The Free Software Foundation Recommends LibreOffice Over

After moving to the Apache Software Foundation, has changed its license from the GNU Lesser Public License to the Apache License. The ramification of changing the license from the copyleft license, LGPL, to the non-copyleft, the Apache License, will be that the corporations involved (Oracle and IBM, in this case) find it easier to distribute and its components as a non-free software.

According to the Free Software Foundation, freedom of the software cannot be guaranteed with the Apache License. Unlike the LGPL, the Apache License does not make it mandatory for the distributor to distribute the source code of the software.

All Apache projects are distributed under the terms of the Apache License. This is a non-copyleft free software license; anybody who receives the software can distribute it to others under nonfree terms. Such a licensing strategy represents a significant policy change for

However, users and contributors should be aware that, as part of this transition, it will become easier for proprietary software developers to distribute as nonfree software.

The fact that the Apache License will make it possible for Oracle or other corporations to distribute and its derivatives as a non-free software is probably the only reason Oracle decided to give to the Apache Software Foundation and not The Document Foundation.

The fork of – LibreOffice – is now being recommended by the Free Software Foundation to both users and developers who want to contribute something. Unlike, LibreOffice is under The Document Foundation and they are committed to keeping LibreOffice under LGPL.

Fortunately, there’s a ready alternative for people who want to work with a productivity suite that does more to protect their freedom: LibreOffice. Anybody who’s comfortable with will find a familiar interface and feature set in LibreOffice, because it was originally based on the same source code. Since September 2010, numerous contributors have been working to improve the software, and the project’s legal steward, The Document Foundation, is committed to keeping it licensed under the LGPL.

Even though the Free Software Foundation is coming out with its support for LibreOffice over just now, has been practically dead for some time. After LibreOffice was released, all the major Linux distributions ditched it in favor of LibreOffice. Not only that, almost all of the contributors from the pre-Oracle era have already left it to contribute to LibreOffice. So, while LibreOffice has been releasing some very impressive applications, has been stagnating for some time now.

Bitcoin Faces Government Crackdown for Illegal Drug Purchase

This was to happen sooner or later. How can any government allow a currency that claims to be decentralized, is totally unregulated and is not under its direct control? On top of that, the EFF started accepting donations in Bitcoin a few days ago and the crackdown was going to come sooner or later once Bitcoin started gaining credibility like this.


Two US senators are encouraging federal authorities to crack down on Bitcoin, the reason being its use in illegal and anonymous drug purchase. Reuters reports,

Democratic Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Joe Manchin of West Virginia wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder and Drug Enforcement Administration head Michele Leonhart in a letter that expressed concerns about the underground website “Silk Road” and the use of Bitcoins to make purchases there.

The nature of Bitcoin makes it extremely hard for authorities to track down these drug abusers and this can prove to be a fatal blow to the currency system that could have shaken things up in the online world.

In further investigations, it has been found that a majority of the bank accounts being used in this drug abuse are based outside of the US. The decentralized nature combined with offshore bank accounts leaves very little in the hand of federal authorities to act upon. Decentralize ideas are hard to track, but they are equally hard to manage and operate. Bitcoin is facing the same problem of rogue users that any decentralized body without a central control will face sooner or later.

How To Install Thunderbird 5 Beta 1 in Ubuntu (11.04, 10.10 & 10.04)

Last week, Mozilla released Thunderbird 5 Beta 1. Thunderbird is a very popular email client from Mozilla, the organization behind Firefox browser. Mozilla has decided to skip Thunderbird 4 so as to keep up with the versioning of the Gecko engine.


Before we get on to how to install it, let us look at the main new features in Thunderbird 5 Beta 1.

  • Thunderbird 5 Beta 1 has a new add-on and extension management API.
  • Like in Firefox and other web browsers, tabs in Thunderbird can be reordered and rearranged across different windows.
  • The account creation wizard has been improved to make it a better and easier experience.

The user interface of Thunderbird 5 Beta 1 is the same as that of the previous release. But before the final release, it will get an updated user interface.

Install Thunderbird 5 Beta 1

Thunderbird 5 Beta 1 is now available in the the Mozilla Team’s PPA for Ubuntu. So, installation is very simple. Right now packages are available for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkatand Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx.

Note: Before installing please be aware that this is not a stable release and might break. If you are already using a previous version of Thunderbird, this will upgrade it.

Open the Terminal and execute the command given below:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/thunderbird-next

After the PPA has been added, update your software list:

$ sudo apt-get update

Finally install Thunderbird 5 Beta 1.

$ sudo apt-get install thunderbird


Thunderbird 5 in Unity Dash
Thunderbird 5 Beta 1




The Document Foundation Releases LibreOffice 3.4

Undaunted by going to the Apache Foundation, The Document Foundation has kept their promise by releasing a new version of LibreOffice. The new release – LibreOffice 3.4 – has a lot of improvements which easily makes it by far the best open-source office application suite available.



Unity integration in LibreOffice 3.4

Unity Integration: Users of Ubuntu 11.04 will be glad that LibreOffice 3.4 finally supports the global menu. In the earlier release, LibreOffice stood out glaringly as the only default application which does not follow the system settings.


Improvements in Calc: Calc, the spreadsheet application in LibreOffice, has recieved a major update in this release. Calc now has better compatibility with Microsoft Exel documents. It also supports unlimited numbers of fields and named range as data source now.

Faster startup: The LibreOffice codes has been cleaned up and the application data are read after the LibreOffice splash screen. These changes give this version of LibreOffice a faster and smoother startup.

Less memory consumption: An issue with the font cache which resulted in memory leaks has been fixed. Text encoding conversions which are not used frequently have also been moved to a separate library. This two changes will result in LibreOffice 3.4 consuming less than the earlier version.

User Interface updates: There are some updates in the user interface of LibreOffice. While, there are no drastic changes, LibreOffice now has tighter integration with the Gtk+ theme – making it look like a native application. The text rendering has also been improved to make the text appear like that in the rest of the system. For non-Ubuntu users, an option for hiding the toolbar has been added.


LibreOffice is available for Linux (Debian & RPM), Windows and Mac OS X. To download, it click on the link given below.

Download LibreOffice 3.4

Ubuntu users who prefer to download from the repository should wait as it is not available yet. If you want to install it manually, you can follow the instructions given here.

FOSS Friday: Ubuntu Coming To Asus Eee PC, Goes To Apache Foundation and More

This week, the main talking point in the world of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is Oracle giving to the Apache foundation. There has been interesting developments for Ubuntu as well. Let us take a look at some of the most the important FOSS news of the week.

Oracle Gives To Apache; The Document Foundation Not Happy About It

After alienating all the contributors in the community, Oracle has finally decided to call it a day and have ceded control of the codebase to the Apache Software Foundation. will now be developed as an Apache Incubator Project. You can read more about this story here.

Meanwhile, The Document Foundation is not happy with Oracle’s decision to ignore them and give control of to the Apache Foundation. Since the beginning, TDF has been asking Oracle to join them and donate to them. Read more about it here.

Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 1 Released

The first alpha of Ubuntu 11.10 was released a few days back. Being the first development release, not much has changed from Ubuntu 11.04 which was released around a month back. The GNOME stack has been updated to GNOME 3, though. Find out more about it here.

Asus To Release Eee PC Netbooks with Ubuntu Pre-installed

Asus has announced that they are planning to release three Eee PC netbook models with Ubuntu installed. They also said that they plan to make more models available with Ubuntu by the end of the year. The Asus Eee PC will come with Ubuntu 10.10 and with Flash and other media codecs installed. More here.

Linus Torvalds Released Linux 3.0 RC

Ending the speculation as to whether the version number will be 2.8 or 3.0, Linus Torvalds has released the first release candidate of Linux 3.0. Despite the major bump in the version number, there are no big changes in Linux 3.0. Linus said that he does not want to break anything and that development will go ahead in the same manner they have been doing for Linux 2.6.x. Read more here.

Debian Wheezy, which is currently in development, has already decided to switch to Linux 3.0.

Asus To Sell Eee PC Netbooks With Ubuntu Installed

PC manufacturer Asus has announced that they are releasing three Eee PC netbook models with Ubuntu pre-installed. The three models that will be available with Ubuntu are the 1001PXD, 1011PX and 1015PX. Asus also announced that they plan make more models available with Ubuntu. The version of Ubuntu that will ship with these netbooks is Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

Asus Eee PC 1015PX

This represents a homecoming of sort for the Eee PC models. Asus released the first Eee PC netbook with Xandros Linux installed. However, they subsequently replaced the operating system with Windows Xp, citing the high return rate of the netbooks with Linux.

Chris Kenyon, vice president of OEM at Canonical, said that Canonical has leaned from the mistake with Xandros Linux.

The netbooks previously sold with Linux, people hadn’t pre-installed all the right media codecs – it wasn’t necessarily a fantastic web experience. That has fundamentally changed.

The Ubuntu netbooks that Asus will sell will have Flash installed by default, along with the media codecs. These are normally not included in the Ubuntu installer because they are proprietary software.

Canonical and Asus’s decision to pre-install Ubuntu with these non-open source codecs will not go down well with some people. However, if Ubuntu is to truly achieve any significant market share, some compromises like this will have to be made on the way.

Pricing for these netbooks are not available yet.

[sources: PC Pro, The Inquirer]

Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot” Alpha 1 Released

As scheduled, the first alpha of Ubuntu 11.10, codenamed Oneiric Ocelot, has been released today.

The biggest change in Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 1 from Ubuntu 11.04 is GNOME 3.0. Ubuntu 11.04 has GNOME 2.32. In Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 1, it has been upgraded to the new GNOME 3.0. The immediate effects of the upgrade will be visible with the theme since Radiance and Ambiance themes have not been ported to GTK3, the applications look ugly like Windows 95 for now.

Other then GNOME3, there are not much changes except for version upgrades of applications for example Firefox has been updated to Firefox 5 Beta.

The KDE derivative, Kubuntu 11.10 too has been released but it does not have much changes. The most notable change is that Muon Software Center has replaced KPackage Kit. KDE SC 4.4 beta 1 has not been included and Kubuntu 11.10 still uses KDE 4.6.3.

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelotis not recommended for use, except for testing. In case you want to test it, you can either upgrade from Ubuntu 11.04 or do a clean install.


To upgrade from Ubuntu 11.04, open the Terminal and execute the command given below:

$ sudo do-release-upgrade d


To download the CD image of Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 1 and its derivatives, follow the link given below:

Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 1 Desktop and Server

Kubuntu 11.10

Read more here.

You can see the release schedule here and the main features planned for Ubuntu 11.10 here.

The Document Foundation Responds To Going To The Apache Foundation

Just a while ago, we reported that Oracle has decided to give to the Apache Foundation instead of The Document Foundation. Well, Italo Vignoli, who is one of the co-founders and a member of the steering committee of The Document Foundation, has responded to Oracle’s decision to ignore them and go to the Apache Foundation instead.

In an email, Italo Vignoli wrote that The Document Foundation welcomes Oracle’s decision to release previously proprietary codes as open source to the Apache Foundation. He also mentioned that open-sourcing the codes makes it possible for them to take up “key user features” and include them in LibreOffice.

The Document Foundation is not however, pleased at Oracle’s move which has resulted in the possibility of reuniting LibreOffice and being ruled out – something which The Document Foundation has wanted right from the beginning. This is what Vignoli wrote:

The Document Foundation would welcome the reuniting of the and LibreOffice projects into a single community of equals in the wake of the departure of Oracle. The step Oracle has taken today was no doubt taken in good faith, but does not appear to directly achieve this goal. The Apache community, which we respect enormously, has very different expectations and norms – licensing, membership and more – to the existing and LibreOffice projects. We regret the missed opportunity but are committed to working with all active community members to devise the best possible future for LibreOffice and

Because The Document Foundation is not involved directly in Oracle’s announcement today, Vigoli described the event as “neutral” for The Document Foundation. He, however, expressed desire to work with the Apache Foundation to co-develop with them to provide better office applications.

There has never been a better time to get involved and advance the state of the art in free software office suites.
TDF is therefore willing to start talking with Apache Software Foundation, following the email from ASF President Jim Jagielski, who is anticipating frequent contacts between the Apache Software Foundation and The Document Foundation over the next few months.

The reality is that almost all of the previous contributors are with The Document Foundation now. So, the best possible place for Oracle to donate should have been The Document Foundation. Now that it is with the Apache Foundation, a completely new development team will have to take up the project – something which is not very easy to do, as Oracle found out. The best possible course of action for Apache Foundation will be to co-develop with The Document Foundation, as they have suggested. Even if they do not get access to the development, it will not affect The Document Foundation very much as they already have a very active community with great experience to keep working on LibreOffice.

Oracle “Donates” To The Apache Foundation

In a surprising announcement, Oracle has said that they are donating to the Apache Foundation. Luke Kowalski, Vice- President, Oracle Corporate Architecture Group, said that their decision to give away the code to The Apache Foundation is a part of their commitment to the open source communities. and The Apache Foundation

While it is a good thing that the assets are in the hands of the open source community, questions will be asked as to why Oracle choose the Apache Foundation. Regarding that decision, Luke Kowalski had this to say:

Donating to Apache gives this popular consumer software a mature, open, and well established infrastructure to continue well into the future. The Apache Software Foundation’s model makes it possible for commercial and individual volunteer contributors to collaborate on open source product development.

Jim Jagielski, president, The Apache Software Foundation, has welcomed Oracle’s move to donate to the Apache Foundation:

We welcome highly-focused, emerging projects from individual contributors, as well as those with robust developer communities, global user bases, and strong corporate backing.

Jagielski also added that OpenOffice will be initially an Apache incubator project. Upon maturing into a Top Level Project, a committee will be formed to guide the project on its day-to-day working.

Why Apache Foundation and not The Document Foundation?

If you recall, after Oracle acquired, many of the leading contributors formed The Document Foundation. The Document Foundation requested Oracle to join them and donate the name “” to the community. Oracle snubbed them and asked them to leave instead.

They left, along with most of the other contributors, and went on to fork to form another office suite LibreOffice. LibreOffice has been very successful and most of the major Linux distributions have switched over to LibreOffice as the default office application suite.

So, considering the history between The Document Foundation and Oracle, it is not surprising that Oracle decided to ignore The Document Foundation and gave to the Apache Foundation.

Licensing Issues

A problem with becoming an Apache project will be the licensing issue. Apache projects uses the Apache Public License while uses the GNU Lesser Public License (LGPL) version 3. The LGPL and Apache Public License are not compatible with each other in matters regarding distribution with software under other license and distribution of derivatives.

The GNU Lesser Public License version 3 allows for the distribution of the software under LGPL with software under other license with certain restrictions. The distributor has to provide the source code of the software under LGPL along with the modifications made to it. The Apache Public License allows the distribution of the software without any such restrictions.

Regarding the derivative works, the LGPL allows their distribution only if the derivative is also under LGPL or GPL. Under the Apache Public License, the derivatives are free to choose any license as long as ‘Apache’ is not included in its name.

It will be interesting to see how this gets sorted out.


Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" Features Defined

ubuntu-new-logo After the conclusion of the Ubuntu Developers Summit – Oneiric, we pretty much knew what to expect from Ubuntu 11.10. Today, Jason Warner from Canonical has made the feature list for Ubuntu 11.10 official. Let us take a look at the new features that are making it into Ubutnu 11.10 one by one.


After resisting the change to GNOME 3 in Ubuntu 11.04, Ubuntu 11.10 will finally make the move to GNOME 3. Ubuntu 11.10 will, however, continue to use Unity not GNOME 3.

The move to GNOME 3 is likely to be the most challenging part of the Oneiric development. GNOME 3 does not have any indicator menu integration yet and there are no GTK3 themes as well.

LightDM will replace GDM

The earlier reports that LightDM might replace GDM has been confirmed. LightDM is a light weight display manager which supports extensive themeing capabilities not supported in either KDM or GDM.

There has been no confirmation yet as to whether LightDM will replace KDM as well.

Unity 2D will replace Ubuntu Classic Desktop

In Ubuntu 11.04, the Ubuntu Classic Desktop was used to provide a fall back option if the hardware cannot run Unity. In Ubuntu 11.10, the Ubuntu Classic Desktop has been removed and Unity 2D will be used as a fall back option.

The addition of Unity 2D means that for the first time in its history, Ubuntu will come with Qt by default something which Shuttleworth has said will happen earlier this year.

Software Center to get better

The Ubuntu Software Center is also getting a new look which emphasizes touch friendliness. It will also be better integrated into Unity and the performance will receive   a boost.

Thunderbird will be the default email client

The talks about Thunderbird replacing Evolution as the default email client has been confirmed. Thunderbird is a much more feature rich and faster email client than Evolution. However, work needs to be done to give Thunderbird the same features as Evolution has due of its deep GNOME integration.

Gwibber UI to change

There is no doubt that Gwibber is one of the most frustrating applications to use that comes by default with Ubuntu. In Ubuntu 11.10, that might change. Gwibbber is about to get a UI port to improve its responsiveness and give it a more modern look.

Deja Dup

As we have mentioned before, Ubuntu 11.10 come with the backup tool Deja Dup by default.

You can view the release schedule of Ubuntu 11.10 here.