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It's time to make LibreOffice and OpenOffice one again

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Let's talk about OpenOffice. More than likely you've already read, countless times, that Apache OpenOffice is near the end. The last stable iteration was 4.1.2 (released October, 2015) and a recent major security flaw took a month to patch. A lack of coders has brought development to a creeping crawl. And then, the worst possible news hit the ether; the project suggested users switch to MS Office (or LibreOffice).

For whom the bells tolls? The bell tolls for thee, OpenOffice.

I'm going to say something that might ruffle a few feathers. Are you ready for it?

The end of OpenOffice will be a good thing for open source and for users.

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Rumors of OpenOffice Demise Exaggerated

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LibreOffice spun out from OpenOffice in the aftermath of the Oracle/Sun acquisition. It was one of many projects including Hudson/Jenkins and MySQL/MariaDB that got forked. To the best my knowledge while all those forks have strong user bases and have become the default tools in their respective domains - the original projects persist.

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State of OpenOffice

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  • What Would OpenOffice Retirement Involve? (long)

    I have regularly observed that the Apache OpenOffice project has limited capacity for sustaining the project in an energetic manner. It is also my considered opinion that there is no ready supply of developers who have the capacity, capability, and will to supplement the roughly half-dozen volunteers holding the project together. It doesn't matter what the reasons for that might be.

  • OpenOffice In Danger of Shutting Down, Project VP Warns

    The future isn't look bright for OpenOffice, the open-source office suite run by the Apache foundation.

  • Redesigning Tor, Goodbye OpenOffice & More…

    Building Tor to a next new level: Tor is still safe, but there are cracks in it’s armor. You can still safely cruise the net through The Onion Router with your identity kept secret — most of the time but not always. Thankfully, for the time being that “not always” stands at about one in several million, but organizations like the NSA and the Brit’s GCHQ have been working at chipping away at those odds to turn them more in their favor.

ODF and Document Freedom

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  • The Document Foundation and the FSFE strengthen their relationship

    The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE, is joining the Advisory Board of The Document Foundation. At the same time, The Document Foundation is becoming an associated organisation of the FSFE (

    The Free Software Foundation Europe’s aim is to help people control technology instead of the other way around. However, this is a goal which no single organisation can achieve on its own. Associated organizations are entities that share the FSFE’s vision and support the foundation and Free Software in general by encouraging people to use and develop Free Software, by helping organisations understand how Free Software contributes to freedom, transparency and self-determination, and by removing barriers to Free Software adoption.

  • I Spotted ODF in the Wild this Week... Twice!

    This week has been full of surprises. The new semester has started and with that, much of what used to be paperwork is becoming digital files. When I entered the platform to obtain the lists of my students in the courses I'm currently teaching, I realized that it now had two options to download such lists: "as a pdf file" or "as a spreadsheet."

    Since I didn't want to have anything to do with .xslx, I went for the pdf.

    But later, when I told Mechatotoro about it, he entered the platform and gave "spreadsheet" a try.

    "I love these people!," I heard him say.

LibreOffice and OpenOffice

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LibreOffice and OpenOffice Reviews

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  • Review: LibreOffice 5.2 — solid, unpolished alternative

    LibreOffice is an office suite that rivals Microsoft Office yet costs nothing. There are versions for Windows, OS X and Linux along with a portable edition that works from a USB drive.

    If you’re on a tight budget and have a Windows PC, LibreOffice is by far the best alternative to Office. It is more complete than Google Apps and leaves Apache OpenOffice for dead.

    OS X users have a good alternative free option. Apple’s iWorks suite is free with new Macs. Even so, you might prefer LibreOffice because it has better Microsoft Office compatibility.

    LibreOffice looks and feels more like Microsoft Office than iWorks. If you know Microsoft Office, moving to LibreOffice will be less of a wrench. It also includes a database unlike either the OS X version of Microsoft Office or iWorks. If you need a simple database and have no budget, LibreOffice would be ideal.

    Some Linux distributions include LibreOffice either as standard or as an optional download. It’s a more straightforward choice than using a tool like Wine to run Microsoft Office.

  • Apache OpenOffice 4.1.2 Review

    Every computer needs applications to do any work, and that means more money. Except for open-source software, like OpenOffice, which is free. In the case of OpenOffice, the free software looks and acts like Microsoft Office circa 2003, and includes a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation creator. Not only does OpenOffice look and feel like Office, but it also reads and writes Office files so well that most users could exchange files between the two suites and no one would know the difference.

  • Best Microsoft Office Alternatives 2016

Open Standards, Move Over

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Back in 2003, over 800 blog posts ago, I decided to launch something I called the Standards Blog. Not surprisingly, it focused mostly on the development, implementation and importance of open standards. But I also wrote about other areas of open collaboration, such as open data, open research, and of course, open source software. Over time, there were more and more stories about open source worth writing, as well as pieces on the sometimes tricky intersection of open standards and open source.

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Document Freedom Day, World Standards Day 2016

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  • Happy Document Freedom Day

    Today is Document Freedom Day. As in the past 8 years we celebrate DFD on the last Wednesday of March all around the world. While the date is recommended this year DFD is being celebrated from March 16th to April 5th so far (we’ re still getting new registration as of this writing) .

  • Celebrate Document Freedom Day on March 30

    The FSFE has handed over Document Freedom Day to us earlier this year and while it took us a bit of time to get familiar with the way the current DFD website handles the events registration we have been steadily gathering more and more locations all over the world. So Document Freedom Day is happening on the last Wednesday of March, which is March 30th this year and Latin America seems very active in promoting Open Standards. We are very happy to meet new people thanks to the effort and will also celebrate our local DFD in Phnom Penh but slightly later on April 5th. If you are in the area please drop by, and if not please check the Document Freedom Day website for an event in your area. Happy DFD!

  • Paper Competition Announced for U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day 2016

    World Standards Day is celebrated annually around the world to increase awareness of the role that standards play in the global economy. To help celebrate the importance of standards, SES - The Society for Standards Professionals and the U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day Planning Committee co-sponsor an annual paper competition for individuals in the U.S. standards community. The 2016 paper competition winners will be announced and given their awards at the U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day, which will be held this year on October 27, 2016, at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C.

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OSS Leftovers

  • Chain Releases Open Source Blockchain Solution for Banks
    Chain, a San Francisco-based Blockchain startup, launched the Chain Core Developer Edition, which is a distributed ledger infrastructure built for banks and financial institutions to utilize the Blockchain technology in mainstream finance. Similar to most cryptocurrency networks like Bitcoin, developers and users are allowed to run their applications and platforms on the Chain Core testnet, a test network sustained and supported by leading institutions including Microsoft and the Initiative for Cryptocurrency and Contracts (IC3), which is operated by Cornell University, UC Berkeley and University of Illinois.
  • Netflix Upgrades its Powerful "Chaos Monkey" Open Cloud Utility
    Few organizations have the cloud expertise that Netflix has, and it may come as a surprise to some people to learn that Netflix regularly open sources key, tested and hardened cloud tools that it has used for years. We've reported on Netflix open sourcing a series of interesting "Monkey" cloud tools as part of its "simian army," which it has deployed as a series satellite utilities orbiting its central cloud platform. Netflix previously released Chaos Monkey, a utility that improves the resiliency of Software as a Service by randomly choosing to turn off servers and containers at optimized tims. Now, Netflix has announced the upgrade of Chaos Monkey, and it's worth checking in on this tool.
  • Coreboot Lands More RISC-V / lowRISC Code
    As some early post-Coreboot 4.5 changes are some work to benefit fans of the RISC-V ISA.
  • Nextcloud Advances with Mobile Moves
    The extremely popular ownCloud open source file-sharing and storage platform for building private clouds has been much in the news lately. CTO and founder of ownCloud Frank Karlitschek resigned from the company a few months ago. His open letter announcing the move pointed to possible friction created as ownCloud moved forward as a commercial entity as opposed to a solely community focused, open source project. Karlitschek had a plan, though. He is now out with a fork of ownCloud called Nextcloud, and we've reported on strong signs that this cloud platform has a bright future. In recent months, the company has continued to advance Nextcloud. Along with Canonical and Western Digital, the partners have launched an Ubuntu Core Linux-based cloud storage and Internet of Things device called Nextcloud Box, which we covered here. Now, Nextcloud has moved forward with some updates to its mobile strategy. Here are details.
  • Using Open Source for Data
    Bryan Liles, from DigitalOcean, explains about many useful open source big data tools in this eight minute video. I learned about Apache Mesos, Apache Presto, Google Kubernetes and more.