My sister-in-law Marion Crook was kind enough to give this introduction at the book launch for “Designing with LibreOffice:”
I have known Bruce Byfield for over thirty years. He has always loved words. We have had debates about the precise meanings of words and their etiology. He has long been interested in how words look on a page.
I am happy to be here at the launch of his book Designing with LibreOffice.
The notion of information being available free to any who want to learn is in keeping with Bruce’s ideals around sharing and education equity. He has consistently worked on the programs that preceded Libre Office and committed himself to making the tools of the computer world more available to all. It seems as though LibreOffice was almost created to suit his philosophy.
He tells me that Jean Webber, the editor of this book, wanted something that allowed users to understand style and templates–but not a manual. Bruce’s unique and detailed understanding of this subject made him the author of choice.
Bruce has been a writer for many years and has some 1800 articles many of those pertaining to this subject, and one previous book to his credit. As a writer myself I have admired his tenacity, an absolutely necessary personality quality in a writer, and his expertise in this field.
My sister, Trish Williams, was married to Bruce until we sadly lost her six years ago. She was an enthusiastic support of Bruce’s writing and had a firm belief in his ability. At one point ,when Bruce was in a low of doubting his own abilities, he told her he was going to burn his books. He had some copies of his book, the one with the red and white cover? Trish hustled over to my place and said, “Hide these for me. I refuse to burn them. He’s very good.” So I kept them until Bruce came to realize his own talent.
Bruce and I got the first computers; we thought they were marvelous. It wasn’t really so long ago that using a computer set us apart from other writers. I used a computer to get the books written. Bruce enjoyed the process of using a computer and was enthusiastic about what programs could do and how much they could do. He tried different ways of producing results while I kept doing the same thing and was annoyed when I had to learn a new program. Bruce loved it all.
He could talk about computer programs until my eyes glazed, but he could command the attention of other computer enthusiasts because he both understood the new ideas and pushed to learn more. I suppose that’s how you get to be an expert.
He tells me that he thought the books needed to be written so that users of LibreOffice could get the most out of the program. He has worked for three years on this making sure that his exacting standards of word use and command of language produced concise, efficient prose. Knowing Bruce I am sure it also contains humour.