LibreOffice is diving into desktop publishing

LibreOffice is diving into desktop publishing

Last week at LibreOffice Conference in Paris there was quite an interesting presentation of a project that has the potential of dramatically changing the somewhat unevenly developing landscape of free desktop publishing applications.

László Németh of FSF.hu Foundation spoke about plans and ongoing work to make LibreOffice more suitable for complex desktop publishing tasks and typesetting. If you ever used the typography toolbar extension in OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice, then you probably don't need him introduced. For the rest of you László is likely to become a new superhero in heavy disguise.

Things that are being worked on or currently in plans: better support for complex scripts, GUI for advanced text and paragraph setting, a microtypography slider, lots of improvements to PDF exporting such as creating proper CMYK PDFs and setting cropbox. This won't make LibreOffice Writer directly compete against InDesign or QuarkXPress, but it's a great help in producing documents that look really well.

László has just published slides from his talk which you can download here. For your convenience we uploaded them to SlideShare:


For LibreOffice 3.4 the plan is to integrate Graphite 2 — a new version of the Graphite font engine that deals with complex and minor scripts (previous version of Graphite has been supported since OpenOffice.org v3.2). Some of the features require standardization work, e.g. there is a proposal for adding font feature support to the Open Document Format (see here). László is also working on Graphite versions of Linux Libertine and Linux Biolinum fonts. You can find additional information at his website.

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7 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. The 3rd page mentions Scribus and windows and orphan : Scribus 1.5 will provide Widow / Orphan control. The code has been comited (see http://bugs.scribus.net/print_bug_page.php?bug_id=10227)

    Scribus has become pretty usable as a complete DTP tool now with version 1.4.

  2. Alexandre Prokoudine 19 October 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Scribus 1.5 will provide Widow / Orphan control. The code has been comited

    Well, I guess not everyone is up to date re most unstable branch. This is definitely a way forward. Lack of widow/orphan control has been annoying users for long, long LONG time :) Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thats great news. I’ve been struggling a lot with OpenOffice while writing documents at the university. I never got it that visualy satisfying you could achive by using Tex or Indesign.

  4. So it’s competing with Scribus? Personally, I’d like to see a robust blog publishing tool instead. The Sun Weblog extension for OOo and LO are broken for the Linux platforms.

  5. Alexandre Prokoudine 22 October 2011 at 6:05 pm

    @Rick

    Yes, I think they will compete to some extent. There’s always a niche for people migrating from MS Publisher, and LibreOffice will fit there just fine.

  6. Page layout is not only typography. Way how OO and LO (and others text editors) works with images and graphics, bezier curves, gradients and CMYK color space is edge where simply text formatting is difference to professional DTP layouting.
    As Scribus 1.3.x was rather below DTP level (for me level of PageMaker 2.0 or MS publisher), current upcoming 1.4 stable release will be at least at semi-professional level which fit 80% usage cases. It could be on higher level (maybe next releases of 1.4.x tree have been), but new features are directed for 1.5 tree (I hope, some of them were be ported back to 1.4.x). Development of new features, which are requested by users for years, is very accelerated last time.
    Most important for Scribus now is to get working support for non-latin languages. Other features arrives one by one. In year (at least, I hope) Scribus in 1.5 tree will be competitor for InDesign or Quark, not for Libre Office.

  7. Great! thanks for the share!