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OOo

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
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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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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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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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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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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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ODF Plugfest showcases innovations on document collaboration

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LibO
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The ODF Plugfest that took place in London on 8 and 9 December showcased innovative ways to work with electronic documents. The most striking idea is the borrowing of techniques commonly used in software development, promising many news ways to create and collaborate on documents.

At the two-day workshop in London, the Berlin-based ODF expert Svante Schubert proposed to borrow techniques commonly used in software development, to manage revisions from many different sources. He suggests to exchange only the changes made in a text, instead of the much more cumbersome sending back and forth of an entire document. “Using files for collaborating on documents is a relic from the era of floppy discs”, developer Schubert says. “It forces a recipient to read the entire document and try to understand what has been changed by others.”

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Deputy CTO UK: ODF is a ‘big change’

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The UK government’s 400 IT departments are preparing their organisations for the use of the Open Document Format (ODF) as the default for its editable documents. The process should avoid making civil servants and other end-users bear the brunt of the switch, says Magnus Falk, deputy chief technology officer (CTO) of the UK government. “To unlock our digital documents, we’re leading a digital transformation.”

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Kernel: Virtme, 2018 Linux Audio Miniconference and Linux Foundation Articles

  • Virtme: The kernel developers' best friend
    When working on the Linux Kernel, testing via QEMU is pretty common. Many virtual drivers have been recently merged, useful either to test the kernel core code, or your application. These virtual drivers make QEMU even more attractive.
  • 2018 Linux Audio Miniconference
    As in previous years we’re trying to organize an audio miniconference so we can get together and talk through issues, especially design decisons, face to face. This year’s event will be held on Sunday October 21st in Edinburgh, the day before ELC Europe starts there.
  • How Writing Can Expand Your Skills and Grow Your Career [Ed: Linux Foundation article]
    At the recent Open Source Summit in Vancouver, I participated in a panel discussion called How Writing can Change Your Career for the Better (Even if You don't Identify as a Writer. The panel was moderated by Rikki Endsley, Community Manager and Editor for Opensource.com, and it included VM (Vicky) Brasseur, Open Source Strategy Consultant; Alex Williams, Founder, Editor in Chief, The New Stack; and Dawn Foster, Consultant, The Scale Factory.
  • At the Crossroads of Open Source and Open Standards [Ed: Another Linux Foundation article]
    A new crop of high-value open source software projects stands ready to make a big impact in enterprise production, but structural issues like governance, IPR, and long-term maintenance plague OSS communities at every turn. Meanwhile, facing significant pressures from open source software and the industry groups that support them, standards development organizations are fighting harder than ever to retain members and publish innovative standards. What can these two vastly different philosophies learn from each other, and can they do it in time to ensure they remain relevant for the next 10 years?

Red Hat: PodCTL, Security Embargos at Red Hat and Energy Sector

  • [Podcast] PodCTL #50 – Listener Mailbag Questions
    As the community around PodCTL has grown (~8000 weekly listeners) we’ve constantly asked them to give us feedback on topics to discuss and areas where they want to learn. This week we discussed and answered a number of questions about big data and analytics, application deployments, routing security, and storage deployment models.
  • Security Embargos at Red Hat
    The software security industry uses the term Embargo to describe the period of time that a security flaw is known privately, prior to a deadline, after which time the details become known to the public. There are no concrete rules for handling embargoed security flaws, but Red Hat uses some industry standard guidelines on how we handle them. When an issue is under embargo, Red Hat cannot share information about that issue prior to it becoming public after an agreed upon deadline. It is likely that any software project will have to deal with an embargoed security flaw at some point, and this is often the case for Red Hat.
  • Transforming oil & gas: Exploration and production will reap the rewards
    Through advanced technologies based on open standards, Red Hat deliver solutions that can support oil and gas companies as they modernize their IT infrastructures and build a framework to meet market and technology challenges. Taking advantage of modern, open architectures can help oil and gas providers attract new customers and provide entry into markets where these kinds of services were technologically impossible a decade ago.