Tuesday, June 21, 2011

LibreOffice is now in Debian Squeeze Backports

Turmoil in the free-office-suite world has led to the formation of the Document Foundation and its forking of OpenOffice.org into LibreOffice, and much if not most of the Linux world has declared its support for the more-community-oriented LibreOffice.

Just about every major (and most minor) Linux distribution that used to ship OpenOffice.org is now either already shipping or pledging to ship LibreOffice instead. I get the feeling that some will continue to offer OpenOffice in their repositories, but when it comes to the default office suite going forward, LibreOffice will fill that roll.

If I’m not incorrect, Ubuntu, OpenSuse and Fedora are already shipping LO.

And LibreOffice has been available in Debian Sid and Wheezy for awhile.

But what about Debian Squeeze, the project’s Stable release? Stable Debian releases traditionally don’t get new packages in their core repositories. That means LibreOffice will be included in the next Stable release, the current Testing release (Wheezy). Wheezy will be declared stable sometime in the future. I’d say a year from now.

But if you wanted LibreOffice in Squeeze until very recently, the package could be installed either from the Testing or Unstable archives.

Now there’s a “better,” safer way for Squeeze users to run LibreOffice …

The LO suite is now available in Squeeze Backports.

So how do you go about using Debian Backports? There are instructions, from which I have pulled the following for Squeeze users:

Add backports to your sources.list

Add this line

# deb http://backports.debian.org/debian-backports squeeze-backports main

to your sources.list (or add a new file to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/)

Run apt-get update

Install a package from backports

All backports are deactivated by default (i.e. the packages are pinned to 100 by using ButAutomaticUpgrades: yes in the Release files. If you want to install something from backports run:

# apt-get -t squeeze-backports install "package"

of course you can use aptitude as well:

# aptitude -t squeeze-backports install "package"

So to install LibreOffice, you’d run:

# aptitude -t squeeze-backports install libreoffice