a bit (maybe to close to zero *g*).

Thanks to everybody for supporting us ... not only in the meantime! Go on!!!


Donnerstag, 7. Oktober 2010

That's what others say: I like the name LibreOffice

In my last blog posting, I explained some background with regard to the name LibreOffice. Today, I just want to quote some of the mails we received on the [tdf-discuss] mailing list ... that made me smile :-)

Jean said ...

If I have to explain to someone what "LibreOffice" means, it's easy:
"Libre means free, as in liberty or freedom."

If I have to explain what "" means, it's a much bigger
problem, even without the complication of the ".org" part. Most people
have never heard of "open source" or "open standards" or "open" anything
else. How to explain it in less than ten words? And even if I do, most
people don't care, don't understand why they should care, and think I am
one of those geek fanatics for even talking about it. They shake their
heads and go away.

But "free, as in liberty" they can understand. They are interested,
enough for me to say "you can make as many copies as you like, and give
it away; it's all legal, no hassles."

Soon, Stefan added:

YES! :-)

Formerly, the office was opened, now it´s freed.  ;-)

Martín provided some thoughts, too:

I like the name very much, because it enhances i18n, it is a "more
universal" name, and it shows that multilingualism is important and global
multicultural cooperation is possible, or better, LibreOffice is a fact of
these both issues became reality



Sonntag, 3. Oktober 2010

Agreeing on the child's name ... a simple task?

This is my very first blog posting on an account I created quite some time ago ... usually I use the UX team blog, but today I'll mainly refer to LibreOffice. So a happy welcome to everybody :-)

So what is this posting about? It is about ...
... more precisely, I would like to talk about the name LibreOffice. There is no doubt that the idea behind The Document Foundation and LibreOffice is very well received, but I do hear some people talking about the suitability of name LibreOffice. And I also heard some name proposals.

Some people stated, that it is hard to spell in some languages (e.g. English), or that people won't get the meaning ("Libre"), or that it just feels uncool in comparison to competitors (Why "Office"?). And some expressed their wish to take part in the early decision process.

Let's start with the latter - everyone we talked with agreed that our ideas that had to be well prepared in advance ... I hope you will agree, too. This preparation led to the "backup name" that allows us to continue working on our beloved project until all trademark questions are finally resolved. You know, we still would like to continue to use it; see also our FAQ. But in any case, we really had to come up with something.

So we picked the very first name that came into mind? At least that is something people seem to think in the discussions. Well, it was somehow different ...

First, we started to collect all requirements for the new naming scheme. As you know, we do talk about the foundation, the software, and all kinds of other stuff (like events, technology, ...). And we work in an international context, with some other friends with us - e.g.

We started a huge brainstorming session ... which led to about a hundred names. We discussed many of them, e.g. "FreeOffice" being a good name in some regions, but for some people, "free" means "cheap". There were also some really weird name proposals, I don't want to state here. Okay, I thought having something like "Godzilla Foundation" would be a great addition to the Mozilla Foundation. Huge and cuddly ;-)

If the name seemed somehow usable, we started some very basic research - e.g. if the name implies strange meaning in other languages, or if the most common Internet domains are available. So we could shorten our list until only very few items were left.

The next step was to make sure that the name really fits to our goals. You remember the mission of our temporary steering group? Just a snippet: "[...] protect past investments by building on the solid achievements of our first decade [...]". Well, if we want to have some continuity, is it correct to use a completely different name to frighten users? No; we kept the "Office" part.

Historically, the ".org" part in confused many users - they thought that this is a domain name instead of the name of a free software. Even editors dropped it to avoid confusion within their readership - but how to communicate a name to the public if it doesn't appear in magazines or blogs? So we kept the ".org", but only for the domain name.

We went on in our list and we decided to go for "liberty", "libre", and therefore "LibreOffice". For this name, we did quite intensive research on already filed trademarks, the required URLs in the different countries, available social media names and tags, ... even if (slightly) mis-spelled URL locations might cause people to get lost in the web. Fortunately, everything went very well with this risk estimation.

This whole process took weeks ... and we were very serious about it (although I also had some doubts and proposed different names). We knew about some tiny compromises, but we really think that our name proposal does make sense for us being a Free Software community, that it expresses continuity, and that it is ready-to-serve in the Internet ...

So still having another name proposal? Please think about the implications ... instead, wouldn't it be better to fill the term "libre" with some life? Take part in something very unique? And help to shape something that deserves the name: LibreOffice

Simply join!

Christoph ... who expressed his personal opinion :-)