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FSF congratulates UK Government on choosing Open Document Format

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GNU
LibO
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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

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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

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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

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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.

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GNU
LibO
Linux
Microsoft
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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

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OSS
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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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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
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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

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GNU Parallel 20190822 ('Jesper Svarre') released [stable]

GNU Parallel 20190822 ('Jesper Svarre') [stable] has been released. It is available for download at: http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/parallel/ No new functionality was introduced so this is a good candidate for a stable release. GNU Parallel is 10 years old next year on 2020-04-22. You are here by invited to a reception on Friday 2020-04-17. Read more

KDE ISO Image Writer – Release Announcement

My GSoC project comes to an end and I am going to conclude this series of articles by announcing the release of a beta version of KDE ISO Image Writer. Read more Also: How I got a project in Labplot KDE

Linux Foundation: Automotive Grade Linux Announcement and Calling Surveillance Operations "Confidential Computing"

  • Automotive Grade Linux Announces New Instrument Cluster Expert Group and UCB 8.0 Code Release

    Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), an open source project developing a shared software platform for in-vehicle technology, today announced a new working group focused on Instrument Cluster solutions, as well as the latest code release of the AGL platform, the UCB 8.0. The AGL Instrument Cluster Expert Group (EG) is working to reduce the footprint of AGL and optimize the platform for use in lower performance processors and low-cost vehicles that do not require an entire infotainment software stack. Formed earlier this year, the group plans to release design specifications later this year with an initial code release in early 2020. “AGL is now supported by nine major automotive manufacturers, including the top three producers by worldwide volume, and is currently being used in production for a range of economy and luxury vehicles” said Dan Cauchy, Executive Director of Automotive Grade Linux at the Linux Foundation. “The new Instrument Cluster Expert Group, supported by several of these automakers, will expand the use cases for AGL by enabling the UCB platform to support solutions for lower-cost vehicles, including motorcycles.”

  • Shhh! Microsoft, Intel, Google and more sign up to the Confidential Computing Consortium

    The Linux Foundation has signed up the likes of Microsoft and Google for its Confidential Computing Consortium, a group with the laudable goal of securing sensitive data. The group – which also includes Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, IBM, Intel, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent – will be working on open-source technologies and standards to speed the adoption of confidential computing. The theory goes that while approaches to encrypting data at rest and in transit have supposedly been dealt with, assuming one ignores the depressingly relentless splurts of user information from careless vendors, keeping it safe while in use is quite a bit more challenging. Particularly as workloads spread to the cloud and IoT devices.

  • Tech giants come together to form cloud security watchdog

    Some of the world’s biggest technology companies are joining forces to improve the security of files in the cloud. This includes Google, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, and many others. The news first popped up on the Linux Foundation, where it was said that the Confidential Computing Consortium will work to bring industry standards and identify the proper tools to encrypt data used by apps, devices and online services. At the moment, cloud security solutions focus to protect data that’s either resting, or is in transit. However, when the data is being used is “the third and possibly most challenging step to providing a fully encrypted lifecycle for sensitive data.”

  • Tech firms join forces to boost cloud security

    Founding members of the group – which unites hardware suppliers, cloud providers, developers, open source experts and academics – include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent. [...] “The earliest work on technologies that have the ability to transform an industry is often done in collaboration across the industry and with open source technologies,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation. “The Confidential Computing Consortium is a leading indicator of what is to come for security in computing and will help define and build open technologies to support this trust infrastructure for data in use.”

  • Google, Intel and Microsoft form data protection consortium
  • Intel Editorial: Intel Joins Industry Consortium to Accelerate Confidential Computing

    Leaders in information and infrastructure security are well versed in protecting data at-rest or in-flight through a variety of methods. However, data being actively processed in memory is another matter. Whether running on your own servers on-prem, in an edge deployment, or in the heart of a cloud service provider’s data center, this “in-use” data is almost always unencrypted and potentially vulnerable.

  • Confidential Computing: How Big Tech Companies Are Coming Together To Secure Data At All Levels

    Data today moves constantly from on-premises to public cloud and the edge, which is why it is quite challenging to protect. While there are standards available that aim to protect data when it is in rest and transit, standards related to protecting it when in use do not exist. Protecting data while in use is called confidential computing, which the Confidential Computing Consortium is aiming to create across the industry. The Confidential Computing Consortium, created under the Linux Foundation, will work to build up guidelines, systems and tools to ensure data is encrypted when it’s being used by applications, devices and online services. The consortium says that encrypting data when in use is “the third and possibly most challenging step to providing a fully encrypted lifecycle for sensitive data.” Members focused on the undertaking are Alibaba, ARM, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent.

  • IT giants join forces for full-system data security

    Apple is conspiciously missing from the consortium, despite using both Intel hardware and inhouse designed ARM-based processors. Of the first set of commitments, Intel will release its Software Guard Extensions (SGX) software development kit as open source through the CCC.

  • Google, Intel, and Microsoft partner to improve cloud security

    Some of the biggest names in tech have banded together in an effort to promote industry-wide security standards for protecting data in use.

  • Alibaba, Baidu, Google, Microsoft, Others Back Confidential Computing Consortium

    The Confidential Computing Consortium aims to help define and accelerate open-source technology that keeps data in use secure. Data typically gets encrypted by service providers, but not when it’s in use. This consortium will focus on encrypting and processing the data “in memory” to reduce the exposure of the data to the rest of the system. It aims to provide greater control and transparency for users.

  • Microsoft, Intel and others are doubling down on open source Linux security

    In other words, the operating system could be compromised by some kind of malware, but the data being used in a program would still be encrypted, and therefore safe from an attacker.

  • Microsoft, Intel, and Red Hat Back Confidential Computing

    The Linux Foundation’s latest project tackles confidential computing with a group of companies that reads like a who’s who of cloud providers, chipmakers, telecom operators, and other tech giants. Today at the Open Source Summit the Linux Foundation said it will form a new group called the Confidential Computing Consortium. Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom, and Tencent all committed to work on the project, which aims to accelerate the adoption of confidential computing.

IBM/Red Hat: OpenShift, CUDA, Jim Whitehurst, VMworld and RHELvolution

  • Red Hat Launches OpenShift Service Mesh to Accelerate Adoption of Microservices and Cloud-Native Applications

    Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the general availability of Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh to connect, observe and simplify service-to-service communication of Kubernetes applications on Red Hat OpenShift 4, the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform. Based on the Istio, Kiali and Jaeger projects and enhanced with Kubernetes Operators, OpenShift Service Mesh is designed to deliver a more efficient, end-to-end developer experience around microservices-based application architectures. This helps to free developer teams from the complex tasks of having to implement bespoke networking services for their applications and business logic.

  • CUDA 10.1 U2 Adds RHEL8 Support, Nsight Compute Tools For POWER

    NVIDIA last week quietly released a second update to CUDA 10.1. CUDA 10.1 Update 2 brings Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 support, continued POWER architecture support improvements, and other additions.

  • IBM Stock and Jim Whitehurst’s Toughest Test

    What analysts say they want from IBM stock is Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst in current CEO Virginia Rometty’s chair. They want Red Hat running IBM. That wasn’t the promise when this deal was put together. The promise was that Red Hat would get autonomy from IBM, not that IBM would lose its autonomy to Red Hat. But Whitehurst’s concept of an Open Organization has excited analysts who don’t even know what it is. If IBM became an Open Organization, these analysts think, it would replace the top-down structure IBM has used for a century with an organic system in which employees and customers are part of the product design process. Instead of selling gear or even solutions, IBM would become a corporate change agent.

  • Going to VMWorld? Learn to help data scientists and application developers accelerate AI/ML initiatives

    IT experts from around the world are headed to VMworld 2019 in San Francisco to learn how they can leverage emerging technologies from VMware and ecosystem partners (e.g. Red Hat, NVIDIA, etc.) to help achieve the digital transformation for their organizations. Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) is a very popular technology trend, with Red Hat OpenShift customers like HCA Healthcare, BMW, Emirates NBD, and several more are offering differentiated value to their customers. Investments are ramping up across many industries to develop intelligent digital services that help improve customer satisfaction, and gain competitive business advantages. Early deployment trends indicate AI/ML solution architectures are spanning across edge, data center, and public clouds.

  • RHELvolution 2: A brief history of Red Hat Enterprise Linux releases from RHEL 6 to today

    In the previous post, we looked at the history of Red Hat Enterprise Linux from pre-RHEL days through the rise of virtualization. In this one we'll take a look at RHEL's evolution from early days of public cloud to the release of RHEL 8 and beyond.