DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 Apr) – An IT company based here is launching this year a computer software that it claims will boost the efficiency of the small and big enterprises by providing… »
Back in time, I learned reading Qur’an the classic way, that is using the book. But nowadays, I spend most of my work on computer. Although I still prefer, classic, but I discovered a software version which I think is useful, the software is called Oth…
The Document Foundation’s LibreOffice, the OpenOffice office suite fork, is on a winning streak. No sooner than Ubuntu lets the world know that LibreOffice is its office suite of choice, than the next day the first full, shipping version of the program, LibreOffice 3.3, is released.
LibreOffice 3.3 includes numerous new features when compared to its OpenOffice parent. To my mind, the most important of these for modern office workers is that it has much better import and export tools for Microsoft Office 2007 and above OpenXML formats. Love them or hate them–I hate them myself–more and more businesses are using these formats and being able to work with them is becoming a business-critical feature. In addition, LibreOffice can also now import Adobe PDF, Microsoft Works, and Lotus Word Pro documents and has better WordPerfect document import facilities.
According to The Document Foundation, “LibreOffice 3.3 also incorporates all the new features of OpenOffice.org 3.3, such as new custom properties handling; embedding of standard PDF fonts in PDF documents; new Liberation Narrow font; increased document protection in Writer and Calc; auto decimals digits for ‘General’ format in Calc; 1 million rows in a spreadsheet; new options for CSV import in Calc; insert drawing objects in Charts; hierarchical axis labels for Charts; improved slide layout handling in Impress; new easier to use print interface; more options for Changing case; and colored sheet Tabs in Calc.”
The Document Foundation also states that it will add new features faster than OpenOffice because its “community of developers has been able to build their own and independent process, and stand on their feet in a very short time (in relation to the size of the code and the ambitions of the project).” Indeed, this in part why the fork happened. Regardless of how one sees Oracle’s management of Sun’s former open-source projects, OpenOffice was long known for being very slow to update compared to more agile open-source projects.
As Michael Meeks, Novell Distinguished Engineer and Document Foundation community member told me, “The growth and output of this community, in just a short period of time, underscores the need for and importance of a truly open project dedicated to creating the best office suite available–period. Now that we have gotten started we only expect the project to pick up steam and there is still plenty of work to do for everyone from developers to artists to translators. With new contributors joining every day, LibreOffice will continue to deliver the innovative features and functionality that users want. ”
Looking ahead, Caolan McNamara, Red Hat’s Desktop Engineer in charge of OpenOffice.org and now LibreOffice, said in a statement, “We are excited: this is our very first stable release, and therefore we are eager to get user feedback, which will be integrated immediately in the code and released very soon. After February, we will be moving to a real time based, predictable, transparent and public release schedule, according to the desire of the Engineering Steering Committee and the requests of the users”. For further details, see the LibreOffice development roadmap.
LibreOffice 3.3 is now available for both direct and BitTorrent downloads. There are versions for Windows; 32 and 64-bits RPM package Linux distributions, such as Red Hat and Novell; 32 and 64-bit DEB package Linux distributions such as Debian and Ubuntu; and both PowerPC and Intel Macs.
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3: Cost effectiveness
4: Age-specific tools
6: Agile learners
7: Staying in step
8: Learning opportunities
9: A lesson in community
10: Content filtering
Truth can, indeed, be stranger than fiction — as is evidenced by a May 14 letter on software-licensing policies that was signed by both Microsoft and Linux Foundation officials.
The letter, which the two sent to to the American Law Institute (ALI), was designed to “express our shared concerns with the group’s draft Principles of the Law of Software Contracts,” according to a blog post by Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel.
(Yes, that same Horacio Gutierrez who is known for claiming free and open-source software violated 235 of Microsoft’s patents.)
According to Gutierrez’s latest blog post, while Microsoft and the Linux Foundation have been almost always on opposite sides of the software-licensing fence, they both agree that the ALI Principles — designed to provide guidance to judges and others charged with interpreting software-licensing agreements — could do more harm than good. Gutierrez blogged:
“While the Principles reflect a lot of hard work and thought by the ALI, Microsoft and the Linux Foundation believe that certain provisions do not reflect existing law and could disrupt the well-functioning software market for businesses and consumers, as well as create uncertainty for software developers.
“We have asked the ALI to allow more time for comment from interested parties reflecting the wide range of software developers and users.”
The joint letter to the ALI specifically highlights the policy body’s call for a non-disclaimable “implied warranty of no material hidden defects” as being onerous to both Microsoft and the Linux Foundation. (The Linux Foundation has been objecting to this proposed implied warranty and its possible negative effect on free and open-source software since at least August 2008.) Microsoft and the Linux Foundation both are advocating that by making this warranty disclaimable, vendors will be more willing and able to offer customers their applications and services under a variety of software-licensing models. (That’s my best attempt at explaining this; I’m sure folks more conversant with legal language will be able to chime in as to exactly what the pair want….)
Update: Linux Foundation chief Jim Zemlin explains the warranty issue in a May 18 blog post this way: “The principles outlined by the ALI interfere with the natural operation of open source licenses and commercial licenses as well by creating implied warranties that could result in a tremendous amount of unnecessary litigation, which would undermine the sharing of technology.”
Raymond Nimmer, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center and co-director of the Houston Intellectual Property and Information Law Institute, wrote a strong critique of the ALI draft principles, where he also objected to the proposed implied warranty
Nimmer blogged on May 11: “(I)f the (implied warranty) ‘principle’ were followed, the software industry would be subject to a rule that does not apply to any other industry. Why discriminate against one of our few burgeoning industries?”
The ALI’s annual meeting — where the final vote by memebers on the proposed draft of the Principles is expected — takes place this week.