Journey to LibreOffice Conference Indonesia

Before The Conference

It started with the idea of having a Mini Conference (50 – 100) in Surabaya (East Java). At first, we are not too sure if having this kind of Conference will attract a lot of people.

Majority of people here are not familiar with LibreOffice,they probably know only Microsoft Office. Despite some concerns, KLAS (Kelompok Linux Arek Suroboyo) and other open source activists continue to organize this Conference. Around 500 people were coming to the Conference, this is far from the initial target of Mini Conference.

Our company (Fans Shoes Manufacture) have used LibreOffice for more than five years. We were very excited to know about this LibreOffice Conference. Mr Ahmad Haris (My buddy from Blankon Linux) were asking us to contribute to LibreOffice Conference. We are delighted to help. Through the help of Rania Amia, we participated in making promotional video of LibreOffice Conference.


To make the Conference more attractive, our company is sponsoring our mascot dolls (Bimbim) as souvenir.

I informed Mr Stephanus Koeswandi Vice President of PT. Tatalogam Lestari (Producer of DOMUS permanent Instant house) about this Conference. He was excited and his company became one of the sponsors for this conference.


One Day Before the Conference

I arrived at Surabaya on Thursday afternoon. I met Darian to give hundreds of our mascot dolls for LibreOffice souvenir. In the evening, I met Ahmad Haris and his family, Andika Triwidada, Moko, and several others open source activists in Rawon Setan restaurant. I also met Franklin Weng and Eric Sun, my friends from Taiwan who I have met several time at Gnome Asia Conference. Eric and Franklin Weng tried the Rawon (East Java delicacy food). Most of the time, we were talking about food.

Workshop Day

My first trip to PENS. I didn’t participate in the workshop. I came here to make some preparation for our joined booth (Fans, Blankon, and Ridon).


2018-03-24 08-28-27

I and several other guests were invited to have lunch with PENS directors. During the lunch, I addressed my concern about having difficulty to find school/university graduate who are capable of using free open source software like LibreOffice, Inkscape,GIMP,etc. One of director told me that due to very small demand for FOSS users,Schools and University in Indonesia do not put great effort for teaching FOSS. I am quite optimistic that one day Indonesian industry will embrace FOSS. Well, at least I am grateful to know that PENS promise to put some effort to promote the use of FOSS.


At night, we had another great dinner. I had a great chat with Siska (Gnome lady,Endless Ambassador) and others, again talking about food.

Day One

I met my close buddy, Sokibi at the booth. Sokibi is our company savior in migrating to FOSS.



He wrote Inkscape Manual book. This was my first time to see the LibreOffice book that he wrote. Our company sponsored both of his book and they are very useful for us.


I went to see Mr Riki Arif Gunawan demoing the use of Digital Signature in LibreOffice. I hope his effort in promoting digital signature will be fruitful since our country is having a lot of problem with fake document,email, and fighting big time to counter hoax news.

I came early to the classroom to make preparation for my presentation.

I was using Rock64(ARM SBC similar to Rasberry Pi) to run LibreOffice Impress. Some of attendee were surprised to see how this inexpensive tiny computer (I paid around US$50) could run full blown software like LibreOffice.

During my presentation I gave quiz to the audience.

It is a modified question of PISA test which is very easy to answer if we know how to use sorting tool in LibreOffice Calc. I prepared 3 gifts, but unfortunately only one could answer the quiz correctly. Most of the audience also never use pivot table which is very easy in LibreOffice. From around 50 audiences, only 3 (three) person who have used LibreOffice. We definitely have a big job to introduce LibreOffice in Indonesia.

LibreOffice Conference Indonesia

After my presentation, I went back to check on the booth. It was crowded. Sokibi is very popular to get his picture taken and busy signing his LibreOffice book. I came to answer some question about our Fans shoes product.

I met Mr Aftian, agribusiness owner who is also contributor to Blankon Linux. He and several others are the creator of custom Blankon Linux OS for our company. We discussed a lot about herding. The more I talk to him the more likely I will be a vegetarian.


I also met Henry from Bali, he is marketing Brazilian Havaianas flipflop in Indonesia. Like us he said he also use pivot table tool in LibreOffice Calc to analyze his sales report.

At night,we had another dinner. This time, I spent time with Sokibi and Suntoro (SMK Teacher from Semarang) . This time, we didn’t talk about food, but a rather small discussion about Indonesian education.

2018-03-24 20-42-16

Day Two

After the morning mass, I came back to the PENS. I went to see Italo presentation about some cool features of LibreOffice 6.

LibreOffice Conference Indonesia

At noon, Italo, Franklin, and I were having lunch together. This was the first time, I got a chance to chat with Italo. Before I met Italo, Franklin told me that Italo will not eat plain banana. Actually, there are more thing that Italo doesn’t like. If you want to torture him with food, serve him pineapple pizza along with cheap powdered instant coffee mix as beverage,plus simple plain ripe banana for dessert.

Enough with the food joke. I asked Frankin and Italo about how to solve a problem migrating to LibreOffice particularly with the use of MS Office type of Macro. First,they told me the reason LO doesn’t have a MS Office implementation of Macro is because of security issue. Well, It is not strange to discover MS Excel file that is contaminated with Macro virus. It is better to have a third party program to interact with LO in dealing with Macro migration. Italo also mentioned from thousands of possible LibreOffice customization during migration, only less than 50 is necessary. The rest are probably garbage. One common mistake is the use of spreadsheet to be treated as a database software. It is dangerous because when the spreadsheet file is corrupted, the whole data could be gone. Italo also mention during migration process, he discovered a funny, tedious and repetitive work that is unnecessary because of simple human issue like trust and fear of change. Currently, there are approximately 200 Million LibreOffice users in the world. That is a big number, almost as big as Indonesian population.

We had another lovely Indonesian dinner. I have learned more Italian food and culture. Interesting fact, Lunch time start after 01.00 PM in Italy. Italy is just starting to have Starbuck coffee in 2018. Don’t waste your time finding Pizza Hut in Italy.

In Summary, I have a great time at LibreOffice Conference in Surabaya. We should have more event like this in Asia. There are a lot of opportunity for LibreOffice migration in Asia especially in Indonesia. From this conference, we can learn not only about technology, but also a chance to learn different culture and FOOD. Special Thanks to Darian and friends from KLAS, and PENS team for successfully organizing this event.


About sepatufans

Berkualitas Kuat Nyaman Dan Tahan Lama
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