The Decline and Fall of OpenOffice.org
Jun 11, 2011 GMT
When LibreOffice first forked from OpenOffice.org, I was unsure how to respond to it. Many of its founders were members of Go-OO, the sometimes controversial not-quite-fork, so LibreOffice looked like simply a continuation of GO-OO under another name. However, since last week, when Oracle more »
Google Web Fonts prove free fonts are flourishing
May 27, 2011 GMT
Historically, fonts have been a weak point in free software. There were probably two reasons: first, programmers were mostly indifferent to fonts, and, second, font designers were concerned about how their work might be used. However, in the last five years, the problem has been largely corrected, as a look at the Google Web Fonts page shows.
This change seems to have been brought about largely because of the more »
Mono founder launches new startup in a hurry
May 18, 2011 GMT
To outsiders, the recent layoffs at what used to be Novell appeared to be a major blow to Mono, the free software implementation of .NET, with many of its developers among those who lost their positions. Yesterday, however, Mono's founder Miguel de Icaza revealed in his blog that the layoffs only accelerated plans to... more »
GNOME Outreach Program for Women Reincarnates
May 13, 2011 GMT
"It's not rocket science," says Marina Zhurakhinskaya, the organizer of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women, talking about efforts to get more women involved in free software. "You just need to say that women are welcome in your project, because that in itself sends a signal. Also, you want specific people they can get in touch with to do their first patch and to ask questions." It's a simple formula, but the first indications are that it is a reliable enough foundation to... more »
PR basics for free software projects
May 05, 2011 GMT
A handful of free software projects, such as the Apache Software Foundation, market themselves as professionally as any corporation. However, the marketing of most projects could be greatly improved with a few common-sense practices.
Why bother? Several reasons spring to mind, even if your project isn't commercial. To start with, marketing is a way to give credit, and receiving credit remains a strong motivation for many project contributors, even when they are paid for their efforts. Just as importantly, the more... more »
A Primer on Unity
Apr 28, 2011 GMT
The first time that you log in to Natty Narwhal (Ubuntu 11.04), expect a surprise. In many cases, the familiar GNOME interface is gone, replaced by Unity, a new interface that evolved out of Ubuntu Netbook Edition. Unity is designed to be easy to use, but you should spend a few minutes exploring before you settle down to working in it.
As you familiarize yourself with Unity, its strangeness might seem less if you keep reminding yourself that Unity is a GNOME shell -- an... more »
Free software and redundancy as a marketing benefit
Apr 24, 2011 GMT
Outsiders often criticize free software because it offers too much choice. Choice confuses people, they say, and free software would be more efficient if everyone concentrated on improving the best application in each category instead of developing alternatives. To me, this argument has always seemed conditioned by monopoly, but recently I found reason to believe that it couldn't be more wrong.
The insight came when I was trying to set up a local Apache installation so I could develop a Joomla! website, using MySQL as a database. I am not proficient... more »