PPAs and LibreOffice

Waow, two posts in two days. I have to calm down. Anyway, I wanted to answer publicly to a question that has been asked on our mailing lists, on IRC, through private mails, and I’m sure it will be asked by the press at some point. I’m not an Ubuntu user, I’m an Archer. But my fiancée and my father use Ubuntu on a daily basis, and I also took the time to fetch some information about LibreOffice PPAs. What seems to be the problem? As you are aware, we have just released LibreOffice 3.4.1 and our scheduled, fixed release time does not always coincide with Ubuntu (or any other distribution) release. Therefore people -but it seems mostly Ubuntu users- ask for PPAs of LibreOffice, in other words, packages that are ready to install on their system with the most recent stable version of LibreOffice.

First I would like to thank everyone for their interest in LibreOffice! Second, I think it’s very important to understand that there’s a difference between PPAs and the default version shipped by Ubuntu. Just like any other distribution, Ubuntu releases a full GNU/Linux system that comes with a set of fully defined and qualified packages. Unless Ubuntu chooses to upgrade these packages themselves, they won’t move or change until the next version of the distribution is released.  PPAs are a community based and convenient way to use more up-to-date version of software packages, but do not expect the same quality or to have a fault-proof software running; it’s an upgrade for the users who wish to enjoy their system with more spice and not run a stable and fixed system with little or no change from the original release.

In the case of LibreOffice, it is very important to realize that THE  DOCUMENT FOUNDATION DOES NOT RELEASE ITS OWN PPAs. Please don’t ask us to release a PPA. Inside the LibreOffice, each GNU/Linux distribution is responsible for its own packaging. We do however release .debs and .rpms but these are our very own. The packages you will find in many distributions tend to be optimized or repackaged by the distribution developers themselves.  So if you look at Launchpad, you will see that the LibreOffice PPAs are there and are mostly done by the official Canonical LibreOffice team. They’re members of the Document Foundation themselves, but do not expect the Document Foundation to release PPAs, as it is this team’s sole choice (mostly based on their own remaining available time, I would imagine).

If you really want to help, I would suggest you join the Ubuntu team, or start packaging your own PPA. And you will always have the possibility to install the .debs by yourself by downloading them directly on the LibreOffice website.  Also please check our general release plan for an overview of our general release timing in 2011 and 2012.

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