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Chandler User Stories

July 16th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

It’s been a long time since I mentioned OSAF or Chandler here, but the project continues to develop and grow and progress toward a 1.0 release.

The website (built on TWiki) has a section I just noticed called User Stories, which shows how real people are benefiting from Chandler every day. It’s great to see the variety of tasks to which Chandler is suited and it’s also helpful in thinking about how it can fit into your daily work flow.

OpenOffice 3.0 Beta 2

July 15th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

With plenty of beta releases over a long testing cycle, we can expect a polished and stable 3.0 this September.

GullFOSS announces 3.0 Beta 2 was released yesterday.

You can download it for testing here.

I’ve been using the earlier beta with great success on my Mac and some Windows boxes. It seems about ready for primetime use already.

Interviews with Mark Shuttleworth

July 14th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

While I was in Istanbul last week, so too was the GUADEC conference, though I was not able to attend any of it. A few interesting interviews with Mark Shuttleworth came out of the GUADEC event, but I’ll have to report on them secondhand.

Matthew Helmke interviewed Shuttleworth yesterday on his blog. They speak of many things, including Shuttleworth’s start in technology and a little bit about his other interests.

On Ubuntu, Shuttleworth says, “The key values were that it should be released on a predictable schedule, should be part of the Debian family, should always deliver the very best of the free software stack in a nicely integrated stack, should be governed as a community independent of the company(s) that back it, and should be available free of charge, with all security updates, for a long enough period that it’s actually useful as a commercial, production platform. I would credit the whole Ubuntu community with helping to turn those ideals into a real, and quite remarkable, product.” focuses much more on the technical side of running the Ubuntu project in
Shuttleworth: “Apple is Driving the Innovation”. Shuttleworth is very interested in collaboration between projects, between Linux distros, between KDE and GNOME, and between companies working in the space.

And the title? It comes from this Shuttleworth quotation: “The fact that OS X is growing, tells us that Windows is weakening. The fact that OS X is growing and Linux isn’t, tells you that OS X is offering things that Linux is not. One of those is the pace of change, the level of innovation. You really have to give credit to Apple for driving innovation. Another of those things is their focus on the web as an experience. They recognize very strongly that the web is the killer application of the PC today and not Microsoft today.”

Good insight, and it proves once again why Shuttleworth is an important leader in the open source world. He takes inspiration from everywhere and channels it effectively into Ubuntu and his other projects, creating high-quality software for everyone.

Online ODF Validator

July 10th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

HTML validation services have long been available for web developers to guarantee the sites they create follow the latest W3C standards. This has made it easier for web browser creators, site developers and web visitors to all keep coordinated and offer the best experience across the web. If something isn’t working, running the pages through an HTML validator helps to pinpoint whether the problem is in the code or browser, and then it can be fixed by the appropriate party.

In the same way, the open standard ODF format now has an online ODF validator service.

Michael Brauer, its creator, announces the service on the GullFOSS blog:

“What is it? It is actually a web page where you can check whether an ODF file meets some basic conformance or validation requirements defined by the ODF specification. This service is in particular useful for developers that want to test their implementations, but it may also be used to check if a particular file is a valid ODF file.”

My take is that this will be a very handy tool once Microsoft Office starts producing ODF files, since it will offer an independent service verifying whether those files are valid ODF or have been corrupted in some way. Based on Microsoft’s track record in failing to properly support open standards, we should expect major difficulties with the ODFs they produce. And the ODF validator service will let us pinpoint the cause of the problem. Surely Microsoft will claim that ODF is a broken file format, but users will be able to run the files through this validator and prove that is is MS Office, in fact, that is broken. (All this is conjecture at this point, but past experience suggests we’ll see it come true yet again.)