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“To whom much has been given, much is expected in return” – Free Software economics

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OOo

When it comes to Free Software projects, there’s a profound, deep misunderstanding about who does what and how it’s being done. Using the now overused quote, developers write a code “because they have an itch to scratch”, means that there can be twenty different motivations to contribute to Free Software. No one needs to explain or justify his or her contribution. In the real world, one of the most common motivation is money, be it in the form of a salary, a fee, or a transaction involving the developers to fix whatever bug or develop a new feature. Most of the FOSS projects I know -excluding Firefox- do not pay developers directly for fixing bugs except in very specific circumstances and by definition not on a regular basis. The LibreOffice project is no different. The Document Foundation serves the LibreOffice project by financing its infrastructure, protecting its assets and improving LibreOffice in almost every way except paying for development on a regular basis. What this means, in other terms, is that the Document Foundation does not provide support; nor does it provide service to customers. In this sense, it is not a software vendor like Microsoft or Adobe. This is also one of the reasons why there is no “LTS” version of LibreOffice; because the Document Foundation will not provide a more or less mythical “bug-free version” of LibreOffice without ensuring the developers get paid for this. The healthiest way to do this is to grow an ecosystem of developers and service providers who are certified by the Document Foundation and are able to provide professionals with support, development, training and assistance.

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Why is Cabinet Office Holding Back Microsoft's ODF Emails?

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Microsoft
OOo

Back in May, I wrote about my less-than-happy experience in putting in a Freedom of Information request to the UK Cabinet Office on the subject of ODF formats: I am writing in connection with Francis Maude's speech on 29 January 2014 in which he announced that the UK government would be adopting ODF as one of its preferred formats. I would be grateful if you could please supply me with the following information: What meetings, telephone or email exchanges were held with representatives of Microsoft or the Business Software Alliance at any time during the last six months that discussed document formats and/or the UK government's new policy on open document formats.

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What’s up with Open Standards?

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OOo

It is hard enough for people to understand what protocols such as TCP/IP do. These open standards however are invisible to most of them, even if they’re using them on a daily basis. Other open standards, such as OpenDocument Format, are probably not conceivable by some people, who think that an office document is “an extension of Microsoft Office”. I have even heard of teachers, here in France, who refused to even mention ODF because such a thing “could not possibly exist”. The conceptual distinction between a file and an application has not permeated much, even in the twenty first century.

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Apache OpenOffice hits major 100 million downloads milestone in under 2 years

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OSS
OOo

OpenOffice offers free and open-source document, spreadsheet, presentation, vector graphics, and database creation tools, along with a mathematical formula editor. More than 750 extensions and over 2,800 templates are available for the productivity suite at SourceForge.

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ODF vs. OOXML: War of the Words Chapter 5: Open Standards

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OOo

Plug.and.socket 142One of the two articles of faith that Eric Kriss and Peter Quinn embraced in drafting their evolving Enterprise Technical Reference Model (ETRM) was this: products built to “open standards” are more desirable than those that aren’t. Superficially, the concept made perfect sense – only buy products that you can mix and match. That way, you can take advantage of both price competition as well as a wide selection of alternative products from multiple vendors, each with its own value-adding features. And if things don’t work out, well, you’re not locked in, and can swap out the loser and shop for a winner.

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Also new: Galicia recommends use of Open Document Format

ODF vs. OOXML: War of the Words Chapter 4 – Eric Kriss, Peter Quinn and the ETRM

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OOo

By the end of December 2005, I had been blogging on ODF developments in Massachusetts for about four months, providing interviews, legal analysis and news as it happened. In those early days, not many bloggers were covering the ODF story, and email began to come my way from people that I had never met before, from as far away as Australia, and as near as the State House in Boston. Some began with, “This seems really important – what can I do to help?” Others contained important information that someone wanted to share, and that I was happy to receive.

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ODF 1.2 Submitted to ISO

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OOo

Last Wednesday, March 26th, on Document Freedom Day, OASIS submitted Open Document Format 1.2 standard to the ISO/IEC JTC1 Secretariat for transposition to an International Standard under the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) procedure.

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Call to fix interoperability of office suites

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LibO
OOo

Last week Monday, five European public administrations published a new call for tender, to further improve interoperability between free and open source office suites and the ubiquitous proprietary alternative. This is the second time that the German cities of Munich, Leipzig and Jena, the Swiss Federal Court and the Swiss Federal IT Steering Unit have issued such a call. ICT specialists have until 30 April to submit proposals.

The office suites' interoperability project is again managed by the OSB Alliance, a trade group representing open source service providers from Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

According the alliance's press release, one of the main features to be developed concerns change tracking between open source and proprietary office suites. The public administrations issuing the call want to improve the specification of change tracking, and make this part of the Open Document Format ISO standard.

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EU institutions accused of doing nothing to free themselves from dependence on Microsoft

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Microsoft
OSS
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The European Commission and European Parliament are doing nothing to rid themselves of their dependance on Microsoft, two lobby groups said Wednesday, Document Freedom Day.

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and Open Forum Europe urged EU institutions to support open standards in an open letter to Giancarlo Vilella, president of the European Parliament's Directorate-General for Innovation and Technological Support. He also chairs the body that coordinates IT activities for government agencies including Parliament, the Commission and the Council of the E.U.

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It’s Document Freedom Day 2014: What Does that Mean for You?

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You’ll recall that I noted above Document Freedom Day awareness is limited in the U.S. So is participation in DFD activities, as you can see from the image at left, which shows where they are being held this year. That’s a shame, because document freedom is a universal, and not a regional or national concern.

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More in Tux Machines

Red Hat and Fedora

  • Red Hat, Logicalis in digital transformation partnership in Latin America
    PromonLogicalis, a provider of information technology and communication solutions and services in Latin America, and Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, announced a collaboration that aim to help organizations navigate the digital transformation of their infrastructures to pave the way for cloud and the software-defined technologies, and to advance open source technology awareness in the region. Open source is delivering significant advancements in many areas of technology through community-powered innovation, including cloud computing, mobile, big data, and more. And, as companies embrace modern technology as a competitive advantage via digital transformation efforts, many are turning to open source because of the flexibility and agility it can enable.
  • Red Hat Inc. (RHT) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”
  • An Easy Way To Try Intel & RADV Vulkan Drivers On Fedora 24
    Fedora 25 should have good support for the open-source Vulkan Linux drivers (particularly if it lands the next Mesa release) while Fedora 24 users can now more easily play with the latest Mesa Git RADV and Intel ANV Vulkan drivers via a new repository. A Phoronix reader has setup a Fedora Copr repository that is building Intel's Vulkan driver from Mesa Git plus the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver re-based from its source (David Airlie's semi-interesting GitHub branch). Fedora COPR, for the uninformed, is the distribution's equivalent to Ubuntu PPA repositories.
  • Meeting users, lots of users
    Every year, I introduce Fedora to new students at Brno Technical University. There are approx. 500 of them and a sizable amount of them then installs Fedora. We also organize a sort of installfest one week after the presentation where anyone who has had any difficulties with Fedora can come and ask for help. It’s a great opportunity to observe what things new users struggle with the most. Especially when you have such a high number of new users. What are my observations this year?

Linux Devices

  • 96Boards SBCs host Intel Joule and Curie IoT modules
    Gumstix announced two SBCs this week, based on Intel Joule and Curie IoT modules and built to 96Boards CE and IE form-factor specifications, respectively. At Linaro Connect Las Vegas 2016, where earlier this week Linaro’s 96Boards.org announced a new 96Boards IoT Edition (IE) spec, Gumstix announced support for 96Boards.org’s open SBC standards with two new single-board computers. Both SBCs will be available for purchase in October.
  • ORWL — First Open Source And Physically Secure PC, Runs Linux And Windows
    ORWL is the first open source, physically secure computer. Using a secure microcontroller (MCU) and an ‘active clamshell mesh’, the device makes sure that nobody breaks the security of the system. Its maker, Design Shift, has also launched a crowdfunding campaign on Crowd Supply.
  • Purism Is Still Hoping To Build A GNU/Linux Free Software Librem Smartphone
    Purism, the startup behind the Librem laptops with a focus on free software and user privacy/freedom, still has their minds set on coming up with a GNU/Linux smartphone. Purism continues selling their high-priced laptops and their Librem 11 is forthcoming as an Intel-based tablet/convertible device with stocking station. Next on their horizon they want to produce "the ideal no-carrier, Free Software phone running a bona fide GNU+Linux stack."

Leftovers: OSS

  • Asterisk 14 Improves Open-Source VoIP
    Digium, the lead commercial sponsor behind the Asterisk open source PBX project announced the release Asterisk 14 this week, continuing to evolve the decade old effort, making it easier to use and deploy.
  • Yahoo open-sources a deep learning model for classifying pornographic images
    Yahoo today announced its latest open-source release: a model that can figure out if images are specifically pornographic in nature. The system uses a type of artificial intelligence called deep learning, which involves training artificial neural networks on lots of data (like dirty images) and getting them to make inferences about new data. The model that’s now available on GitHub under a BSD 2-Clause license comes pre-trained, so users only have to fine-tune it if they so choose. The model works with the widely used Caffe open source deep learning framework. The team trained the model using its now open source CaffeOnSpark system. The new model could be interesting to look at for developers maintaining applications like Instagram and Pinterest that are keen to minimize smut. Search engine operators like Google and Microsoft might also want to check out what’s under the hood here. “To the best of our knowledge, there is no open source model or algorithm for identifying NSFW images,” Yahoo research engineer Jay Mahadeokar and senior director of product management Gerry Pesavento wrote in a blog post.
  • Cloudera, Hortonworks, and Uber to Keynote at Apache Big Data and ApacheCon Europe
  • Vendors Pile on Big Data News at Strata
    Cloudera, Pentaho and Alation are among vendors making Big Data announcements at this week's Strata event. Vendors big and small are making news at this week's Strata + Hadoop event as they try to expand their portion of the Big Data market. Cloudera highlighted a trio of Apache Software Foundation (ASF) projects to which it contributes. Among them is Spark 2.0, which benefits from a new Dataset API that offers the promise of better usability and performance as well as new machine learning libraries.
  • New alliances focus on open-source, data science empowerment
    How can data science make a true market impact? Partnerships, particularly amongst open source communities. As IBM solidifies its enterprise strategies around data demands, two new partnerships emerge: one with Continuum Analytics, Inc., advancing open-source analytics for the enterprise; and another with Galvanize, initiating a Data Science for Executives program. Continuum Analytics, the creator and driving force behind Anaconda — a leading open data science platform powered by Python — has allied with IBM to advance open-source analytics for the enterprise. Data scientists and data engineers in open-source communities can now embrace Python and R to develop analytic and machine learning models in the Spark environment through its integration with IBM’s DataWorks Project. The new agreement between IBM and Galvanize, which provides a dynamic learning community for technology, will offer an assessment, analysis and training element for Galvanize’s Data Science for Executives program. This program empowers corporations to better understand, use and maximize the value of their data. The program will support IBM’s DataFirst Method, a methodology that IBM says provides the strategy, expertise and game plan to help ensure enterprise customers’ succeed on their journey to become a data-driven business.
  • Apache Spot: open source big data analytics for cyber
  • Chinese open source blockchain startup Antshares raises $4.5M through crowdsourcing [Ed: Microsoft-connected]
  • August and September 2016: photos from Pittsburgh and Fresno
  • Libre Learn Lab: a summit on freely licensed resources for education
    Libre Learn Lab is a two-day summit for people who create, use and implement freely licensed resources for K-12 education, bringing together educators, policy experts, software developers, hardware hackers, and activists to share best practices and address the challenges of widespread adoption of these resources in education. The 2nd biennial conference is Saturday, October 8th, and Sunday, October 9th, at the MIT Tang Center. The keynote addresses will be delivered by the FSF’s own Richard M. Stallman, former Chief Open Education Advisor Andrew Marcinek and founder of HacKIDemia Stefania Druga. At the event, there will be a special tribute to Dr. Seymour Papert (the father of educational computing) by Dr. Cynthia Solomon.

Security Leftovers

  • Friday's security advisories
  • ICANN grinds forward on crucial DNS root zone signing key update
    The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is moving -- carefully -- to upgrade the DNS root zone key by which all domains can be authenticated under the DNS Security Extensions protocol. ICANN is the organization responsible for managing the Domain Name System, and DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) authenticates DNS responses, preventing man-in-the-middle attacks in which the attacker hijacks legitimate domain resolution requests and replaces them with fraudulent domain addresses. DNSSEC still relies on the original DNS root zone key generated in 2010. That 1024-bit RSA key is scheduled to be replaced with a 2048-bit RSA key next October. Although experts are split over the effectiveness of DNSSEC, the update of the current root zone key signing key (KSK) is long overdue.
  • Cybersecurity isn't an IT problem, it's a business problem
    The emergence of the CISO is a relatively recent phenomenon at many companies. Their success often relies upon educating the business from the ground up. In the process, companies become a lot better about how to handle security and certainly learn how not to handle it. As a CIO, knowing the pulse of security is critical. I oversee a monthly technology steering committee that all the executives attend. The CISO reports during this meeting on the state of the security program. He also does an excellent job of putting risk metrics out there, color coded by red, yellow, and green. This kind of color grading allows us to focus attention on where we are and what we’re doing about it.