☆ Brazil Signs Up To Develop Office Suites

Ripening Coffee BeansAt FISL in Brazil last week, I had the opportunity to speak as the co-presenter in a session about the evolution of OpenOffice.org – I think there will eventually be video of it. As Richard Hillesley observes, the developer community for that codebase was always stifled, and while there are some excellent and experienced developers on working on it, very few have affiliations beyond Sun/Oracle. This will prove to be the biggest issue in “rebooting” development, and I believe the overall OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice community needs to set aside its differences to address it.

During the meeting, I called for developers to start work on the code-base now, regardless of their eventual expectations of which of the two open source projects they will join, so that their skills and their familiarity with the code are developed. Change in the codebase is inevitable, but skills and familiarity gained today will remain valuable. This uniting message was well received by the audience.

Also during the presentation, Jomar Silva announced that he had just met with representatives of the Brazilian government and representatives of both the Apache (Jomar Silva) and TDF  (Olivier Hallot) communities had signed a letter of intent with the government that Brazil should start engaging directly with the office suite they depend on, rather than just consuming the code.

This growth in the developer base seems to me to be exactly the sort of news we all need at the moment, and I’m looking forward to hearing from Olivier and Jomar as the first developers are identified and start work on the LibreOffice Easy Hacks.

✈ TAPped Out

If you don’t like whingeing by frequent fliers, skip this post!

I spent all day Tuesday travelling back from Brazil on TAP. Having taken four flights with them (LHR-LIS, LIS-GRU, VCP-LIS, LIS-LHR) I feel partially qualified to say that TAP are not a great airline. To recite the litany in no particular order:

  • All the flights I took were late departing (so much so I nearly missed the connection outbound in Lisbon – fortunately that was late too),
  • the planes are cramped and old-fashioned,
  • the Lisbon airport frequent-flyer lounge is small and poorly equipped (and by the way is inaccessible from the non-Shengen gates so expect a long walk or an uncomfortable connection),
  • the airline fails to communicate adequately about delays,
  • boarding procedures are inefficient,
  • many of the staff are brusque (apart from the crew on the last flight who were charming)
  • carry-on restrictions are unreasonably small (1 lightweight item)

I tried really hard to think of some positive things to say here. So thanks to the great cabin crew on the LIS-LHR flight for redeeming things, and to the security checker at Lisbon who was lots of fun (and who I expect will read this as she has my card!).  I actually missed being on United, if you can imagine that. I’d only fly them again if the fare was really cheap (maybe that’s a positive – they aren’t on my no-fly list!).

☞ Declaring Independence

  • A very happy 4th to all my friends in the USA! A great way to celebrate is to go consider this timely Move To Amend campaign, aimed at creating a new Amendment to the US Constitution that clarifies that corporations are not people and thus are not entitled to engage in politics nor to assume the privileges of individuals. Both are happening today essentially without the consequences of the associated responsibilities that real people face in exercising those same privileges. Go take a look now, then celebrate your independence at that BBQ later and consider the issues as you do.
  • More discussion of the Move To Amend.
  • Seems Linus Torvalds’ vision is finally coming true. Now we need Microsoft to deliver on Bill Gates’ promise to make Office and other apps available…

☝ FUD Barriers For Open Source Non-Profits?

In a post to a private mailing list I follow, Software Conservancy chief Bradley Kuhn has confirmed that an unexpected problem highlighted recently by CASH Music is indeed a real issue for open source groups in the USA seeking to formalise non-profit status. I asked Bradley if he’d be happy to share some of the information from that posting and he agreed.

You can read all about it on ComputerWorldUK.

☞ Liberty Plus

  • Google seems committed to what I’ve long called “the freedom to leave”, and that’s giving me a lot of confidence trying out Plus.
  • Interesting discussion of the differences in the approaches Facebook and Google are taking to community self-management. Personally I find the Google approach much easier to explain to others already.
  • The Document Foundation keeps up the momentum with a fresh release of LibreOffice. The graphic explaining their release philosophy is especially helpful as the scheme they are using is somewhat cryptic to most people.
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