Horrible Libre Office bug

I was editing an .odt document using LO Writer, saving periodically. While I was away from the machine, the battery ran out. When I switched on again, the .odt file was still there, but contained 0 bytes of data. The entire contents of the document had been lost. I hadn’t set LO to make backups. The copy on Ubuntu One had already synced to the 0 bytes version. Yikes!

Purely by luck, I had booted to my MS Windows partition on the same machine not too long before the power outage. A previous version of the .odt file had synced to the Ubuntu One folder on the Windows partition and was still there to be retrieved. Phew! Of course, had I booted to the Windows partition after the power outage, with an internet connection, that would have synced to the 0 bytes version as well. Horrible.

This was LibreOffice 3.4.4 on Ubuntu 11.10.

The bug is well known, and has been fixed in a more recent version. But the more recent version is not in the Ubuntu repositories yet.

I am now going to do the following:

  1. get the new version of LO.
  2. review my backup procedures. LO can be set to make automatic backups: Tools > Options > Loan/Save (General) > Always create backup copy. This saves a backup file to ~/.libreoffice/3/user/backup/
  3. wonder what other unpleasant issues might be lurking in LO.

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