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Comment: Send them a hybrid PDF (Score 1) 275

by Qubit (#45675953) Attached to: Munich Open Source Switch 'Completed Successfully'

More ODF files should be put into circulation in the business world.

I fullhartedly agree! When I have to send a company a file (most of the time my CV, alas :-( ), I always ask if I can send it as an .odt file. Many times I am asked what that is, and then I explain, but offer to send the file as .pdf. I do this, just to make clear that there ARE other things around than MS-Office. However, I find that, slowly, .odt files get accepted more, and companies that do accept them have a plus for me.

One option is to send them a hybrid PDF -- a format that allows you to embed the source LibreOffice document inside the PDF. Here's how to do it.

Many people don't know it, but MS-Office has pretty good ODF support in recent versions, so people should feel more comfortable sending ODF documents to people who are using it.

Props on promoting ODF to your potential employers. Surely but slowly we will win this format war :-)

Comment: Re:tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (Score 1) 99

by Qubit (#45498253) Attached to: Putting the Wolfram Language (and Mathematica) On Every Raspberry Pi

I hope the Foundation folks say "Thank you, much appreciated", and let the kids decide.

That was pretty much what I spent the day saying.

Educators the world over have often decided to insulate and protect children from the gamut of choices available to them in the Real World(tm). I don't always agree with the extent to which we "protect" children, especially as they grow older and feel very limited by society's restrictions, but I believe some amount of guidance can be helpful.

Letting the children decide between Mathematica and alternatives sounds amazing to me, and I'm very appreciative that you proposed the idea.

Atmosphere among the educators in the room when Conrad announced it this morning was pretty electric.

What do these educators think about Sage and other alternatives to Mathematica? Do you think these educators are famiilar enough with the Pi system, Mathematica, and mathematics software alternatives such that they can explain the differences and pros/cons to their young charges?

If people don't like the fact that it's only free as in beer, there's always Sage.

Yes, there is Sage, but while Mathematica's efforts got a big boost with front page billing, I see nary an article about Sage Math on the RaspberryPi blog. Whereas you just "announced a partnership with Wolfram Research to bundle a free copy of Mathematica and the Wolfram Language into future Raspbian images" (the officially-built/recommended OS), I believe that Sage has never been included in these images.

If you do want to give schoolchildren a choice between the two of them, why not start by writing an article about Sage and putting it in the default install as well? Unlike Mathematica, children will be able to download and run Sage easily and for no fee on any Win/Mac/Linux computer accessible to them, which will allow them to start projects on the Pi and move to beefier hardware later, or start a project on a school computer and bring it home to their Pi.

If children are able to make an informed choice between Mathematica and Sage (or other alternatives), then I support their opportunity to do so. Computers and the software that lives upon them should be given to children to explore, investigate, break, and repair. To truly give our future generations an opportunity to see the beauty of hardware and code I believe we should allow them to tweak and fiddle with the frobs inside these complex systems. A closed-source package like Mathematica curtails the possibility of investigation and dampens the fires of curiosity and innovation that can be seen in children everywhere.

Give children a choice? Certainly. But make sure that our educators can provide our students with exploration limited only by one's own imagination.

Comment: tl;dr - Still Proprietary Software (Score 5, Insightful) 99

by Qubit (#45486487) Attached to: Putting the Wolfram Language (and Mathematica) On Every Raspberry Pi

Just in case you thought things might have changed:

As with Wolfram|Alpha on the web, the Wolfram Language (and Mathematica) on the Raspberry Pi are going to be free for anyone to use for personal purposes. (There’s also going to be a licensing mechanism for commercial uses, other Linux ARM systems, and so on.)

I give the RaspberryPi folks credit for making amazing and fun toy for children (that turns out to actually be a quite powerful and useful system for all ages, but shhhh, don't tell the kids! :-). I dearly wish that more of the RaspberryPI system could be Open Hardware, and love the fact that schoolchildren are getting their hands on their own computer that runs FOSS that they can program and tinker with and invent and dream.

But I dearly hope that the Foundation folks say "Thanks but no thanks" to this offer of crippleware. The platform should remain open to all, and putting something like this in a default install will perpetuate a system of haves and have-nots. If Wolfram wants to market this independently, then that is their perogative, but educational tools given to kids should be reuse- and remix-friendly.

Comment: Re:It is a shame that OpenOffice gets the nice nam (Score 2) 155

by Qubit (#43748617) Attached to: Apache OpenOffice Downloaded 50 Million Times In a Year

I've been using LibreOffice for a number of years, and love it (having written two, and typeset three, books with it), but the name is a hindrence. When I speak to my wife and use the term LibreOffice her eyes glaze over, whereas Open Office has a natural name people understand.

Free Office would have been better than LibreOffice, or any of a dozen other names I can think of (Community Office, OpenSource Office, New Office, World Office, even abbbreviating it to L-Office ...anything like that would lead to far better name recognition).

I personally think the name LibreOffice is pretty good. Yes, the abbreviations aren't great ("LO"? "LibO"? "LibOff"? ...), but the name itself captures a bit more about the project and its purpose than some other names out there. When I tell people about the Free Software Foundation, I have to explain to them what "Free Software" means and how it's different from Open Source. Have you ever tried to google for "Free Software"? Now try "Libre Software" -- much better :-)

So basically you get the concept of "Free Software" + Office suite, wrapped up in a name that is much less ambiguous, at least in English. Unfortunately (fortunately?) it sets up all users/contributors to be in the position of explaining this to everyone they talk to. Tradeoffs, tradeoffs...

I wasn't involved in selecting the name, but I wonder if there was a strong preference for keeping the word "Office" in the title. I understand that the name might help people understand that the project is an Office suite in a similar fashion to Microsoft Office, Corel Office, etc..., but perhaps a distinct name like "Firefox" or "Inkscape" would make for a much more recognizable and powerful brand?

Comment: Re:It is a shame that OpenOffice gets the nice nam (Score 5, Interesting) 155

by Qubit (#43743725) Attached to: Apache OpenOffice Downloaded 50 Million Times In a Year

Personally, I say "OpenOffice" anyway when I mean LibreOffice.

*concerned stare* ...that's very interesting.

It has more currency with less technical people and those who never update, and only occasionally does it prompt a concerned stare when someone actually knows the distinction.

Speaking as a LibreOffice user and contributor, I am impressed that the OpenOffice name is so well known these days. I remember a number of years ago when *nobody* knew the name "OpenOffice" ("Is that some kind of template pack plugin thing for Word?"). It's very interesting to hear that now the name is well known enough that technically-minded users use the OpenOffice name to refer to both LO and AOO. Brand recognition is really quite strong!

Questions for you:

  • What do you think LibreOffice should do to make its brand more recognizable?
  • How 'known' would the project need to be for you to start calling it "LibreOffice" ?

Maybe we could just go back to calling it StarOffice?

Well the binary is still called "soffice" :-)

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