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OOo

Microsoft vs OpenOffice in Pesaro: first, let’s recap

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Microsoft
OOo

Pesaro is a town of about 100 thousands people on the northern adriatic coast of Italy. Its Public Administration has been facing lots of critics from Free/Open Source software supporters because, in the last five years, it changed twice the same, important part of its ICT infrastructure. Both those changes bring consequences and open issues, both for the critics and for Pesaro, that have had little or no coverage at all so far, especially outside Italy (1). Before talking about them, however, it is necessary to summarize what happened.

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Why you should ditch OpenOffice and use the free LibreOffice suite

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LibO
OOo

OpenOffice was the first big, mainstream free software competitor to Microsoft Office, and because of that, it still has mainstream name recognition—which is a problem.

Developers have almost all moved to LibreOffice, the spiritual successor to OpenOffice. But OpenOffice continues to be operated as its own project, seeing little development and only drawing potential LibreOffice users to a defunct piece of software.

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Is Office 365 cheaper than OpenOffice and open source?

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LibO
Microsoft
OOo

Indeed, Microsoft's marketing team published a press release recently saying Office 365 is about 80% cheaper compared to the open source office suite, OpenOffice - with the figures stemming from reports in Italy and the City Council of Pesaro. The Redmond giant claims that to roll out Open Office, Pesaro incurred a one off cost of about €300,000 and had lots of problems with document formatting.

But equally how would you convince a public sector organisation to migrate to your cloud services instead of using 'expensive' open source software?

The obvious way would be to present a case study from a similar organisation together with a well written report commissioned to an "independent" consultancy firm. At this point your future customer has all the data and justifications required to sign on the dotted line.

And some journalists are now presenting this case as fact of Microsoft Office 365 being 80% more economical than open source alternatives.

I would argue that this is an isolated case and the PR efforts by big technology vendors, like many other methods, are being used to trick private and public organisations into signing contracts based on data or claims that may be not completely true.

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Open Document Format (ODF) 1.2 published as International Standard 26300:2015 by ISO/IEC

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LibO
OOo

The Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF) Version 1.2, the native file format of LibreOffice and many other applications, has been published as International Standard 26300:2015 by ISO/IEC. ODF defines a technical schema for office documents including text documents, spreadsheets, charts and graphical documents like drawings or presentations.

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French Government IT directorate stands its ground : ODF supported, OOXML rejected

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LibO
OOo

The final draft version of the RGI (general interoperability framework), still awaiting final validation, maintains ODF as the recommended format for office documents within French administrations. This new version of the RGI provides substantiated criticism of the OOXML Microsoft format. April thanks the DISIC (French Inter-ministerial IT directorate) for not giving in to pressure and acting in the long-term interest of all French citizens and their administrations.

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Discussion: French Government IT Directorate Supports ODF, Rejects OOXML

Apache OpenOffice versus LibreOffice

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LibO
OOo
-s

Following yesterday's LibreOffice report for 2014, comes another interesting report from Document Foundation members Barend Jonkers and Cor Nouws comparing the features of LibreOffice and OpenOffice. The 60-page report "focuses on areas as feasibility, smart use, quality and improvements, localization and more." It makes clear that LibreOffice has undergone massive improvements as compared to OpenOffice.

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Proprietary OOXML document format makes you more vulnerable to attacks

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LibO
Security
OOo

Using the proprietary OOXML document format, i.e. docx, pptx and xlsx, makes you more vulnerable to phishing and other attacks. Earlier this month, the Japanese anti-virus company Trend Micro published a blog post describing how the attack group "Operation Pawn Storm" uses spear-phishing mail messages with malicious Office documents to target the military, governments, defense industries and the media.

Four years ago, Thomas Caspers and Oliver Zendel from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) already presented research results stating that most spear-phishing attacks targeting specific persons or a small group of victims are using "launch actions" in Office and PDF documents to have their malicious code executed.

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When enthusiasm for free software turns ugly

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LibO
OOo

In theory, maybe some way exists to encourage the enthusiasm that free software inspires while discouraging the ugliness of insularity. The idealism of free software has shaped my life so thoroughly that I wince when it is twisted.

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What's Next for Apache's Open Source Office Suite, OpenOffice?

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OOo

Still, as one of the longest-standing open source productivity apps, and one that played a major role in making desktop Linux viable, OpenOffice is a venerable project. Indeed, its history stretches all the way back to 1985 (when I was still merely an idea!), and it has been open source since 2000. If it folds, it will be one of the first big-name open source apps to do so—even if few people notice as they continue happily chugging along on LibreOffice.

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Is OpenOffice Dying?

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LibO
OOo

In September 2014, rumors were flying that Apache OpenOffice was floundering and might soon merge with LibreOffice. The rumors were denied, but revived in March 2015 when Jonathan Corbett used development activity statistics to show that OpenOffice was seriously short of developers, and had corporate support only from IBM. Now, OpenOffice's most recent report to the Apache Foundation appears to reinforce these previous reports, and then some.

To be fair, the report is listed as "a working copy and not to be quoted." However, I am discussing it anyway for two reasons. First, much of the report was mentioned in earlier reports, which suggests that its information is accurate. Second, when I contacted Jan Iversen, the new OpenOffice Chair, three weeks ago, he gave the same warning even more strongly. Since then the contents has gone through at least one more draft, but with little change of content, which makes me suspect that the excuse is an effort to delay discussion of the content. If I am mistaken, the fact will eventually become obvious, since the report is, after all, a public document.

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Android Leftovers

Firefox vs. Chrome Browser Performance On Intel Ice Lake + Power/Memory Usage Tests

Using Firefox 70 (including WebRender) and Google Chrome 78, here are our latest round of Linux web browser benchmarks tested on the Dell XPS Ice Lake laptop. Making this round of Linux browser benchmarking more interesting is also including power consumption and RAM usage metrics for the different browser benchmarks. For those wondering about whether Firefox or Chrome makes the most sense for Linux laptops, these benchmarks from the Dell XPS with Intel Core i7-1065G7 will hopefully be useful. Ubuntu 19.10 with the Linux 5.3 kernel was running on this Intel Ice Lake laptop while using the official builds of Mozilla Firefox 70.0 (both out of the box and with WebRender) and Google Chrome 78. The AC system power consumption was monitored on battery and the total RAM usage was being monitored throughout testing as well. All of the benchmarking was carried out using the Phoronix Test Suite. Read more

Leftovers: KPublicTransport, ONNX and Security

  • KPublicTransport Backend Selection

    At Akademy earlier this year I presented the current state of KPublicTransport, and mentioned a remaining privacy-relevant issue in there for giving its users full control about which backend service to query. This has now been addressed, with a way to list and chose backends globally or per request.

  • The ONNX format becomes the newest Linux Foundation project

    The Linux Foundation today announced that ONNX, the open format that makes machine learning models more portable, is now a graduate-level project inside of the organization’s AI Foundation. ONNX was originally developed and open-sourced by Microsoft and Facebook in 2017 and has since become somewhat of a standard, with companies ranging from AWS to AMD, ARM, Baudi, HPE, IBM, Nvidia and Qualcomm supporting it. In total, more than 30 companies now contribute to the ONNX code base.

  • IPFire 2.23 - Core Update 138 is available for testing

    Just with the release of IPFire 2.23 - Core Update 137, we are making the next update available to address and mitigate recently announced vulnerabilities in Intel processors.

  • White Screen of Death: Admins up in arms after experimental Google emission borks Chrome

    An experimental feature silently rolled out to the stable Chrome release on Tuesday caused chaos for IT admins this week after users complained of facing white, featureless tabs on Google's massively popular browser. The issue affected thousands of businesses' terminal servers, with multiple users on the same server experiencing "white screen of death" at the same time.

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