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May 13th, 2016

Italian Military Goes LibreOffice, HBO Abuses DMCA & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Also, eight new distro releases, CoreOS raises another $28 million, Mint drops codecs and the women of open source.

The most reported FOSS story this week was the beginning of the court fight instigated by Oracle against Google over Android’s Java implementation. Most interesting as the proceedings get going are the once familiar names that are now back in the news.

So far, we’ve heard from Jonathan Schwartz, pretty much a good guy who you might remember replaced Scott McNealy as CEO at Sun Microsystems in April 2006 and was on hand to pass the keys of the kingdom on to Oracle in 2010 after the company was brought down by the so-called Great Recession.

We also got a glimpse of Andy Rubin, founder of Android, Inc. which was, of course, eventually acquired by Google. Fashion conscious penguinistas might be interested to know that he’s grown a beard and a Fu Manchu-style mustache since leaving Google in 2014.

Jonathan Schwartz

Jonathan Schwartz in 2006.
James Duncan Davidson/O’Reilly Media, Inc. [CC BY 2.0

Excellent play-by-play of the courtroom battle by Joe Mullin is being offered on Ars Technica.

Now on to other top FOSS stories gathered from the FOSS Force News Wire this week…

The Italian military is saving $43 million by migrating to LibreOffice. It’s finally beginning to seem as if the entire world is beginning to understand that in most cases proprietary software is a waste of money. We can now add the Italian military to our list of those who’ve wised up. We learned in September that the military was planing on dropping its use of MS Office entirely in favor of LibreOffice. On Wednesday, we learned that the migration is underway, with 5,000 workstations already running FOSS’ flagship office suite.

“Taking into account the deadlines set by our current Microsoft Office licenses, we will have 75,000 (70 percent) LibreOffice users by 2017, and an additional 25,000 by 2020,” said General Camillo Sileo with the Italian military.

Migration should go smoothly. The military has taken the step of working with LibreItalia to teach staff how to use LibreOffice.

HBO abuses DMCA. It appears that HBO is getting serious about not giving anyone any excuse to not watch its uber popular TV show “Game of Thrones.” So much so that it’s issuing DMCA takedown notices against those who dare publish spoilers about the show.

This would include Spanish language YouTube user Frikidoctor, who posts “Game of Thrones” reviews that contain predictions, called “uncannily accurate,” about where the show is going. On Saturday, he posted a video in English to YouTube explaining his thoughts after Google caved in to DMCA pressure from the cable channel and took down a review he posted within two hours after it went up.

There’s nothing new here. TorrentFreak points out in its article on the incident that in April “close to 100,000 people voiced their concerns about potential abuse of copyright takedowns.”

Quote of the week: At the Oracle versus Google trial on Friday, cross-examining Oracle attorney Peter Bicks expressed disbelief at Jonathan Schwartz’s claim that he was unaware of being mentioned in a couple of articles that were keyed to a Google Alert.

“You know, there’s a lot of stuff on Google I don’t control,” Schwartz said. “It’s a pretty big Internet.”

Yeah. I’ve noticed that too.

Another day, another distro: Bruce Byfield may think the days of the Linux distro are numbered, but you can’t prove it by me. In addition to the much ballyhooed release of RHEL 6.8, there are seven releases to report this week, and as is becoming increasingly the case, they’re not all for Wintel machines.

Today saw an evidently unnumbered update to Raspian. Among other improvements, this brings the addition of a UI to its Pi 3 Bluetooth support, limited support for Bluetooth headsets and speakers, an SD Card Copier application and the Geany text editor…. The folks who develop Black Lab Linux on Tuesday announced the release of Black Lab NetOS as an Xfce drop-in replacement for Chrome OS. At the same time, the distro is offering the distro preinstalled on their own Black Lab Cloudbook hardware for $250…. Q4OS has come out with a port for the Raspberry Pi 3, based on Raspbian but with the Trinity Desktop Environment.

On to traditional desktop distros: AryaLinux 2016.04 has been released, a distro that’s source-based and built “from the ground up.” Mate and XFCE spins are available…. Based on on Debian Sid and more than a year in the making, Rebellin Linux 3 has been released with separate editions for GNOME and MATE…. Uruk GNU/Linux is a completely new distro, released Monday, that includes the Linux-libre kernel and only free software on top of the MATE desktop…. Waha Linux 8.4 “Hijra” is a distro for the Arabic community based on Debian 8.4 “Jessie.”

Quick takes: eWeek announced Monday that CoreOS has received a new $28 million round of funding, which means that funding to date for the OS stands at $48 million…. Linux Mint lead Clement Lefebvre announced in a blog on Friday that beginning with the release of version 18, the distro will no longer ship with codecs.

Parting shot: On Monday, CIO published a slide show featuring Influential Women in Open Source. It’s worth checking out, just to see who got included.

That’s another week here at FOSS Force. Until next time, 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 Italian Military Goes LibreOffice, HBO Abuses DMCA & More…

  • Mike

    *sigh*

    The DMCA is pure evil, wrapped in a shell of greed.

    Congress is bought and paid for, so they are useless.

    We need to, as one people, call on all people and corporations to ignore and flout the DMCA until it is contested and abolished by the courts.

    Takedown the takedowns!

  • Nonya

    The DMCA needs to be repealed, never to be replaced with such evil again. One reason that the DMCA is abused so much is that there is no penalty for those that abuse it. Of course it was planned that way from the beginning, as the DMCA has always been planned as a way to take away people’s rights to express opinions, take away right of first sale, and fair use, as well as taking away the right to make a personal backup copy of their legally purchased media/digital content.