Microsoft has filed a contract breach suit against Samsung involving Android patent royalties. The lawsuit was filed against Samsung in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York yesterday August 1, 2014.
Microsoft claims that they have tried their best for months to come to a settlement with Samsung regarding this dispute and resolve it without any incident. But since no resolution could be reached out of court, Microsoft is now turning to the courts to resolve their dispute for them. Microsoft expects a ruling on whether Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s business, including the handset and services business, negates the contract that they had with Samsung. Samsung claims that it does.
Microsoft and Samsung entered into an intellectual property licensing agreement back in 2011, which allowed them to cross license the patent portfolios of both the companies. Thus allowing either of the companies’ easy access and sharing of patented technology amongst them. As a part of this agreement, Samsung was supposed to pay Microsoft royalties for every Android handset that Samsung sells.
Samsung had withheld payment for a period in last year, but eventually paid the royalties to Microsoft. Microsoft now is claiming interest for the said period on the royalties now.
The dispute arose when Microsoft acquired Nokia, which Samsung considered to be a breach of contract and thus they stopped paying the royalties. The blog post by Microsoft, however, doesn’t clearly specify why Samsung considers Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia as a breach of contract. Samsung and Nokia also had a similar licensing agreement with Samsung paying an undisclosed amount in royalties to Nokia. This agreement was even extended till 2018, back in November 2013. The extension agreement was done well after Microsoft announced their intention to acquire Nokia.
Samsung has, in a statement, said that it will review the details of the complaints and take the appropriate actions as necessary.
The post Android patent royalty suit filed against Samsung by Microsoft appeared first on The Mukt.
So far 2014 has been the year of the watch. We have already seen Wear offerings by LG and Samsung and of course there is always the inevitable and impending Apple iWatch on the near horizon. So the battle for Wear supremacy is well underway.
What will be the deciding factor in who wins out in this new and emerging market? Well, most would assume it would of course be the specifications. Which Wear will contain the best OS, fastest processor and do the most functions! As the year continues it is not as clear as one would have thought. It seems Wear devices (more specifically the manufacturers) are realizing their potential as fashion accessories. Now how good the device looks is starting to become a major concern and battleground.
Recently the Moto 360 has attracted much attention as the first fashionable Wear device. Unlike most of its predecessors the 360 has opted for a more stylish appearance. The 360 lacks the robotic square based face design and instead offers a rounder, more ‘Watch-like’ appearance. The 360 has a sleek appearance and to most passers-by will simply look like an actual watch.
It now seems this is catching on.
Today we reported on leaked images from OnePlus suggesting they were in the process of developing their own smartwatch, the OneWatch. Leaked images clearly indicated this device was adopting a similar Moto 360 design with the same rounded and stylish face.
It now seems HP are taking the fashion element to the next level and seriously raising the stakes in doing so. HP have partnered up with Gilt (a reputable fashion flash sale site) and employed Michael Bastian to create what is certain to be seen as the World’s first luxury smartwatch.
Bastian has complete control over the aesthetic content of the watch and as a result early images are suggesting the HP offering could well be the watch to have this year. Like the Moto 360, the Bastian watch will have a rounded design although compared to the 360 the round-face will measure 44mm in diameter which is traditionally a more watch-like size. To further add to the accessory nature of the watch the Bastion will also offer swapable bands including choices between black rubber, brown leather and Olive green nylon. There will also be a limited edition black band available.
According to Bastian the premise behind this Watch is based on the look and feel of the interior of luxury cars.
So OK, I can hear you saying so what if the Bastian watch looks better than the 360…but what about the inside or using Bastian’s car analogy – what about under the hood? Is this all style over substance?
Well, as to be expected this is where HP come in. With Bastian having complete authority over the exterior, HP is in complete charge of the inside. At the moment we have little to note in terms of actual specific specifications but what we do know is this will be compatible with BOTH iOS and android. This highly suggests most of the technology (and function) will be employed through the Watch’s companion app instead of inside the watch. This may prove to be a very useful feature in the future as updating apps will probably be much easier than updating the watch. The dual OS compatibility also highly indicates that this may be a Watch you can buy now and use in time to come. Instead of becoming quickly outdated by newer OS systems this watch may very well be able to keep up-to-date much more effectively than its rivals.
In fairness it is assumed the Bastian watch will be less functional than the 360 and instead offer a more basic functional role such as email/text support, notifications and updates. So it is unlikely you will be ordering a pizza on this device although it is probably assumed those who opt for the more luxury device won’t exactly be take-away pizza lovers. This is certainly going to hit the market as a top-end product with look, feel and style at its core. So maybe the slightly limited capability of the Bastian watch won’t matter so much. After all, if your watch does do EVERYTHING your phone does than what will be the point of still having a smartphone?
So far the Bastian watch looks much better than the 360, feels much better with a more luxury design in play and does ‘enough’ functions to not be worried about a more functional 360. But what about the price I hear you say! This is where the reality of the Bastian offering will rise or fall. At the moment neither HP, Gilt or Bastion have hinted at the actual cost although there should be no doubt it will be more expensive than the 360. This is designed to be more expensive and attract a more expensive type of user. Whether the high cost will be enough to deter potential middle of the road users remains to be seen.
One thing that is clear is the Bastion watch definitely will be a cooler looking watch on your arm. It can’t promise to make you cooler but you can count on it attracting more attention when you’re reading your emails.
So who are you? Style or function? Pizza lover or not? Bastian or 360?
Let us know by leaving a comment
The post HP introduces its smartwatch which is more beautiful than Moto 360 appeared first on The Mukt.
Glenn Greenwald has refused to go to Germany as a witness for their investigation into NSA spying. He has released a full statement where he says that Germany is conducting an illusion of investigation to keep the German public satisfied.
Here is his full statement:
I am very supportive of any attempt by the German Parliament to conduct a serious investigation into NSA spying on Germans.
Unfortunately, German politicians have demonstrated, with their refusal to interview the key witness in person – Edward Snowden – that they care far more about not upsetting the U.S. than they do about conducting a serious investigation.
As a result, I am not willing to participate in a ritual that is intended to cast the illusion of an investigation, but which is actually designed to avoid any real investigation, placate the German public with empty symbolism, and keep the culprit – the U.S. Government – happy.
In the event that the German Parliament finds the courage to do what it should obviously do – interview Snowden in person, on German soil, regardless of how the U.S. Government would react – I would be happy to reconsider this invitation.
If Germany is serious about NSA spying, then they must invite Snowden.
The post Glenn Greenwald says Germany’s NSA investigation is an illusion to keep US happy appeared first on The Mukt.
Google has finally started making sense by separating some of its greatest services from Google+ lock-in. Once such service and tool is Google+ images which galloped Picasa and then became part of the ‘social network’ empire that Vic Gundotra envisioned.
Separating Photos from Google+ will allow more casual (non-Google+) users to use the service which has kind of died post G+ integration. Picasa used to be leading photo sharing service like YouTube and now it has reduced to being an accessory of Google+
The report of this separation comes from Bloomberg which says that Photos will get more autonomy from Google+, the way YouTube was pulled in and then escaped the Google+ black hole. The report says Google may rebrand G+ Photos to remove the association with the social platform.
This separation is significant as Google has some of the greatest image editing tools thanks to Nik Software and it can become a great platform for creative people to showcase their work, something being blocked by Google+.
Photos is not the only product to sever ties from G+, Google is already working towards separating Hangouts from Google+ and develop it as an independent service.
It was a catch 22 situation for Google. These services added value to Google+, and made it an appealing platform. On the other hand G+ lock-in prohibited many users from using these services.
Once these services are separated from G+ and people can start using them independently by logging in via email, they may start gaining popularity.
Only question remains is what will happen to Google+? I don’t think its going away, it may reduce to just a social network.
The post Google to separate G+ Photos and Hangouts from Google+ appeared first on The Mukt.
OnePlus has generated a hell of a lot of hype over the last few months and seem to be using hype as an interesting marketing tool. The company’s flagship device, the ‘One’ generated enormous hype among techies and as a result has generated demand which clearly outweighed the company’s expectations and capabilities. Especially due to their notorious invite system. Last week there were suggestions OnePlus are already working on the OnePlus Two and now it seems hype is building around what very well could be a OnePlus Smartwatch…the OneWatch.
BGR received images from an anonymous tipster which not only suggest the existence of the OneWatch but actually the likelihood of a soon(ish) launch. The images received by BGR include what seems to be a screenshot of the OnePlus website with clear tabs indicating the OneWatch and an image. This page does not seem to be live at the moment and so if this is the OnePlus website than it is possible the screenshot was leaked from in-house.
As well as the Screenshot BGR also received detailed sketches (from the same anonymous tipster) indicating the features of the OneWatch which include a rounded watch face (similar to the Moto 360), leather strap, titanium chassis, sapphire Glass and Qi wireless charging support.
Other than the aesthetics of the watch there was no information provided in regards to the software or capabilities of the Wear. If and when this is released it will be extremely interesting to see what OS the OnePlus team opt for. Will they convert over to Android Wear, stick with their ‘loyalty’ to CyanogenMod or (as we reported last week) try to incorporate their own stock OS system into the device.
One thing that is clear is it is unlikely this will be a price-buster like the ‘One’ is. It is highly unlikely OnePlus will offer a high spec Smartwatch which significantly undercuts LG, Motorola or Samsung. If the price is not significantly lower than this may very well alter the public’s perception of OnePlus. Maybe this has been their plan all along! Lure users in with a cheap initial device and then cash-in on full priced accessories. There is also the question will the OneWatch again only be available as an ‘invite’ only product. Based on the backlash the company has received by the invite system it would be highly unlikely they would embark on this system again. However as always with OnePlus we just don’t know.
Nothing is ever clear with this company and this again just adds to the hype OnePlus seem to enjoy. For a company whose mantra is ‘Never Settle’ it seems at the moment they cannot settle on a direction, selling method or even product.
OneWatch or OnePlus Two which do you want to see next?
The Ubuntu developers have released the second alpha of the Utopic Unicorn (to become 14.10). Since Ubuntu Unity doesn’t participate in alpha releases, the alpha includes ISO images for Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, UbuntuKylin and the Ubuntu Cloud. Xubuntu is once again missing from the alpha release.
The bad news for those Kubuntu users who are excited about Plasma 5 is that this alpha doesn’t come with P5. Plasma 5 is in early stage of development and a lot of core features are still missing. Thus Kubuntu developer have decided to stick to the current Plasma (4.x series).
Iain Lane explains on the mailing list, “Kubuntu development is now focusing on the next generation of KDE Software, Plasma 5. This is not yet stable enough for everyday use, so we are still shipping the Plasma 1 desktop on our image which has been updated to the latest version in the alpha.”
Plasma 5 will be offered via a separate ISO with the final release of Kubuntu which is scheduled for October. Those who want to test Plasma 5 on Kubuntu can get help from this article.
You can download the ISO image of your favorite distro from below links:
The post Second alpha of Kubuntu 14.10 and other buntus released appeared first on The Mukt.
XBMC (Xbox Media Center) is undoubtedly one of the most popular media center products around. This open source project is now being rechristened as Kodi.
Nathan Betzen of XBMC says, “…starting with version 14. Instead of XBMC 14, we’d like to introduce you to Kodi 14.”
As the name implies XBMC or Xbox Media Center was originally created as a media center application for Microsoft Xbox game console in 2002. Back in those days it was simply called Xbox Media Player and was later renamed to Xbox Media Center in 2004, as the team realized it does more than what a media player does.
“A mere 4 years later in 2008, the team once again elected to rename the software to simply XBMC, given that it had moved on from its original roots on the Xbox. Support for the Xbox was dropped shortly thereafter. Today it’s all happening one last time,” says Nathan.
Then why do they need to rename it again in 2014? The fact is XBMC doesn’t even run on the original Xbox anymore. The software doesn’t run on Microsoft’s latest Xbox 360 and Xbox One so the name X (or Xbox) doesn’t make much sense.
“XBMC today is far more an Entertainment Center than a simple Media Center. In essence both the “XB” and “MC” simply don’t make a whole lot of sense any more,” adds Nathan.
But it’s not just about finding some sense in the name, there is no sense in the name Google or Bing. It’s also about legal problems. Nathan explains, “Beyond the nonsensical nature of the software’s name, there is a secondary issue. Because “XBMC” was originally based on the name Xbox, the developers of the software (that’s us) have never had any sort of legal control over the use of its name, which has resulted in a whole slew of problems.”
The XBMC team worked with the Software Freedom Law Center to evaluate their options and the result was to go for a renaming, again.
Nothing else has changed beyond the name – the development process, the numbering of the releases and the license will remain the same.
Personally, since I never owned or liked Xbox I really feel like installing an Xbox application of my system. Why would I install an application meant for Xbox on my Linux machine which has remotely nothing to go with Microsoft’s ‘me too’ game console? So I will be more inclined towards installing Kodi than some Xbox Media Center.
The US Federal government announced the state of emergency when reports started coming out from across the country that people are getting out of their house and trying to socialize with each other in person.
“One of the most shocking things was that no one was carrying their phone to check their Facebook status or to tell why they feel sleepy this morning,” said Tom Insel the director of NIMH.
FOX News announced an alert stating that this could lead to spread of some epidemic as people were physically greeting each other, touch each other, breathing the same air.
“This is gross, said Megyn Kelly in a special panel organized by Bill O’Reilly “I can’t believe people touching each other in public places. What happened to etiquette and American values.”
GOP has blamed Obama for not taking appropriate measures to prepare the country for this disaster and is planning to shut down the government after they gave the speaker to pass any bill he wants.
The situation resumed to normalcy after Facebook was accessible again. Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the chaos and said in future they would do their best to keep people at home, away from each other.
NSA is heavily affected as they have no clue of what the people of Earth were doing for all those hours when Facebook was down.
This morning Facebook went down for a while leaving Americans clueless of what to do with their lives and they tried to behave like normal humans for some 30 minutes which was a disaster for the nation.
“There are going to be billions of blank pages in NSA repositories on people as this downtime affected their operations,” said Snowden from Russia.
LibreOffice 4.3 was release this week and there is no reason for you to wait for it to be updated through official repositories – whenever that happens. There are so many new features in LO 4.3 that you should not miss it. Either way I love to keep my system up-dated.
In order to upgrade LibreOffice to version 4.3 on your openSUSE machine, first all follow this Arnie’s Guide to enable ‘vendor change’ in Software Center as we will be adding a repository to your system.Go to Yast Software Manager and select ‘Vendor Change’ from Options.
Once that’s taken care of visit this page (I simply searched for LibreOffice in software.opensuse.org).
Here click on ‘show other version’ at the bottom of the page.
Then choose the version of openSUSE you are running on your system and click on show unstable packages. On this page click on 1-Click Install against “LibreOffice:Factory” and that will open Yast. Follow the instructions and you will have LibreOffice 4.3 installed on your system.
I find it much easier than it is on Ubuntu via manually adding PPAs. Since the factory repository for LibreOffice is added to your system, whenever the next version for LibreOffice will come it will automatically be updated on your openSUSE system
Since we are talking about LibreOffice 4.3, which comes with modern Sifr icons you can easily enable them on your system. Just open Tools > Options > View and choose Sifr from Icon Size and Style settings.
While your LibreOffice 4.3 is installing on your system read this interview why you should never save documents in Microsoft’s file formats.
WikiLeaks has released a new leak on it’s website with details of a multi-national corruption case that was subject to a gagging order by the Victorian Supreme Court in Australia which stops the Australian media from reporting on the case and the people involved. What’s also shocking is that ordinary Australian citizens who post links online to the leak are also able to be prosecuted for doing so.
The corruption case involves the leaders of Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam along with people Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia.
The document says:
“The case concerns allegations of multi-million dollar inducements made by agents of the RBA subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia in order to secure contracts for the supply of Australian-style polymer bank notes to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries.
The suppression order lists 17 individuals, including “any current or former Prime Minister of Malaysia”, “Truong Tan San, currently President of Vietnam”, “Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (also known as SBY), currently President of Indonesia (since 2004)”, “Megawati Sukarnoputri (also known as Mega), a former President of Indonesia (2001–2004) and current leader of the PDI-P political party” and 14 other senior officials and relatives from those countries, who specifically may not be named in connection with the corruption investigation.
The document also specifically bans the publication of the order itself as well as an affidavit affirmed last month by Australia’s representative to ASEAN Gillian Bird, who has just been appointed as Australia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. The gag order effectively blacks out the largest high-level corruption case in Australia and the region.”
An unknown whistleblower, presumably close to the case, leaked the details of the gagging order to WikiLeaks who subsequently linked to it on the front of the WikiLeaks website which contains names of the people involved in the case.
Media lawyer Peter Bartless, from Minster Ellison, warned that Australians should not tweet out links to the WikiLeaks report, post it on Facebook or share it online in any other way. Doing so could lead to to prosecution.
There has been a rise in closed courts and banning of reporting around the world even in countries that pride themselves on freedom of speech and freedom of the the press, the UK and US are notable cases who have both turned to closed trials for terror suspects. Although the case in Australia is not over terrorism it’s still being censored in the name of preventing ‘prejudice to the commonwealth in relation to national security.’
This is similar to a case that happened in England where a court gagged a case involving Ryan Giggs and the details were leaked and subsequently his name was posted thousands of times on Twitter and Facebook. This latest case however is a lot more important and damaging than Ryan Giggs’ private life.
The WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange is currently in the Ecuadorean embassy, he recently ‘celebrated’ his second year of stay there. Further, a Swedish court upheld the rape allegations. Assange has currently not been charged with any crimes.
So you have rooted your device and are now thinking what do I do? What was all the flashing, installing and wiping for? My phone still looks the same! Well, yes, rooting does not actually do much in itself but instead offers you the opportunity to customize and alter the device. The best way to do this is with root-only available apps and this list should help you to get to grips with the basics of root apps.
For the more experienced flashers (not the flashing in the park kind) out there, I apologize in advance if this list seems a bit rudimentary but it is designed for newbies to our world. If the experienced flashers want to add their own ‘must-have’ apps then please do. Simply make a comment and help the newlings out.
NOW, before we continue I need to make one thing clear. This is NOT a top 5 of the best apps available for rooted devices. I know already that many of you will instantly question the selection, their positions and the overall article. This is simply the FIRST 5 apps I always install on a rooted device. As someone who flashes constantly (again not in the park kind) I have found myself consistently always installing these apps and on this basis (alone) they are being marked as ‘must-have’ apps.
Let’s check them out:
Researchers have long since been exploring different ways to produce oxygen for long-distance space travel. Simply carrying tanks full of O2 aboard a spaceship won’t really solve the problem. Royal College of Art graduate Julian Melchiorri wanted to engineer a better alternative to help these researchers realize their dreams of exploring space much further than we can now.
So what he ended up creating is a biologically functional leaf that takes in carbon dioxide, water, and light and produces oxygen just like the ones on our home planet do.
The “breathing” leaf comprises chloroplasts — the part of an actual plant cell where photosynthesis happens — suspended in a material made from silk protein.
“NASA is researching different ways to produce oxygen for long-distance space journeys to let us live in space. This material could allow us to explore space much further than we can now,” Melchiorri says.
The first man-made biological leaf has “an amazing property of stabilizing (the chloroplast) organelles,” Melchiorri adds. “As an outcome I have the first photosynthetic material that is living and breathing as a leaf does.”
Besides being a key to space travel, the artificial leaf could as well provide fresh air to indoor and outdoor spaces here on our planet.
The brilliant (isn’t it?) Silk Leaf Project was developed as part of the Royal College of Art’s Innovation Design Engineering course in collaboration with Tufts University silk lab.
The post This artificial leaf could help us breathe in space appeared first on The Mukt.
openSUSE is a great operating system which is not only backed by a great community, but also by a commercial vendore SUSE which is one of the leading contributors to the core Linux and Open Source technologies.
New openSUSE users always wonder how to get latest packages and applications? They know that Ubuntu has something called PPAs which allow users to get latest packages which are not yet available in official repositories, same is the case with Arch Linux users, thanks to AUR. Is there anything similar on openSUSE? Yes. OpenSUSE has a great service called OBS or openSUSE Build Service which helps not only openSUSE, but also other projects to easily compile package for their users. OBS doesn’t create packages only for openSUSE but developer can and they do create packages for other distributions such as Ubuntu. Many leading projects use OBS to compile packages.
OBS also allows independent developers and projects to offer latest packages to openSUSE users throug their own repositories. It’s similar to Ubuntu’s PPA. The only difference is that it is much easier to find and install packages using OBS than it is in Ubuntu using PPAs.
OpenSUSE has an online search tool where you can search for the name of the software you were looking for. In my case I wanted to update my LibreOffice to 4.3, the latest version. Just visit software.opensuse.org and search for the package. By default it would show you the stable package from main repo. Scroll down and click on ‘show other version’.
It will open this page where you will see a list of available versions of LibreOffice via different repositories.
Choose the version of openSUSE you are using and click on ‘show unstable packages’, which will throw a warning, just click on continue.
Now you can see what version of applications are available. As you can see Libreoffice 4.3 is available via LO Factory. Click on One-Click install button and it will open YaST software manager. It will automatically add that repository to your system which will keep that software up-to-date with newer versions made available via that repository.
Under Ubuntu such PPA are not offered via Software Manager; you have to manually Google for the software name then find the PPA and then add them manually using the command line. You then have to manually update the source list file and then install the software. I wish it was much easier to manage repositories in Ubuntu.
Since we are talking about adding new repositories. If you want to uninstall such a software which you installed via 3rd party OBS repository. Go to YaST Control Center > Software Repository. Here select the repositories you want to remove and click on delete button.
One important note to keep in mind is that if you are using 3rd party repositories (such as KDE Current to get rolling release like KDE experience or adding new ones just the way we did above), always enable ‘Allow vendor change’ in Software Manager, which will spare you from having to choose vendor change every time there is a conflict between official repo and OBS.
Once you allow vendor change, openSUSE would automatically choose OBS over the default repo.
Amazon.com seems to have given minor facelift and make-over to their website. This morning when I logged into Amazon to check the status of my orders I found some buttons missing as my muscle memory reached out for them. That’s when I noticed a dark gray bar on top replacing the otherwise all white Amazon.
They have moved some objects around and I personally feel it looks better. What do you think?
The release candidate for KDE’s Applications and Platform version 4.14 has been made available for testing.
The announcement page says:
With the large number of changes, the 4.14 releases need a thorough testing in order to maintain and improve the quality and user experience. Actual users are critical to maintaining high KDE quality, because developers simply cannot test every possible configuration. We’re counting on you to help find bugs early so they can be squashed before the final release.
4.14 is slated to be released on August 20th.
The post Release candidate of KDE Applications & Platform 4.14 available appeared first on The Mukt.
openSUSE is known for offering one of the most integrated experiences with the desktop environment it comes with. Their Plasma and Gnome desktops are par-excellence when it comes to polish and now those who still like the good old Gnome 2 UI can use the latest version of Mate in openSUSE.
Since openSUSE team has added Mate to their Factory Repositories (which has become an independent rolling release distribution), it’s now much easier to install Mate on openSUSE; version 13.2 of openSUSE will come with Mate.
OpenSUSE users can now stay updated with Mate release by using just one repository (similar to what they offer for KDE’s software).
If you want to install Mate on your openSUSE machine, visit this page and install Mate with one click!
Linux Mint was the major distro which offered Mate as the default desktop environment along with Cinnamon and Plasma.
Starting from January 2015, driverless cars will be legal to drive on the roads in Britain, if you can buy one to find that it is.
This law, at first, will mainly concern Google. In California Google has clocked up 300,000 miles in a driverless car while snapping pictures to insert into Google’s Street View. To take pictures for Street View in the UK it has been consigned to using regular vehicles with a driver.
The UK follows California, Nevada, Florida and Japan in allowing driverless cars on the road and is followed by the Swedish city Gothenburg which has said Volvo may drive 100 driverless cars on the road for a trial period in 2017.
Chinese search engine Baidu has also expressed interest in driverless cars and it’s research labs say they are at an “early stage of development.”
The UK government recently announced that they would use ISO approved document standard ODF for viewing and sharing government documents. It’s a very important move because it breaks Microsoft’s vendor lock where single US-based company ‘owns’ and ‘controls’ all the documents created on Earth. Microsoft is infamous for using unethical means to make it harder for other players to offer any kind of interoperability with their products which can threaten Microsoft’s market share.
So we reached out to Italo Vignoli of The Document Foundation, the organization responsible for developing LibreOffice which is a fork of OpenOffice, to understand the risks of using OOXML…
Swapnil Bhartiya: What are the practical and technological problems by using Microsoft’s products or the OOXML format (DOCX, XLSX and PPTX extensions).
Italo Vignoli: MS Office locks-in the user not only with proprietary formats but also with the OOXML pseudo-standard format. This is due to the way the supposedly standard format is handled by MS Office.
In fact, each version of MS Office since 2007 has a different and non standard implementation of OOXML, which is defined as “transitional” because it contains elements which are supposed to be deprecated at standard level, but are still there for compatibility reasons.
Although LibreOffice manages to read and write OOXML in a fairly appropriate way, it will be impossible to achieve a perfect interoperability because of these different non standard versions.
In addition to format incompatibilities, Microsoft – with OOXML – has introduced elements which may lead the user into producing a non interoperable document, such as the C-Fonts (for instance, Calibri and Cambria).
C-Fonts are the default choice for MS Office documents, but their license forbids users of other office suites to adopt them for any document (as you must own a Microsoft Office license).
So, a LibreOffice user who receives an OOXML document will be able to open it properly, but the document will not look the same because the C-Font will be automatically replaced by another font.
Most of the times, the LibreOffice user will think that the document does not look the same because of LibreOffice and not because Microsoft intentionally induced him into this “visual incompatibility”.
So, using MS Office with the native OOXML format is a problem for everyone, and the more people are using OOXML the more non standard documents will be around.
Swapnil: OOXML was approved “illegally” as an ISO standard, despite ODF being already a standard. How much of OOXML specifications are used in Microsoft’s own products?
Italo: I disagree with the statement that OOXML was approved “illegally”. On the other hand, it was approved according to a “fast track” process which was totally inadequate for such a standard, and this gave Microsoft the opportunity of using “politics” instead of the usual process (which could point out that two document standards are a nonsense).
Actually, Microsoft is using OOXML specifications, but is not using them consistently between software versions as the nature of the standard would request. So, we have OOXML 2007 Transitional, OOXML 2010 Transitional and OOXML 2013 Transitional, in addition to OOXML 2013 Strict (which is not the default choice of Microsoft Office 2013, and therefore non one is using it).
MS Office users are not aware of this situation, and are producing a “rainbow” of document versions which are a problem for interoperability.
Swapnil: Interoperability between OOXML files created with MS Office and other offerings whether it be LO, Google Docs or Calligra is a nightmare. Which is the reason of this non-interoperability?
Italo: LibreOffice is the free office suite which offers the best level of interoperability with OOXML documents, although it is not and will never be perfect. The issue is related to the non standard management of the OOXML standard by MS Office, and also to C-Fonts.
Of course, Microsoft has introduced C-Fonts when it had to replace the proprietary document formats with a standard one (although mis-managed) in order to artificially extend the interoperability problems to the visual appearance.
Microsoft is extremely efficient when it comes to lock-in users, even with creative solutions. Of course, lock-in does not foresee interoperability, which is the opposite concept. Because of this, any kind of interoperability coming from Microsoft will include a degree of “creative” lock-in.
Swapnil: Is Microsoft doing something to make it harder for other vendors to work with OOXML?
Italo: Microsoft is apparently trying to make it easier to work with OOXML. Recently, the company has released the OOXML SDK under the Apache License (no doubt that Microsoft will ever release something with a true open source license such as GPL, LGPL or MPL).
The real actions against interoperability, though, will never be easy to spot. Microsoft is way too smart to let the ecosystem suspect of a potential issue with document formats based on a specific obstacle built into the standard. For instance, it took quite a long time to spot the C-Font trick built into the last versions of MS Office, and most users – including corporate IT managers – are still completely unaware of it.
The post Why you should never use Microsoft’s OOXML pseudo-standard format appeared first on The Mukt.
Do you remember how the earliest Linux terminals used to look on old CRT monitors? If you are too young you might not even know something like that ever existed. For others, a new terminal emulator under development is going to bring back those fond memories. Even the name, cool-old-term, explains the objective.
cool-old-terminal is being developed by Swordfish’s Labs and the project is nearing completion. The application is developed using Qt and hence can be installed on all desktop environments. This video from the developers demonstrates the functionality and configuration options of cool-old-terminal.
cool-old-term is not packaged for any Linux distribution yet. But if you are interested you can build and install it. cool-old-term can be built on multiple Linux distributions. Here is how to build it on Ubuntu. Run the following in the terminal to install dependencies:sudo apt-get install build-essential qmlscene qt5-qmake qt5-default qtdeclarative5-dev qtdeclarative5-controls-plugin qtdeclarative5-qtquick2-plugin libqt5qml-graphicaleffects qtdeclarative5-dialogs-plugin qtdeclarative5-localstorage-plugin qtdeclarative5-window-plugin
Compile and run the application:git clone https://github.com/Swordifish90/cool-old-term.git cd cool-old-term cd konsole-qml-plugin qmake && make && make install cd .. ./cool-old-term
You can download the source code of cool-old-term from its GitHub page.
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With the recent release of LibreOffice 4.3, users now have one of the best Open Source office suites to stay away from Microsoft’s messy and risky file formats. The open source productivity suite comes bundled with many Linux distributions, including Linux Mint, Kubuntu and Ubuntu.
One of the nice UI updates of LO is their new Sifr icons. Depending on your distribution the Sifr icon theme may or may not be pre-installed or configured by default. If you want to get modern icons for LO, follow these steps.
Open the terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run the following command (*buntu systems, for other distros install libreoffice-style-sifr using the appropriate command, most distros already pre-install Sifr) :sudo apt-get install libreoffice-style-sifr
Once the font is installed open LibreOffice Writer and go to Tools > Options. Then choose Views from LibreOffice menu and select Sifr from the icon size and style’ drop down menu. Congratulations, you now have modern icons for your LibreOffice.
Reposted from Muktware, authored by Issac Rowe
The post Get modern Sifr icons for LibreOffice in Linux Mint, Kubuntu appeared first on The Mukt.