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Posts tagged as “Debian”

LibreOffice Hits Prime Time, Bug Bites KDE Plasma 5 & More…

FOSS Week in Review

LibreOffice 5 Ready for Prime Time: LibreOffice, the office suite of choice of yours truly and others in the FOSS field, is now in the starting blocks to take on the proprietary office suites. The Document Foundation announced this week the release of LibreOffice 5.0, with a significantly improved user interface, with a better management of the screen space and a cleaner look. In addition, the latest LO release offers better interoperability with proprietary office suites such as Microsoft Office and Apple iWork, with new and improved filters to handle non standard formats.

libreofficsplash-300x85“In 2010, we inherited a rather old source code, which had to be made cleaner, leaner and smarter before we could reasonably develop the office suite we were envisioning for the long term,” said Michael Meeks, a director at TDF and a leading LibreOffice developer. “Since 2010, we have gone through three different development cycles: the 3.x family, to clean the code from legacy stuff; the 4.x family, to make the suite more responsive; and the 5.x family, to make it smarter, also in terms of user interface.”

Announcing the Birth of Hurd

After a 25 year gestation, Hurd has finally been born. It was a difficult birth and it’s now being kept in an incubator under the care of Debian.

For many years GNU’s always almost ready to be born operating system microkernel, Hurd, has been the butt of many jokes and Facebook memes, so it came as something of a surprise to read in Larry Cafiero’s Friday column that it’s now ready enough for Debian, which is offering a somewhat experimental and unstable release of Debian/GNU Hurd. An earlier attempt at a Hurd based distro, by Arch, seems to have died on the vine back in 2011, although a 2013 posting promises that development is still underway, with no news since.

Hurd logoHurd logo
The Hurd logo illustrates the microkernel’s modular design.
For those new to FOSS, or who have been too tightly focused on the various flavors of Linux to notice, Hurd is an operating system kernel (more precisely, a microkernel) that was begun in 1990 by the folks at GNU shortly before Linus Torvalds began his grand experiment in ’91 that morphed into Linux. Intended to complete the GNU stack, Hurd is like Linux insofar that its a Unix like kernel, but different in that it has a totally modular construction.

Christine HallChristine Hall

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

Final Numbers on LinuxFest Northwest, Riding Hurd on Debian & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Normally, I’d race back home after a weekend event like LinuxFest Northwest in order to get back to what is commonly, maybe tragically (okay, it’s not really that bad), known as “life as usual.” But my darling daughter wanted to visit her friends in Seattle and Portland on the way home, which added two days to the trip. Getting to spend some time in those cities was a joy — the Seattle Public Library downtown is a gem, and I got to go to Powell’s in Portland for the first time this decade.

But upon returning to the redwoods, I’m so far behind it isn’t funny.

Hence, in continuing to catch up this week, this end-of-the-week wrap-up is going to be brief. You’re welcome.

'It's Tricky, to compile software that's right on time . . . ' The 'Run GCC' shirt and stickers from the Free Software Foundation were a hit at LinuxFest Northwest (Free Software Foundation)'It's Tricky, to compile software that's right on time . . . ' The 'Run GCC' shirt and stickers from the Free Software Foundation were a hit at LinuxFest Northwest (Free Software Foundation)
‘It’s Tricky, to compile software that’s right on time . . . ‘ The ‘Run GCC’ shirt and stickers from the Free Software Foundation were a hit at LinuxFest Northwest (Free Software Foundation)
LFNW by the Numbers: Last week while attending LinuxFest Northwest, the number 2,000 was bandied about as a possible attendance threshold that the 16th annual show had yet to reach — and I take partial responsibility for publicizing that number during the course of the fest on my social media feeds. Mea culpa, folks: When the final numbers were tallied, so says LFNW organizer Jakob Perry, the total number registered for LFNW was 1,850 — short of 2,000, but still a high point in the show’s history.

Larry CafieroLarry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

2014’s Five Biggest Stories Affecting FOSS

Another year has come and gone, and as you might have guessed, 2014 still wasn’t the year of the Linux desktop.

Covering FOSS and Linux isn’t nearly as exciting as it was a decade or so ago — but that’s a good thing. Back then, we were at war with nearly every proprietary software vendor on the planet and faced threats from all directions, including up and down. To be sure, we didn’t start the wars we were fighting, as PROFAL (the People’s Republic of FOSS and Linux) only wished for peaceful coexistence.

The dust settled long ago and it appears as if we won most of these wars we didn’t start. Even our old arch enemy Microsoft is now waving the flag of peace and is seeking to normalize relations with us. And our old arch-arch enemy, SCO, doesn’t even exist any more — at least not in any form that we would recognize as the SCO of old. May Caldera rest in peace.

That doesn’t mean there’s not still news to be covered in the FOSS world. There is — and plenty of it. But these days, it’s mostly about advancements in technology, new start-ups and new alliances. We still face threats, to be sure, from crackers, spooks, politicians, the RIAA and the MPAA, but these forces threaten all of computerdom, not just FOSS, so we’ve been able to nurture some new strange bedfellows to join us in our struggles.

As years go, 2014 wasn’t the most boring year in the history of the free software movement, but it also wasn’t overly exciting. Again, that’s a good thing as it means there was no battening down the hatches and stuff. Still, there were many trends in the news this year which directly affect the purveyors and users of FOSS.

Here’s my top five list:

Christine HallChristine Hall

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

Linux Distros: What’s in a Name?

Yesterday, the Fedora Project released Fedora 21, and with it the tech media got on its proverbial horse and started reports and reviews of the latest release. While it’s a good release and we won’t be reviewing it here — I already gave it a shakedown during the alpha and found it to be fantastic and completely worth the wait — there’s one thing that’s missing from Fedora 21 that I find rather disheartening.

Namely, Fedora 21 is missing a release name.

It’s quirky, perhaps, but release names are a favorite item of mine in the FOSS realm. While completely useless in the scope of the software itself, it does actually reflect a degree of creativity within the respective communities. Depending on the how it’s done, the decision process ranges from a spirited event to a tried-and-true yawner.

Fedora logoFedora logoUntil Fedora 21, the Fedora Project used to have a process for release names in which knock-down drag-out brawls would break out, rhetorically speaking, in the debate and community-wide voting for the name. Arguably, Fedora 17 “Beefy Miracle” wobbled the process from the rails, and while the rest of the names were noble — my favorite was Fedora 19 “Schrodinger’s Cat” — the formula was fairly simple: Names had to meet a “is-a” test. For example, “Schnozz is a ____, and so is Keister.” Taking the example of naming Fedora 14 “Laughlin,” the Fedora Project took the name of Fedora 13 “Goddard” and, though the miracle of the “is-a” test, had a list of candidates, of which Laughlin won. So the formula is as follows: “Robert H. Goddard was a professor of physics, and so was Robert Laughlin.” To see this in action, you can look at the Fedora Release Name History.

Larry CafieroLarry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

A Devuan and A-two…

debian forkdebian forkAnd the beat goes on…

By now, much of the news and commentary is already out there about a fork of Debian called Devuan — pronounced Dev-One (sharp, folks) — and what it means to the newly minted systemd/anti-systemd rift in the FOSS world. I can’t add anything to the news part, but leave it to me to add to the commentary.

Forking is commonplace in the FOSS world, a part of its natural process. Someone thinks they can do something better — or it may be a group of folks of like mind thinking they can do something better — and they do it for reasons ranging from rational improvement to unabashed ragequit.

Larry CafieroLarry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

Debian, Ubuntu Touch & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Larry’s taking a much deserved day off, so I got elected to do this Week in Review. Glad to be back in the saddle.

Here’s hoping that all in the U.S. had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and that those of you who don’t live here managed to make it through all of the online articles on our quaint little holiday. As always, one thing leads to another. In this case, giving thanks for what we have morphs into the great Christmas shopping race, in which we make a grab for stuff we don’t yet own.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Google and the EU

Google logoGoogle logoWhile we in the States were dealing with family and turkey, the EU was busy working on preparing Google’s head for the platter. The European Parliament yesterday passed by a wide margin a non-binding resolution urging anti-trust regulators to break up the company. For those keeping score, the final vote was 384 yeas and 174 nays.

Yesterday also saw France and Germany seeking a review, from the European Competition Commission, of the EU’s rules to ensure that international Internet companies could be targeted in the olde world.

Google has been tangling with our friends across the pond since at least 2010 on a host of subjects, which include privacy issues, “right to be forgotten” rules, copyrights, tax questions and more. The resolution didn’t mention Google by name, but asked for the Commission to consider proposals to separate search engines from their other services.

Christine HallChristine Hall

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

32-bit Man in a 64-bit World

We’re going to go off the beaten path a little bit here and start with Joe Walsh — the musician, not the politician — of all people.

In his latest album, Joe proclaims he’s an “Analog Man.” He’s an analog man in a digital world, and that’s something to which I can clearly relate. Here’s why: Until yesterday, all of my non-Macintosh hardware in the “Jungle Room” — I call it a lab because it’s filled with hardware, though I really don’t do anything in this room that remotely resembles research-and-development — is of 32-bit vintage.

32-bit or 64-bit32-bit or 64-bitIn comes a castoff ThinkPad T500 from a friend in Seattle and I’m now in the 64-bit club.

I get the advantages of the better/faster/stronger processor capacity, obviously: From Computers 101, say it with me, “The number of bits in a processor refers to the size of the data types that it handles as well as the size of its registry. A 64-bit processor is capable of storing 264 computational values, including memory addresses. This makes it capable of accessing over four billion times as much physical memory than a 32-bit processor.”

Larry CafieroLarry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

How Many Linux Distros Are On the Top Ten?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the number of GNU/Linux distros there are out in the wild. This is nothing new, as this has been an ongoing discussion among Linux users for at least as long as I’ve been using Linux.

In a nutshell, in case you’re new to the Linux world, some say that the overabundance of Linux distros is overkill, that it weakens the development by spreading developers out on the various distros when they could be focused on just one or two key distros. Those in this camp also claim that the huge number of distros also confuses the public, thereby acting as a roadblock to desktop Linux’s growth.

On the other side of the fence, there are people who claim that the choices offered by the numerous distros are actually good for Linux, that the plethora of distros means that users can find an implementation of Linux that’s just right for them.

I’m in the latter camp, but that’s neither here nor there. No matter which side of the fence you sit, there’s actually not nearly so many distros as there may seem.

Christine HallChristine Hall

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

The Ten Most Read Stories on FOSS Force in 2013

What were the ten best stories we published on FOSS Force this year? Well, that would depend on a lot of things, wouldn’t it, such as who’s asking? We could tell you what we think our ten best stories were this year, but we’ll hold that until next week. Today we’re going to look at the ten stories that got the most reads on our site this year.

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