If you are not a computer programmer, graphics designer, technical writer, or a web developer, one way to assist in the development of open-source software, such as the LibreOffice suite, is to test pre-release versions of the software as these are developed. If any bugs are identified these can be reported to the development team so that they can be fixed in future builds. A really neat feature of LibreOffice is that a development version can be installed in parallel with a stable release that is being used as a “daily driver”.
As an example, we will install the nightly build for LibreOffice 7.0 as of June 8, 2020. The sequence of operations is given below. Note that I establish a folder named lo in the Downloads folder of my home directory (home/toaster) as a working location for the test build of the software.
(1) Download the nightly build as the file libreoffice-7-0_2020-06-08_06.00.18_LibreOfficeDev_188.8.131.52.beta1_Linux_x86-64_deb.tar.gz from
https://dev-builds.libreoffice.org/daily/libreoffice-7-0/ to the folder Downloads/lo
(2) Navigate to the lo folder
(3) Unpack the build using:
tar -vxzf libreoffice-7-0_2020-06-08_06.00.18_LibreOfficeDev_184.108.40.206.beta1_Linux_x86-64_deb.tar.gz
This creates a folder named LibreOfficeDev_220.127.116.11.beta1_Linux_x86-64_deb and a sub-folder DEBS
(4) Change directory to LibreOfficeDev_18.104.22.168.beta1_Linux_x86-64_deb/DEBS and issue the command:
for i in *.deb; do dpkg-deb -x $i . ; done
This creates the sub-folder opt/libreofficedev7.0/program under the DEBS folder, and this sub-folder contains the LibreOffice executable modules: Writer (swriter), Calc (scalc), Impress (simpress), etc.
(6) To test the development version of the Writer module, my preference is to create a program launcher with:
Name = Writer Development
Command = /home/toaster/Downloads/lo/LibreOfficeDev_22.214.171.124.beta1_Linux_x86-64_deb/DEBS/opt/libreofficedev7.0/program/swriter
You are now in a position to test the current version (nightly build) of the next release of LibreOffice, while maintaining the stable version of the package for general usage.
Most bugs are reported through the Bugzilla platform.
LibreOffice – Development versions
Installing several versions of LibreOffice in parallel
How to Report Bugs in LibreOffice