Freedom To Create

Sometimes we think software freedom just applies to programmers, but its creative impact can be much broader. This animated video is pretty clever:

[youtube http://youtu.be/Fq9EV2fYF2E]

While it’s called “Stop-Motion Excel”, if you look closely at the screen you’ll see it’s actually made with open source software:

Yes, the spreadsheet they used isn’t Excel at all – it’s OpenOffice.org, the predecessor to LibreOffice (and of course Apache OpenOffice and other branches of the OOo tree), running on a Mac. They actually namecheck the software they used in the making-of video.

Why would they want to avoid Microsoft Excel? One possible reason is because using anything proprietary in a video production requires clearance and approval from the owner of the proprietary product. On the other hand, open source projects come complete with an OSI-approved license that gives everyone the right to use the software for any purpose. Open source unlocks creativity and innovation everywhere.

⚡ LibreOffice Video

Loved this new video that introduces LibreOffice in an easy and understandable way.

[youtube http://youtu.be/sloEMUt7n5Q]

It would be great to have some more LibreOffice videos like this and I know there are folk reading this who could make them – how about it?

☆ Open Source Xmas

LibreOffice Xmas, originally uploaded by elianedomingos.

A very happy Christmas to everyone who reads Wild Webmink. May you find software freedom waiting for you in the coming year! If you need a last-minute gift for someone, maybe a CD of LibreOffice is the answer – you can make and decorate it yourself, and use this free as a gift card. (thanks to Eliane from Brazil for the lovely tree!) Then go on to help them install it – more on ComputerWorld.

☝ LibreOffice Is One

I seem to have been using it for ever, but LibreOffice is actually just one year old. I’ve written a sketch of its story and a first-year evaluation over on ComputerWorldUK.

☆ Contribute To The LibreOffice Conference

I am on the Programme Committee for the upcoming LibreOffice Conference in Paris, and as a consequence I get to see the stream of paper submissions. There have already been a lot of diverse submissions and it’s already clear it will be a very interesting conference, but there is still room for more. Make sure you get your submission in before the August 8th deadline.

Of course, you can also contribute as a delegate. Registration is free and you can do it easily now. I suggest registering early as space is going to be at a premium.

☆ 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.

☝ OO.o, TDF and CLAs

Yesterday I read LWN’s (paywalled but accessible from here) interview with Mark Shuttleworth, where he is quoted as saying that the formation of The Document Foundation (TDF) and its launch of LibreOffice “led Oracle to finally decide to stop OpenOffice development and lay off 100 employees.”  Mark says this in the context of his new campaign as an apologist for Contribution Licensing Agreements, about which I have written extensively.

I felt that Mark’s use of OpenOffice.org as an argument in favour of CLAs was jaw-dropping, so I wrote a response on the plane home today. You can read it now behind LWN’s paywall using my special link.

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