Archive | June 2014

Google Shuts the Door on QuickOffice, as its Work is Done

At last week’s Google I/O conference, the company announced new levels of compatibility with Microsoft Office documents in its Google Docs cloud-based applications, including the ability to edit Office documents. These capabilities are driven through QuickOffice, a toolset that Google acquired back in 2012. Quickoffice has provided close compatibility with the Microsoft Office file formats, ranging from .doc to .xlsx, for users of Google Docs.

Now, Google has announced that it has halted development of Quickoffice and will soon pull the free toolset from the Google Play and Apple App Stores.

According to the Google Apps blog:

"With the integration of Quickoffice into the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides apps, the Quickoffice app will be unpublished from Google Play and the App Store in the coming weeks. Existing users with the app can continue to use it, but no features will be added and new users will not be able to install the app."

The whole acquisition of QuickOffice had to do with Google’s need to provide compatibility with Microsoft Office documents, which are dominant in enterprises. In particular, users of Word, Excel and PowerPoint want to avoid having to convert files to Google’s own formats, and losing data and formatting in the process.

These capabilities in Google Apps have much promise for helping Google gain entrenchment in enterprises. On the Android mobile app versions of Google Docs, Sheets and Slides the new Office compatibility features are in place, which can also help Android get a foothold in enterprises.

According to Google’s announcement back when QuickOffice was acquired:

"Today, consumers, businesses and schools use Google Apps to get stuff done from anywhere, with anyone and on any device. Quickoffice has an established track record of enabling seamless interoperability with popular file formats, and we’ll be working on bringing their powerful technology to our Apps product suite."

Now, it looks like QuickOffice’s work is done.

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Google Shuts the Door on QuickOffice, as its Work is Done

At last week’s Google I/O conference, the company announced new levels of compatibility with Microsoft Office documents in its Google Docs cloud-based applications, including the ability to edit Office documents. These capabilities are driven through QuickOffice, a toolset that Google acquired back in 2012. Quickoffice has provided close compatibility with the Microsoft Office file formats, ranging from .doc to .xlsx, for users of Google Docs.

Now, Google has announced that it has halted development of Quickoffice and will soon pull the free toolset from the Google Play and Apple App Stores.

According to the Google Apps blog:

"With the integration of Quickoffice into the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides apps, the Quickoffice app will be unpublished from Google Play and the App Store in the coming weeks. Existing users with the app can continue to use it, but no features will be added and new users will not be able to install the app."

The whole acquisition of QuickOffice had to do with Google’s need to provide compatibility with Microsoft Office documents, which are dominant in enterprises. In particular, users of Word, Excel and PowerPoint want to avoid having to convert files to Google’s own formats, and losing data and formatting in the process.

These capabilities in Google Apps have much promise for helping Google gain entrenchment in enterprises. On the Android mobile app versions of Google Docs, Sheets and Slides the new Office compatibility features are in place, which can also help Android get a foothold in enterprises.

According to Google’s announcement back when QuickOffice was acquired:

"Today, consumers, businesses and schools use Google Apps to get stuff done from anywhere, with anyone and on any device. Quickoffice has an established track record of enabling seamless interoperability with popular file formats, and we’ll be working on bringing their powerful technology to our Apps product suite."

Now, it looks like QuickOffice’s work is done.

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Red Hat Delivers Cloud Certification Plan, and Teams with HP

When Red Hat announced very solid quarterly earnings a few days ago, CEO Jim Whitehurst was quick to attribute part of the strong performance to his company’s new focus on cloud computing. In discussing the enterprises that pay Red Hat for subcription support and services, he said: "These are some of the most sophisticated IT organizations in the world, and many continue to increase their purchases from Red Hat to modernize their IT infrastructure with cloud enabling technologies."

I’ve made the point before that Red is pinning its future on cloud computing and OpenStack in particular.  But for Red Hat to succeed with its OpenStack plans, it needs to be able to assure enterprise users that they are using tested and interoperable tools. With that in mind, the company has announced a new cloud management certification for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform as part of the Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network.

Red Hat has been working closely with cloud and network management solution providers, including iBMC and HP. As members of the Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network, these vendors are supporting Red Hat’s platform certification process. 

Radhesh Balakrishnan, Red Hat’s general manager of virtualization and OpenStack said, in a statement: 

“As OpenStack is becoming a core element of the enterprise cloud strategy for many customers, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform is architected and backed by the broadest partner ecosystem to be the preferred platform. The growth and maturity of the ecosystem reflects the evolution of the product moving from addressing infrastructure-centric alignment to help with early deployments to now be well-managed, to be part of enterprise hybrid cloud implementations.”

Atul Garg, vice president and general manager of Cloud and Automation at HP added:

“We are excited to work with Red Hat to certify HP Cloud Service Automation and its solutions with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, to help our mutual customers build and manage private and hybrid cloud services. Our joint efforts are aimed at enabling customers to have choice and flexibility as they deploy cloud environments which can easily flex and adapt to business needs while supporting heterogeneity and leveraging existing investments in the datacenter.”

As enterprises deploy OpenStack, they are increasingly concerned about being able to use existing infrastructure and management tools with their deployments. The expansion of Red Hat’s certification program to include cloud management solutions is intended to help enterprises who want to deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform in a private cloud to feel confident in using their management solutions of choice.

One other notable thing about the new certification program is that it deepens Red Hat’s partnership with HP, which is also focused on OpenStack. It will be worth watching what else comes from that partnership, and, without a doubt, the cloud is the new battleground for winning enterprise users.

 

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CrashPlan: Multi-platform Onsite, Offsite And Cloud Backup Solution

Introduction CrashPlan is an open source backup software developed by Code42, an American software company. Code42 was founded as an IT consultancy company, but finally ended up focusing on online…

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Paying With Your Time

gnu

Nicole Engard takes that phrase that you Get what you paid for with open source head on at Opensource.com. The phrase is normally used in a derogative fashion, but Nichole accepts the phrase and makes it her own by explaining how everyone benefits when you pay with your time.

In the world of standard economics, nothing is ever truly free of cost. If something is given to you for nothing, someone had to pay for it at some point along the line. In the modern, advertising based economy, If you are not paying with your money, than you are most likely paying with your personal information. Another example of would be public services, which are normally paid for with taxes. In the world of open source, the phrase is normally meant to imply that the program you are obtaining for free is of such low quality that it has little to no value. “Oh, you are having a problem with that open source app? Well, you get what you paid for!” Laughter ensues.

Nicole has a different view on the concept:

Well, with open source you can always pay to get new features written, but you also can pay with your time to improve the product. If ‘free’ can mean multiple things, so can ‘pay’. When it comes to open source, you have the freedom to improve the product and that means you can pay with your time (reporting bugs, suggesting features, writing documentation, etc), your skills (writing code, debugging software, etc), or your money, to improve the product at any time.

When you participate in open source, more than just downloading and running the app, you help make it better for everyone. Anyone can be a detractor, it’s easy to sit on the sidelines and mock those who are trying to build something good for the world, but it is much more worthwhile to spend our time, talent, and energy to make things better. After all, “it’s not the critic who counts”. Nicole agrees:

If however you just download the product and use it for free, then you don’t have the right to complain when it doesn’t do what you want.

As a writer, I’ve found myself on both sides of this fence numerous times. Sometimes when I find something so frustrating its tempting to abandon it and look somewhere else. What I struggle to remind myself is that when the process works, when we all really get open source, the applications get better, faster. We give back to something bigger than ourselves, and in giving back we become a part of it.

No matter what your skill set is, there is a place for you to participate in open source. You don’t need to be a programmer, you can be a writer, designer, or tester, or most importantly, you can be an average human trying to get things done, and report back to the community what does and doesn’t work for you. By paying with your time, everyone profits.

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Star Apps: Chad Channing

Ex-Nirvana drummer Chad Channing embarks on a European tour with Before Cars.

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Wallen on KDE, Quiet Revolution, and Ryan Gordon on Gaming

Our top story on this Friday night is Andrew Smith’s blog post titled Linux is the quiet revolution that will leave Microsoft eating dust. Next up, Jack Wallen is probably answering Jos Poortvliet’s Where KDE is going in his post today on KDE. And finally today, Ryan "Icculus" Gordon speaks about the Linux gaming industry.

Andrew Smith at The Conversation today said all kinds of good things about Linux, most we’ve heard before but it’s still nice. Smith, who is associated with the Linux Professional Institute by disclosure, concludes, "Linux is free and much more pervasive than the average computer user might think. You can easily install Linux on any home computer, many tablets and even your own private supercomputer, so you should think about switching." How can you resist a title like Linux is the quiet revolution that will leave Microsoft eating dust?

Jack Wallen raked KDE and its users over the coals today as he said KDE has done all this innovating last X number of years and yet hasn’t actually gotten anywhere. "Stagnant" is the word he used. He said those of us who love KDE "fear change or cling to the idea that the only way to effectively interact with a PC is the age-old metaphor that includes a start menu, a task bar, and a system tray." Yikes, it’s like he’s got a crystal ball! Well, good news / bad news Wallen says, "KDE 4.13.1 is as rock solid as KDE has ever been, [but] preaching to the choir doesn’t increase the choir."

And finally today, GamingOnLinux scored another one today with their find of Ryan Gordon’s presentation of gaming on Linux. They report he reminisces about his days at Loki and before (and since). Liam Dawe may not remember Gordon, but I certainly do. I remember when the name "Icculus" was revered almost as much as Linus Torvalds. Linux would have had a lot less gaming over the years if not for Icculus.

In other gaming news, Linux User & Developer has a piece on Linux gaming too featuring interviews with SteamOS developers and a review of SteamOS 1.0 Alchemist.

 And bonus today:   Exploiting wildcards on Linux.

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