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OOo

French Government IT directorate stands its ground : ODF supported, OOXML rejected

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LibO
OOo

The final draft version of the RGI (general interoperability framework), still awaiting final validation, maintains ODF as the recommended format for office documents within French administrations. This new version of the RGI provides substantiated criticism of the OOXML Microsoft format. April thanks the DISIC (French Inter-ministerial IT directorate) for not giving in to pressure and acting in the long-term interest of all French citizens and their administrations.

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Discussion: French Government IT Directorate Supports ODF, Rejects OOXML

Apache OpenOffice versus LibreOffice

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LibO
OOo
-s

Following yesterday's LibreOffice report for 2014, comes another interesting report from Document Foundation members Barend Jonkers and Cor Nouws comparing the features of LibreOffice and OpenOffice. The 60-page report "focuses on areas as feasibility, smart use, quality and improvements, localization and more." It makes clear that LibreOffice has undergone massive improvements as compared to OpenOffice.

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Proprietary OOXML document format makes you more vulnerable to attacks

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LibO
Security
OOo

Using the proprietary OOXML document format, i.e. docx, pptx and xlsx, makes you more vulnerable to phishing and other attacks. Earlier this month, the Japanese anti-virus company Trend Micro published a blog post describing how the attack group "Operation Pawn Storm" uses spear-phishing mail messages with malicious Office documents to target the military, governments, defense industries and the media.

Four years ago, Thomas Caspers and Oliver Zendel from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) already presented research results stating that most spear-phishing attacks targeting specific persons or a small group of victims are using "launch actions" in Office and PDF documents to have their malicious code executed.

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When enthusiasm for free software turns ugly

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LibO
OOo

In theory, maybe some way exists to encourage the enthusiasm that free software inspires while discouraging the ugliness of insularity. The idealism of free software has shaped my life so thoroughly that I wince when it is twisted.

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What's Next for Apache's Open Source Office Suite, OpenOffice?

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OOo

Still, as one of the longest-standing open source productivity apps, and one that played a major role in making desktop Linux viable, OpenOffice is a venerable project. Indeed, its history stretches all the way back to 1985 (when I was still merely an idea!), and it has been open source since 2000. If it folds, it will be one of the first big-name open source apps to do so—even if few people notice as they continue happily chugging along on LibreOffice.

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Is OpenOffice Dying?

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LibO
OOo

In September 2014, rumors were flying that Apache OpenOffice was floundering and might soon merge with LibreOffice. The rumors were denied, but revived in March 2015 when Jonathan Corbett used development activity statistics to show that OpenOffice was seriously short of developers, and had corporate support only from IBM. Now, OpenOffice's most recent report to the Apache Foundation appears to reinforce these previous reports, and then some.

To be fair, the report is listed as "a working copy and not to be quoted." However, I am discussing it anyway for two reasons. First, much of the report was mentioned in earlier reports, which suggests that its information is accurate. Second, when I contacted Jan Iversen, the new OpenOffice Chair, three weeks ago, he gave the same warning even more strongly. Since then the contents has gone through at least one more draft, but with little change of content, which makes me suspect that the excuse is an effort to delay discussion of the content. If I am mistaken, the fact will eventually become obvious, since the report is, after all, a public document.

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ODF in the age of Big Data

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LibO
OOo

One may notice that the points listed above loosely match the main points usually mentioned when discussing the benefits of ODF in the more standard settings of the desktop. This is not surprising, but it was not necessarily intended; if anything this is a testimony to the value of a standard like ODF and its importance. The key point here is that when it comes to the cloud and big data, ODF is both a factor of transparency and innovation. This is something worth promoting and is a potential path to renewed success of ODF in the future.

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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
OOo

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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LibO
OOo

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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Android Leftovers

Baidu puts open source deep learning into smartphones

A year after it open sourced its PaddlePaddle deep learning suite, Baidu has dropped another piece of AI tech into the public domain – a project to put AI on smartphones. Mobile Deep Learning (MDL) landed at GitHub under the MIT license a day ago, along with the exhortation “Be all eagerness to see it”. MDL is a convolution-based neural network designed to fit on a mobile device. Baidu said it is suitable for applications such as recognising objects in an image using a smartphone's camera. Read more

AMD and Linux Kernel

  • Ataribox runs Linux on AMD chip and will cost at least $250
    Atari released more details about its Ataribox game console today, disclosing for the first time that the machine will run Linux on an Advanced Micro Devices processor and cost $250 to $300. In an exclusive interview last week with GamesBeat, Ataribox creator and general manager Feargal Mac (short for Mac Conuladh) said Atari will begin a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo this fall and launch the Ataribox in the spring of 2018. The Ataribox will launch with a large back catalog of the publisher’s classic games. The idea is to create a box that makes people feel nostalgic about the past, but it’s also capable of running the independent games they want to play today, like Minecraft or Terraria.
  • Linux 4.14 + ROCm Might End Up Working Out For Kaveri & Carrizo APUs
    It looks like the upstream Linux 4.14 kernel may end up playing nicely with the ROCm OpenCL compute stack, if you are on a Kaveri or Carrizo system. While ROCm is promising as AMD's open-source compute stack complete with OpenCL 1.2+ support, its downside is that for now not all of the necessary changes to the Linux kernel drivers, LLVM Clang compiler infrastructure, and other components are yet living in their upstream repositories. So for now it can be a bit hairy to setup ROCm compute on your own system, especially if running a distribution without official ROCm packages. AMD developers are working to get all their changes upstreamed in each of the respective sources, but it's not something that will happen overnight and given the nature of Linux kernel development, etc, is something that will still take months longer to complete.
  • Latest Linux kernel release candidate was a sticky mess
    Linus Torvalds is not noted as having the most even of tempers, but after a weekend spent scuba diving a glitch in the latest Linux kernel release candidate saw the Linux overlord merely label the mess "nasty". The release cycle was following its usual cadence when Torvalds announced Linux 4.14 release candidate 2, just after 5:00PM on Sunday, September 24th.
  • Linus Torvalds Announces the Second Release Candidate of Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS
    Development of the Linux 4.14 kernel series continues with the second Release Candidate (RC) milestone, which Linus Torvalds himself announces this past weekend. The update brings more updated drivers and various improvements. Linus Torvalds kicked off the development of Linux kernel 4.14 last week when he announced the first Release Candidate, and now the second RC is available packed full of goodies. These include updated networking, GPU, and RDMA drivers, improvements to the x86, ARM, PowerPC, PA-RISC, MIPS, and s390 hardware architectures, various core networking, filesystem, and documentation changes.

Red Hat: ‘Hybrid Cloud’, University of Alabama, Red Hat Upgrades Ansible and Expectations