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OOo

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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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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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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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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Pondering the Fate of Open Source & Software Licenses

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OOo
Legal

Having used OpenOffice for several years on the Panasonic Toughbooks I use in the field, I've avoided buying into traditional or subscription-based services. While enterprises may have a different view on licensing, cost most always figures into the decision-making process. So if they go the subscription route, they'll have to then ask what strategies they can use to lower those costs. Will they be able to haggle on price?

If the subscription model does become the norm, will OpenOffice and other open-source software thrive, dive, or stay the same in market share? I'd like to hear your thoughts.

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The Long Slog to Level the Document Playing Field

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OOo

Expectations are generally low that acceptance of open document standards in the U.S. will improve any time soon. No interest or support for open document standards has been voiced by U.S. officials, noted the Open Source Business Alliance's Holger Dyroff. Still, the OSBA is happy with some movements in the U.S., like the recent decision to open source government-funded software programming.

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Share your love for free software

Yes, we love Free Software and this readily means that we love technology, people, social equanimity, and the various meanings one may take on for the word “freedom”. We care about it and we all want to bear witness of the growth and consolidation of new projects, and the progress of elder ones into full-fledged solutions driven by healthy and thriving communities. Free Software communities are inherently diverse and put together people with different motivations, expectations, and interests. Some are there to make friends and advance their technical and social skills, while others want to pursue the dream of an open world or even have Free Software as their daily paid job. In spite of such a diversity, one thing unite all of us in this Free Software odyssey: we love what we do. Read more

today's leftovers

  • Hyperledger gains 11 major finance players in blockchain initiative
  • Intel Begins Landing Apollolake Support Within Coreboot
    Intel engineers have begun landing support for the next-gen "Apollolake" SoC within Coreboot and support for the initial development board. Apollolake (Apollo Lake) is Intel's 14nm SoC for low-cost PC/notebooks, and surely Chromebooks. Apollolake uses the Goldmont CPU core and Skylake Gen9 derived graphics. Apollolake is the successor to Braswell. Apollo Lake systems will be available later in 2016.
  • Russian Government Planning To Replace All Of Its Windows Computers With Linux
    The Russian government is planning to replace all of its Windows-powered computers with some Linux distribution. The government has justified this decision by stating that American technology companies like Google and Microsoft need to pay more taxes.
  • Russia Going To GNU/Linux Late Rather Than Never
    Back in 2010, Putin put into (slow)motion a move to GNU/Linux. There were several projects but nothing concrete and system-wide. Finally, in 2016, thanks to the price of oil, sanctions and global politics, the time is ripe.
  • The Age of Docker is Upon Us
    With Container Summit going on in New York this week, there is a lot of news related to Docker, Kubernetes and various container technology star players. Datawise announced that it has made some key contirubtions to advance Kubernetes, a tool Google developed and used to make containerization more useful by making it possible to manage containerized applications.
  • Handheld Emulation: Achievement Unlocked!
    I love video game emulation. My favorite games were produced in the 1980s and 1990s, so if I want to play them, I almost always have to emulate the old systems. There is usually a legal concern about ROM files for games, even if you own the original cartridges, so I'm not going to tell you where to find ROMs to download or anything like that. What I am going to share is my recent discovery of the perfect handheld gaming system. Oddly enough, it was never intended to be an emulator.
  • GNOME 3.20's Feature Freeze Is Next Week
    Next week marks GNOME 3.20's feature freeze followed by the GNOME 3.20 (v3.19.90) beta release. The GNOME Release Team sent out a reminder that next week marks the API/ABI, UI, and feature freezes along with the start of release note writing and the GNOME 3.20 beta release.
  • SUSE and business open source specialist it-novum collaborate to expand Ceph platform’s Storage Management
    Powered by Ceph, SUSE Enterprise Storage is a self-managing, self-healing, distributed software-based storage solution for enterprise customers. The collaboration between it-novum and SUSE will bring centralized management of file, block and object storage via openATTIC's single graphical user interface to future releases of SUSE Enterprise Storage.
  • App: Download Manager for Samsung Z1 / Z3 is Available in Tizen Store
    Download Manager for Tizen Smartphones, namely the Samsung Z1 and Z3, is a powerful download speed booster and an advanced download manager combined into one. A must-have app for the power user that wants to download files off the Internet in a fast and efficient manner.

Red Hat News

Leftovers: OSS

  • India Asks Tech Companies To Use Open Source Technologies For Connectivity
    A day after taking a tough stand on Facebook’s Free Basics and banning it from India, TRAI (Telecom Regulator Authority of India) has also given a cue to the tech giants like Facebook and Google over the use of open source software. TRAI has hinted to these companies that their connectivity framework would only be accepted in India if they followed an open source approach. [...] Ram Sewak Sharma, who is the current chairman of TRAI, has clearly put a stress on using open source technology over a company specific product in making the internet reach to the remote areas. In a recent summit hosted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, he said, "I don’t like to comment on a specific product. But India has adopted an open source policy and open API [application program interface] policy. The whole objective is that there should not be a situation of a vendor lock-in."
  • Bluehost Develops Open Source Script To Update Two Million WordPress Sites
    The cloud-based solutions provider's custom script reduced WordPress-related technical issues by 18 percent.
  • What's New in February '16 in Open Source CMS
    By any measure, WordPress is the most popular content management system on the planet. But that distinction also makes it especially popular with hackers and attackers. Early this month Menifee, Calif.-based security company Sucuri reported a spike in WordPress infections, with a large number of sites getting injected with the same malicious scripts. Sucuri called it "a massive admedia/adverting iframe infection" characterized by the injection of encrypted code at the end of all legitimate .js files.
  • Dive into Apache Hadoop open source technology
    On this week’s NFV/SDN Reality Check, we look at some top news items from across the space as well as speak with Cloudera on CSPs adopting Apache Hadoop open source technology
  • Vote for Presentations - OpenStack Summit Austin 2016
    The first OpenStack Summit this year will take place in Austin (TX, US) from April 25-29, 2016. The "Call for Speakers" period ended some days ago and now the community voting for presentation started and will end 17th February, 11:59 PST (18th February 7:59 UTC / 08:59 CEST).
  • Liberty Eiffel wrapper for IUP toolkit
    Since a couple of months ago I’m working in a Liberty Eiffel wrapper to the IUP toolkit. IUP is a multi-platform toolkit for building graphical user interfaces. This is still under development, but I think the current state is enough to start playing with it. Here some screen shots: