Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / LibreOffice

  • Aug 20 / 2014
  • 12

Reports Of The Death Of GNU/Linux In Munich Are Greatly Exaggerated

Here and elsewhere we read that the mayor and M$ are drooling to pave over GNU/Linux with that other OS in Munich…“Suggestions the council has decided to back away from Linux are wrong, according to council spokesman Stefan Hauf.
He said the council’s recently elected mayor Dieter Reiter has instead simply commissioned a report into the future IT system for the council.”
Not so. The mayor is grumbling and has asked for a review of IT in general. That’s a normal part of the life-cycle of any IT-system or version of software. I did that at several of the schools where I worked and the decision to go to GNU/Linux occurred frequently. In GNU/Linux, a result could be to go to a later release of Debian, or to adopt LibreOffice 4.x or to go with thin clients almost everywhere…

Of course, the mayor might get a different result if he accepts voluntary labour from M$ or hires his nephew to do the research, but the council is wide awake and understands the issues, so I doubt there will be some coup in IT.

Further, I can’t see this mayor being reelected if he urges the city to spend ~$30million on returning to the fold of M$ rather than maintaining GNU/Linux for peanuts.

See Ditching Linux for Windows? The truth isn't that simple, says Munich.

  • Aug 04 / 2014
  • 2

Citizens of UK, Rejoice!

When a monopolist loses one of the major components of its lockin and complains about it,“Microsoft believes it is unproven and unclear how UK citizens will benefit from the government’s decision.” we should all celebrate. After UK decided to standardize on ODF, it is a fact that UK taxpayers will save a bundle:

  • Software licences for LibreOffice are $0, and $0 multiplied by a huge number of UK government PCs comes to $0 instead of hundreds of $millions for that other OS and its office suite. That saving is forever, too, whereas M$ wanted UK to pay them repeatedly for the privilege of producing documents on their PCs.
  • Removing the major lockin of the office suite opens the door to removing M$’s OS, too. More $millions potentially saved, just like Munich and many other large organizations.
  • Having one standard instead of two is a huge savings in itself: fewer links on web-pages, fewer versions of files and the cost of indexing/storing those copies.
  • Besides saving the taxpayers taxes, the move enables the taxpayers themselves to produce/receive documents to/from the government at less cost. Taxpayers can use LibreOffice too.

I hope that’s clear enough and that the maths is solid. So, the move by the government of UK is a win/win/win/win situation however you look at it, unless you are M$ or a “partner”. The rest of us should rejoice too because the whole world is watching and taxpayers everywhere will ultimately benefit as M$’s empire shrinks and Freedom reigns.

See 'Guess what: If you use the internet, you’re the subject of experiments'.

  • Jul 30 / 2014
  • 16

LibreOffice 4.3, The Almost Perfect Office Suite

By any measure, LibreOffice is a great office suite.“According to the Coverity Scan service, joined by LibreOffice in October 2012, the quality of LibreOffice source code has improved dramatically during the last two years, with a reduction of the defect density per 1,000 lines of code from an above the average 1.11 to an industry leading 0.08″ Today’s release takes it another step closer to perfection. If you can’t do something with it, you probably don’t need to do it or it’s just silly. I can do everything I want with it. It lacks only one small feature for me, styles in charts/graphs, but that’s in the pipe.

LibreOffice 4.3: today, you can’t own a better office suite.

  • Jul 21 / 2014
  • 9
Linux in Education, Teaching, technology

Schools In Geneva Switching To GNU/Linux

“All primary and secondary public schools in the Swiss Canton of Geneva are switching to using Ubuntu GNU/Linux for the PCs used by teachers and students. The switch has been completed by all of the 170 primary public schools, and the migration of the canton’s 20 secondary schools is planned for the next school year. Ubuntu GNU/Linux offers powerful services to the teachers, is easier to maintain, faster, safer and more stable than the decade-old proprietary operating system it is replacing, the canton’s school IT department concludes, based on several four-year long pilots.” These guys took four years studying the matter and it will only take two years to switch their schools to GNU/Linux. It shows the Munich decade was some sort of aberration in terms of time taken to switch. The difference is the number of applications locked in to that other OS. Munich had hundreds. Geneva has only one or two. LibreOffice takes care of one…

Anyway, I think the migration in Geneva is remarkable because the Swiss are thorough. If they could be convinced in just four years, most of the rest of us should be convinced in a matter of hours. Get on with it folks. Take a look at Debian GNU/Linux and see what you’ve been missing: the freedom to use the hardware you own to its maximum capability, freedom from malware and freedom from paying about twice what IT should really cost you. In schools where I used GNU/Linux we easily had twice as much IT for the same cost and the cost of maintaining the larger system was less than the cost of maintaining the smaller system running that other OS. Freedom from the EULA of M$ which enslaves you rather than enabling you is the killer however. With FLOSS and GNU/Linux you can run, examine, modify and distribute the software to your heart’s content. Go with it. Seize the opportunity.

SeeGeneva class-rooms switching to free software | Joinup.

  • Jul 02 / 2014
  • 1

WebODF Travels

Yesterday WebODF released v 0.5.0 complete with a library, web editor and FireFox plugin.“Today, after a long period of hard work and preparation, having deemed the existing WebODF codebase stable enough for everyday use and for integration into other projects, we have tagged the v0.5.0 release and published an announcement on the project website.” This is a prime example of why using FLOSS is the right way to do IT. No sooner has ODF been established then developers can implement the standard many different ways, including a typical office suite and now an editor accessible from a browser. The whole world can easily implement this code as is or improve it and make the world a better place. Here’s how it looks on my Beast:
The FireFox plug-in works too. I’d say they have a winner here. This will spread like the dandelions on my lawn. Of course the current release of code lacks many refinements like being able to name a file saved but this is merely a demonstration file. What’s there works and the rest can be added more or less quickly. This is not the end of web editing to ODF but the beginning. See WebODF v0.5.0 released: Highlights.

  • Jun 27 / 2014
  • 1

Open Standards Require FLOSS

The effect of any implementation of a file-system depends on the product of not just the file-structure but all the software that directs its formation, presentation, movement, modification and deletion.“To ensure preservation of digital assets, it is essential that specific file formats are implementable in open source software, concludes Björn Lundell, associate professor at the University of Skövde in Sweden. He recommends this should be made a requirement for digital asset strategies of public administrations, thus minimising the risk of losing control over these assets.” Just ask Björn Lundell. This is just another reason to use FLOSS for everything because it’s the right way to do IT. You gain nothing by having non-Free software mess up what users try to do with IT.

I’ve often dealt with unsophisticated users of IT. They think, “It’s that other OS…” and assume their data will be safe. Meanwhile, M$ keeps changing file-formats to inconvenience those who do not keep plodding along the Wintel treadmill. That was an effective marketing strategy because it shipped units but it’s a terrible way to run IT as the accumulation of decades of digital data must be translated to new file-formats every few years. Tiny errors grow into big ones in the process. Using open standards and FLOSS means the owner of the data can determine entirely what happens to his data. Using open standards and M$’s interpretation of them is a recipe for disaster.

See 'Open file formats must be implementable in open source.

  • Jun 23 / 2014
  • 12

M$ Still Messing Up IT In 2014

When M$ forced it’s XML file-format on the world for office suites“For the typical daily use of a connected company or a municipality working with customers, citizens or partners, the inconsistencies around the OOXML standard are likely to cause problems sooner or later. Typically, a document might be created by someone using MS Office 2013, then edited and re-saved by a colleague with MS Office 2007 or 2010. Because the old versions of Microsoft Office do not comply with the latest, ‘Strict’ OOXML standard, metadata is very likely to get lost during such round-trips. And since the ‘Strict’ standard used by Microsoft is still neither fully documented nor open (it contains references to Microsoft websites, some of which no longer exist), data loss on conversion is a widespread and well-documented phenomenon. What makes this problem even worse is the absence of error messages, and a file extension (for example .docx for text documents) that does not show the user which format has been used to save the document.” it deliberately created lock-in. However, the complexity of the format and the diversity of M$’s product-versions messes up even those who use nothing but M$’s products. The solution is simple. Dump M$ as soon as all the files get converted to ODF…

Those of you who stayed with M$ over the last decade are in such a deep tar-pit you may not survive. I am thankful I got off the Wintel treadmill starting around 2000. Today my home is an M$-free zone and all my PCs communicate in proper standards with each other and the world with no problems as far as I can see.

Please, read Complex singularity versus openness. You will be glad you did.

  • Jun 20 / 2014
  • 9

LibreOffice 4.2.5 Emerges

“LibreOffice 4.2.5, as well as LibreOffice 4.1.6, have been developed by over 800 contributors, who have joined the project since the launch in late September 2010 (source: “This is a wonderful achievement”, said Thorsten Behrens, Chairman of The Document Foundation. “We have managed to attract at least three new contributors per month, for 46 months in a row, with an average of more than 200 new contributors per year”.”

It’s here. It’s too good to be true but LibreOffice 4.2.5 is here and ready for prime time and “enterprise” deployments. Yes boys and girls, they’ve even made it work better with that other OS… and it sure is pretty.

See LibreOffice 4.2.5 hits the marketplace.

  • Jun 17 / 2014
  • 13

M$ Drives Away Another Big Customer

I remember being driven away by M$’s crapware which didn’t work for me and my students. Now,“The German city of Leipzig is switching to using open source suites of office productivity tools: Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice. It expects that in the first five years the anticipated savings will be swallowed by the exit costs associated with the proprietary software used by the city. Starting in 2017, however, the city expects to lower its IT costs by some 100,000 euro, says Lars Greifzu, responsible for marketing and sales at Lecos, the city-owned IT service provider.” the city of Leipzig is being driven away by licensing which didn’t work for them. M$ audited them and demanded a “fine”.

See, even, M$ calls its licences a tax, extortionate demands for permission to use a customer’s own hardware and data. What surprises me in all this is that Leipzig is only considering changing the office suite to FLOSS and not the OS along with it. A lot of M$’s lock-in comes from the office suite. Leipzig could get the same benefit they see from escaping lock-in in office suites by escaping lock-in in operating systems. Well, first things first. I expect that Leipzig will discover it costs a lot less to escape lock-in in office suites than they figure. Munich set a good example by not needing to use all of the budget for “retraining”freeing minds from slavery. It’s a GUI after all.

See Leipzig is switching to open source office suites.

  • May 12 / 2014
  • 1

Divide And Conquer Should Work For GNU/Linux

So many times we read here in comments and in articles out in the web that migration to GNU/Linux is hard/impossible because… It is hard/impossible to move a ship from some factory inland to a shipyard but it is routine/easy if only the parts need to be shipped. Stop making migration to GNU/Linux look hard by identifying various problems. No problem prevents migrating a good chunk of IT to FLOSS on GNU/Linux.“Migrating to Linux is based on the use case. If you are home or are a developer, you are going to want to use all the power available in Linux. That is a no-brainer. There is no one easy way to migrate to another operating system. No one use case fits all. It is dependent on the user base.”

Typically, 80-90% of users use only a few generic applications like word-processor and browser and their use is little different on one OS or another. On the other hand there are huge difficulties migrating to M$’s next OS: price of licences and needing new hardware. M$’s next OS is not going to recognize all your hardware. M$’s next OS will require paying for a new licence. The fewer of those expensive migrations you do, the better off you are.

Install FireFox web browser and LibreOffice on you PCs running that other OS. Migrate everyone and everything and every task that works with those on GNU/Linux. Just do it. The few problems with the rest can be solved eventually. Work on that with the time you save by doing IT the right way.

Divide and Conquer is not an insurmountable barrier to migration to GNU/Linux but a sound strategy for getting it done sooner rather than later.

See Making Linux Feel at Home.

  • Apr 21 / 2014
  • 26

M$, You Fooled Most Of The People For A Long Time. Face The Consequences Of Their Awakening.

While stifling competition for decades, M$ fostered the myth that it was the one true way to use IT in business operations and personal life.“In terms of technology development, demand for the new desktop Windows operating system has been weak since Microsoft has placed its focus on strengthening Windows 8′s touchscreen control, causing an inconvenience for users who are used to mice and keyboards. Windows RT 8.1 is currently having issues over weak performance and lack of applications, while Windows Phone is seeing problems in application compatibility.” What happens when most of the planet has seen other operating systems (Android/Linux for example) doing the job as well as or better than M$’s stuff? There will be a pronounced rebound in “customer loyalty”. Seeing proper IT happening on small cheap computers completely blows out of the water that behemoth of a lie that computers have to be big and expensive.

Today, I see M$’s big box computers gathering dust in retail establishments and only selling well into businesses who may not have accepted BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or the fact that new employees may not actually have used M$’s OS ever. On the other hand, many more small cheap computers sold last year than M$’s legacy stuff and this year even more will sell. M$ is compensating by raising costs for business but that is just cutting off the limb of the tree … Even if M$ somehow manages to persuade the majority of businesses to stick with them, consumers seem to be lost forever, cutting M$ off from a huge and growing market. At best M$ will get 1/N of that pie and for the moment they are far less than that. With businesses using more web applications and M$ not having any monopoly on web-browsers, M$ has nowhere to go but down. It’s late but better late than never.

See Microsoft facing difficulties in 3 major segments.

See also, M$’s declining share of consumer PC OS documented at SEC.

  • Apr 07 / 2014
  • 21

Feature Comparison: LibreOffice – Microsoft Office

Anyone who thinks M$’s office suite is a “must have” should look at this page. Feature for feature, LibreOffice has what it takes. There are some features that one has that the other doesn’t but the performance is about the same. Why then, pay $gazillions for M$’s office suite when LibreOffice is $0 for as many copies as you want? The feature I like best about LibreOffice is that it can work with SVG so I don’t have to regenerate graphics for different sizes, a total waste of time. I still think GNUmeric does a better job with charts but The Document Foundation is working on that. It’s good to have choices. With M$, one gets to choose whether to pay a lot or a little. If you pay a little, you know you have cripple-ware from them, whereas for $0 LibreOffice is as good as it gets. What the world needs in an office suite it creates as FLOSS and shares. That’s the right way to do IT.

See Feature Comparison: LibreOffice – Microsoft Office – The Document Foundation Wiki.

Thanks to Herbert for supplying this link.