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OOo

ODF FOI Update: Lost, Found and Lost Again

Filed under
LibO
Microsoft
OOo

This is really one of the most ridiculous get-out clauses, because it is so wide. The whole point of the FOI system is so that we can see precisely what is being said in these discussions, and to find out what companies are saying behind closed doors - and what ministers are replying. Although it's laudable that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills got in touch to correct its response to me, it's rather rich to do so and then simply refuse point-blank to release any of the information it has just found.

The only consolation is that whatever Microsoft whispered in the corridors of power to de-rail the move to ODF - since I hardly imagine it was a fervent supporter of the idea - it didn't work. However, there are doubtless many other occasions when it did, but we will never know. That's just unacceptable in a modern democracy.

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FSF congratulates UK Government on choosing Open Document Format

Filed under
GNU
LibO
OOo

If you live in the UK, you'll soon be able to fill out government paperwork with your freedoms intact. The British government announced last week that Open Document Format (ODF), HTML, and PDF will be the official file formats used by all government agencies.

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WebODF easily used, part 1: ViewerJS

Filed under
KDE
LibO
OOo

You possibly have heard of WebODF already, the Open Source JavaScript library for displaying and editing files in the OpenDocument format (ODF) inside HTML pages. For ideas what is possible with WebODF and currently going on, see e.g. Aditya’s great blog posts about the usage of WebODF in OwnCloud Documents and Highlights in the WebODF 0.5 release.

The WebODF library webodf.js comes with a rich API and lots of abstraction layers to allow adaption to different backends and enviroments. There is an increasing number of software using WebODF, some of that listed here.

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What the UK Government’s adoption of ODF really means

Filed under
LibO
OOo

Most of the migrations from one office suite to another tend to happen without any coherent document management policy. Many organizations moving from, say, Microsoft Office to LibreOffice do not necessarily adopt ODF as their default format and will carry on supporting whatever version of the MS Office file format internally. This usually leads to frustrations and compatibility problems. This time, the UK Government decision takes a different approach. By deciding about the formats first, the UK creates the conditions necessary to have real choices for its government and its citizens, thus setting a level playing field for everyone. Many people have understood this decision as being a move against Microsoft. It is not or at least it should not be. Microsoft Office implements ODF files and its latest editions, as I’m being told are actually quite good at it. What this move does, however, is to ensure no other solution will be at a competitive disadvantage because of a technical or legal (aka patents) lock-in. Of course, it remains to be seen what concrete actions the UK Government will take in order to ensure a smooth transition between proprietary formats and open standards; and it remains to be seen how well it will ensure a proper change management across all of its departments so that its agents feel comfortable with ODF documents and whatever new office suites that may be adopted as a result of the decision. Much could be lost at that stage, but much could be gained as well. And of course, just like with the Netherlands, the decision itself might end up being toned down or take a somewhat different meaning.

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U.K. Cabinet Office Adopts ODF as Exclusive Standard for Sharable Documents

Filed under
LibO
OSS
OOo

The U.K. Cabinet Office accomplished today what the Commonwealth of Massachusetts set out (unsuccessfully) to achieve ten years ago: it formally required compliance with the Open Document Format (ODF) by software to be purchased in the future across all government bodies. Compliance with any of the existing versions of OOXML, the competing document format championed by Microsoft, is neither required nor relevant. The announcement was made today by The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude.

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Musing: Microsoft to offer its software on Linux – A theoretical consideration.

Filed under
GNU
LibO
Linux
Microsoft
OOo

BREAKING NEWS: MICROSOFT RELEASES ITS OFFICE SUITE FOR LINUX

Take a few seconds to consider how you would feel, then maybe be kind enough to hear my view.

So it’s great? Microsoft’s flagship product now available to those who in the past had only LO, Abiword etc to chose from. Now you can run natively on your Linux box that which Windows users have been for years.

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

Filed under
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?

Filed under
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?

Filed under
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

Filed under
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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    There are many different ways to solve problems in computing. You might "brute force" your way to a solution by calculating as many possibilities as you can, or you might take a procedural approach and carefully establish the known factors that influence the correct answer. In constraint programming, a problem is viewed as a series of limitations on what could possibly be a valid solution. This paradigm can be applied to effectively solve a group of problems that can be translated to variables and constraints or represented as a mathematic equation. In this way, it is related to the Constraint Satisfaction Problem (CSP). Using a declarative programming style, it describes a general model with certain properties. In contrast to the imperative style, it doesn't tell how to achieve something, but rather what to achieve. Instead of defining a set of instructions with only one obvious way to compute values, constraint programming declares relationships between variables within constraints. A final model makes it possible to compute the values of variables regardless of direction or changes. Thus, any change in the value of one variable affects the whole system (i.e., all other variables), and to satisfy defined constraints, it leads to recomputing the other values.

  • Samuel Sutch: Why Python Has Become an Industry Favorite Among Programmers

    With the world stepping towards a new age of technology development, it isn’t hard to imagine a future that will be full of screens. And if so be the case then, demand for people with strong programming skills will definitely rise with more number of people required to develop and support the applications. Python Training is always a good idea for those wishes to be a part of this constantly developing industry. Python language is not only easy to grasp, but emphasizes less on syntax which is why a few mistakes here and there doesn’t give as much trouble as some other languages does.

Linux commands to display your hardware information

There are many reasons you might need to find out details about your computer hardware. For example, if you need help fixing something and post a plea in an online forum, people will immediately ask you for specifics about your computer. Or, if you want to upgrade your computer, you'll need to know what you have and what you can have. You need to interrogate your computer to discover its specifications. Alternatively, you could open up the box and read the labels on the disks, memory, and other devices. Or you could enter the boot-time panels—the so-called UEFI or BIOS panels. Just hit the proper program function key during the boot process to access them. These two methods give you hardware details but omit software information. Or, you could issue a Linux line command. Wait a minute… that sounds difficult. Why would you do this? Read more

Android Leftovers

BlackWeb 1.2

BlackWeb is a penetration and security testing distribution based on Debian. The project's website presents the distribution's features as follows: BlackWeb is a Linux distribution aimed at advanced penetration testing and security auditing. BlackWeb contains several hundred tools which are geared towards various information security tasks, such as penetration testing, security research, computer forensics and reverse engineering. Starting from an appropriately configured LXDE desktop manager it offers stability and speed. BlackWeb has been designed with the aim of achieving the maximum performance and minimum consumption of resources. There are 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64) builds of BlackWeb available on the distribution's website. I downloaded the 64-bit build which is 2.6GB in size. Booting from the media brings up a menu asking if we would like to try BlackWeb's live desktop, run the installer or run the graphical installer. Taking the live desktop options presents us with a graphical login screen where we can sign in with the username "root" and the password "blackweb". Read more