LibreOffice 4.1 Arrives!

Today saw the announcement of the latest major LibreOffice release. LibreOffice 4.1 is heralded as “a landmark for interoperability” in The Document Foundation’s announcement. They’re keen to emphasise compatibility related improvements and features such as the upgrades to Microsoft OOXML import and export filters and the newly enabled font embedding. Whilst compatibility with proprietary file formats is certainly one of LibreOffice’s key advantages, the new release is not short on improvements and new features in other areas too. In all, the release marks a significant stride forward for LibreOffice, maintaining it’s impressive form.

For those involved with the LibreOffice community, the annual gathering is happening in September in Milan. The call for papers is still accepting submissions until the 4th of August, so get yours in now!

LibreOffice Conference Call For Papers

The LibreOffice Conference will be held in Milan on September 25-27 this year. The Conference has already made it’s call for papers, so if you have something interesting to say, now’s your chance to submit a proposal. The Document Foundation blog makes it clear that all are welcome, so whether you’re a member or a volunteer, a user or a developer, take a look over the list of topics for this year. If there’s something there which you need to have your say on or which simply catches your interest, now’s your chance to make your voice heard. Submit a proposal before August 4th to have it considered for LibreOffice Conference 2013.

Italian Region Switches To Open Source

Bolzano LogoThis morning saw the announcement by the Italian province of South Tyrol that they would begin a three year migration process to using LibreOffice for all of it’s public administration needs; they apparently use Microsoft products at present. The move is part of a broader strategy to eliminate dependence on monopolistic vendors, reduce costs, become more flexible and support locally based service providers.

You can tell that this is a project with a high likelihood of success because of the extent of the planning that has apparently gone into making the change. Simon’s article “Migrating to Open Source Needs a Plan” laid out some of the reasons why it’s vital that these sorts of migrations are not taken lightly or used simply as a cost cutting measure. When done carefully and with forethought there are rich rewards to be reaped and this South Tyrol migration bears the hall marks of an administration that is making the change in the right way. Gradual phase in, dialogue with and training for unfamiliar users, a changeover budget, these are all signs that this is one migration which is going to meet its aims.

The “Technical Round Table for Open Source” on whose advice this decision seems to have been made  have very likely built their proposed changeover plan on the basis of the document foundations own recommendations for migrating to LibreOffice. It will be interesting to watch the progress of this bold move.

On Tour

Simon is heading to the USA soon, and will be at the following venues:

If you would like to meet him or even book him for your own event, please let us know and we’ll see what we can do.

Community vs Technical Debt

OpenJDK CommunityOracle’s Java technical chief recently admitted that dealing with long standing security issues has hampered the release of the latest Java instalment. The issues didn’t necessarily originate with Oracle, they’ll have been accumulating over many years, first at Sun and then at Oracle. The problem has been that until now these issues have been on a continual back burner, the “tyranny of the urgent” focussing developer attention onto business considerations as the priority.

Dealing with this technical debt is clearly a time consuming affair, but eventually it catches up with a project and needs to be handled. Some long lived projects don’t seem to gather this sort of flotsam though; the key is in the community. Proprietary projects are often forced to be solely feature focussed, but open projects with a healthy community are in a much better position to bypass the problem of technical debt, as community members will often pour enthusiasm and expertise into resolving the backlog. Continue reading

Migration Needs A Plan

Do open source mandates work?  Plenty of entities have tried to apply an open source mandate, requiring use particularly of open source office suites like LibreOffice. But it takes more than just a decision or a mandate; to successfully gain the benefits of open source in the enterprise, you also need a thoughtful migration plan. Read about this in our article today at Linux Advocates.