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OOo

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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OSS
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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

  • M$ Kicks Second Most Loyal Users In The Teeth [Ed: context below]
  • Windows 10 updates are now ruining pro-gaming streams
    Forcing a gaming PC to update mid-game during a livestream to up to 130,000 followers isn’t best advert for the software
  • Containers Used on over Half of New Apps in Production
    Shippable, the Seattle-based producer of a continuous delivery platform for software developers, recently quizzed 300 coders in the U.S. and found that more than half of them (52 percent) are using Docker or other container technologies to deploy their new applications in production. Fourteen percent are using containers for development and testing purposes. Indicating that 2016 is the year that containers cement their hold on the enterprise, a whopping 89 percent of respondents told the startup that they were very or somewhat likely to increase their use of the DevOps-enabling technology within the next 12 months. Developers are turning to containers when speed is of the essence. Containers have helped a majority of developers (74 percent) ship new software at least 10 percent faster. Eight percent are enjoying a 50-percent boost.
  • Divide et Impera
    But for those committed long term to an on premise model, new tactics are required. In a market that is struggling with fragmentation, solutions must become less fragmented. In some cases this will mean traditional formal partnerships, but these can be difficult to sustain as they require time and capital resource investments from companies that are certain to be short on one if not both. History suggests, however, that informal aggregations can be equally successful: the Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP combination, as one example, achieved massive success – success that continues to this day.
  • gNewSense 4.0 released
    I hereby announce the release of gNewSense 4, codenamed Ucclia. It's based on a solid Debian, modified to respect the Free Software Foundation's and is available for 3 architectures: i386, amd64 and mipsel (Lemote Yeeloong).
  • IPFire 2.19 Core Update 102 Linux Firewall OS Lands More OpenSSL Security Fixes
    Yesterday we reported news on the release of the IPFire 2.19 Core Update 102 Linux kernel-based firewall distribution, which brought many security patches and improvements, along with updated components. Today, May 5, 2016, we're informing our readers about the immediate availability of IPFire 2.19 Core Update 102, a small maintenance build to the stable IPFire 2.19 distribution that updates the OpenSSL package to version 1.0.2h, fixing a total of six vulnerabilities discovered upstream.
  • Samsung’s Artik 10, starts shipping in the US for $150
    Samsung’s Artik development boards are finally reaching hands of consumers in the US. The Artik development boards which were unveiled back in May 2015 at the IoT World 2015 have taken quite a lot of time to become consumer ready and take over the likes of the new Raspberry Pi 3, Pine 64,etc which have revolutionized the DIY Maker community with the “PC ona board” concept. And now, the Artik 10- the most powerful board from the Artik series is all set to intensify the ongoing competition. Priced at $150, which is more than what one would pay for 4 $35 priced Raspberry Pis, Samsung will sure have to do a lot to of work to impress the buyers and build a community around it.
  • Security advisories for Wednesday
  • ​Why I Hate Security, Computers, and the Entire Modern Banking System
    I woke up yesterday to find that a string of mysterious credit card payments had wiped out my checking account. I spent the next few hours as a prisoner of the phone tree, being interrogated on the transactions that I wanted answers about. No, I did not have a Banana Republic credit card. I didn’t have a Capital One credit card either. And I had no idea who Michael was, or what he was doing with all my money. The woman on the other end of the phone flagged transaction after transaction. For each one, she read me a long, pre-written paragraph of instructions and disclaimers—verbatim, even if she had repeated the same words just before. “Okay, so,” I said, when she was finally done. “It looks like this person is paying off credit cards through the web. What… am I supposed to do about that? What information do they have that lets them do it?” “It looks like they have your routing number and account number,” she told me. “You should close this account and get a new one.” I thanked her and hung up. Then my head exploded.

Leftovers: Software

  • Cockpit 0.105
    Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. There’s a new release every week. Here are the highlights from this weeks 0.105 release.
  • Mercurial 3.7 and 3.8
    The Mercurial project continues its fast pace of innovation in version control. Both major releases this year (3.7 and 3.8) have very important new features that promise to improve user experience to a large degree.
  • KDE neon User Edition Testing Survey Results
    We made a tech preview release of KDE neon User Edition 10 days ago and I made up a survey to get results for how people’s experiences were. We got 59 responses, here’s a summary:
  • Blog backlog, Post 1, Emoji
  • Nautilus & Gtk+ status – 1 year of progress
    Today I was having a rough time thinking on how to implement the new GtkPathBar, which is taking more time and frustration than expected given some technological limitations on animations in gtk+ and that responsive design is technologically hard to do.

Red Hat pilots new leadgen program in Canada targeting the mid-to-high market

Fedora: The Latest

  • Fedora’s Love For Python Continues
    In this digital age, there is still some use for having messaging that is easy to distribute and consume. While it may seem quaint and old-fashioned, hard-copy content is a useful way to deliver information at events like conferences and meetups.
  • Fedora account system and FreeIPA
    Over the years, a number of times, people have asked us about migrating from our own custom Fedora Account System (FAS) to FreeIPA.
  • Testing FreeIPA in openQA
    openQA has some integration with Open vSwitch and it’s what the SUSE folks use, so I went with that. You basically have to create a tap device for each worker instance and use something like OVS to connect those devices together with a virtual bridge or whatever so the test VMs can communicate. The VMs also need to access the per-job web server that os-autoinst runs for the worker to upload logs to and download scripts to run from (in some cases), so in the reference set up you have that bind to the bridge interface and ensure the firewalling is set up so the VMs can reach it. And if you need the VMs to have access to the external network, as we do for FreeIPA testing (dnf and rolekit just do not want to work without access to the repositories), you have to basically set up NAT routing for the traffic from the VMs. It’s lots of network configuration fun!