Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / LibreOffice

  • 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
technology

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
technology

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
technology

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
technology

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: http://www.ohloh.net). “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
technology

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
technology

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
technology

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
technology

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.

  • Mar 31 / 2014
  • 2
technology

2014 Will Be A Great Year For LibreOffice

The only issue I still have with LibreOffice is that it lacks styles for charts.“The tender specification lists five additional features to be developed, including new spreadsheet functions, chart styles and improved mail merge capabilities. The project is expected to be completed later this year.” That will change in 2014 as several European governments pool their resources to pay for developers to add that feature and several more. They are also wanting to update the change-management features in the ISO standard. That could eliminate the last barrier to adoption to some heavy users of office suites. M$ has been stripping ODF change-management… With the modification to the ISO standard, that will be unsupportable.

Does anyone think paying a few programmers for this project will cost more than hundreds of thousands of licensing fees for that other OS and its office suite? ;-) Chuckle.

See Call to fix interoperability of office suites.

  • Mar 24 / 2014
  • 20
technology

Bug 62925 Gets Some Grease

Yep, it pays to file bug reports about LibreOffice…
“there is some important movement: German and Swiss cities and institutions fund dvelopment on this feature and they just opened a tender: http://www.osb-alliance.de/working-groups/projekte/wichtige-funktionalitaeten-bei-loaoo/ (in German language)”

See Bug 62925 – FORMATTING: enhancement: please add "chart styles" to the styles of Calc.

See also Google’s translation of the German page.

  • Mar 05 / 2014
  • 1
Linux in Education, technology

New ICT Curriculum In Indian Schools

“The requirements of the curricula are not to be hardware or software speci c. Undoing the general trend of limiting software to office applications, which are not only ill suited for educational purposes but also tend to narrow down the view of what computers and ICT can achieve, a wide range of software applications specifi cally designed for education are introduced. Use of proprietary software would become very expensive and make the implementation unviable. Therefore, Free and Open Source software have been suggested throughout the curricula. The use of FOSS applications will also obviate software piracy and enable customisation to suit local needs.”

AMEN! This is a national curriculum for one of the largest countries on Earth. It is professionally done and not just about students. It includes training for teachers. Wow! If implemented widely, this should see increased use of computers in education and FLOSS in a country with 1billion+ people and many millions of students.

Further, the new curriculum does not hold teachers back. Those already skilled in ICT will be able to be certified in short order. The new curriculum does not hold students back. It starts with programming computers in the first year (~10 years of age).

The arrival of small cheap computers on retail shelves and OEMs’ catalogues will actually make this possible to implement widely as every school should be able to afford this and if they can’t the central government should be able to fix that.

See ICT Curriculuma.pdf.

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