A few days ago I was surprised to learn that LibreOffice was to get a brand new interface called Citrus. The series of mock-ups called Citrus are not a surprise, they are the result of the enthusiastic work of Mirek M. with the feedback of our Design team. However, the fact that a OMGUbuntu could write an article claiming that Citrus was going to become LibreOffice’s user interface got me thinking.
LibreOffice has an aging interface. It’s not just that it has many defaults, because, as much of the software packed with features tends to have this problem; it’s that LibreOffice looks a bit like it’s living in 2003. That reason alone is enough to want to change the whole UI. However the LibreOffice codebase is, despite constant clean-ups somewhat too complex to have its UI change overnight. Therefore we will be able to do so in an incremental fashion. What is needed is specifications developers can work with that target one specific user interface feature. With that, developers are able to “swallow” the specification and possibly implement it in a specific time frame. Will Citrus be the next LibreOffice UI? I don’t know. But if the design team is good at writing specifications (something some of its active members are in the process of learning) we might get to something that will have much in common with Citrus. The fineprint on this, however is that we need motivated volunteers able to work on UI improvements in an effective fashion, and developers’ resource to implement them. If you are interested and would like to help, please join!