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July 29th, 2016

Software Freedom in Kosovo, Waiting for Xfce Mint & More…

Also included: Canonical joins The Document Foundations advisory board, Chromium coming to Fedora, OpenVZ now a complete Linux distro and GNU Linux-libre Kernel 4.7 released.

FOSS Week in Review

It’s not FOSS, but I reckon the biggest story in tech this week, ignoring claims of Russia hacking for Trump, is the sale of Yahoo to Verizon for $4.8 billion. Considering that traffic watcher Alexa says the site is the fifth most visited address on the web, that seems like something of a bargain to me. Add to that Yahoo’s prime Silicon Valley real estate and the price seems to be in the “it fell of the truck” category. The sale puts Verizon in control of both America Online and Yahoo, so I suspect we’ll be seeing Verizon trying to compete with Google and Bing for a share of the search advertising market.

Meanwhile in the world of FOSS…

LibreOffice logoLibreOffice has been in the news this week. The big story, which we first heard on Tuesday, is that Canonical has joined The Document Foundation’s advisory board. In case you’re new in town, TDF is the nonprofit that controls the development of LibreOffice.

Canonical’s signing on isn’t really surprising, as the distro developer and TDF have a long history, going back to when LibreOffice began life as an OpenOffice fork in 2010. As well, Björn Michaelsen, who works full time as Ubuntu’s LibreOffice maintainer, is already an advisory board member. Canonical has already announced that the next release of the office suite will be one of the first applications to be offered as a snap package.

We also learned this week that the next version of LibreOffice, version 5.2, is due to be released on Wednesday. This release will feature quite a few changes, including the addition of an optional single toolbar mode and new spreadsheet functions for Calc. You can take a gander at some of the new features in the video from The Document Foundation included below.

Speaking of new releases, we learned yesterday that the Xfce edition of Linux Mint 18 is “almost ready.” That’s the news from Mint’s head honcho Clement Lefebvre who says “the last bug fixes got in the repository today and we’re getting ready for a stable release.” It looks like we might see a release early next week, if not before.

Although the Mint folks usually release their KDE edition at the same time as Xfce, that won’t be the case this go-round. Lefubvre explains, “There are so many differences between KDE 4 and Plasma 5, we’ve had to work on this edition as if it was a brand new product, inheriting very little from the past and with each component being added one at a time.” Expect a beta release in August.

We’ve also heard from Software Freedom Kosova, which tells us it’s issued this year’s call for speakers, which will be open through September 15. This will be the seventh year for the Kosovo event, which aims to “promote free/libre open source software, free culture and open knowledge” — all laudable goals in my estimation. Potential speakers should know “the topic must be related to free software and hardware, open knowledge and culture.” Mike DuPont, the SFK member who made us aware of the event, told FOSS Force, “There might be travel expenses for qualified speakers.” The event will take place October 21-23.

Another day, another distro: The Linux virtualization software, OpenVZ, released version 7.0 on Monday and is now “a complete Linux distribution” based on VzLinux. According to the developers: “The main difference between the Virtuozzo (commercial) and OpenVZ (free) versions are the EULA, packages with paid features, and Anaconda installer.”

Quick takes: According to Phoronix, at long last the Chromium web browser is on the way into Fedora, but there are a couple of technical issues to work out first…. The totally free-as-in-freedom GNU Linux-libre Kernel 4.7 was released on Sunday.

Parting shot: Did you hear the news back in May that Jono Bacon abruptly left his position as community manager at GitHub? We’re talking the same Jono Bacon who was community manager at Canonical forever and spent a respectable amount of time at XPRIZE. You know, the Jono Bacon who speaks at just about every major Linux and Open Source conference everywhere. Yeah, that Jono Bacon. He’s landed on his feet and is self-employed now.

He also just did a video interview with Robin Miller this week here on FOSS Force. It appears that the two are old buddies, so they got carried away, making the interview the longest, at over 30 minutes, that Miller’s ever done for us. It’s a hoot to watch, a real page turner I’d say if it were a book. Check it out.

Well, the Dems are done in Philly, the Reps are done in Cleveland and I’m done here until next week. 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

6 comments to Software Freedom in Kosovo, Waiting for Xfce Mint & More…

  • bluebear

    Well how utterly heartbreaking all this is.

    Let me ask. Are you at all aware that KOSOVO that you reference here is in fact a province of the Republic of Serbia, like California is a federal state of the US of A, that is: Kosovo is within Serbia’s internationally recognized borders according to the UN Charter

    http://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/

    like Vermont is within the borders of the US of A? But I don’t see the actual country, Serbia, mentioned here. Worse still, you link to some website referencing “Kosova” – and this particular term is used for the province by the province’s ethnic separatists, for a separatist entity they illegally declared independent while violating the actual, real country’s territorial integrity, Serbia in this case. So i have to ask are you, FOSS FORCE, are you actually promoting this violation of international law and UN Charter? Or are you just ignorant about what you’re doing? I see no caveat printed here, no explanation? You just link to the thing, quote the press release, and you think that’s it?

    You think??

    I tend to think otherwise. I tend to think that if the response is “yes” you are in fact promoting this entity on the world wide internet, and that consequently you should and will be held responsible for promoting terrorist propaganda on your website.

    Now let me ask you, intrepid copy-pasta “FOSS journalists” – what will happen next on this website of yours? Are you an equal “FOSS” separatist and terrorist news press release opportunity provider? When Crimea, now a part of the Russian Federation, announces its “SOFTWARE FREEDOM DAY” and it might easily do that since Russia and all its regions, including Crimea, are getting rid of US-based spyware and fast.. would you under this scenario report about it equally gleefully, in you headlines? Say for example,

    “SOFTWARE FREEDOM IN CRIMEA…”

    WOULD YOU? Not a rhetorical question, this one. If you deem to respond at all, please address this point.

    “SOFTWARE FREEDOM IN CRIMEA.”

    Can you see yourselves doing it? Or will something hold you back, my FOSS buddies? Say you get that email press release from those Crimean guys, like you did from the “Kosova” guys. Do you just print it? And if not – what might that thing holding you back be? Surely not the international law. You’ve already broken it here in this article, its headline, and the link you provided. And international law, don’t you agree, is either equal for all, Serbia and Ukraine alike – or it doesn’t exist. At all. What say you? How does this thing work, from your perspective?

    If something would hold you back from printing that Crimea email, please explain what? Why wouldn’t you be this hypothetical equal separatist opportunity reporter on all things “FOSS” anywhere in the world, as soon as somebody emails you a flimsy “press release”, and why wouldn’t you do so with no context checks, and no understanding of what you’re actually doing?

    Say for example:

    “IRA SOFTWARE FREEDOM DAY”.

    Do you print it?

    “TAMIL TIGERS ANNOUNCE FOSS SPRINT!”

    Headline material?

    “Islamic State SAYS – IT’S SOFTWARE FREEDOM DAY IN IRAQ and SYRIA!

    Newsworthy, FOSS FORCE?

    Please, explain your rationale, your JOURNALISTIC process. I’m a longtime Linux user, a FOSS believer, a Serbian citizen, a sane person who despises hypocrisy and double standards no matter who tries to impose them. That’s why I’m Linux!.. wasting my time modding Linux to make my hardware work with it instead of just pirating Windows for as long as like. And I am somebody whose country has been ravished by western bombs, wars, invasions, double standards, propaganda and hypocrisy for over 20 years now. I live the results of that onslaught every day. Everyone around me does too. So please explain to me WHY I should be reading headlines like this, even when all I want to do is come here and read about Free and Open Source Software, the light of my life, and leave politics well out of it?
    But if you are bringing politics and ugliness into your website, don’t expect me not to react.

    So seriously – why are you bringing this toxic stuff in? And if you must do it – WHY do you take the ugly, biased, imperialist side in conflicts, like this?

    At if it’s just a case of good old quicky “journalistic” mindlessness, praying at the alter of the seemingly useful, space-filler press release thingie – let me remind you: you might think you’re small enough to get away with anything. But this is the internet. Just as you can see all my details posting here because I have no reason to hide them – so I see you. Check your sources. Do you research. Make your informed decisions. Otherwise somebody will always set you straight and call you out and hold you accountable. Like I’m doing right now.

  • @bluebear: If the Tamil Tigers or the IRA suddenly resurface and declare their commitment to free and open-source software, I believe that will indeed be newsworthy.

    How’s the weather in Serbia?

  • @bluebear I’m very aware of the politics vis-a-vis Serbia and Kosova and of the history that led up to the present situation.

  • tracyanne

    If I saw

    “IRA SOFTWARE FREEDOM DAY”.

    “TAMIL TIGERS ANNOUNCE FOSS SPRINT!”

    “Islamic State SAYS – IT’S SOFTWARE FREEDOM DAY IN IRAQ and SYRIA!

    I’d say they are fighting for something I believe in

  • Mike

    More UN members recognize Kosovo independence than do not.

    > “and that consequently you should and will be held responsible for promoting terrorist propaganda on your website.”

    You sir, are hilarious.

  • Mark-I

    @Bluebear at which point does the article says “round your weapons and help free kosovo?” You’re the one bringing your dumb ignorance and toxic politics to an article about “FOSS”. It is still called Kosovo/a isn’t it?. And you made a good point, would someone be mad if the article said “Software freedom California” do you think someone (or you apparently) would be mad because they didn’t state that California belongs to the US?

    Please leave your toxic mentality or better yet if you don’t like the article DON’T READ IT. That simple.