Category Archives: software

Lotus Symphony on Ubuntu 8.10

I was almost looking forward to making a big entry about this, full of hacks, neat little tricks, and other goodies that I’d discovered.

I’d go in depth about what console commands I’d used to install Lotus Symphony on Ubuntu, what additional packages I’d have to install, what amazing little tweaks would be necessary to get it to work.

However, they’ll be none of that today.  IBM has released Lotus Symphony as a .deb file, and like many developers and companies are figuring out, that’s the way to go if you want the growing crop of Ubuntu users to use your product.

The product installs itself, just like a novice user wanting to try out IBM’s office suite would need.  Simply visit here to download the .deb file, and then follow these easy instructions:

1)  Double click on the .deb file.

1a)  There’s one additional library that needed to be installed on my system, but you won’t have to worry about this even if it’s needed.

2)  Lotus Symphony will install itself.

3)  Now, simply go to “Applications > Office” to start Symphony.

4)  And here’s the only obvious sign that this product is still in Beta — a text EULA.  This can be cleaned up into a window, I’m sure.  (For now, just press “1” to clear it.)

5)  And you’re done.*  Easy, eh?  Compared to the last beta I tried of Symphony on Ubuntu (a release meant for Red Hat Linux months and months ago), this was a dream.

*)  I’ve personally turned off “Enable performance optimization” — I don’t use office software a lot in my development work, so I wouldn’t benefit from this at all.  However, someone who does a lot of word processing would probably benefit, as this would speed up start-up times for Symphony — I wonder how they worked in this Windows-familiar feature with Ubuntu, though?  It’d be neat if there was a entry in the “System > Preferences > Sessions” control panel to go along with it, just to show you what’s happened (if anything) in Ubuntu.

And that’s that — I wish there were more to say, but they’ve made the installation so easy, it’s worth it now to try it yourself.

IBM officially supports Ubuntu 8.04 for this release, and I have no problem with that — 8.04 is the LTS release of Ubuntu, and it’s the version that you should be running if you’re in an enterprise setting (or you’re a user who doesn’t like tweaking their system every six months when a new “inbetween” version of Ubuntu comes out).  It’s good for the next two years, and will be supported with security updates and patches and all that good stuff that makes Ubuntu so great.

If Symphony turns out to at least be as fast as OpenOffice (shouldn’t be hard), then I’ll even start using this on my home computer — the fact that all your documents are presented in a unified window, like most Eclipse-derived products, is a definite advantage over OpenOffice.

I notice they’re not using Ubuntu-standard bits for the individual drop-down menus and such — this could be part of the whole Eclipse-engine background, though.  But that’s a minor issue, and one that wouldn’t stop me from using it.

Adobe Flash Player 10 Released

Adobe Flash Player Download Center – Linux

Well, Flash 10 finally came out today, for all systems, simultaneously (Linux included). Very, very neat.

And, for once, it’s actually easier to install this now if you’re using Firefox on Linux than if you’re using Firefox on Windows

While the install is easy in Internet Explorer on Windows (in-browser ActiveX installation), on Firefox on Windows you have to download a file, close down your browser, and run the file.

Firefox on Linux? (If you use Ubuntu, which I’m sure you probably do by this point.) Just select the “APT” option, and it installs right from the browser. Very neat.

Even if you don’t want to do that, Adobe thankfully included a .DEB file (something a lot of people need to start doing, especially with Ubuntu’s success — simply giving a tarball isn’t going to cut it anymore :P).

I look forward to testing the new Flash graphical hardware acceleration, especially under Linux.

EU forces Microsoft to cage open source patent dogs

EU forces Microsoft to cage open source patent dogs – Business – www.itnews.com.au

Under terms of the ruling, Microsoft will publish an irrevocable pledge not to assert any patents it may have over the interoperability information against non-commercial open source software development projects.

Commercial projects will be able to safeguard themselves against interoperability patent claims at a reduced royalty fee of 0.4 percent of revenues. Microsoft had initially demanded a 5.95 percent royalty rate.

Okay, that’s kinda sorta good. So, under the EU ruling, Microsoft agrees not to sue open source projects (in the EU, at least).

But all this hubbub was never about suing just open source projects — it was about suing commercial sellers of open source products (at least, that’s how I saw it).

In that, the EU has kind of befuddled me — the new ruling “allows” commerical projects to “safeguard themselves against interoperability patent claims at a reduced royalty fee of 0.4 percent of revenues.” Eh?

How in the hell is Microsoft going to collect this royalty if the EU doesn’t recognized software patents? Like the rest of the world, the EU doesn’t allow patents on software, which is considered just a set of algorithms in a computer. The US, along with Japan, is pretty much alone in the world in allowing software patents. (Remember folks — patents are different from copyrights. The latter allows use with acknowledgment — the former stifles innovation by disallowing use by others.)

So, what court will they prove their case in whose ruling will be valid in the EU? The Galactic Court?