The open source productivity suite Open Office 3.0 moved from beta form into a final release on Monday but was ill prepared for the demand that would follow. Enough users flocked to OpenOffice.org to crash the website, and two days later the site still remains semi-operational. The main page - the only one that's functioning - is adorned with several download links and the following message:
"Apologies - our website is struggling to cope with the unprecedented demand for the new release 3.0 of OpenOffice.org. The technical teams are trying to come up with a solution. Thank you for your patience."
The free alternative (retail version runs $70 and includes technical support and intellectual property indemnification) to Microsoft's Office suite is now more compatible with Office, including letting users immediately read documents saved in the .docx, .xlsx, or .pptx formats.
Have you kicked the tires on Open Office 3.0 yet? Hit the jump and give us your impression.
We at Maximum PC remember a time, long ago, when having a dual-monitor setup was enough to establish some pretty serious nerd cred. These days, however, everyone and their grandma are playing World of Warcraft and checking their email at the same time on their two screens. So what’s a guy got to do to stand out from the pack? Here’s one idea: run two computers in tandem.
Synergy is a free, open source program that allows you two control two or more computers with a single keyboard and mouse. The linked computers behave as though they were simply different monitors in a traditional multi-monitor, single-computer setup. That is to say, if you drag the mouse off the left side of the right monitor, it appears on the left monitor, directing all keystrokes to that box. More impressively, Synergy synchronizes the two computers’ clipboards and even their screensavers.
Linus Tovalds the proverbial godfather of Linux announced the official release of a new kernel on Friday bringing it up to version 2.6.27. The new version adds both ath9k wireless drivers from Atheros, and a new gspca driver which will drastically increase the number of webcams supported by the OS out of box. Some of the changes such as “function tracing framework” and “memory-mapped IO’s” are mostly for developers, but this isn’t all that was included. The performance improvements to the Ext4 file system are rumored to be substantial and a new file system called UBIFS was implemented for flash storage devices. Perhaps the most significant change however from 2.6.26 (only 3 months ago) was in the scalability of the OS. Support for up to 4096 processors now works out of box and I for one would like to try out the system they were testing this feature with. A full log of the changes has been released and you can read either the translated or developer editions for more information. Oh and did we mention that Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) received some pretty impressive looking new wallpapers?
Open Office has been around in one form or another for over nine years now. But the once little known productivity suite known back then as StarOffice has evolved considerably over the years. Today the Sun Microsystems freebee is admittedly a fairly full featured alternative to Microsoft Office. Open Office in fact has become so useful that Maximum PC Editor and Chief Will Smith has admitted its open source charm (and free price tag) has finally won over his home PC for casual word processing. Fans of the platform have another reason to get excited these days with the impending launch of version 3.0. The new version will further improve compatibility when working with Microsoft Office files and will include additional support for the open file format OpenDocument which is to be integrated into Office 2007. For those looking to give version 3 a try, a public beta is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. But for corporate users looking to implement Open Office you should follow the links instead to the version named StarOffice. The retail version will cost you about $69.95, but it includes technical support and intellectual property indemnification. For those keeping track Open Office 2 launched on October 20th 2005 and the latest stable version is 2.4.1 which was released in June.
Several security vulnerabilities were reported in Google’s Chrome web browser after its beta version was launched earlier this month with much ado. Google has quickly responded with a security update that fixes four vulnerabilities. The update addresses two buffer overflow vulnerabilities, both rated critical by Google, and two other minor bugs. However, the carpet-bombing threat, first brought to light by security researcher Aviv Raff, still looms.
Partitioning your hard drive has never been easier. Free options, including the Windows install disk, make this once monumental task a fairly simple two-click experience that many of us don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about when we first install our OS’s. It can sometimes be difficult to anticipate your storage needs up front, and many users just assume they are stuck with decisions they made long ago.
A typical user could have many reasons for breaking up a hard drive into multiple volumes, but partitioning your drive after installing an OS is typically a destructive proposition -- one that usually involves backing up your data, formatting, and starting clean. Commercial solutions such as Norton Partition Magic has existed for years and allows you to preserve your data while resizing volumes, but what if you’re working on a limited budget (or completely without one)? That’s where GParted comes into play. This free and open source disk partitioning tool was designed for Linux, but luckily for us Windows users, it comes bundled in a live CD or USB version called Parted Magic which takes care of the Linux requirement.
In this guide we will look at how to use the interface to resize, delete, or create new partitions, all without losing your data or starting over. This will come in handy if you made your Windows partition too large or too small, or if you’re happy with Windows XP, but want to give Vista a spin. Backups are still heavily advised, but with our help, and a bit of luck, you won’t need them. Read on!
Four years is an eternity in the computer world, but it doesn't take a crystal ball to predict that Linux will continue making headway against Microsoft's close-source Windows OS. Between Vista needing gimmicks to convert the skeptics (Mojave), to increasingly user-friendly versions of Ubuntu, Microsoft may find itself in a grudge match with the open-source community by 2012. But what can we expect out of a Linux distro in 48 months? InformationWeek attempts to answer that question with a mix of bold predictions and some much needed feature enhancements. Let's take a look at some of the highlights.
Three Basic Usage Modes
Linux has traditionally been free for most users, but in-store boxed copies complete with a price tag have started popping up, and IW says this trend will "at least gain nominal momentum." Free to use variants won't be disappearing anytime soon, and IW sees free distributions that contain no components with patent encumbrances or other issues picking up steam.
While Linux hardware is already present in a plethora of devices, look for it to become a brand name four years down the road, pushed in large part by the continued popularity of the Netbook market.
Bye-Bye Command Line!
One of the biggest roadblocks preventing Linux from marching into the mainstream market is ease-of-use. The days of typing in commands died with DOS, but on a Linux distro, even some basic configurations might require the user to fire up the Terminal. Of course, there are legions of Linux-ites that prefer it this way, the same ones who not so affectionately refer to Ubuntu as Noobuntu.
Catch all the predictions here, then tell us your Linux predictions below!
According to a previous report by The Wall Street Journal, Google's open-source Android platform likely won't see the light of day until 2009, but that may not be the case. A new rumor hitting the web claims that T-Mobile will debut the first Android phone for pre-sale as early as September 17th.
Blog site TmoNews, who claims to be privy to this information based on a "trusted source," also says the new phone (codenamed G1) will cost consumers $399 - ouch! But that's when it goes fully public. TmoNews says the G1 pre-sale will last for one week and be available only to T-Mobile customers, who will be able to pick up the phone for $250 below retail. Everyone else will have to wait until mid-October.
The site also claims the G1 will come in black, white, or brown and include a 3-inch wide touch screen, 3G support, and a slide-out Qwerty keypad. Anyone that plans on picking one up will need a Gmail account, or so the rumor goes.
And as a full-featured Windows replacement, no other Linux distribution comes close to Ubuntu, which features a full suite of pre-loaded desktop applications and an easy to use installer. Ubuntu contains many unique and innovative qualities designed to make it less intimidating the average Windows user who may be looking for a change. One of these features is called Live CD. Once you have downloaded and burned a copy of the Live CD ISO, you will have the ability to launch a fully functional copy of the Ubuntu to test out driver compatibility and to sample the user interface, all without installing a single file to your PC. This guide will walk you through testing your hardware and installing a dual boot setup all without formatting or repartitioning your hard drive.
Microsoft's sponsorship is at the Platinum level ($100,000/year), where it joins Google and Yahoo!
Not Just Money, Patches for Open Source Projects
These sources also report that Microsoft is also providing a patch that provides ADOdb database abstraction layer support for the PHP SQL driver developed in conjunction with Zend Technologies. What may be more significant to open-source advocates is that Microsoft is licensing the patch under the Free Software Foundation's lesser GPL (LGPL) licensing terms. This appears to be the first time that Microsoft has licensed code using a FSF licensing agreement.
What's In It for Microsoft?
According to The Register:
The decision to work on PHP fits with the overall strategy of improving the language's interoperability with Windows and stemming the loss of PHP application deployments to Linux. LGPL allows code to be used with proprietary programs - such as SQL Server - unlike its GPL cousin.
For your chance to give us your thoughts, catch us after the jump.