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

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LibO
OSS
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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LibO
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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LibO
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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LibO
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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LibO
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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LibO
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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LibO
Microsoft
OSS
OOo

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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LibO
OOo

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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Welcome back to the Linux command-line toys advent calendar. If this is your first visit to the series, you might be asking yourself what a command-line toy even is. It's hard to say exactly, but my definition is anything that helps you have fun at the terminal. We've been on a roll with games over the weekend, and it was fun, so let's look at one more game today, Snake! Snake is an oldie but goodie; versions of it have been around seemingly forever. The first version I remember playing was one called Nibbles that came packaged with QBasic in the 1990s, and was probably pretty important to my understanding of what a programming language even was. Here I had the source code to a game that I could modify and just see what happens, and maybe learn something about what all of those funny little words that made up a programming language were all about. Read more

Growing Your Small Business With An Affordable OS

Your small business needs to grow, there's no doubt about that. Expansion is the name of the game when you have a one or two man company, and you're going to want to bring on at least 20 or more people to really get the cogs grinding. And if you're working on a digital interface, slowly phasing pen and paper out of the office you operate in, you're going to need plenty of people around to oil the engine and keep the tech in a usable state. Because of this, technology helps your small business grow, and can do quite a few wonders for the time and effort you invested into it. Even if you're working on a minimal budget, there's quite a few option to look into to make sure you've got just as much of a chance as the shop next door to you that seems to have a never ending stream of customers. After all, you've got to get your internal processes working perfectly first, and with a bit of technological aid, you might manage that faster than you first thought. Read more

Security: Polkit, CSP, Ansible and Router Hardening Checklist

  • Polkit CVE-2018-19788 vs. SELinux
  • Why is your site not using Content Security Policy / CSP?
    Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching on Frikanalen the OWASP talk by Scott Helme titled "What We’ve Learned From Billions of Security Reports". I had not heard of the Content Security Policy standard nor its ability to "call home" when a browser detect a policy breach (I do not follow web page design development much these days), and found the talk very illuminating. The mechanism allow a web site owner to use HTTP headers to tell visitors web browser which sources (internal and external) are allowed to be used on the web site. Thus it become possible to enforce a "only local content" policy despite web designers urge to fetch programs from random sites on the Internet, like the one enabling the attack reported by Scott Helme earlier this year.
  • Red Hat Ansible Playbooks Password Exposure Vulnerability [CVE-2018-16859]
    CVE-2018-16859. A vulnerability in Red Hat Ansible could allow a local attacker to discover plaintext passwords on a targeted system.
  • Router Hardening Checklist