Posts tagged open source

Dortmund plots course for open source

The City of Dortmund wants to examine the potential of free software and open standards for the city council until the end of 2019, German IT news website heise reports.

Munich’s decision last year to abandon open source is not the final word in open source matters in German local authorities. Dortmund’s city council has decided to investigate the potential of free and open source software “systematically” in the field of municipal ICT.

Dortmund panorama

Dortmund panorama. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A free software working group has been established and will work together with the council’s personnel board and Do-FOSS citizens’ action group in developing a free software strategy which should be produced by the end of 2019. Dortmund is thus an open source pioneer in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The NRW E-government Law stipulates that open and standardised file formats shall be used by public authorities for sending files to citizens and companies.

Less dependence, more flexibility

Amongst other things, efforts will be made to reduce reliance on suppliers and become more flexible in software use. The aspect of transparency and “Green IT” are also pre-requisites for the strategy. The German Federal Environment Office has determined that free software could save resources due to lower hardware requirements and longer life cycles. Moreover, a more flexible choice of suppliers could also improve local authorities’ negotiating position with proprietary software vendors.

Do-FOSS, which has been calling for years for a switch in public sector procurement towards free software and open standards, is hailing the decision as a “milestone“. In addition, a draft for the introduction of “Open Data Dortmund” is to be submitted to the local authority by next summer. DO-FOSS is now hoping that a comprehensive approach will now be developed within the council for the free and open source IT.

Back in January Mayor Ullrich Sierau and the personnel board signed the Digital Dortmund 2018-2030 Charter (PDF, German), in which the use of open standards was agreed for the council’s ICT.

LibreOffice 6.0.3 release announced

On Thursday, The Document Foundation (TDF), the organisation behind the free and open source Libreoffice productivity suite, announced the release of LibreOffice 6.0.3, the third minor release of the LibreOffice 6 family.

Compared to the previous release, LibreOffice 6.0.3 around 70 bug and regression fixes.

LibreOffice 6.0.3 represents the bleeding edge in terms of features and as such is targeted at early adopters, tech-savvy and power users, while LibreOffice 5.4.6 – provided as an alternative download option – is targeted at more conservative mainstream users and enterprise deployments.

LibreOffice 6 splash screen

Download LibreOffice

LibreOffice 6.0.3 is immediately available for download for all major platforms – Linux, Mac OSX and Windows – at the following link: https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/.

As per usual, technical details about LibreOffice 6.0.3 bug and regression fixes can be found in the change logs for RC1 and RC2.

Professional support

TDF advises mainstream users and companies to deploy LibreOffice with the support of certified developers, migrators and trainers.

Several companies on TDF’s Advisory Board provide either value-added LTS versions of LibreOffice or consultancy services for migration and training.

Donate to help LibreOffice development

LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members can support The Document Foundation with a donation. Donations help TDF to maintain its infrastructure, share knowledge and fund attendance at events like LibreOffice Conference, which this year takes place in Tirana.

Mad dogs – an Englishman speaks

During my first visits to France in my teens one frequently saw blue-enamelled signs mounted on gates and walls and bearing the words “Chien méchant“, the French equivalent of “Beware of the dog“. However, we used to translate it literally and, as the only other creature we’d come across which could also be described as “méchant” (= naughty*) was children, we settled on “naughty dog” as the accepted definition or translation and had a good chuckle. However, as time progressed and language studies reached higher levels, one gradually came to realise that literal translation is often unreliable, as exemplified by our French four-legged friends.

The classic French "Chien méchant" sign from yesteryear

The classic French “Chien méchant” sign from yesteryear

Yesterday afternoon in Sainte Marine when out walking with my sister we came across the sign below.

sign with French wording mad dog

The alleged four-legged friend to which the sign refers is clearly a canine which has strayed well beyond being merely “méchant“, is clearly mentally unstable and would – if human and resident in England and Wales – be admitted to hospital against its will under the Mental Health Act.

However, for we open source enthusiasts, “mad dog” – or in this case “maddog” – has other connotations. “Maddog” is the nickname of programmer Jon Hall, the Executive Director of Linux International, a non-profit organisation established by computer professionals with the aim of supporting and promoting Linux-based operating systems.

Finally, any mention of mad dogs by an Englishman would be incomplete without a passing nod to Noel Coward, so here it is. 😀

* = With enhanced vocabulary knowledge one subsequently became aware of other meanings of “méchant“, such as nasty or spiteful, which although laden with anthropomorphism are particularly pertinent to dogs and their bite. 😀

LibreOffice 5.4.6 released

LibreOffice logoToday The Document Foundation (TDF) announced the availability of LibreOffice 5.4.6, the sixth minor release of LibreOffice 5.4 family which is currently targeted for deployment in an enterprise or corporate environment and conservative users.

Download LibreOffice

LibreOffice 5.4.6 is available for immediate download.

LibreOffice 5.4.6 includes almost 60 bug and regression fixes. Technical details about the release can be found in the RC1 and RC2 change logs.

Professional support

TDF advises mainstream users and companies to deploy LibreOffice with the support of certified developers, migrators and trainers.

Several companies sitting in TDF’s Advisory Board provide either value-added LTS versions of LibreOffice or consultancy services for migration and training.

Donate to help LibreOffice development

LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members can support The Document Foundation with a donation. Donations help TDF to maintain its infrastructure, share knowledge and fund attendance at events like LibreOffice Conference, which this year takes place in Tirana.

LibreOffice 5.4.3 released

Yesterday The Document Foundation (TDF) announced the release of LibreOffice 5.4.3, the third minor release of LibreOffice 5.4 family, which includes some 50 bug and regression fixes.

LibreOffice 5.4.3 represents this free and open source office suite’s very latest in terms of features and is therefore targeted at technology enthusiasts and early adopters.

TDF recommends that more conservative users and companies deploy LibreOffice 5.3.7, as well as seeking support from certified professionals.

LibreOffice 5.4.3.2 running on the author's laptop

LibreOffice 5.4.3.2 running on the author’s laptop

Download LibreOffice

LibreOffice 5.4.3 is available for immediate download for all major operating systems – Linux, MacOS and Windows.

Your ‘umble scribe has now downloaded and installed the latest release and it works beautifully.

Donate to LibreOffice

LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members can support The Document Foundation with a donation. Donations help TDF to maintain its infrastructure, share knowledge and organise events such as the Month of LibreOffice, which has last week and will be active until the end of November (https://blog.documentfoundation.org/).

Finally, several companies sitting in TDF’s Advisory Board provide either value-added long-term support (LTS) versions of LibreOffice or consultancy services for migrations and training.

LibreOffice 5.4.2 released

Yesterday The Document Foundation (TDF) announced the release of LibreOffice 5.4.2, the second minor release of the LibreOffice 5.4 family. LibreOffice 5.4.2 continues to represent the bleeding edge in terms of features and as such is targeted at technology enthusiasts and early adopters.

TDF suggests that more conservative users and businesses deploy LibreOffice 5.3.6 with the support of certified professionals.

LibreOffice 5.4 banner

LibreOffice 5.4.2 includes approximately 100 bug and regression fixes. Technical details about the release can be found in the RC1 (release candidate) and RC2 change logs.

Download LibreOffice

LibreOffice 5.4.2 is available for download for all major platforms (Linux, MacOS and Windows).

Donate to LibreOffice

LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members are invited to support the work of The Document Foundation with a donation. Donations help TDF to maintain its infrastructure, share knowledge, and organise events such as the LibreOffice Conference, with the next one taking place next week in Rome.

LibreOffice wins survey amongst Ubuntu users

LibreOffice was the runaway winner in a survey of Ubuntu Linux users for desktop productivity software with 85.52% of the votes. The closest competitors were Google Docs with 4.29%, WPS Office with 3.22% and Apache OpenOffice with 1.96%, while all other office suites accounted for less than 1% responses.

“Even with Windows shipping Ubuntu/Bash on their desktop, even with Google shipping Chromebooks with Linux+Chrome pre-installed, even with Mac OS running away with a premium segment of the desktop market, even with Android phones and tablets, there are many tens of millions of passionate Ubuntu desktop users who are eager to have their voices heard! And LibreOffice continues to be THE enabler of local office productivity on the Ubuntu Desktop,” says Dustin Kirkland, Vice-President of Product Development for Ubuntu at Canonical.

The results of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Default Desktop Applications Survey were presented by Dustin Kirkland at the UbuCon Europe conference in Paris in September.

That Florence speech… in foreign

It’s a well-known fact that when the Brits go abroad and want to converse with Johnny Foreigner, the most convenient is (for Brits of course) to speak English very s-l-o-w-l-y and very LOUDLY; there’s no need to go through all that tedious process of learning how to have intercourse with the locals in the vernacular.

Mrs Theresa May, a woman who does very poor Prime Minister impressions, went to Florence in Italy on Thursday to make a speech (posts passim). However, it is unlikely that non-Brits understood it as it was delivered sotto voce.

As my working life as a linguist has been devoted to improving international understanding, I felt it was my duty to help the EU negotiators understand what Mrs May said and have therefore translated her Florence speech into foreign, as per the screenshot of her opening paragraphs below.

screenshot of start of May's  Florence speech, converted into upper case in LibreOffice

To convert May’s speech into foreign was simplicity itself. Indeed it was so simple I don’t know why Theresa’s staff at 10 Downing Street didn’t bother to do it themselves.

The first stage was to copy the transcript of May’s speech from the government’s website, open a new document in the excellent free and open source LibreOffice productivity suite (other, usually proprietary, office suites are available. Ed.), paste the content from the operating system’s clipboard, then hit Ctrl+A to select all the text, followed by going to the Format menu and selecting Text -> UPPER CASE.

Job done! I now had a copy of Mrs May’s Florence speech in easily intelligible foreign and one perfect for online use as it is also 100% shouty. 😉

Your ‘umble scribe’s version in foreign is available to download (PDF) should readers also wish to promote international understanding. 😀

Public money? Public code!

Digital services provided and used by public sector organisations are the critical infrastructure of the 21st century. Central and local government agencies must ensure they have full control over systems at the core of our digital infrastructure to establish trustworthy systems. However, this is rarely the case due to restrictive proprietary software licences.

Thirty-one organisations are today publishing an open letter in which they call for lawmakers to advance legislation requiring publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made available under a Free and Open Source Software licence, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) reports. The initial signatories include CCC, EDRi, Free Software Foundation Europe, KDE, Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, openSUSE, Open Source Business Alliance, Open SourceInitiative, The Document Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland.

All the signatories are asking individuals and other organisation to sign the open letter, which will be sent to candidates in the forthcoming German parliamentary election and, during the coming months, to other representatives of the EU and EU member states until the 2019 European Parliament elections.

image text reads why is software created with pubic money not released as Free Software? If it is public money it should be public code as well

Public institutions spend millions of euros each year on the development of new bespoke software. The public sector’s procurement choices play a significant role in determining which companies are allowed to compete and what software is supported with taxpayers’ money. Public sector organisations often have problems sharing code with each other, even if they fully funded its development. In addition, sensitive personal data on citizens is at risk if there is no option for independent third parties to run audits or other security checks on the code.

FSFE President Matthias Kirschner says:

We need software that fosters the sharing of good ideas and solutions. Only like this will we be able to improve digital services for people all over Europe. We need software that guarantees freedom of choice, access, and competition. We need software that helps public administrations regain full control of their critical digital infrastructure, allowing them to become and remain independent from a handful of companies. Public bodies are financed through taxes. They should spend funds responsibly and in the most efficient way possible. If it is public money, it should be public code as well!”

Two point releases for LibreOffice

On the last day of August, The Document Foundation (TDF) announced two point releases for the popular LibreOffice productivity suite: LibreOffice 5.4.1 “Fresh”, the first minor release of the new LibreOffice 5.4 family; and LibreOffice 5.3.6 “Still”, the sixth release of the mature LibreOffice 5.3 family.

LibreOffice 5.4.1 represents the bleeding edge in term of features, and as such is targeted at technology enthusiasts and early adopters, whereas LibreOffice 5.3.6 is targeted at more conservative users and enterprise deployments.

As regards enterprise use, TDF suggests deploying LibreOffice 5.3.6 with support from certified professionals. Furthermore, many companies sitting on TDF’s Advisory Board also provide either value-added Long Term Supported versions of LibreOffice or consultancy services for migration to LibreOffice and training.

LibreOffice 5.4.1 includes approximately 100 bug and regression fixes, along with document compatibility improvements. Technical details about the bug fixes can be found in the RC1 and RC2 change logs.

LibreOffice 5.4.1 screenshot

LibreOffice 5.4.1 (Writer) in action

LibreOffice 5.3.6 includes approximately 50 bug and regression fixes. As with 5.4.1, technical details about the release can be found in the change log.

Download LibreOffice

LibreOffice 5.4.1 and LibreOffice 5.3.6 are available for immediate download for GNU/Linux, Mac OSX and Windows. Select the version you desire for your preferred operating system.

Please note that if you’re still using Windows XP or Windows Vista, LibreOffice 5.4 will be the last release that will run on those legacy operating systems.

Support LibreOffice

LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members are invited to support The Document Foundation with a donation. Donations help TDF to maintain its infrastructure, share knowledge and organise events, such as this year’s LibreOffice Conference, which will be taking place in Rome in October.

IATE reaches double figures

As a linguist one of the great developments in the way I work has been the development of online resources in recent years.

These vary from dictionaries to terminological databases and it’s one of the latter that this post is about.

Last week, IATE celebrated its tenth anniversary of being accessible to the public and proudly publicised its entry into double figures.

screenshot of IATE website celebrating 10 years

As can be seen from the screenshot IATE is short for InterActive Terminology for Europe; and it’s a great resource. Searches can be conducted in language pairs from the following languages:

  • Bulgarian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • German
  • Greek
  • English
  • Spanish
  • Finnish
  • French
  • Irish
  • Croatian
  • Hungarian
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Lithuanian
  • Latvian
  • Maltese
  • Dutch
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Swedish

Searches can also be refined by picking specialist subject areas from, for example, accounting to the wood industry.

It’s a particularly good resource for terminology involving the European institutions, political matters and international relations in general, but is also no slouch when it comes to specific terms for, say, forestry.

History & background

IATE is the EU’s inter-institutional terminology database. IATE has been used in the EU institutions and agencies since summer 2004 for the collection, dissemination and shared management of EU-specific terminology. The project partners are:

  • European Commission
  • European Parliament
  • Council of Ministers
  • Court of Justice
  • Court of Auditors
  • Economic & Social Committee
  • Committee of the Regions
  • European Central Bank
  • European Investment Bank
  • Translation Centre for the Bodies of the EU

The project was launched in 1999 with the objective of providing a web-based infrastructure for all EU terminology resources, enhancing the availability and standardisation of the information.

IATE incorporates all of the existing terminology databases of the EU’s translation services into a single new, highly interactive and accessible inter-institutional database. Legacy databases from EU institutions have been imported into IATE, which now contains some 1.4 million multilingual entries.

The IATE website is administered by the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union in Luxembourg on behalf of the project partners.

Download the database

Having been produced at public expense, the entire database has been opened up to the public can be downloaded, all 1.4 million entries!

Happy birthday, IATE! Here’s to the next 10 years

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