Google, FSF, SUSE and Red Hat Joins The LibreOffice Advisory Board

A couple of days ago, The Document Foundation announced the formation of the LibreOffice Advisory Board. The function of the LibreOffice Advisory Board will be to provide The Document Foundation with advice, guidance and proposals. The board will also have a say in the future developments and projects of The Document Foundation.

When Oracle gave away to the Apache Foundation, I wrote that it did not matter as LibreOffice is where all the action is at. Well, that view has been reaffirmed by four big names joining the LibreOffice Advisory Board Google, FSF, Red Hat and SUSE.

This is what Jeremy Allison, member of Google’s Open Source Programs Office, said about Google joining the Advisory board:

The creation of The Document Foundation’s Advisory board is a great step forward for the organization. Google is pleased to be a supporter of The Document Foundation, and to provide funding and advice to advance their work.

The backing of SUSE and Red Hat, the companies behind major Linux distributions such as SUSE, openSUSE, Red Hat and Fedora, means that LibreOffice will continue to be the favored office suite for these Linux distributions. Although, Canonical did not join the board, they too have pledged their support for LibreOffice.

The fact that LibreOffice has got the support of the Free Software Foundation is a big advantage for LibreOffice over Recently the FSF has gone on record saying that users should use LibreOffice over This is what John Sullivan, Executive Director of the FSF said:

The Free Software Foundation is pleased to offer its advise to The Document Foundation. We applaud TDF’s demonstrated commitment to user freedom, and will do our best to help it achieve its free software goals going forward.

The other members of the LibreOffice Advisory Board are Freies Office Deutschland e.V. and Software in the Public Interest. Each of the members of the advisory board will have one representative and will serve for a term of one year.

TeamViewer – Best Desktop Sharing App for Linux

Have you ever had to help someone with their computer over the phone or using text chat? It’s not easy. You can’t be sure that they are in the right place, doing what you want them to do. That’s why remote desktop (screen) sharing applications are so great.

These applications are called by a variety of names such as, remote access, remote support, remote desktop, screen sharing, and desktop sharing. The main idea behind them is that they allow one computer to see another computer’s screen over a network or the internet.

My wife and I have many friends and relatives that come to us for PC help and advice. We’ve used a number of desktop sharing apps over the years and discovered that TeamViewer is one of the best, and it’s free!

Since I’ve been spending a lot of time using Linux lately, I was happy to find that TeamViewer is also available for Linux, as well as Windows, Mac and Smartphones. It’s almost as good as being there, because I can control the remote computer as if I were sitting directly in front of it. When I need to, I can change the direction to show my PC’s screen to the other person. It even makes it easy to share files with the person on the other end.

This image below shows how simple it is to set up. (click image to enlarge it)

Red Hat Responds to Kernel Source Accusations

The entire open source community frowned upon Red Hat releasing kernel sources with all its patches and fixes upstream. This troubles any business that is around the release and can be termed as simple obfuscation that renders the open source code release useless. Red Hat is using a known method to protect its business.

If you must release the source, release it obfuscated and by the time people will have figured it out and started working on it, you will be out with a new version defeating all their work.

The response at Red Hat says,

The competitive landscape has changed. Our competitors in the Enterprise Linux market have changed their commercial approach from building and competing on their own customized Linux distributions, to one where they directly approach our customers offering to support RHEL.

Frankly, our response is to compete. Essential knowledge that our customers have relied on to support their RHEL environments will increasingly only be available under subscription. The itemization of kernel patches that correlate with articles in our knowledge base is no longer available to our competitors, but rather only to our customers who have recognized the value of RHEL…

Red Hat is  right in its own place. This will prevent Oracle and Novell from providing RHEL support. However, in making this change, Red Hat is ignoring the fact that it just killed a number of developers and small businesses based around the Red Hat kernel releases. Though, CentOS co-founder has claimed that they are not worried by this change. Red Hat has also made a statement specific to CentOS saying,

We haven’t at all restricted CentOS’s ability to grab source code and recompile it and clean-out trademarks and package it. It’s just some of the knowledge of the insides that we’re hiding,

Red Hat has also made some effort in cleaning its name off the case by saying it makes changes in the upstream even before releasing them in RHEL. However, even if we agree that Red Hat aimed this at business competitor Oracle, we cannot overlook the fact that others open source projects took a hit. Even if CentOS developers can make do with this, many others cannot.

The explanation does not do any good and this change is still not welcome. Red Hat should not consider other projects based around itself as casualties of the war with Oracle.

Whether for Good or for bad, Red Hat Modifies Kernel Source Release System, Poisons the Ecosystem

Red Hat has become a perfect model of an open-source based business and has shown the world how to make money with open-source. Red Hat is the first billion-dollar open-source company and has a lot to boast. With some serious kernel development going on at Red Hat, many other small-time companies have based their business around the kernel patches and updates released by Red Hat.

Until now, the Red Hat kernel source was shipped upstream and extra patches were downloaded and applied at build time. However, Red Hat is keen on shedding off some leaches now, the biggest one being Oracle. Oracle has been feeding off Red Hat’s kernel development until now, and releases a flavor of Linux that goes by the name of Unbreakable Linux. This Unbreakable Linux is a repackage of the kernel released by Red Hat.

Ironically, Unbreakable Linux has every chance of breaking now because Red Hat is shipping its Linux kernel codes differently. In this new system, the kernel is patched already, and as no information is available on which patches these are. Thus, any further modification attempt has chances of breaking the kernel. There you go Unbreakable Linux, broken in every sense of it. The changes made by Red Hat do not violate any terms of the GPLv2 license, and that is what matters for red Hat.

This is one of those management moves that make future statistics look good. Red Hat should undo this change and stop killing the basis of its prospering business, because the only benefit this change brings to Red Hat, is a lot of bad name in the world of open-source.

RedHat Acquires Makara, Cloud Foundations Looks Promising

RedHat has acquired Makara, a cloud based service which will strengthen its position in the cloud services business. Makara has specialized in (platform as a service) PaaS for a long time and its acquisition will add to Red Hat’s expertise in PaaS services, especially in developing Cloud Foundations which was started this year.

Red Hat outlined the acquisition writing,

Customers facing issues in moving applications to the cloud and managing them efficiently can benefit from Makara’s solutions for scaling, rightsizing, rollback and monitoring. By integrating the JBoss Enterprise Middleware infrastructure with Makara’s Cloud Application Platform, Red Hat can offer a more comprehensive PaaS solution that allows organizations to quickly transition their applications to both public and private clouds with minimal modifications.

Cloud Foundations was founded by Red Hat in June this year and this acquisition will be a valuable asset for this new business. Given the rising demands of enterprise cloud solutions, Red Hat is the the proud owner of a complete cloud based solution stack from operating system to middleware and virtualization. What remains, is jumping into the competition and doing some real business.

Fedora 14 Beta Releases Today, Brings a Glimpse of New Exciting Features

Fedora 14 is nearing its next release and claims significant improvement over the already awesome Fedora 13. Fedora 13 is a remarkable fork of Red Hat and it keeps getting better with each release.


In the latest release, Fedora has strongly held its earlier ideology of a distro that people can tinker and play with. The changes include updated programming languages, better development tools and debugging support.

Fedora 14 will be the first Fedora to see the KDE 4.5 from KDE 4.x series. The KDE desktop in Fedora 14 is more polished than ever and the panels are my personal favorite. However, the ease of access on Gnome is unmatched. The KDE 4.5 in Fedora has some comparable claims and is worth a try. The new Fedora also has a new library to support better JPEG handling with an increase of 25% in performance. The inclusion of Linux kernel version 2.6.35 claims better support for laptops and finally, there is some exclusively good news for developers.

Fedora 14 will sport many new development tools like Ruby on Rails 3.0, Netbeans 6.9, JavaFX 1.3 and more. Put simply, the new release of Fedora will be a favorite with both developers and users alike.

The first beta release is scheduled to release today and can be downloaded here. The final version is scheduled for 2nd November 2010.

(Image via : Linuxdistributions)