The month of February is a month to remember for the LibreOffice project. LibreOffice, the OpenOffice fork, is a very popular open-source office suite. But, while it has great support from Linux distributors, like openSUSE and Ubuntu, LibreOffice has never had a major corporate backer on the Windows side… until now. Intel is now offering LibreOffice to Windows users via its AppUp application store. I wonder how Microsoft feels about this. (more…)
Still using OpenOffice? if you are your behind the times. LibreOffice is a free and open source office suite developed by The Document Foundation as a fork of OpenOffice.org. It is largely compatible with other major office suites, including Microsoft Office, and available on a variety of platforms. LibreOffice has no licensing fees, is available in a large number of local languages and gives users the opportunity to participate in its development.
LibreOffice is a hybrid word, meaning “Free Office”. Libre means free (as in freedom) in French and Spanish. Between January 2011 (its first stable launch) and October 2011, LibreOffice was downloaded approximately 7.5 million times. It is the default office suite in many Linux distributions, such as Fedora, Linux Mint, openSUSE, and Ubuntu.
LibreOffice can be run on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or newer, and Linux-based systems running Linux kernel version 2.6.18 or newer. (more…)
2011 has almost come to an end, and we’ve already seen some great Android apps come out this year. But 2012, which is just around the corner and it looks like it will be another eventful year for Android. Now that the latest OS version, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), has hit the market, several device makers are expected to release ICS handsets for a ready consumer market. LG is the latest to reveal its plans around ICS, kicking into high hear during the second quarter of next year. Among the first phones to get the upgrade are the Optimus 2X, which made waves as the world’s first dual-core smartphone earlier this year, and the Optimus LTE. Others in the Optimus lineup, including the 3D, Black and Big, will also receive the ICS update by Q3 of next year.
Android’s competition in the mobile and tablet market, Apple has had a long head start in mobile apps over it’s new archival Google. However, new data shows that the number of Android apps has grown 127 percent since August and offerings in Google’s Android Market should outnumber the total for iPhone apps by mid-2012.
2012 has some great apps in store for the open-source mobile platform. (more…)
If you need a second or third computer but money is tight, you don’t need to buy a full system. You can build a surprisingly speedy Linux PC that will excel at everyday tasks, and cost less than $200. I highly recommend this with young children in the home, or for use as a dedicated banking computer. Why?, because you will NOT have to deal with it getting infected with a virus to boot.
No one who expected the languid economy to have fully revived by now can be cheered by the way things have gone this summer; the volatile stock market alone has been a constant dispenser of heartache. So if you’re in need of a computer, even just a small one to do basic, everyday things, you may have put it off because of the uncertainty currently surrounding, well, everything. But it’s possible to build a PC yourself for an obscenely low cash layout—less than you’d spend on pretty much any full system on the market.
In fact, you can even do it for as little as $200. And no, that’s not a typo.
This was written about last year , back when it looked like the economy’s most turbulent days were behind it. But because money issues have persisted, and because relative luxuries like technology are usually the first line items to be cut from most home budgets, we wanted to revisit the notion. We started browsing our favorite Web components outlet, Newegg.com, with the intent of answering three questions: Could we do it again? Could we build a better computer this time around? And could we do it for significantly less than we had the first time?
The answer to the first question was a no-brainer: absolutely. Even as recently as several years ago, the PC industry hadn’t yet advanced to a point where a threshold this low would result in a complete PC of any recognizable kind. As hardware has improved, that quality has slowly filtered down to the lowest price ranges, making good components both cheaper and easier to find.
It was also obvious that our new desktop would be superior in terms of performance. We didn’t want to build exactly the same system this year, but we’d been concerned that the final product wouldn’t be different enough to justify a second attempt. But once we started shopping, it didn’t take us long to discover that prices had fallen enough in the last year for us to get some more impressive parts. You’re still not going to confuse this PC’s capabilities with those of a more expensive desktop, but even in just a year the possibilities have considerably expanded.
As for whether we could spend a lot less this year than we could in 2010… Technically, yes. But that would have violated our most important precept: This had to be a computer we could really use. Building a system that costs this little already requires major compromises in some areas, and shaving off too many additional dollars would have seriously hobbled usability and upgradability. We could have put together something for closer to $150, but we didn’t want something—we wanted a computer we could feel good about integrating into our lives right away, and feel comfortable about tweaking and expanding in the future.
What follows is a look at how we accomplished this: the parts we chose, why we chose them, how we put them together, and what we gave up along the way. We’ll also run through a list of some “budget-busting” items that we couldn’t include if we wanted to stay below our $200 ceiling, but that we’d definitely investigate if we had another few bucks to rub together.
We understand that building the least-expensive computer possible isn’t something that will appeal to everyone. As we said last year, this is as much a thought experiment as it is an actual build project—you can do it, and get great results (we still use our original sub-$200 PC regularly), but under most circumstances you would make different, more expensive, and (we admit it) more exciting choices. What it proves, however, is that you should never feel constrained by your bank account, even if it’s as empty as a politician’s promises. When you’re building computers, almost anything is possible at any price, and with a little bit of research, a little bit of thought, and a little bit of sacrifice, you can get what you need without courting bankruptcy. In economic times both scary and spirited, that’s something worth remembering.
Once you remove Microsoft from the picture, you start saving $100′s of dollars. How, you may ask? Well you can obtain a complete OS like Linux Mint online and download a full office suite like LibreOffice for $0.
For those of you that have Office 2007, Microsoft will be releasing Service Pack (SP) 3 for it soon. Here’s a Microsoft blog post with the download links. SP3 is available via the Download Center as of this week, and will be pushed out as an Automatic Update in 90 days Microsoft execs said.
The last cumulative update for Office 2003, Service Pack 3 resolves several compatibility and stability issues with Windows Vista and later operating systems. Mainstream support for Office 2003 application ended in April 2009 and extended support ends in April 2014.
I have written about Office XP here: http://jet-computing.com/microsoft-office-xp-support-retired/ It’s highly doubtful you use Office XP at home, but there may be some poor souls at there still using that decade-old version of Office.
If your in the market for new document software give LibreOffice a try, it is what I use here in the office. On a side note and with great news, The Document Foundation creators of the LibreOffice office suite of applications, have announced that they are currently working on projects to bring LibreOffice to Android and iOS devices, together with accessibility through web browsers.
The Libreoffice port project is based on the work of Tor Lillqvist and will now be focusing on bringing its suite of applications to mobile devices in the near future. LibreOffice currently competes and offers a great free alternative to Microsoft Offices suite of applications. LibreOffice was created by former OpenOffice.org developers after concerns about Oracle’s community-hostile stewardship of OpenOffice.org and a number of long-standing procedural and governance issues that existed long before Oracle’s acquisition of Sun.
LibreOffice has been developed by The Document Foundation as a fork of OpenOffice.org, and is compatible with other major office suites, including Microsoft Office making it easy to swap too. When created it developers goal with LibreOffice was to create a vendor-independent office suite with ODF support but without any copyright assignment requirements. Since its launch the LibreOffice software has been downloaded over 7.5 million times since its launch back in January 2011.
Students! Don’t get scammed for back to school computer shopping. There is only a few days left before returning to school and technology companies are gearing up for one of the most busiest seasons of the year.
Having a laptop is not mandatory for college studies, students often justify the purchase by saying that they need it desperately for school. Several large computer stores that have ‘Back to School’ specials for students, are just in it for the revenue and scamming the customers. These large computer stores want to extract as much money as possible from customers and are willing to go the distance in confusing students and their parents in order to make that extra profit. For example, I was told shamelessly straight to my face when buying a netbook that the company does not make a lot of money from the sale of a laptop and that I should purchase something else.
This is why all associates are forced to upsell and skew the truth. These people tell you that you need a CD created in order for your computer to have a backup. This extra service is only $60. For extra $100 they will setup your computer to be “ready to use”. This is a major scam because anyone can do this setup by themselves with only a few clicks of the mouse when they boot up their system for the first time. I was once told that I can get a recovery disc created by them for only $100, as the laptop I was purchasing did not come with one. When I asked if I could do it, I was told that it wasn’t possible, however I could bring the laptop back later on to do so. When I got home and booted the computer for the first time, it gave me an option to burn a recovery CD which was a breeze to make.
However, even if you do not buy into the “setup your computer” argument the associate will tell you that there are tons of viruses out there that will destroy your precious data and you will have to buy antivirus. Another reason to try Linux Mint.
But don’t worry because its on special for just $80. Another tactic they like to use is to sell you extended warranty that is about $120 to $250. This enables you to bring the computer back to the place you bought it instead of shipping it to the manufacturer. Just a side note: Manufacturers have a great service and will replace your computer for free if its still in warranty and shipping is paid by them. I shipped several laptops back to various manufacturers and the service is very fast, professional and efficient. However, be careful with your data as you could lose everything!
After pressuring you to hand over hundreds of dollars for a laptop or a netbook, they try to sell you optical drives, mice, cases and many other peripherals. Many times I have overheard associates lying to customers about what they need just to sell the extra package so that they can get a bonus/commission or just to get their manager off their backs. Even though associates in these large stores try to be polite and smile to your face, they are scamming you for hundreds of dollars out of your hard earned money just because you are unaware about what you really need. And if that fails, many stores increase the price of the product and try to sell you the whole “better value” package, without having the option to buy the computer without those unnecessary “upgrades”.
Another money waster is when students drag their parents to an Apple store and demand the latest computer hardware for their University studies. Apple computers are very expensive but all that students see is the nice shiny box and the cool factor. Being like everyone else is not cool and PCs are hundreds of dollars cheaper and do the same thing that most Apple laptops do. Save yourself or your parents some cash and get a PC laptop instead. Apple products will not increase your grades and will not make you any cooler either. Better yet, get a decent used laptop and run Linux Mint.
Therefore, this back to school season do some serious research about what you need and don’t need and do not be pressured into buying additional things that you might regret later or realize that it was a waste of your money. Majority of these businesses are making huge profits on the ignorance of many individuals about technology and computers.
A few good examples that you should think about might include:
Do students really need the latest MacBook Pro for $2000 to type essays that can be done on a Netbook or a regular laptop?
Do you need to pay additional $130 for Microsoft Office if LibreOffice is free to download and use?
Do you need a firewall and Antivirus if you are smart about what files to open and follow some simple security rules? Or you can download AVG Free Anti-virus or Avast and many universities provide you with anti-virus for free while you are their student.
Do you need additional warranty for $200 if shipping to a manufacturer is free and can be easily set up online? How long do you expect your laptop to last you?
Do you really need to pay hundreds of dollars for an extended warranty if your netbook costs $350 and it is cheaper to buy a new one than keep fixing an old one in 3 years?
Campuses typically have computer halls brimming with computers for students to use. These typically go unused and are only full during mid-terms and finals. Part of your college tuition grants you access to some of the most cutting-edge technology and research in the world. From journal subscriptions to reference e-books to high-tech computers, you have all kinds of resources to help you with your school work, and won’t have to pay extra for any of it. So utilize it.
Try to see through manipulative associates in big computer stores that try to scam you for hundreds of dollars and make you think that you need every one of the things they offer or your computer will blow up. Play it smart and use the money you save for your books or tuition instead because those things are not getting any cheaper….
Just in case you misread the title, I’m talking about Office XP here and not Windows XP; this specifically pertains to the Microsoft Office suite of software. Are you a Microsoft Office XP user? If you are, you should be concerned because Microsoft has announced that they will not update or support Office XP anymore starting this week. Office XP has been published since 10 years ago and it will be blocked by its support starting on July 12 2011.
When something goes from “mainstream support” to “extended support” at Microsoft, that essentially means Microsoft will continue to support enterprise that uses the product, or in other words biz-only support and not consumer. For each Microsoft product, most of them are supported for only 10 years since the product was released. The first five years called mainstream support, the other five years called Extended Support. Microsoft has a strong excuse to stop support and update to the previous product, it is because the users of Microsoft product decrease because some new products of Microsoft are released and has a lot of users. Microsoft has given support update security and patches for 10 years. The last update was in December 2010.
Office XP, which is the version before Office 2003, has been in extended support for the last 5 years, but as of next week will not be. That means no more support from Microsoft on that particular product even for enterprise.
It’s highly doubtful you use Office XP at home, but there may be some poor souls at there still using that decade-old version of Office at work. Sure, it gets the job done, but don’t expect any support from Microsoft on it after this week. Microsoft Office 2003 will end up on April 8, 2014, Microsoft Office 2007 on April 11, 2017 and Microsoft Office 2010 on October 13, 2020.
So if you do in fact use Office XP at home, then perhaps you should thinking about switching, by purchasing a new copy of Office 2010, or trying LibreOffice or OpenOffice for free. I posted a MS Office 2010 features and pricing matrix for your review along with some screen-shots of both LibreOffice and OpenOffice.
Here at the office, I do not use MS Office anymore. I use a combination of Google Calendar and Gmail and LibreOffice for my work.
With all the many compelling reasons for a company to switch to Linux on the desktop, it’s no wonder that businesses large and small are increasingly relying on the free and open source operating system. After all, it’s free, flexible, reliable, and highly secure–to name just a few of the most attractive features.
No matter how good your reasons for switching from Windows to Linux, however, the fact remains that most of us don’t like change. That–more than anything else–is why migrations of any kind can be painful.
One of the most common mistakes new desktop Linux users make is to give up too easily, often citing the frequently heard myth that “It’s too hard.” The truth, however, is that it’s just different. It may be difficult to remember at this point, but Windows took some getting used to, too.
How can you make the desktop Linux migration process as easy as possible in your business? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Get Buy-In at the Top
This probably goes without saying, but executive buy-in is essential to business migrations of just about any kind. Users need to know that the change has been mandated from the top or they won’t feel motivated to go along with it
2. Choose the Right Distribution
Before the migration even begins, it’s critical that you choose the right Linux distribution from among the many hundreds that are out there. As I’ve outlined before, this is primarily a question of the skills of your users, the focus of your business, your hardware and software needs, and the kind of support you hope to get.
Assuming your users haven’t been on desktop Linux before, I’d be inclined to steer you toward either Ubuntu or Linux Mint, unless you have compelling reasons to do otherwise. To help convert real Windows aficionados, there’s also Zorin OS, which is designed to mimic Microsoft’s graphical user interface. You should definitely avoid some of the more expert-oriented distros such as Arch Linux or Slackware.
If you want a little extra online help in making your decision, check out the zegenie Studios Linux Distribution Chooser or polishlinux.org’s distro chooser, both of which can be useful.
3. Choose a Familiar Desktop
One of the nicest things about Linux is that it’s so flexible and customizable, and that’s particularly useful when it comes to introducing new users to the operating system. In addition to choosing your distribution carefully, I’d also encourage you at least to check out a few different desktop environments.
I outlined a few of these not long ago within the context of Ubuntu–which has traditionally come with GNOME by default–and there are many more. Pick one that seems relatively similar to what your users are familiar with.
4. Begin with Key Apps
Because so many of the apps your employees will likely need are cross-platform, one good hurdle to jump ahead of time is getting them used to any new key applications. If they’re used to Internet Explorer, for example, you can start them on Firefox or Chrome while they’re still on Windows.
If they’ve been using Microsoft Office, you can get them used to OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice ahead of time, too. That way, when it comes time to make the switch in operating systems, they’ll have some familiar territory–it won’t all be new.
5. Remove the Pressure
Before you’re aiming to make the switch, set up a Linux box in your office using the distribution, desktop and apps you’ve chosen. Make sure there are some games on there too, and offer it as an option for break time. There’s nothing like no-pressure time with a new technology to make people open-minded and quick to learn.
6. Make a Cheat Sheet
Because the lion’s share of any difficulty in switching to Linux is simply getting used to something different, it can be a real help for users if you give them a quick, post-training “cheat sheet” to remind them how to get at the tools they need once the switch is made.
It could be worded like, “Instead of… (Internet Explorer, for example) Use… (Firefox, say).” It could also outline the first few clicks to get users where they need to go. They’ll probably be fine once they’re in the applications they need–more often than not, it will simply be the process of getting there that they need help remembering.
Here is an up to date wiki with information: http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/Linux_software_equivalent_to_Windows_software
When you look back at the history of Ubuntu through the years, you will see that, Ubuntu Unity is *the* most significant change ever happened to Ubuntu. Ubuntu Unity is a really interesting idea with limitless possibilities. Now, here are some innovative user created Ubuntu Unity UI mockups/ideas you might find interesting.
Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal’s first alpha release happened almost a month ago and the final release date of this crucial Ubuntu release is fast approaching. And Ubuntu Unity UI is evolving quite fast enough. But the next Ubuntu release is not just about Unity alone, a number of other changes are also in the pipeline.
Here is quick list of things to look forward for in upcoming Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.
- Unity Will Replace GNOME Shell in Ubuntu 11.04
- Compiz Will Find Its Way Into Ubuntu Unity
- Slow Shift to Wayland Display Server
- LibreOffice Will Replace Open Office in Ubuntu 11.04
- Firefox 4 and Banshee – New Default Applications for Ubuntu 11.04
- Power Packed Ubuntu Software Center