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Some questions/comments on LibreOffice Portable.

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Abraxian
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Some questions/comments on LibreOffice Portable.

My questions and comments concern both LibreOffice Portable Still and LibreOffice Portable Fresh.

Angel For both Still and Fresh the full version number of LibreOffice is not shown in the download pages. Things would be improved if the full version number were stated. Specifically, if the user intends to install the Offline Help Pack then currently the user needs to do the following:

(1) Download and install Still or Fresh.
(2) Launch Still or Fresh and then get the full version number from there.
(3) Now that the user knows the full version number -- go and get the corresponding Offline Help Pack and install that.

This is actually quite a lot of work that would be considerably simplified if the full version number was displayed at the Portable Apps download page for Still and Fresh. It would also be of help for users that like to manually download and install updates themselves. As things stand, in some circumstances, there might be no way of knowing if the download offered is actually an update or not. For example, suppose the current download stated at the download page is "6.1.5" (which is an incomplete version number, this might actually be for "6.1.5.2") and then the offered version changes to "6.1.5.4" (which Portable Apps will state as being "6.1.5" (again) even though the version has actually changed). As you can see there is a difficulty here for users being able to determine if Still or Fresh have actually been updated or not.

(B) At the download page for Fresh and Still no statement is made on the 'bit-ness' of the downloads available. This would be good information to include in the download webpages. Again this would help folks that intend to install the Offline Help Pack. As things stand the only way I could find the bit-ness of the installed LibreOffice was to launch Windows Task Manager, get the information from in there and then go get the appropriate Help Pack.

(C) For LibreOffice Still the download file and the default location to install too don't match the information given at the download page. Confusing in the following ways:

(1) The download page states that the application on offer is "LibreOffice Still".
(2) The user downloads the file and finds that what they get is a file named in the fashion "LibreOfficePortablePrevious_6.1.5_MultilingualStandard.paf.exe" (again I would note lack of a full version number for the version of LibreOffice that will be installed).
(3) This seeming replacement strikes me as odd (and slight confusing). Why isn't the file more sensibly titled "LibreOfficePortableStill_6.1.5_MultilingualStandard.paf.exe"? Why switch from "Still" to "Previous"?
(4) The user then launches the installer and the offered default install location is of the fashion "W:\LibreOfficePortablePrevious". Again, "Still" is replaced by "Previous". Okay, it is easy for users to adjust this themselves, but it just strikes me as odd and unnecessary. I think it would be simpler and more consistent just sticking with the "Still" label for the downloaded file and for the default install location.

Gord Caswell
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I'll reply to your questions in order.

  1. LibreOffice as a project uses three-digit version numbers, and we use the same as they do. The help packs are also presented by LibreOffice using three-digit numbers as well.
  2. Unless specifically noted otherwise, our applications are all 32 bit, including LibreOffice.
  3. We did not have both Still and Fresh as options when LibreOffice Portable was first released. Once we started releasing both Still and Fresh variants, we needed to delineate between the two and this method was the method chosen to use. As this naming convention has been used to this point, to maintain consistency we will be maintaining the same convention going forward. Note that the Still variant is noted as such in the platform.
Abraxian
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Well...

A. LibreOffice as a project uses three-digit version numbers, and we use the same as they do. The help packs are also presented by LibreOffice using three-digit numbers as well.

Only partially true and doesn't take into account the process chain that users of LO Portable needs to go down to get the offline help pack."

It's true to extent that if a user was downloading a fully install-able version of LO from the official webpage then the user gets presented with a three-digit version number -- this is just bad practice. What is the purpose of the obfuscation in informing the user of the full version number of the download they are about to make? And why does Portable Apps go along with that obfuscation -- what is its purpose? However, even as things stand at LO official download, a user wanting the help pack for that version of LO just has to click a link and the correct help pack for that version of LO will be downloaded for them in the same language that LO is being downloaded in. That's fine as it stands but it is still an exercise in obfuscation.

For people that are downloading LO Portable your conclusion that three-digit version numbers are okay because that's what official LO downloads use breaks down. The reason is that for a user of LO Portable to get the appropriate language help pack has to go to this webpage:

https://downloadarchive.documentfoundation.org/libreoffice/old/

There you will see that LO state the full four-digit version numbers for all the offerings in the list. Why? Because they know they need to, the help pack version must match the LO download version exactly. This is where the LO Portable users must go if they want the help pack for their version of LO Portable, be that Still or Fresh -- LO Portable will most often be an 'old' version relative to what the official version is that is currently available for download. And in that circumstance the user needs the full (let's call it) four-digit version number. This will always happen to users of LO Portable, Still or Fresh, that want to install the appropriate offline help pack. And to that extent I do think that LO Portable should keep users in mind when stating the version of current LO Portable, Still and Fresh. You're just saying, can't be bothered doing that. If three-digits is good enough for the official download then it's good enough for LO Portable. And if the users want the four-digit version number then they just have to get it themselves --- even though LO official does state four-digit numbers at the 'old' link given above.

B. Unless specifically noted otherwise, our applications are all 32 bit, including LibreOffice.

Then state that on your download pages. Again, why the obfuscation?

C. We did not have both Still and Fresh as options when LibreOffice Portable was first released. Once we started releasing both Still and Fresh variants, we needed to delineate between the two and this method was the method chosen to use. As this naming convention has been used to this point, to maintain consistency we will be maintaining the same convention going forward. Note that the Still variant is noted as such in the platform.

Kind of breaks your rule for 'A.' above -- "we do this because LO official do it", except when it comes to naming Still 'Still' because... Well, just because.
I don't use Portable Apps Platform so obfuscating matters and making the Fresh statement only for users of the Platform is wasted on me and other users that don't use the Platform.

All the above said thanks for packing up LO Portable. Whether you want to easily improve that a bit is, of course, up to Portable Apps -- but I can't think of a single reason why obfuscation should be part of Portable Apps' policies. What purpose does it serve? How many times a week do you find you need to know the exact version number of 'whatever' application on your computer? I do quite frequently and I couldn't run a computer properly without that information. Why not extend the courtesy to your users and provide it at the point of download? It's no more complicated than adding a 'dot' and a digit.

Use Portable Apps on both Flash Drive and HDD/SSD.

John T. Haller
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3 Digits, 32-bit, Still

3 digit versions are used by LibreOffice themselves. We follow the publisher's public presentation in this respect. If you have an issue with that, you'd need to address it with the publisher directly. See their download page here which uses 3 digit version numbers exactly like we do: https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/

There is only one stable 6.2.4 release, not multiple ones of differing fourth version numbers. LibreOffice names their help files with the full 4, possibly to take into account previous beta releases or to denote an update after the stable app was released. I do not know which. You'd need to ask them.

All our apps are 32-bit only except where necessary to include the 64-bit for compatibility or when the 64-bit version offers a significant performance advantage. In those cases we package dual mode apps with both versions and the launcher automatically selects the correct one. This has been discussed ad nauseum in other topics and is not related to your request regarding help files. 95% of users don't understand 32-bit vs 64-bit so stating that an app is 32-bit will cause some users to think it won't work on their system. Even advanced users don't understand 64-bit operating systems supporting 32-bit binaries as is evidenced by the confusing over Ubuntu and MacOS dropping 32-bit compatibility and the publishers and users not understanding why that means losing access to a ton of apps and games (and why Steam is dropping Ubuntu support as a result). Please read the other topics on this and if you have additional questions that have not already been covered, ask them there.

LibreOfficePrevious is the App ID used by the system. In the PortableApps.com Platform, which is how 75% of our users get their apps, this App ID does not appear anywhere in the download or install/update process. For direct users, it says LibreOffice Portable Still and Fresh right on the appropriate pages, so it would be almost impossible to download the wrong one if you were looking for Still. LibreOfficePortablePrevious was selected as the App ID in conjunction with the publisher when they first released Still as they were not yet sure that name would not change, so we picked one that represented what it was, the previous version of LibreOffice that was still getting security updates/bug fixes only. In local mode, both Fresh and Still installers have no indication in their filename which they are (LibreOffice_6.2.4_Win_x64.msi) and install to the same location by default, one overwriting the other. Our system is setup so that users have them installed side by side by default so they can have multiple versions updated automatically with ease, something the local version can not do.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

mhonline
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plans for LO-64-bit?

Hello
Just being courious: Will there be a LO-64-bit thogether with a portable 64-bit OpenJDK?

rgds
mh

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