LibreOffice Stable Release launched

Non Oracle Open Office completes important milestone- from the press release

The Document Foundation launches LibreOffice 3.3

The first stable release of the free office suite is available for download

The Internet, January 25, 2011 – The Document Foundation launches LibreOffice 3.3, the first stable release of the free office suite developed by the community. In less than four months, the number of developers hacking LibreOffice has grown from less than twenty in late September 2010, to well over one hundred today. This has allowed us to release ahead of the aggressive schedule set by the project.

Not only does it ship a number of new and original features, LibreOffice 3.3 is also a significant achievement for a number of reasons:

– the developer community has been able to build their own and independent process, and get up and running in a very short time (with respect to the size of the code base and the project’s strong ambitions);

– thanks to the high number of new contributors having been attracted into the project, the source code is quickly undergoing a major clean-up to provide a better foundation for future development of LibreOffice;

– the Windows installer, which is going to impact the largest and most diverse user base, has been integrated into a single build containing all language versions, thus reducing the size for download sites from 75 to 11GB, making it easier for us to deploy new versions more rapidly and lowering the carbon footprint of the entire infrastructure.

Caolán McNamara from RedHat, one of the developer community leaders, comments, “We are excited: this is our very first stable release, and therefore we are eager to get user feedback, which will be integrated as soon as possible into the code, with the first enhancements being released in February. Starting from March, we will be moving to a real time-based, predictable, transparent and public release schedule, in accordance with Engineering Steering Committee’s goals and users’ requests”. The LibreOffice development roadmap is available at

LibreOffice 3.3 brings several unique new features. The 10 most-popular among community members are, in no particular order:

  1. the ability to import and work with SVG files;
  2. an easy way to format title pages and their numbering in Writer;
  3. a more-helpful Navigator Tool for Writer;
  4. improved ergonomics in Calc for sheet and cell management;
  5. and Microsoft Works and Lotus Word Pro document import filters.

In addition, many great extensions are now bundled, providing

PDF import,

a slide-show presenter console,

a much improved report builder, and more besides.

A more-complete and detailed list of all the new features offered by LibreOffice 3.3 is viewable on the following web page:

LibreOffice 3.3 also provides all the new features of 3.3, such as new custom properties handling; embedding of standard PDF fonts in PDF documents; new Liberation Narrow font; increased document protection in Writer and Calc; auto decimal digits for “General” format in Calc; 1 million rows in a spreadsheet; new options for CSV import in Calc; insert drawing objects in Charts; hierarchical axis labels for Charts; improved slide layout handling in Impress; a new easier-to-use print interface; more options for changing case; and colored sheet tabs in Calc. Several of these new features were contributed by members of the LibreOffice team prior to the formation of The Document Foundation.

LibreOffice hackers will be meeting at FOSDEM in Brussels on February 5 and 6, and will be presenting their work during a one-day workshop on February 6, with speeches and hacking sessions coordinated by several members of the project.

The home of The Document Foundation is at

The home of LibreOffice is at where the download page has been redesigned by the community to be more user-friendly.

*** About The Document Foundation

The Document Foundation has the mission of facilitating the evolution of the OOo Community into a new, open, independent, and meritocratic organization within the next few months. An independent Foundation is a better reflection of the values of our contributors, users and supporters, and will enable a more effective, efficient and transparent community. TDF will protect past investments by building on the achievements of the first decade, will encourage wide participation within the community, and will co-ordinate activity across the community.

*** Media Contacts for TDF

Florian Effenberger (Germany)

Mobile: +49 151 14424108 – E-mail:

Olivier Hallot (Brazil)

Mobile: +55 21 88228812 – E-mail:

Charles H. Schulz (France)

Mobile: +33 6 98655424 – E-mail:

Italo Vignoli (Italy)

Mobile: +39 348 5653829 – E-mail:

Handling time and date in R

John Harrison's famous chronometer
Image via Wikipedia

One of the most frustrating things I had to do while working as financial business analysts was working with Data Time Formats in Base SAS. The syntax was simple enough and SAS was quite good with handing queries to the Oracle data base that the client was using, but remembering the different types of formats in SAS language was a challenge (there was a date9. and date6 and mmddyy etc )

Data and Time variables are particularly important variables in financial industry as almost everything is derived variable from the time (which varies) while other inputs are mostly constants. This includes interest as well as late fees and finance fees.

In R, date and time are handled quite simply-

Use the strptime( dataset, format) function to convert the character into string

For example if the variable dob is “01/04/1977) then following will convert into a date object


and if the same date is 01Apr1977



does the same

For troubleshooting help with date and time, remember to enclose the formats

%d,%b,%m and % Y in the same exact order as the original string- and if there are any delimiters like ” -” or “/” then these delimiters are entered in exactly the same order in the format statement of the strptime

Sys.time() gives you the current date-time while the function difftime(time1,time2) gives you the time intervals( say if you have two columns as date-time variables)


What are the various formats for inputs in date time?

Abbreviated weekday name in the current locale. (Also matches full name on input.)
Full weekday name in the current locale. (Also matches abbreviated name on input.)
Abbreviated month name in the current locale. (Also matches full name on input.)
Full month name in the current locale. (Also matches abbreviated name on input.)
Date and time. Locale-specific on output, "%a %b %e %H:%M:%S %Y" on input.
Day of the month as decimal number (01–31).
Hours as decimal number (00–23).
Hours as decimal number (01–12).
Day of year as decimal number (001–366).
Month as decimal number (01–12).
Minute as decimal number (00–59).
AM/PM indicator in the locale. Used in conjunction with %I and not with %H. An empty string in some locales.
Second as decimal number (00–61), allowing for up to two leap-seconds (but POSIX-compliant implementations will ignore leap seconds).
Week of the year as decimal number (00–53) using Sunday as the first day 1 of the week (and typically with the first Sunday of the year as day 1 of week 1). The US convention.
Weekday as decimal number (0–6, Sunday is 0).
Week of the year as decimal number (00–53) using Monday as the first day of week (and typically with the first Monday of the year as day 1 of week 1). The UK convention.
Date. Locale-specific on output, "%y/%m/%d" on input.
Time. Locale-specific on output, "%H:%M:%S" on input.
Year without century (00–99). Values 00 to 68 are prefixed by 20 and 69 to 99 by 19 – that is the behaviour specified by the 2004 POSIX standard, but it does also say ‘it is expected that in a future version the default century inferred from a 2-digit year will change’.
Year with century.
Signed offset in hours and minutes from UTC, so -0800 is 8 hours behind UTC.
(output only.) Time zone as a character string (empty if not available).

Also to read the helpful documentation (especially for time zone level, and leap year seconds and differences)


PySpread Magic

Python logo
Image via Wikipedia

Just working with PySpread- and worked on a 1 million by 1 million spreadsheet- Python sure looks promising for the way ahead for stat computing ( you need to

sudo apt-get install python-numpy python-rpy python-scipy python-gmpy wxpython*,

cd to the untarred bz2 file from,  (like

:~/Downloads$ cd pyspread-0.1.2


sudo python install


by Martin Manns


about Pyspread is a cross-platform Python spreadsheet application. It is based on and written in the programming language Python.

Instead of spreadsheet formulas, Python expressions are entered into the spreadsheet cells. Each expression returns a Python object that can be accessed from other cells. These objects can represent anything including lists or matrices.

Pyspread screenshot
  • Three dimensional grid with up to 85,899,345 rows and 14,316,555 columns (64 bit systems, depends on row height and column width). Note that a million cells require about 500 MB of memory.
  • Complex data types such as lists, trees or matrices within a single cell.
  • Macros for functionalities that are too complex for a single Python expression.
  • Python module access from each cell, which allows:
    • Arbitrary size rational numbers (via gmpy),
    • Fixed point decimal numbers for business calculations, (via the decimal module from the standard library)
    • Advanced statistics including plotting functions (via RPy)
    • Much more via <your favourite module>.
  • CSV import and export
  • Clipboard access
Pyspread screenshot

warning The concept of pyspread allows doing everything from each cell that a Python script can do. This powerful feature has its drawbacks. A spreadsheet may very well delete your hard drive or send your data via the Internet. Of course this is a non-issue if you sandbox properly or if you only use self developed spreadsheets.

Since this is not the case for everyone (see discussion at, a GPG signature based trust model for spreadsheet files has been introduced. It ensures that only your own trusted files are executed on loading. Untrusted files are displayed in safe mode. You can approve a file manually. Inspect carefully.