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LibO

LibreOffice 6.3 - Waiting for a miracle

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Reviews

LibreOffice 6.3 is a powerful, rich office suite, and the fact it comes with no strings attached, the string to your purse included, is a commendable thing. But it is not enough. Simply isn't. Functionality is what matters, and if the program cannot satisfy the necessary needs, it's not really useful. Maybe on the scale of un-value, it's less un-valuable than something that costs a lot of money, but you still don't get what you require.

And in this regard, LibreOffice 6.3 doesn't quite cut it. I mean, you can still use it happily - I know I will, it does an okay job, and you can create files and export to PDF and all that. But then, working with Office files is pretty much a no-go, the style management is inefficient, and the UI layouts are somewhat clunky. I also feel the momentum has slowed, and the great, amazing hope that was there when LibreOffice was born is just a thing of mildly apathetic momentum now. True, this ailment grips the entire open-source world, and Linux in particular, but it doesn't change the fact that the hope is slowly dwindling. All in all, worth testing, but a solution to all office problems, LibreOffice 6.3 ain't.

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Updates from the Document Liberation Project

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LibO

We mostly focus on LibreOffice on this blog, but The Document Foundation also oversees the Document Liberation Project (DLP), which develops software libraries to import and export many different file formats. If you have some old documents or spreadsheets from legacy office software, for instance, the DLP can help you to access that data – giving control back to you.

Many well-known free and open source programs use DLP libraries, such as Inkscape, Scribus, Calligra and of course LibreOffice. A few days ago, there were some DLP updates, so here’s a quick summary:

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Also: UI Logger

LibreOffice 6.2 Open-Source Office Suite Is Now Ready for Enterprise Deployments

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LibO
OSS

Coming five weeks after the release of LibreOffice 6.2.5, the LibreOffice 6.2.6 maintenance update is here with months of back-ported fixes and all the latest security patches to make your LibreOffice experience more stable and reliable. That's why, The Document Foundation now recommends the LibreOffice 6.2 series to users in production environments. LibreOffice 6.2.6 includes a total of 44 changes.

"The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.2.6, the sixth minor release of the LibreOffice 6.2 family, targeted at users in production environments. All users of LibreOffice 6.1.x and LibreOffice 6.2.x versions should upgrade immediately for enhanced security, as the software includes both security fixes and some months of back-ported fixes," said Italo Vignoli.

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Report From LibreOffice Asia Conference and More Reasons to Move to LibreOffice

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LibO
Microsoft
OSS
  • LibreOffice Asia Conference Report: Part 2

    Foreword: the LibreOffice Asia Conference was successfully held in May 2019 in Tokyo. Kuan-Ting Lin, a university student and civic tech reporter also attended this conference and gives his observations here. In Part II, Kuan-Ting starts with the Open Document Format, and expounds on how to form an open government and better autonomy of Taiwan.

    The “Taiwanese Language channel” (tâi-gí-tâi) of the Public Television Service (PTS) in Taiwan started its broadcasting service in July 2019. This channel became possible only because the National Languages Act was approved in parliament. This policy was rooted by many in the decision to improve expression, alleviation of limits on speeches, and the consolidation of autonomy following the new law.

    After a long-time struggle, the state also sees a silver lining regarding another autonomy issue: document liberation.

  • Let's see what the sweet, kind, new Microsoft that everyone loves is up to. Ah yes, forcing more Office home users into annual subscriptions

    Microsoft is continuing its campaign to drive Office users onto a subscription plan by killing off its discounted Home Use program.

    The program covers individuals whose employer already has an Office subscription and allowed them to download standalone software on a separate home machine for a greatly reduced price of just $15. But no more.

    Eligible users will still get a discount – but only on an Office subscription package. No more standalone software. Microsoft is keen that everyone recognizes this change for the wonderful opportunity it is.

    "Microsoft is updating the Home Use Program to offer discounts on the latest and most up to date products such as Office 365, which is always up to date with premium versions of Office apps across all your devices," it chirpily announced in a new FAQ question this week, before noting that "Office Professional Plus 2019 and Office Home and Business 2019 are no longer available as Home Use Program offers."

    Why the change? You won't believe this but it seems money is at the root of it. Rather than pay $15 for a piece of software that you can then use for years, Microsoft's "update" will require home users (whose employers already have a subscription with Microsoft) to pay either $49 or $70 for the Personal and Home Office 365 services respectively. Every year.

LibreOffice 6.2.6 is ready, all users should update for enhanced security

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Security

The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.2.6, the sixth minor release of the LibreOffice 6.2 family, targeted at users in production environments. All users of LibreOffice 6.1.x and LibreOffice 6.2.x versions should upgrade immediately for enhanced security, as the software includes both security fixes and some months of back-ported fixes.

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With Microsoft dumping MS Office, consider LibreOffice for your next PC office suite

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Microsoft

LibreOffice's Export as PDF has improved. It now fully supports PDF/A-2 document format. This is required by several organizations for long-term file storage. It also simplified its editable PDF forms by incorporating the Form menu into LibreOffice Writer.

A new feature, which security-minded businesses may find interesting, is that you can now "redact" information in documents. With this, you can remove or hide sensitive information such as personal data before exporting or sharing the file.

You can run LibreOffice on Linux, MacOS, and Windows. You can also use as a cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application, LibreOffice Online, by deploying it on a cloud you control.

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LibreOffice 6.3 Open-Source Office Suite Officially Released, Here's What's New

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The third major, feature-full update to the latest LibreOffice 6 office suite series, LibreOffice 6.3, comes exactly six months after the LibreOffice 6.2 release to add better performance, enhanced interoperability with proprietary document formats, as well as a set of new features and other improvements.

The LibreOffice 6.3 office suite will be supported for the next ten months with smaller maintenance updates until May 29, 2020. The Document Foundation has planned a total of six point releases for LibreOffice 6.3, but currently recommends users the LibreOffice 6.2 series for extra stability in production environments.

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LibreOffice or FreeOffice? Manjaro Gives You the Right to Choose

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GNU
LibO
Linux

In the last week of July, Manjaro Linux suddenly decided to drop the popular open source productivity suite LibreOffice in favor of Softmaker’s FreeOffice. The decision faced heavy criticism from people who prefer using open source software.

The Manjaro team listened to the community feedback and modified its decision of including FreeOffice as the default office suite. From next release, users will get the option to choose between FreeOffice and LibreOffice while installing Manjaro Linux.

[...]

Personally, I am glad that Manjaro Linux changed its earlier decision and took a more balanced approach about including the proprietary software.

There are a few Linux distributions that are determined to include only open source software (like Trisquel) but Manjaro is not one of them. Manjaro Linux is more mainstream and it (seems to) cater to the need of a regular user who would be happy to get his/her work done without going into details of whether or not the software is open source.

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Manjaro Linux Team Responds To LibreOffice Versus FreeOffice In Upcoming Version 18.1

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GNU
LibO
Linux

The announcement first dropped quietly -- and without any explanation -- on the Manjaro Linux forum. An outpouring of criticism followed, mainly triggered by disappointment that a distribution perceived as mostly embracing free and open source software would replace LibreOffice (which is largely considered the go-to, pre-installed office suite on Linux) with a proprietary competitor.

To hear the reasoning behind this decision directly from Manjaro lead Philip Müller, you can listen to Linux Unplugged beginning at 13:42. The main takeaway is that the team believes FreeOffice delivers the best overall compatibility with Microsoft Office, and Müller emphasized that no money had been exchanged (yet) as a result of the partnership.

For the time being, I'm going to bypass my own commentary on this and jump straight to the good news, but feel free to listen to the upcoming episode of my podcast Linux For Everyone to hear this discussed in depth.

Originally, Manjaro announced that FreeOffice would ship by default with new installations of the Arch-based distribution. But the team obviously absorbed and took to heart all the feedback, coming up with a solution that we can all appreciate: choice.

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Events: KDE Connect, LibreOffice Asia Conference, USENIX ATC 2019

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KDE
LibO
  • KDE Connect SMS: Nuremberg Megasprint Part 3

    When interacting with other users of KDE Connect, I often notice something funny. People will often talk about how nice it is that they can control their computer from their phone (using the media controls, the mousepad plugin, or several of the others). For me, this has always been a secondary benefit. I use KDE Connect’s presentation plugin for all of my presentations but my primary goal has always been to be able to control my phone from my computer. I hate the phone keyboard, I hate the tiny screen, and I hate having to pull the thing out of my pocket.

    On a daily basis, the number 1 thing I need to do with my phone is send or read SMS. In the United States, SMS is the de facto default communication system. In Europe, I basically assume that anyone I want to communicate with uses WhatsApp. In the US, with one friend I use WhatsApp, with another one friend I use Telegram, and with my family and other friends I use SMS. (Many people use Facebook Messenger but that is still not as widespread).

    Those who have been very carefully following the KDE Connect channels might already know that we have been working on a desktop application which uses KDE Connect to load SMS conversation history and send SMS using the phone. (I have been keeping this under wraps because I know it is our #1 requested feature and I don’t want to tease anyone with a stream of “Oh yes, it’s almost there” half-promises)

    The SMS app started March 2018 at the previous KDE Connect sprint. I arrived in Barcelona with a half-written contacts synchronization plugin and the goal to never touch my phone again. In only a few days, we had the contacts plugin in its current form and the skeleton of an SMS app (based on Qt’s QML chat app tutorial). It could read the display names and avatars from the synchronized contacts and you could use the compose message box to send SMS. There was no message history yet, just some statically-created items in the QML, but everything starts somewhere!

  • LibreOffice Asia Conference Report: Part 1

    On June 18, 2019, almost all of the government agencies in Taiwan’s cabinet received an official document from the National Development Council (NDC). “When exchanging digital documents between government agencies, the file format used shall be the Open Document Format (ODF) if the transferred files are editable… Do not use proprietary editors to directly save as ODF files… It is highly recommended to use the NDC ODF Application Tools or LibreOffice to generate standard ODF files.”

    “This is the most exciting and cheering official document in recent years!” said Dr. Chao-Kuei Hung, a Science and Technology Studies (STS) researcher and inveterate FOSS promoter. In the document, users in Taiwan government agencies are asked to not use proprietary office suites like Microsoft Office to generate documents, and therefore not save and spread “.doc” or “.docx” format files, which people are quite familiar with.

    Instead, they are asked to use free and open source software – which lets people to download, research, improve and redistribute it – like LibreOffice. They need to save and transfer documents in ODF format, which is an ISO standard (see the upcoming part II of the report for details). For most people, this seems to be a confusing policy; however, it will surely affect our lives in the future. For us, it is even as important as metric units like kilograms or meters.

  • USENIX ATC 2019: A retargetable system-level DBT hypervisor, an I/O scheduler for LSM KVs, and more

    The USENIX Annual Technical Conference (ATC) is considered to be one of the most prestigious systems research conferences. It covers all practical facets of systems software and aims to improve and further the knowledge of computing systems of all scales. Along with providing a platform to showcase cutting-edge systems research, it also allows researchers to gain insight into fields like virtualization, system management and troubleshooting, cloud and edge computing, security, and more.

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More in Tux Machines

Events: Linux Fest Northwest and OSCON, Intel's OSTS, LibreOffice Hackfests and Debian at ICFP 2019

  • GNOME on the Road: Linux Fest Northwest and OSCON

    Linux Fest Northwest took place back in April, and we were there! Sri Ramkrishna and I hung out in Bellingham, Washington (USA), meeting GNOMEies, free software contributors, and open source enthusiasts.

  • Intel Shares Highlights From Their 2019 Open-Source Technology Summit

    Taking place back in May at the beautiful Skamania Lodge in Washington was Intel's OSTS 2019 for their annual Open-Source Technology Summit that traditionally was internal-only but has begun opening up including allowing external participants this year. I was at OSTS 2019 and it's by far my highlight of the year with many really great sessions and a lot of useful networking at the event. Intel's open-source team has now shared some video recordings from this open-source/Linux event. 

  • Annual Report 2018: LibreOffice Hackfests

    Most LibreOffice developers are working from their home offices, so hackfests provide a unique opportunity to spend some time working shoulder-to-shoulder with their peers. In 2018, LibreOffice developers and community members met at four hackfests in Brussels, Hamburg, Tirana and Munich.

  • ICFP 2019

    ICFP 2019 in Berlin ended yesterday, and it was – as always – a great pleasure. This year was particularly noteworthy for the quite affordable conference hotel and the absolutely amazing food during the coffee breaks.

OSS Leftovers

  • How open source is benefitting SUSE, its channel partners and customers

    Open source technology is being talked about even more rampantly today. Phillip Cockrell, Vice President of Global Channels, SUSE articulates, “More than anything, open source is the core of innovation. It is by all and for all and propelling all aspects of technology development today.” SUSE, a native open source software company, which provides reliable, software-defined infrastructure and application delivery solutions that give organisations greater control and flexibility, is a seasoned 25-year-old player in the domain.

  • What is AOSP? Android Open Source Project, the ‘Android without Google’

    AOSP is the acronym for Android Open Supply Challenge ; that’s, ‘Android Open Source Project’. So it's simply the supply code of Android, the cellular working system of the Mountain View firm. However what’s it for? Its fundamental software is by OEMs; cellular producers obtain AOSP and make their 'ROM inventory', but additionally serves as the premise for customized ROMs and forks. AOSP, or Android Open Supply Challenge, isn’t the identical as Android Inventory . Whereas AOSP is the supply code of the working system, Android Inventory is the 'pure model' with out bloatware of any sort and solely with apps and Google providers, in addition to the native launcher. AOSP, nevertheless, is the premise of Android Vanilla , which is the model that’s distributed to smartphone producers and is topic to modifications. On it, the producer's personal purposes and providers are launched, and naturally the customization layer and the variations which can be essential for particular elements to work.

  • How to Avoid Technical Debt in Open Source Projects
  • Introducing OpenDrop, an open-source implementation of Apple AirDrop written in Python

    A group of German researchers recently published a paper “A Billion Open Interfaces for Eve and Mallory: MitM, DoS, and Tracking Attacks on iOS and macOS Through Apple Wireless Direct Link”, at the 28th USENIX Security Symposium (August 14–16), USA. The paper reveals security and privacy vulnerabilities in Apple’s AirDrop file-sharing service as well as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks which leads to privacy leaks or simultaneous crashing of all neighboring devices. As part of the research, Milan Stute and Alexander Heinrich, two researchers have developed an open-source implementation of Apple AirDrop written in Python – OpenDrop. OpenDrop is like a FOSS implementation of AirDrop. It is an experimental software and is the result of reverse engineering efforts by the Open Wireless Link project (OWL). It is compatible with Apple AirDrop and used for sharing files among Apple devices such as iOS and macOS or on Linux systems running an open re-implementation of Apple Wireless Direct Link (AWDL).

  • The Top 13 Free and Open Source Storage Solutions

    In this article we will examine free and open source storage solutions by providing a brief overview of what to expect, as well as blurbs on each tool.

  • Open Source Origination Technology Platform for Online Lenders

    DigiFi was founded by Joshua Jersey and Bradley Vanderstarren in 2014. It started its life as Promise Financial, an online lender, and raised $110 million in credit capital. It built up its own proprietary tech as there was no solution provider in 2014 offering an end-to-end loan origination platform that could automate the entire process. They sold off the tech to a large lending institution in 2017 and pivoted to DigiFi, one of the world’s first open source loan origination systems (LOS) which equips the lenders with flexible and modern tools to create unique platforms and digital experiences.

  • IT favors open source networking over Cisco ACI, VMware NSX

    Companies trying to avoid or lessen the use of expensive network automation software from Cisco and VMware are turning to open source tools that are often good enough for many tasks associated with managing complex modern networks. Cisco's application-centric infrastructure (ACI) and VMware's NSX are powerful technologies for operating networks built on the vendors' respective products. But many large enterprises have data centers filled with perfectly good multivendor hardware and software that very few organizations are willing to swap for an all Cisco or VMware alternative. Therefore, companies are turning to open source networking products, such as Ansible, Chef, Puppet and SaltStack, for automating many network-related chores across as much of the data center as possible, while relegating ACI and NSX to Cisco- or VMware-only portions of the network.

  • What Attorneys Should Know About Open Source Software Licensing

    With the next waves of technological change, such as autonomous vehicles, blockchain, and IoT, newer, more complex OSS licenses may be drafted, and argued in the courts, to protect the interests of software innovators and the OSS community.

Open Data: Schlumberger and Waymo

  • Schlumberger open-sources data ecosystem, contributing to industrywide data development
  • Schlumberger Open Sources Data Ecosystem

    Oilfield services company Schlumberger said it will open source its data ecosystem and contribute to The Open Group Open Subsurface Data Universe (OSDU) Forum to accelerate the delivery of the OSDU Data Platform. The OSDU Forum is an international forum of oil and gas operators, cloud services companies, technology providers, suppliers of applications to oil and gas operators, academia and other standards organizations working together to develop an open, standards-based, data platform that will bring together exploration, development and wells data.

  • Waymo open-sources data set for autonomous vehicle multimodal sensors

    Waymo, the Alphabet subsidiary that hopes to someday pepper roads with self-driving taxis, today pulled back the curtains on a portion of the data used to train the algorithms underpinning its cars: The Waymo Open Dataset. Waymo principal scientist Dragomir Anguelov claims it’s the largest multimodal sensor sample corpus for autonomous driving released to date. “[W]e are inviting the research community to join us with the [debut] of the Waymo Open Dataset, [which is composed] of high-resolution sensor data collected by Waymo self-driving vehicles,” wrote Anguelov in a blog post published this morning. “Data is a critical ingredient for machine learning … [and] this rich and diverse set of real-world experiences has helped our engineers and researchers develop Waymo’s self-driving technology and innovative models and algorithms.”

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