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OOo

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
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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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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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Why the UK government must adopt Open Document Format

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Today is Document Freedom Day. As of November 2012, all government bodies have had to adhere to Open Standards Principles; an agreed set of standards to make IT more open, cheaper and better connected.

These were developed following the public consultation ‘Open Standards: Open Opportunities – flexibility and efficiency in government IT,’ to help government to deliver more innovative IT services and further drive savings, encouraging more open competition for government contracts.

It was a major initiative and went a long way to making government documents more accessible and available. Today, as the globe celebrates International Document Freedom Day, it’s time to take this initiative even further.

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Emilia-Romagna completes switch to OpenOffice

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OSS
OOo

The administration of the Italian region Emilia-Romagna will complete its switch to Apache OpenOffice next month, says Giovanni Grazia, an IT project manager for the region. Emilia-Romagna is making the Open Document Format ODF the default on all 4200 workstations, across 10 departments and 5 agencies.

Emilia-Romagna is adding several tools to the OpenOffice suite, “improving the user experience”, says Grazia. Three of these are publicly available OpenOffice extensions, but others are being developed especially for the region. The latter will be made available as open source within the next few weeks, Grazia says.

The first of the official OpenOffice extensions used in the region is Alba, which makes it easy to insert in a document one or more pages with a different orientation. The second is Pagination, which improves the insertion of page numbers. Third is PDFImport, which allows the import of PDFs into OpenOffice.

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You can now petition the European Union to 'fix my document'

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LibO
OSS
OOo

Inspired by the pothole identification and alert site and app, fixmystreet.com, OFE, through its fixmydocument.eu, is giving a crowd-sourced voice to public frustration with software interoperability limitations that stand in the way of citizens who are seeking to communicate and interact with government.

It should be noted, however, this is more than a vehicle through which to vent. Many parts of the EU are legitimately working hard to implement ODF, the open document format for office applications. Fixmydocument.eu will help them better identify software and documents that are presenting the most pressing and immediate problems. As an added benefit, it should not go unnoticed that more fully deploying ODF and other open standards will help the EU avoid vendor lock-in.

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Pondering the Fate of Open Source & Software Licenses

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Legal

Having used OpenOffice for several years on the Panasonic Toughbooks I use in the field, I've avoided buying into traditional or subscription-based services. While enterprises may have a different view on licensing, cost most always figures into the decision-making process. So if they go the subscription route, they'll have to then ask what strategies they can use to lower those costs. Will they be able to haggle on price?

If the subscription model does become the norm, will OpenOffice and other open-source software thrive, dive, or stay the same in market share? I'd like to hear your thoughts.

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The Long Slog to Level the Document Playing Field

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OOo

Expectations are generally low that acceptance of open document standards in the U.S. will improve any time soon. No interest or support for open document standards has been voiced by U.S. officials, noted the Open Source Business Alliance's Holger Dyroff. Still, the OSBA is happy with some movements in the U.S., like the recent decision to open source government-funded software programming.

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ODF Plugfest showcases innovations on document collaboration

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LibO
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The ODF Plugfest that took place in London on 8 and 9 December showcased innovative ways to work with electronic documents. The most striking idea is the borrowing of techniques commonly used in software development, promising many news ways to create and collaborate on documents.

At the two-day workshop in London, the Berlin-based ODF expert Svante Schubert proposed to borrow techniques commonly used in software development, to manage revisions from many different sources. He suggests to exchange only the changes made in a text, instead of the much more cumbersome sending back and forth of an entire document. “Using files for collaborating on documents is a relic from the era of floppy discs”, developer Schubert says. “It forces a recipient to read the entire document and try to understand what has been changed by others.”

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Deputy CTO UK: ODF is a ‘big change’

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The UK government’s 400 IT departments are preparing their organisations for the use of the Open Document Format (ODF) as the default for its editable documents. The process should avoid making civil servants and other end-users bear the brunt of the switch, says Magnus Falk, deputy chief technology officer (CTO) of the UK government. “To unlock our digital documents, we’re leading a digital transformation.”

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More in Tux Machines

Linux Foundation: New Members, Certifications and Microsoft Entryism

ETSI/GNU/Linux-based MANO

  • ETSI Open Source MANO announces Release FOUR, moving faster than ever
    ETSI is pleased to announce the availability of OSM Release FOUR. Bringing a large set of new features and enhancements, this version is the most ambitious and innovative OSM Release to date and constitutes a huge leap forward in terms of functionality, user experience and maturity. This new Release brings substantial progress thanks to a number of architectural improvements, which result in a more efficient behaviour and much leaner footprint – up to 75% less RAM consumption. Additionally, its new northbound interface, aligned with ETSI NFV work, and the brand-new cloud-native setup, facilitate OSM’s installation and operation, while making OSM more open and simpler to integrate with pluggable modules and external systems, such as the existing OSS.
  • Open Source MANO Release FOUR lands
    In monitoring, ETSI says OSM Release FOUR's alarm and metric settings are easier to use, and a new policy manager adds push notifications and reactive policy configuration, which the standards body says “opens the door to closed-loop operations”. The monitoring module uses Apache Kafka as its message passing bus, and the module also implements a flexible plugin model so sysadmins can BYO monitoring environment.

today's howtos part 2

Programming: GitLab, Security, Power and Jakarta EE

  • GitLab 10.8 open sources push mirroring
    GitLab 10.8 was released this week with the open sourcing of a highly requested feature. The company announced its push mirroring capability is now open sourced. Push mirroring was originally introduced as a paid feature, but GitLab says it is one of the most frequently requested to be moved into the open-source codebase. This move will add a few new use cases for GitLab Core users, such as freelance developers being able to mirror client repos and users migrating to GitLab being able to use push mirroring to ease the migration path.
  • How Security Can Bridge the Chasm with Development
    Enhancing the relationships between security and engineering is crucial for improving software security. These six steps will bring your teams together. There's always been a troublesome rift between enterprise security teams and software developers. While the friction is understandable, it's also a shame, because the chasm between these teams makes it all the more challenging to build quality applications that are both great to use and safe.
  • Which Programming Languages Use the Least Electricity?
    Can energy usage data tell us anything about the quality of our programming languages? Last year a team of six researchers in Portugal from three different universities decided to investigate this question, ultimately releasing a paper titled “Energy Efficiency Across Programming Languages.” They ran the solutions to 10 programming problems written in 27 different languages, while carefully monitoring how much electricity each one used — as well as its speed and memory usage.
  • How Java EE found new life as Jakarta EE
    The title of this post may seem strange, but if you look a bit into Java EE's recent history, it will make sense. Originally, Sun started and ran Java Enterprise Edition, and later Oracle took over after it acquired Sun. Specifications were driven by a Sun/Oracle-governed process. At more or less regular intervals, they made a new version of the specification available, which was implemented by the server vendors. Those vendors had to license the technology compatibility kits (TCKs) and brand from Oracle. Let's fast-forward a bit. In 2013, Java EE 7 was released, and Oracle began work on EE8, but it did not progress quickly. Meanwhile, new technologies like Docker and Kubernetes came along and changed the way applications run. Instead of running a single fat server process on a big machine, the software is now split into smaller, independent services that run in a (usually) Docker container orchestrated by Kubernetes.