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OOo

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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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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Games: HITMAN and Atari VCS

More Android Leftovers

  • A Look at Google's Project Fi
    Project Fi is a play on the term "WiFi" and is pronounced "Project Fye", as opposed to "Project Fee", which is what I called it at first. Several features set Project Fi apart from other cell-phone plans. First, Project Fi uses towers from three carriers: T-Mobile, US Cellular and Sprint. When using supported hardware, Project Fi constantly monitors signal strength and seamlessly transitions between the various towers. Depending on where you live, this can mean constant access to the fastest network or a better chance of having any coverage at all. (I'm in the latter group, as I live in a rural area.)
  • OnePlus 5 and 5T's latest OxygenOS Open Beta bring Google Lens support
    While the last OxygenOS Open Beta update for the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T was a significant upgrade bringing support for Project Treble, the latest versions for both devices offer smaller changes.
  • Google EU fine over Android likely this week
     

    The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, normally makes such announcements on a Wednesday.

  • Moment of truth for Google as record EU antitrust fine looms
     

    It comes just over a year after the Commission slapped a landmark 2.4-billion-euro ($2.8 billion) penalty on Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, for favoring its shopping service over those of competitors.  

    The EU penalty is likely to exceed the 2017 fine because of the broader scope of the Android case, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.  

OSS Leftovers

  • Medellín WordPress User Group Celebrates Open Source CMS Platform’s 15th Anniversary
    Medellín is well known for its innovative technology scene, with many active software and information technology user groups. One of those is the user group centered around open source content management software WordPress. A year ago the user group hosted Colombia’s first Wordcamp function, supported by the global WordPress community, and the user group recently gathered to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the first WordPress open source software release that took place May 27, 2003. WordPress is an free, open source software platform that allows amateur and professional users to create websites without writing programming code. Over the years it has grown into a powerful platform robust enough to run enterprise websites in many cases. For example, Finance Colombia runs on WordPress software.
  • Training: Embedded Linux and Security training day – Reading
    Providing detailed hands-on training, it is targeted at embedded engineers looking for an introduction to key embedded Linux and Security topics.
  • Amazing solar panel device that could change the world goes open source
    An innovative and simple solar panel efficiency device has just gone open source in order to get renewable energy to those who need it most. When you picture solar power, you might think of the enormous Ivanpah solar power plant in California (the largest in the world) or huge tracts of land in other sun-drenched parts of the globe. But not everyone has access to such enormous grids and particularly in remote villages in developing nations, there is only a need for a single or small group of solar panels that could maintain maximum efficiency to sustain a family or the village itself.
  • Meet the man in charge of Arduino

    I went to visit the Interaction Design Institute of Ivrea – a school that was started just six months before I went to visit them – and they asked me if I knew someone who could teach electronics to designers and to ask this question to my colleagues at the Politecnico.

    I went back and they said “No! Teaching electronics to designers? For us?” Those were guys working on highly sophisticated FGPAs, so they didn’t care about designers. I thought about Massimo – he had a real passion for electronics and he worked as a CTO for an internet provider at that point in time. I said, “Massimo, you could be the right person for this type of engagement – they’re designers, you love design, and you know electronics.” I introduced Massimo to the school and they hired him. That’s how the story started. When he was teaching at the Design Institute of Ivrea, they started the Arduino project as a way to standardise the electronics projects the students were doing. I introduced Massimo to the school and they invented Arduino, so I’m sort of the great-grandfather to some extent.

  • pinp 0.0.6: Two new options
    A small feature release of our pinp package for snazzier one or two column vignettes get onto CRAN a little earlier. It offers two new options. Saghir Bashir addressed a longer-standing help needed! issue and contributed code to select papersize options via the YAML header. And I added support for the collapse option of knitr, also via YAML header selection. A screenshot of the package vignette can be seen below. Additional screenshots of are at the pinp page.
  • OpenMP 5.0 Public Draft Released
    The public draft of the OpenMP 5.0 SMP programming standard is now available for review ahead of the specification's expected stable release before the end of 2018. OpenMP 5.0 is expected to succeed the OpenMP 4.5 parallel programming standard in Q4'2018, but for ironing out any last minute issues and allowing more compiler developers to begin implementing the standard, the public draft is now available.

FUD, EEE, and Openwashing