LibreOffice Gets More Code Clean-up for 4.1.0

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 13, 2013

LibreOffice 4.1.0 is right around the corner and developers are busy as beavers getting it ready. One of the things featured this release might be hard for ordinary users to see, but is every bit as important. Continued code refinement and clean-up will make LibreOffice 4.1.0 more efficient, smaller, and easier to contribute to and compile.

Michael Meeks posted of all their efforts today "under-the-hood" that he said "may seem trivial in isolation but cumulatively add up to a code-base that is far easier to understand and to contribute to." One of these is the build system that has now been fully converted to GNU make. Not only does this make it easier for users and distro developers to compile the code, but it also finishes much faster and leaves a smaller footprint. As Meeks put it, "No shell pollution, no 'bootstrap' script, no Perl build wrapper, no obsolete 'dmake' required, just plain GNU make files—and incredible build parallelism—after generating headers, we could utilize a thousand CPUs. This is a clean-cut task with a clear boundary; like the process of removing dead code in previous releases, it is now complete—freeing up developers for more interesting things."

LibreOffice developers are also working on reorganizing the build directory structure to eliminate duplicated files and convoluted build rules. Meeks said, "David Tardon has made some great progress moving this to use much simpler file-lists that we auto-generate. So—nowadays we have an instdir/ top-level (on which these file-lists operate) that starts to mirror the install— the hope being to do away with the make install phase for running inside the build tree. The hope is that, when this is complete we will have an office suite that is runnable out of the box after a make, without an extra install phase."

Other general application code-base has been getting cleaned up and streamlined too. One benefit of that being easier code to understand, check, and troubleshoot and thus frees up more time and energy for new or improved features. Meeks said a new set of automated tests is helping to weed out some of the "crasher bugs"  and all this adds up to a better LibreOffice for me and you.  He concludes 4.1 will be another milestone release and "a yet-higher watermark for code-quality, design improvement, and incrementally more solid foundations for improving the best office suite in the world."

See Meek's post for lots more details, cool graphs, and credits.

In other LibreOffice news, a LibreOffice Bug Confirmation (triage) Contest has begun.