Category Archives: software

Zekr: Qur’an Software

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…

LibreOffice Release Out

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.

Screenshots: New features from LibreOffice 3.3

According to The Document Foundation, “LibreOffice 3.3 also incorporates all the new features of 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 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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10 reasons why your kids should be using Linux

 As It professionals and Educators, we speak mostly of the professional aspects of our jobs. The problem is, when we go home and, in many cases, our IT work continues. Part of it involves keeping our children’s computers running and running well. Sometimes, that job can be a bigger challenge than the task of keeping the adults in our business up and running.
But why put yourself through this when you can install Linux on a machine for your child/teen and avoid the headaches? article , are 10 good reasons why you should do just this. In the end, you can decide for yourself whether they’re reason enough to migrate those young users away from other operating systems

1: Viruses/malware

This reason is always at the top of our list. We all know kids are prone to opening and installing things they shouldn’t. Because you can’t watch your children 100 percent of the time, you can’t know where they’re getting those applications or attachments from. You can make sure those machines have antivirus and anti-spyware, but why even take the chance? When your kids are using the Linux operating system, this concern becomes moot.

2: Security

This can be summed up easily. If you don’t give your children the root password, they can’t run with root privileges. Of course, you hit a little snag when using a distribution like Ubuntu. For any sudo-based operating system, you will need to edit the /etc/sudoers file to give your young users the privileges they need.

3: Cost effectiveness

Let’s say you have a younger user who is getting a hand-me-down machine that needs an OS reinstall. If you don’t have that copy of Windows around, you’re stuck purchasing a new copy. This can also be applied to any number of applications you might have to pay for. Avoid these costs altogether by handing that child the same machine running Linux. You won’t have pay for the OS license or any application that child might need or want. On top of that, they’ll have the Add/Remove Software tool ,where they can hunt around and find just about anything they would need… all on their own! You can also run a modern distribution on much less hardware than you will need for Vista or Windows 7.

4: Age-specific tools

Did you know there are distributions/software groups designed specifically for young adults and children? There is Sugar, geared for K-6, Edubuntu, for ages 3-18,LinuxKidX, for ages 2-15, Foresight Kids, for ages 3-12, and many others. These age-specific tools are well suited for the group they target with graphics and language tuned for the age range. And some of the distributions geared specifically for younger kids lock the operating system down tightly so that only certain tasks can be run.

5: Netbooks

Little kids make great netbook users. They have smaller hands and fingers that can handle a cramped keyboard, and they can easily sit with a small machine in their lap. And the Linux operating system is ideally suited to run on netbooks. You can install either a full-blown OS or a netbook-specific OS, along with whatever software you need on the netbook, making it an excellent choice for the younger audiences.

6: Agile learners

If you put a Linux-based machine in front of a young user, you won’t hear complaints like, “Why can’t it run Quicken!” or “I need my custom payroll app to run on this!” Most kids will master the Linux operating system quickly (and adroitly), with a minimal learning curve. Young minds adapt so well, your kids won’t have any trouble adjusting to any differences. You could probably sit a child down with a Gentoo box running CDE or AfterStep and he or she would have it figured out in less time than it took you to explain what Linux means.

7: Staying in step

I know this one will bring out the ire in many readers. I’m not saying any operating system is used more than any other. But Linux is used worldwide. Many countries as a whole have adopted Linux. The future of Linux is very bright — and it seems to be getting brighter. So why not give your children a head start on what could possibly be the future of the PC? This also applies for those fledgling IT pros out there. If Windows is so user friendly, kids spending most of their time on Linux should have no problem grasping Windows. In fact, I would argue that it will enhance the child’s ability to fully grasp the operating system and how the PC really works.

8: Learning opportunities

Open source emboldens education. It practically screams, “Open me up and learn!” What better way to help youngsters learn than by giving them the ability to do just that? With really curious children, the desire to learn is extraordinary — so why lock them down with closed source software? When a child is exposed to open source software and an open source operating system, the educational opportunities are limitless.

9: A lesson in community

This one might seem a bit of a stretch… but I am an idealist, so I hope you’ll go with it. Teaching children the value of open source software helps them understand community. Although your young users aren’t likely to open up the source code of the applications they’re using, in today’s constantly evolving, community-driven world, they need every advantage they can get as they grow up. Having a sound understanding of open source will help them to understand, at an early age, what it means to really work with and for a team. Using Linux at such an early age also indirectly teaches children the benefit of volunteering — something many of us need to learn more about.

10: Content filtering

Linux has numerous ways to handle content filtering for your young users. FromDansGuardian to SquidGuard to the manual editing of the /etc/hosts file, you can filter content in Linux far more granularly than you can in Windows — and just as easily. Add to this the ability to lock down what your young user can and can’t do (without having to add third-party software), and Linux quickly becomes a safe computing environment for your child.

Microsoft, Linux Foundation issue joint letter opposing proposed software-licensing principles

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.