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Microsoft

10 reasons you should use LibreOffice and not Microsoft Word

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LibO
Microsoft
OSS

The Document Foundation just released version 5.2 of its fully open source office suite LibreOffice. This release brings many new features and UI improvements. When I got the press release, I started updating LibreOffice on my MacBook. But here's the thing: I'm also a user of Microsoft Word.

That made me pause and consider why I use LibreOffice when I am forking over $99 a year to Microsoft. The flash of introspection surprised me. I'm an unabashed open source and Linux fan, but I am kind of agnostic when it comes to the tools I use. I use what works for me. So I reached out to my followers on Google+ and Facebook to learn about their reasons for using LibreOffice.

Here are some of the many reasons why people, myself included, love LibreOffice.

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The 'new' Microsoft Wipes GNU/Linux

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Microsoft Loves [to Sabotage] Linux

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • Is Windows 10 Anniversary Update Deleting Linux Partitions?

    Yikes — if you plan on installing the Windows 10 Anniversary update on your PC you may want to be extra careful.

    It seems that the latest version of Microsoft’s OS has attention issues. Not content with forcing itself on users who didn’t want it, it may be taking even more drastic steps of hosing other operating systems entirely!

    A handful of reports surfacing on social media suggest, anecdotally, that the Windows 10 anniversary may interfere with, affect and even delete other partitions on the same disk.

  • Linux desktop marketshare has grown for three consecutive months [Ed: Net Applications, for the uninitiated, is Microsoft-connected, so expect real numbers to be a lot higher]

    Not strictly gaming related, but we do cover other important or interesting things here and there. According to netmarketshare [Net Applications] for three months straight Linux marketshare has gone up.

    2016
    April: 1.65%
    May : 1.79%
    June : 2.02%
    July : 2.33%

Microsoft Proxy Black Duck Wants to be “Global Center for Open Source Research & Innovation”

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Microsoft
OSS

MOOCs platform: Not all is open or SWAYAM about it

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Microsoft

A Rs 38 crore mandate awarded by the Union HRD Ministry in June to an affiliate of Redmond-based Microsoft Corp for developing a flagship web-based education platform is coming under increasing fire in the academic circles — both for the manner in which the contract was handed out and on the choice of proprietary software over free open source options already being deployed by premier educational institutions in the country.

Microsoft was selected as the technical partner for the HRD ministry’s SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) platform based on the recommendations of a “technical committee”, presumably after the tendering process for selecting a system integrator for SWAYAM —a MOOC or massive open online courses platform — floated thrice through the e-procurement platform since November last year failed to elicit any response. While the Ministry of Human Resource Development has cited the decision of a “technical committee” behind its choice of proprietary software over open source software and that selecting Microsoft does not run foul of the rulebook, the deal has raised eyebrows over the lack of objective criterion on how the decisions were taken in the first place.

The choice of proprietary software, entailing costs of Rs 38 crore and more for tools such as SQL (structured query language), is being questioned on the grounds that the selection of proprietary software on payment basis was done despite a clear option of going in for open source platforms such as Open EdX. For instance, Open edX — an open-source, not-for profit platform floated by MIT and Harvard University that was released as open source in March 2013 to act as the WordPress for MOOC platforms — is used across at least 126 universities and organisations globally. Even more intriguing is the fact that an MoU is already in place between IIT Bombay and edX, under which edX released complete platform code in open source. The signing of the MoU in June 2013 was actually facilitated by the Ministry of HRD. Open source platforms such as Open edX allow users to use plug-ins to expand the core functionality, thereby imparting tremendous flexibility when it comes to scaling up the platform or modify it to suit the specific requirements of a particular college or university. Since January last year, IIT Bombay decided to opt for Open edX and launch a customised version called IITBX as an extended online educational services for the benefit of Indian learners and training workshops for teachers, wherein the premier engineering institute has added significant functionality to the Open edX platform to create and offer MOOCs. Similarly, IIT Madras had a Google-based Course Builder platform ported in their own computer infrastructure while IIT Kanpur had a homegrown platform called MOOKIT, based again on open source software.

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Microsoft Watch

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Microsoft
  • Microsoft to Cut 2,850 More Jobs in Exit From Phone Business [iophk: "and how many permatemps are also getting axed?" Ed: Lots of other layoffs for years now]

    Microsoft Corp. is more that doubling an earlier job cut plan, part of Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella’s move to pare the company’s smartphone ambitions.

    Some 2,850 positions worldwide will be eliminated in fiscal 2017, the company said Thursday in a regulatory filing. That’s in addition to 1,850 job cuts, primarily in the smartphone hardware business and sales, announced in May.

  • Cortana removal will not be tolerated in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

    CORTANA IS taking over. The forthcoming Anniversary Update of Windows 10 has shown a new twist in Microsoft's 'do as we say' attitude towards customers.

    It appears that the update, due for release on 2 August, just three days after the end of the free upgrade period for Windows 10, removes the ability to turn personal assistant bot Cortana off, reported PC World (not that one, the IDG one).

    In all fairness, the upshot of this is fairly minimal. Cortana butts into your computing only if it's told to, and it's very easy for it not to.

    However, the fact that it's always on means that it's always collecting metadata, and that might leave some people feeling a tad uncomfortable.

  • Microsoft faces two new lawsuits over aggressive Windows 10 upgrade tactics [Ed: more of the same, still...]

    Microsoft is facing two more lawsuits over the company’s questionable Windows 10 upgrade tactics. Both suits are seeking class-action status.

    The first suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Florida. It alleges that Microsoft’s Windows 10 upgrade prompts “violated laws governing unsolicited electronic advertisements,” as reported by The Seattle Times. The suit also says Microsoft’s tactics are against the Federal Trade Commission’s rules on deceptive and unfair practices.

    The second suit was filed in June in Haifa, Israel alleging that Microsoft installed Windows 10 on users’ computers without consent. Microsoft already paid out a $10,000 award in a previous U.S. suit over similar circumstances.

    Microsoft told the Seattle Times it believes the suits won’t succeed. The Times also reports that Microsoft said Windows 10 upgrades (the Times report called them “updates”) are a “choice, not a requirement.”

    The story behind the story: That’s quite a disingenuous statement considering that Microsoft violated the known behavior of the Windows interface to essentially trick people into upgrading.

Proprietary and Microsoft Software

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Microsoft
Software

More Evil from Microsoft

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Microsoft
  • You will use Cortana, Microsoft says

    Surprise, surprise. If things remain as they are, Windows 10 users who upgrade to the Anniversary Update won't be able to turn off Cortana anymore using the Cortana settings.

    If you compare the start menu settings of Cortana of the current version of Windows (version 1511) with those of the Anniversary Update (version 1607) you will notice that Cortana's off switch is no longer available (thanks Ian Paul @ PC World for spotting that)

  • You can't turn off Cortana in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update [Ed: A listening device, cannot switch it off anymore; keylogger next?]

    Microsoft made an interesting decision with Windows 10’s Anniversary Update, which is now in its final stages of development before it rolls out on August 2.

    Cortana, the personal digital assistant that replaced Windows 10’s search function and taps into Bing’s servers to answer your queries with contextual awareness, no longer has an off switch.

Microsoft and Linux

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Linux for Windows 10 users

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Linux
Microsoft

MAYBE it’s how intrusive Windows 10 can be. Or maybe you’re just fed up with working under the constant threat of viruses and other malicious software. Or perhaps, you’re tired of paying thousands of pesos for applications and equally weary of breaking the law by installing pirated versions of the software. Indeed, there are many reasons to dump Windows in favor of the free and open-source Linux operating system. Here’s what Windows users who are contemplating the move should keep in mind.

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The developers of the Avidemux open-source and cross-platform video editor software have announced a new maintenance update in the 2.6 series, bringing multiple improvements, bug fixes, and a handful of new features. Read more

5 Best Linux Distros for Security

Security is nothing new to Linux distributions. Linux distros have always emphasized security and related matters like firewalls, penetration testing, anonymity, and privacy. So it is hardly surprising that security conscious distributions are common place. For instance, Distrowatch lists sixteen distros that specialize in firewalls, and four for privacy. Most of these specialty security distributions, however, share the same drawback: they are tools for experts, not average users. Only recently have security distributions tried to make security features generally accessible for desktop users. Read more

Linux Foundation and Linux

  • How IoTivity and AllJoyn Could Combine
    At the Embedded Linux Conference in April, Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) Executive Director Mike Richmond concluded his keynote on the potential for interoperability between the OCF’s IoTivity IoT framework and the AllSeen Alliance’s AllJoyn spec by inviting to the stage Greg Burns, the chief architect of AllJoyn. Burns briefly shared his opinion that not only was there no major technical obstacle to combining these two major open source IoT specs, but that by taking the best of both standards, a hybrid could emerge that improves upon both. Later in the day, Burns gave a technical overview of how such a hybrid could be crafted in “Evolving a Best-of-Breed IoT Framework.” (See video below.) Burns stated in both talks that his opinions in no way reflect the official position of OCF or the AllSeen Alliance. At the time of the ELC talk in April, Burns had recently left his job as VP of Engineering at Qualcomm and Chair of the Technical Steering Committee at the AllSeen Alliance to take on the position of Chief IoT Software Technologist in the Open Source Technology Center at Intel Corp.
  • ​Linus Torvalds' love-hate relationship with the GPL
    Linux's founder appreciates what the GNU General Public License has given Linux, but he doesn't appreciate how some open-source lawyers are trying to enforce it in court.
  • Linus Torvalds reflects on 25 years of Linux
    LinuxCon North America concluded in Toronto, Canada on August 25th, the day Linux was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, and Dirk Hohndel, VP and chief of open source at VMware, sat down for a conversation at the event and reflected upon the past 25 years. Here are some of the highlights of that conversation.
  • 6 things you should know from Linux's first 25 years
    Red Hat was founded in 1993, two years after Linux was announced and the company has been one of the top contributors to Linux. There is a symbiotic relationship between the company and the project. Whitehurst pointed out that it’s hard to talk about the history of Red Hat without talking about Linux and vice versa.
  • There Is Talk Of Resuming OpenChrome VIA KMS/DRM Driver Development
    Two or so years back or so it was looking hopeful that the mainline Linux kernel would finally have a proper VIA DRM/KMS driver for the unfortunate ones still have VIA x86 hardware and using the integrated graphics. However, that work was ultimately abandoned but there is talk of it being restored.

Security News

  • New FairWare Ransomware targeting Linux Computers [Ed: probably just a side effect of keeping servers unpatched]
    A new attack called FaireWare Ransomware is targeting Linux users where the attackers hack a Linux server, delete the web folder, and then demand a ransom payment of two bitcoins to get their files back. In this attack, the attackers most likely do not encrypt the files, and if they do retain the files, probably just upload it to a server under their control.
  • How do we explain email to an "expert"?
    This has been a pretty wild week, more wild than usual I think we can all agree. The topic I found the most interesting wasn't about one of the countless 0day flaws, it was a story from Slate titled: In Praise of the Private Email Server The TL;DR says running your own email server is a great idea. Almost everyone came out proclaiming it a terrible idea. I agree it's a terrible idea, but this also got me thinking. How do you explain this to someone who doesn't really understand what's going on? There are three primary groups of people. 1) People who know they know nothing 2) People who think they're experts 3) People who are actually experts
  • Why the term “zero day” needs to be in your brand’s cybersecurity vocabulary
    Linux is “open source” which means anyone can look at the code and point out flaws. In that sense, I’d say Linus Torvalds doesn’t have to be as omniscient as Tim Cook. Linux source code isn’t hidden behind closed doors. My understanding is, all the Linux code is out there for anyone to see, naked for anyone to scrutinize, which is why certain countries feel safer using it–there’s no hidden agenda or secret “back door” lurking in the shadows. Does that mean Android phones are safer? That’s up for debate.