[Tutor] Open a libreoffice calc file in Python

cs at zip.com.au cs at zip.com.au
Wed Dec 21 23:50:13 EST 2016

On 21Dec2016 21:54, boB Stepp <robertvstepp at gmail.com> wrote:
>On Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 9:37 PM, Jim Byrnes <jf_byrnes at comcast.net> wrote:
>> Python 3.4 on Ubuntu
>> If I was going to open a libreoffice calc file from the terminal I would go:
>> libreoffice --calc /home/path/to/myfile.ods.
>> How would I do this from Python?
>My first thought was:
>import os
>But looking at the documentation
>(https://docs.python.org/3/library/os.html#os.system) it says it is
>preferable to use the subprocess module with documentation here:
>It makes me wonder if I should go back and revisit some code I wrote
>as I used the os.system()approach.  But was this option available in
>Py 2.4.4?  I'll have to check.

Subprocess arrived with Python 2.4, so you should be fine.

To my mind the more important thing is to use the "shell=False" version of 
Popen. os.system() inherently accepts a shell command string, which means you 
need to hand quote the /home/path/to/myfile.ods. But it is better to pass an 
array of strings:

  ['libreoffice', '--calc', path_value]

where path_value is a Python variable containing "/home/path/to/myfile.ods" or 
whatever the path is. This way you don't need to do anything special for, um, 
"unusual" paths because you're not passing the string _through_ the shell.

BTW, the array form is Popen's default mode; sensibly you need to _ask_ to use 
a shell string with shell=True, because that is harder and more fragile.

Cameron Simpson <cs at zip.com.au>

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