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March 27th, 2015

The AT&T Mafia, LibraOffice Online & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Larry Cafiero’s off doing some important Larry stuff and I was told I could avoid detention if I wrote the Week in Review for him, so here I am.

LibreOffice as SaaS

This from our “it’s about time but it ain’t time yet” department. The Document Foundation, those fine folks who bring us the LibreOffice productivity suite, announced on Wednesday the unveiling of an online SaaS version of the suite, complete with the catchy name LibreOffice Online or LOOL.

LibreOffice_OnlineWell, it wasn’t exactly an unveiling. It was more an announcement of things-we-are-working-on-and-are-really-really-sure-are-going-to-happen. According to the notice on the Document Foundation blog, LOOL isn’t scheduled to pull into the station just quite yet. According to the blog: “The availability of LibreOffice Online will be communicated at a later stage.”

Over at ZDNet, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, says that we can expect it in 2016.

“LOOL will be created by IceWarp, an open-source groupware company, and Collabora, a software company which offers LibreOffice support. IceWarp will be supplying the funding while Collabora, and the open-source community, will provide the technical chops and labor.”

Of course, LibreOffice as an online app has already been available online since early last year through rollApp — but this will be different. For starters, it’ll be “free as in beer,” meaning it won’t cost you anything. While rollApp has a free plan which allows users to open files from cloud storage to read online, users have to pay $6.99 monthly if they want to actually save their changes.

It’ll also be “free as in speech.” LOOL will be available for users to install on their own servers for those who don’t want to trust their sensitive documents with…say, Google.

Even on a Mac, Linux is faster than OS X

Yesterday the boys and girls over at Phoronix reported that they somehow got their hands on a new Apple Mac Mini and decided to take it on a test drive to compare its performance using OS X and two versions of Linux — Ubuntu 15.04 to Fedora 21. Guess what? Linux blew Apple’s OS out of the water on an Apple machine. In all, eleven benchmarks were run, with Linux showing notably higher scores on all but four.

So which of the two Linux distros did best overall? You’ll have to read to article to find out.

Meanwhile, Apple fanboiz remain in denial.

AT&T snoops in your Internet usage

Finally, we learned this week from the folks at Ars Technica that cheap gigabit Internet service from AT&T might come with a considerable extra cost for those who value privacy. It seems that the company once lovingly known as Ma Bell is analyzing their users’ traffic, not only to better target online ads, but to target users for spam and junk mail (the kind that’s delivered to the door) as well.

“In a few select areas including Austin, Texas, and Kansas City, Missouri—places where AT&T competes against the $70-per-month Google Fiber—Ma Bell offers its own $70-per-month “GigaPower” fiber-to-the-home Internet access. But signing up for the deal also opts customers in to AT&T’s “Internet Preferences” program, which gives the company permission to examine each customer’s Web traffic in exchange for a price that matches Google’s.

“AT&T charges at least another $29 a month ($99 total) to provide standalone Internet service that doesn’t perform this extra scanning of your Web traffic. The privacy fee can balloon to more than $60 for bundles including TV or phone service. Certain modem rental and installation fees also apply only to service plans without Internet Preferences.”

It appears as if racketeering isn’t racketeering so long as you have lobbyists on K Street.

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Well, that’s going to do it for this week. Larry will be back with another Week in Review next Friday. In the meantime, may the FOSS be with you…

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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2 comments to The AT&T Mafia, LibraOffice Online & More…

  • Elmer

    Of all the stupid things President Bush did perhaps the most evil one he did to this country was allow the worst monopoly of all time to reassemble itself.If take into account their HQ is in the state Bush was Gov. of it begs the question of if he himself was bribed ??

  • It can call itself anything it wants, but AT&T–er–Cingular–er–Southwestern Bell is still Southwestern Bell, and it keeps changing its name for a reason.