vrijdag 13 juni 2014

Are Germans so smart or we Dutch that dumb

No, this has nothing to do with a possible match during the soccer worldcup. It is about open source.
Look at the German city Munich, where they started in 2005 to migrate to open source. In 2013 the project was finished successful. A migration that resulted in 14.000 of the 15.000 seats running among others Linux at the desktop and LibreOffice.
Significant investments have been made, but already now there are savings of 11 million Euro. The money that has been spent, of course will benefit the regional economy to a large extend. Smart!
There is by the way also a report that says that Munich loses money on the project, but that reports makes wrong assumptions and is - what a coincidence - written on request of Microsoft by its partner HP, that gives no underlying info. So all municipalities: do take good notice of this, for in case someone uses that manipulated report to give a negative advise on open source!

So fine, a significant use of open source does make sense. Do the people in Germany act so much smarter then in The Netherlands? Or is Munich an exception, that did not accept the special offerings?

For those municipalities that want to learn more: the Munich story will be explained on the LibreOffice-symposium (June 26 at Ede) by the project lead Peter Hofmann. With of course the focus on LibreOffice, to which the city switched in 2013.
The symposium also brings contributions from among others the municipalities of Ede and Neerijnen (the new Dutch Munich ;) ?)

Can in The Netherlands be done on a larger scale what already happens in Germany?

The LibreOffice-symposium is organised by the municipality of Ede and my company Nou&Off. It is organised especially for staff of the administrations that want a better look on starting with LibreOffice.

zondag 11 mei 2014

A stream of new and improved functions passes - LibreOffice at the Ubuntu release party

Yesterday there was a great Ubuntu release party in Apeldoorn where at least four members of the Dutch language LibreOffice community joined. And since our friend Luc had to leave early, I was asked to present about LibreOffice.
My audience appreciates a little explanation about the history of LibreOffice. So via an explanation on making LibreOffice an attractive and active open source project, easy to build, fast delivering contributions and with a great amount of developers and hackers - which all is achieved - and modernising and improving the huge code base - which is well on it's way - I ask if people know the release schedule with two main releases every year. Many do not. So I explain that, the relation with the schedule of other main free software projects, and end up counting releases for our 4.2 series, of which only last week the 4.2.4.2 was released. And from the very first alpha of this series, around 16 versions have been released in six months time. Indeed an impressing machinery of builds, commits, checks, automated tests etc. All to deliver more functions on an ever improving code base. And a machinery that is there for and because of all people helping out with code, translations, testing, user support and so forth!

Then when people ask what has been improved in LibreOffice compared to OpenOffice, I find it a bit difficult mostly due to the huge amount off different things, to give a brief, simple answer.
Of course there is this page (two releases behind in the mean time... and that soon should be found at the wiki here ..) summarising only (what some people consider) the most important LibreOffice improvement over OpenOffice.
But when people ask.. Of course, better interoperability, more, important, file types that can be opened, nicer clearer interface. But a simple answer..
Well really funny this turns, when I start answering questions about functions, and when during that a stream of changed and improved functions show on the screen: color of non-printing characters, preview of formatting in list Select Style, Template manager, Format > Title page, more Excell like functions, integration of CMIS and other 'server'-protocols, easier handling of headers and footers, and so forth :)
All in all an interesting afternoon in Apeldoorn and I'm really glad that we were invited to share our enthusiasm and inspiration for this great free software project with the visitors of the event. Thanks :)

donderdag 17 april 2014

10 years business support for the alternative for 'that one of Microsoft' - for free office-software

19.999 days young, and still celebrate the second lustrum .. how can that be possible?
It's possible when you are me and started your company on April 16 2004 :)
It's a very busy time the last months at Nou&Off, but wishing not to let pass this joyous moment unnoticed, it was decided at the last moment to do a little party in a smaller circle. To pay attention to it in wider circles, later this year a symposium will be organized around the use of open source office-software in Dutch administrations, institutions and companies.
At the same time as the 10 years anniversary of Nou&Off, there was the official opening of the LibreOffice-Trainingcenter. That was expected earlier, but due to the high workload on projects, it slipped. Luckily, sooner or later, all will be fine ;)

donderdag 19 december 2013

Graphics in HTML mail merge - new in LibreOffice 4.2.0

One of the great tools from LibreOffice that I use regularly, it the mail merge function from Writer. Preparing a text, adding field of your data source, and via the neat Python-coded wizard you can send all those document via e-mail. Personalised. The same can be done with HTML formatting and even PDF files that will be handled as attachment.
 
Until recent however, there was a nasty limitation with the use of HTML formatting for sending the emails: images were not embedded. So no use of good pictures and graphics in the mails..
After this, you understand that I'm really delighted to see that in the upcoming LibreOffice 4.2.0 the embedding of graphics in HTML-mail will be possible.
This thanks to Edmond Ciorba and Andras Timar. Kudoos guys :)
 
Rough information on these, and other features for LibreOffice 4.2.0 is on the wiki.
 
Note that beta 2 for the 4.2.0 is available and that very soon the first release candidate will be spread. Pls download this (mind parallel installation) and do your testing of existing and new features!
 
Finaly a nice picture of one of the improvements in the (Windows) user interface.

Enjoy :)

maandag 9 december 2013

Report on the LibreOffice 4.2.0 BugHunt Session

Around last weekend we had the LibreOffice 4.2.0 BugHunt Session. During three days volunteers – either known or new – added some extra steps to test the Beta version of the next LibreOffice. Compared with the weeks before, around three times more bugs were filed against that version (46/15). Overall around 25% more bugs were filed (107/80).

Experienced QA volunteers worked hard to triage as many bugs as possible, but I would not be surprised if still some need to be checked, clarified...
Also on the MozTrap tool people have been doing tests. This environment is especially easy for newcomers that want to do some good for their favourite office-suite ;) I'm told that there will be new test series for the release candidate 1 (in one, two weeks). So stay tuned there!

And last but not least: it was again really encouraging to see that several of the reported bugs have been repaired within hours or a day or so.
Thanks to the developers, thanks to all testers and other users!

zondag 29 september 2013

Escaping from the claws of Microsoft

At the LibreOffice conference in Milan, last week, there was a series of very interesting talks about migrations to LibreOffice. There I listened to someone talking about escaping from the claws of Microsoft.
One would maybe expect such words to from one of the administrations represented, that may not be charmed by the fact that the NSA spies them. Or by a NGO, whose work may be directly affected by the FBI reading their mails and documents. After all, it was Microsoft that first gave the NSA access to its software, and thus to all the work of people and organisations using it..
But no 'escaping from the claws of Microsoft' was expressed by a business man. A large company searching hard for a way to get a bit of his freedom back in choosing office-software and freedom to pay for needs, and not for obligations. Clearly business, NGO's and administrations share more and more interest in quality office software that respects freedom and property.

The LibreOffice conference again showed growth of the number of people and organizations backing the development. Looks as one of thé places to be for business, institutions and people in serving that goal of safety, respect and freedom in software.

maandag 2 september 2013

Sidebar – avoiding it or improve it for using Styles?

Since LibreOffice 4.1 there is the Sidebar as a experimental feature. While devs work on improvements and stabilising for future releases, I mostly avoid that Sidebar :) Meanwhile many people are positive about the nice looking feature... Well indeed it shows nice. And it shows huge...
You may get the feeling here that I'm not so happy with the Sidebar? Indeed! I'll explain why. And of course will try to give a shot about a maybe possible improvement.
Reasons why I'm not too happy is first because it eats space. Double: most of the formatting settings offered are directly available in the formatting toolbar already.
Furthermore, and that's much worse, the nice presentation of all kind of formatting settings, promotes direct formatting. And direct formatting, thus hassling around without using styles, is one of the largest problems when exchanging documents with people that pay for being licensed to use office-software. All this unstructured settings may give problems when working with documents over different programs. (Apart of course from the troublesome way in which Word handles pictures and numbering ;) – but that's a different story.)
 
So for me, two reasons to dislike the Sidebar: for eating space and for promoting bad habits :(
Now, before bringing a suggestion, as a side step, a way in which the Sidebar can bring some sort of fun: when opening the Navigator both apart and in the Sidebar, one with only headings shown and the other with all other content.
With only headings shown, the view in the Navigator (the one left in the screen shot) nicely follows the position in the document.
 
Then for a maybe possible improvement – I try to bring this careful, because ideas are often easily written down, and hard to realise ;)
From my objections with the current implementation, it's clear that I would rather see support for the use of styles. So I mocked up a little version with various style categories shown at the same time. And maybe also something can be done with the presentation of the font, as is the cast in the list Select Style.
And to recover some space, I simply hided the Formatting toolbar. Only the list Apply style deserved a new place on the Standard toolbar.
That's all that there is for now.