"Sniper fire from the near balconies was all but over."
What does it actually mean?
The fire was: over/almost over/far from over?
Thank you in advance
"All but over” means almost over.
"Anything but over" means far from over.
Sometimes understanding 'but' in sentences like that can be very confusing (for me). Probably because at school I was taught mostly the meaning as in 'he was called but he did not answer' or 'The sun has set, but it is still light.'
It is not over until the fat lady sings.
Its all over now, Baby Blue (Bob Dylan)
It is all over, bar the shouting.
'All but over' is not a very elegant expression. It is misleading.
Sometimes people will say: See you next Wednesday, or a week next Wednesday, etc.
Usually people are careful to clarify, exactly what they do mean.
Of course, the classic: "They think it is all over, it is now!", the final goal in the 1966 World Cup.