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OOo

When enthusiasm for free software turns ugly

Filed under
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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ODF in the age of Big Data

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LibO
OOo

One may notice that the points listed above loosely match the main points usually mentioned when discussing the benefits of ODF in the more standard settings of the desktop. This is not surprising, but it was not necessarily intended; if anything this is a testimony to the value of a standard like ODF and its importance. The key point here is that when it comes to the cloud and big data, ODF is both a factor of transparency and innovation. This is something worth promoting and is a potential path to renewed success of ODF in the future.

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UK Government Now Main Driver of ODF Advance: Kudos

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LibO
OOo

Back in July last year, I wrote about an incredible opportunity for the open source world. After years of disappointments, and despite the usual lobbying/threats by a certain large US software company against the move, the Cabinet Office announced that it was officially adopting the Open Document Format (ODF) for sharing or collaborating on government documents. At the time I exhorted everyone involved to do their utmost to make this work, since it was the biggest chance to show that open standards and open source were not just viable as a government solution, but actually better than the alternatives.

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Development activity in LibreOffice and OpenOffice

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LibO
OOo

The LibreOffice project was announced with great fanfare in September 2010. Nearly one year later, the OpenOffice.org project (from which LibreOffice was forked) was cut loose from Oracle and found a new home as an Apache project. It is fair to say that the rivalry between the two projects in the time since then has been strong. Predictions that one project or the other would fail have not been borne out, but that does not mean that the two projects are equally successful. A look at the two projects' development communities reveals some interesting differences.

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What will it take to merge LibreOffice and OpenOffice?

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LibO
OOo

Ordinarily, I'm all for diversity in free software projects. However, I make an exception in the case of LibreOffice and OpenOffice. The sooner they become a single project, the better.

In other cases, I'm slow to accept arguments against duplication of projects. Combining projects does not automatically make for greater efficiency or quicker development; especially in the beginning, personalities can sabotage or even reverse any gains.

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Why the UK government must adopt Open Document Format

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LibO
OOo

Today is Document Freedom Day. As of November 2012, all government bodies have had to adhere to Open Standards Principles; an agreed set of standards to make IT more open, cheaper and better connected.

These were developed following the public consultation ‘Open Standards: Open Opportunities – flexibility and efficiency in government IT,’ to help government to deliver more innovative IT services and further drive savings, encouraging more open competition for government contracts.

It was a major initiative and went a long way to making government documents more accessible and available. Today, as the globe celebrates International Document Freedom Day, it’s time to take this initiative even further.

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Emilia-Romagna completes switch to OpenOffice

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OSS
OOo

The administration of the Italian region Emilia-Romagna will complete its switch to Apache OpenOffice next month, says Giovanni Grazia, an IT project manager for the region. Emilia-Romagna is making the Open Document Format ODF the default on all 4200 workstations, across 10 departments and 5 agencies.

Emilia-Romagna is adding several tools to the OpenOffice suite, “improving the user experience”, says Grazia. Three of these are publicly available OpenOffice extensions, but others are being developed especially for the region. The latter will be made available as open source within the next few weeks, Grazia says.

The first of the official OpenOffice extensions used in the region is Alba, which makes it easy to insert in a document one or more pages with a different orientation. The second is Pagination, which improves the insertion of page numbers. Third is PDFImport, which allows the import of PDFs into OpenOffice.

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You can now petition the European Union to 'fix my document'

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LibO
OSS
OOo

Inspired by the pothole identification and alert site and app, fixmystreet.com, OFE, through its fixmydocument.eu, is giving a crowd-sourced voice to public frustration with software interoperability limitations that stand in the way of citizens who are seeking to communicate and interact with government.

It should be noted, however, this is more than a vehicle through which to vent. Many parts of the EU are legitimately working hard to implement ODF, the open document format for office applications. Fixmydocument.eu will help them better identify software and documents that are presenting the most pressing and immediate problems. As an added benefit, it should not go unnoticed that more fully deploying ODF and other open standards will help the EU avoid vendor lock-in.

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

Leftovers: Software

  • The Linux Deepin File Manager Is a Thing of Beauty
    China-based Linux distro Deepin has shown off its all-new desktop file manager. And to say it's pretty is an understatement.
  • GRadio Lets You Find, Listen to Radio Stations from the Ubuntu Desktop
    Love to listen to the radio? My ol’ pal Lolly did. But let’s say you want to listen to the radio on Ubuntu. How do you do it? Well, the Ubuntu Software centre should always be the first dial you try, but you’ll need to sift through a load of static to find a decent app.
  • Reprotest 0.2 released, with virtualization support
    reprotest 0.2 is available in PyPi and should hit Debian soon. I have tested null (no container, build on the host system), schroot, and qemu, but it's likely that chroot, Linux containers (lxc/lxd), and quite possibly ssh are also working. I haven't tested the autopkgtest code on a non-Debian system, but again, it probably works. At this point, reprotest is not quite a replacement for the prebuilder script because I haven't implemented all the variations yet, but it offers better virtualization because it supports qemu, and it can build non-Debian software because it doesn't rely on pbuilder.
  • Calibre 2.63.0 eBook Converter and Viewer Adds Unicode 9.0 Support, Bugfixes
    Kovid Goyal has released yet another maintenance update for his popular, open-source, free, and cross-platform Calibre ebook library management software, version 2.63.0. Calibre 2.63.0 arrives two weeks after the release of the previous maintenance update, Calibre 2.62.0, which introduced support for the new Kindle Oasis ebook reader from Amazon, as well as reading and writing of EPUB 3 metadata. Unfortunately, there aren't many interesting features added in the Calibre 2.63.0 release, except for the implementation of Unicode 9.0 support in the regex engine of the Edit Book feature that lets users edit books that contain characters encoded with the recently released Unicode 9.0 standard.
  • Mozilla Delivers Improved User Experience in Firefox for iOS
    When we rolled out Firefox for iOS late last year, we got a tremendous response and millions of downloads. Lots of Firefox users were ecstatic they could use the browser they love on the iPhone or iPad they had chosen. Today, we’re thrilled to release some big improvements to Firefox for iOS. These improvements will give users more speed, flexibility and choice, three things we care deeply about.
  • LibreOffice 5.2 Is Being Released Next Wednesday
    One week from today will mark the release of LibreOffice 5.2 as the open-source office suite's latest major update. LibreOffice 5.2 features a new (optional) single toolbar mode, bookmark improvements. new Calc spreadsheet functions (including forecasting functions), support for signature descriptions, support for OOXML signature import/export, and a wealth of other updates. There are also GTK3 user-interface improvements, OpenGL rendering improvements, multi-threaded 3D rendering, faster rendering, and more.
  • Blackmagic Design Finally Introduces Fusion 8 For Linux
  • Why Microsoft’s revival of Skype for Linux is a big deal [Ed: This article is nonsense right from the headline. Web client is not Linux support. And it's spyware (centralised too).]

today's howtos

Microsoft and Linux