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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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Hacking LibreOffice in Paris

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LibO

Less technical particpants (such as yours truly) had the opportunity to work on the Bern Conference planning, the messaging of the upcoming LibreOffice releases, and explain how the LibreOffice project works to our guests. And of course, food and drinks were not forgotten during the Friday evening…

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Open source hindered by OOXML incompatibilities

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LibO
OSS

The mixing of outdated and incompatible versions of OOXML, an XML document format, is hindering implementation in open source office alternatives, according to a study published on the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR) today. The different OOXML versions also pose difficulties for public administrations that use different proprietary office suite versions, and the inconsistencies are causing problems with older documents. The OOXML document format is hindering the interoperability of suites of office productivity tools.

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LibreOffice 4.2.5 Released with Fixes from 800 Contributors

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LibO

The Document Foundation has announced that the final version for LibreOffice 4.2.5 has been released for all the available platforms, including Linux.

This is just a maintenance release for the 4.2.x branch, but users of this particular version should consider upgrading nonetheless. The developers have squashed numerous bugs for this release and that can be easily observed from the changelog,

LibreOffice 4.2.5 is now the most advanced build available from The Document Foundation, but the developers maintain a number of other branches as well. Users will be able to find the 4.1.6, 4.2.3, and 4.2.4 downloads on the official website...

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LibreOffice 4.2.5 RC2 Is Available for Testing, Final Version to Arrive Soon

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LibO

The developers from The Document Foundation have launched the second Release Candidate for the 4.2.5 branch. It's not as big as the previous version in the series and the final build should be just around the corner.

According to the changelog, the text position in grouped list is now correct, the translated frame styles have been fixed, the RTF color table export has been fixed, the show can now be started at a selected slide, a heuristic algorithm has been added to ignore the mangled crop values, different XML attribute names for Asian and complex fonts are now used, the correct way to determine the end position for matrix check is now used, and various other fixes have been implemented.

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The LibreOffice Migration Finally Reached My Workplace :)

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LibO

The University where I worked determined that it was in the best interests of the institution (and the students) to migrate to LibreOffice. This happened in 2011, but the process was slow.

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LibreOffice 4.3 Beta 2 Is Now Available for Testing

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LibO

The developers from The Document Foundation have released a new build in the LibreOffice 4.3 Beta branch, bringing even more changes than the latest update in the series. It looks like 4.3 will be quite interesting, but it's going to take a while until it's released.

According to the changelog, the upper margin of the multi-page floating table for WW8 import has been fixed, the wrong text position in grouped list has been corrected, the direct formatting for numbering in .DOCX is now handled correctly, the paste preference is now image, then HTML and text, the hyphenation has been fixed, a more relaxed clipping region has been implemented, the RTF color table export has been fixed, and LibreOffice no longer crashes if clearWarnings throws an SQLException.

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LibreOffice 4.2.5 RC1 Is Now Available for Testing

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LibO

The developers from The Document Foundation have launched the first Release Candidate for 4.2.5 branch and it comes with numerous changes and improvements.

According to the changelog, the text rotation has been fixed, the upper margin of multi-page floating table has been fixed, the set-all language menu has been added, output file extension is now adjusted when exporting, accepting and rejecting changes in a selection is now allowed, the strange brightness and contrast adjustment from Microsoft Office has been corrected, and the mapping between ATK and UNO roles has been improved.

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Open source is not dead

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Only FOSSers ‘Get’ FOSS

Back on the first of September I wrote an article about Android, in which I pointed out that Google’s mobile operating system seems to be primarily designed to help sell things. This eventually led to a discussion thread on a subreddit devoted to Android. Needless to say, the fanbois and fangrrls over on Reddit didn’t cotton to my criticism and they devoted a lot of space complaining about how the article was poorly written. Read more