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LibreOffice 4.3 Released, KDE Naming, and Zorin Reasons

Thursday 31st of July 2014 02:53:32 AM

Today was quite the busy news day here in Linuxville and the top story must have been the release of LibreOffice 4.3. Seems it brought significant changes and got lots of coverage. has a list of the top eight alternative operating systems and Bruce Byfield looks at KDE's continually confusing callings. We have 10 reasons to try Zorin OS and 10 easy steps to changing Manjaro back to Arch. Heartbleed is still reeking havoc and Tor issues an advisory. And even that's not all.

LibreOffice 4.3 topped the news today. The announcement says "you can't own a better office suite." I suppose that set the meme picked up by bloggers and writers such as Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols who said, "The best open-source office suite gets better," and Robert Pogson who said, "LibreOffice 4.3 [is] The Almost Perfect Office Suite."

Some of the major features and changes include improved OOXML interoperability, more intuitive spreadsheet handling, new previews in Start Center, and 3D models in Impress. But the most interesting improvement is new support for really long paragraphs exceeding 65,000 characters. I've never written a paragraph that long, so it's no wonder I didn't run into that 11 year old bug. Download your copy here.

Bruce Byfield yesterday tried to make sense out of KDE's confusing naming convention. Byfield reminds us that in 2009 "KDE announced a change in its branding. KDE would refer to the community and its common technology, KDE Plasma to the desktop, KDE Applications to the utilities and KDE-specific software, and KDE Software Compilation to the release of all together." He then says, "I wonder whether the current crop of names is more anti-branding rather than branding. That is, instead of clarifying the KDE brand, they may very well muddy it." today published a list of the "8 Best Alternative Operating Systems You Can Install." When they start their list with Haiku and ReactOS you can see where it's going. Those and most others they mention would be hard to install and even harder to run for even seasoned fiddlers. But they did include OpenBSD, which is actually possible to run. See their full story for more.

In other news:

* Tor security advisory: "relay early" traffic confirmation attack

* Heartbleed Flaw Is Still a Risk, Report Finds

* 10 easy steps to convert Manjaro Linux installation back to native Arch Linux

* Linux will not become a gaming platform, it already is one

* New Linux Foundation Members Leverage Global Linux Growth

* Looking for a technology job? Learn as much as you can about open source

* 10 reasons to try Zorin OS 9

* Review: Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" MATE

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Mozilla, Amazon and Others See Growth Ahead in India

Wednesday 30th of July 2014 03:00:13 PM

As players in the technology arena look for global regions poised for growth, they are increasingly focused on India. In fact, Mozilla officials have recently noted that India is going to have a big impact on everyone's use of digital technology.

India is one of the markets that Mozilla is targeting with its Firefox OS phones and mobile strategy. Meanwhile, is investing $2 billion of additional funds in India, as the region experiences a mobile shopping and overall online retail boom.

In a recent interview with the Press Trust of India, Mozilla Foundation Executive Director Mark Surman said:

"India is a huge force, not only in terms of people coming online, but also shaping what the digital future can be. As we figure out how do people understand the web, India absolutely has to be at the core of that. One of the things we're so excited about [in] India is that people are so aspirational. They are starting to say, How I can make life better? And the Internet is a promise to that aspiration."

Earlier this week Amazon said that it was setting up five new fulfillment centers in India, doubling its total storage capacity to over half a million square feet (over 46,500 square meters). As Computerworld reports:

"India will be Amazon's fastest country to reach one billion dollars in gross sales if current growth rates continue, Amazon said Wednesday."

Mozilla is translating its belief in India into action. Firefox OS-based phones will be available for prices of up to $50, DigiTimes has reported, quoting company COO and Mozilla Taiwan CEO Gong Li, but Mozilla has also been making noise about delivering $25 phones. 

According to DigiTimes, the first Firefox OS phones in India will be inexpensive but powerful:

"With low-cost chip solutions developed by China-based Spreadtrum Communications and cooperation with smartphone ODMs, Mozilla has succeeded in keeping production cost down to US$25 for models carrying retail prices of up to US$50, Gong indicated."

"There have been 10 hardware makers and more than 20 mobile telecom carriers supporting Firefox OS platform, Gong said. LG Electronics and China-based vendors Alcatel OneTouch, Huawei Device and ZTE have launched Firefox smartphones in 15 countries, Gong indicated."

Mozilla's goal is clearly to create new smartphone owners, and bring apps to people who have never used them. Higher cost Firefox OS phones have been selling in Hungary, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Greece, but India could be a proving ground for Mozilla's mobile strategy. Stay tuned.



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Smartphone Shipments Grow as China and Emerging Markets Do Well

Wednesday 30th of July 2014 02:44:59 PM

Judging from the latest global smartphone sales numbers, players like Mozilla who are focused on markets outside the U.S., including emerging markets, may have the wind at their backs. As just one example of why that's true, Samsung and Apple, dropped to their lowest shares of the worldwide smartphone market in years during the second quarter as Chinese smartphone vendors delivered strong growth, market research firm IDC reported.

Data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker showed that following a strong first quarter, the global market grew 2.6 percent, fueled by ongoing demand for mobile computing and an abundance of low-cost smartphones. Expectations are that the smartphone market will continue apace in the second half of the year and surpassing 300 million units for the first time ever in a single quarter in this year's third quarter.

Mobile technology is so pervasive now that some leaders are questioning whether "mobile" should even be singled out as a descriptor for the devices we use. As smartphones continue to do well, there is also room for new competitors.

"A record second quarter proves that the smartphone market has plenty of opportunity and momentum," said Ryan Reith, Program Director at IDC. "Right now we have more than a dozen vendors that are capable of landing in the top five next quarter. A handful of these companies are currently operating in a single country, but no one should mistake that for complacency – they all recognize the opportunity that lies outside their home turf."

Despite a challenging quarter for Samsung, and to a lesser extent Apple, the strong market demand boosted results for many smaller smartphone vendors. Emerging markets supported by local vendors are continuing to act as the main catalyst for smartphone growth. A range of Chinese OEMs more than outpaced the market in the second quarter. Huawei, in particular, nearly doubled its shipments from a year ago, followed by another strong performance from Lenovo.

And, of course, Android continues to flourish on a global basis, despite the youth of the platform. Many of the phones selling in China and other hot markets are running Android.

Here is a snapshot of IDC's share numbers for trhe second quarter:


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openSUSE Rolling, New UT Video, and SteamOS Review

Wednesday 30th of July 2014 03:38:54 AM

The big news today in Linuxdom is openSUSE's announcement of moving Factory to a "rolling release" model. In other news, a new Unreal Tournament development video shows Team Deathmatch. has a review of SteamOS and LXer has a blurb about new Minimal Linux Live.

openSUSE developer Ancor Gonzalez Sosa today announced, 'We have just switched our beloved development distribution, openSUSE Factory, to be an independent distribution using the "rolling release" development model. openSUSE Factory is now a tested, reliable and bleeding edge Linux distribution!' He says the new model will allow packages to make it to the repos quicker by balancing some of the load across "packagers, testers and end users while putting more emphasis on automated quality assurance."

LXer ran a post yesterday on Minimal Linux Live. They say, "Minimal Linux Live is probably the best place to start if you are trying to build small live Linux OS entirely from sources." If you like the commandline, you'll love Minimal Live. After you run the build script "the produced ISO image file contains Linux kernel compiled with default options, BusyBox compiled with default options and very simple initramfs."

Themukt today posted a review of SteamOS "from a Linux user’s point of view." The Debian installer puts SteamOS on your disk with GRUB, GNOME, and "some basic apps." Fortunately, Swapnil Bhartiya then shows readers "how to get complete desktop experience." He concludes, "Steam OS is in beta stage things will change and get better with future releases. The gaming experience is par-excellence, which is the core feature of the OS and Gnome Shell is cherry on top."

And finally today, spotted a new Unreal Tournament developer video, this time showing the hackers playing Team Deathmatch. They quote developer Joe Wilcox saying, "The biggest thing we really zeroed in on was the movement mechanics and how we move through the world. The weapons are coming online which is really great, the sniper rifle is now somewhat useable, so it has been a good set of changes." See that full post for more and the video.

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