Sunday, October 10, 2010

LibreOffice forked from and be independent from Oracle

Over the last decades, Sun Microsystems has supported a lot to, and successfully made it the world's leading open-source productivity suite nowadays.

That was happened after they acquired StarDivision in 1999, forking out from the proprietary StarOffice by releasing its source code to the public. Sun continued selling StarOffice, which then based heavily on the development of by the community.

10 years later in 2009, Sun Microsystems was in turn acquired by Oracle. Oracle has then rebranded the proprietary StarOffice to be Oracle Open Office. At the same time,  Oracle announced their intention for "Oracle Cloud Office" as a cloud-computing suite, a similar approach like Microsoft Office 2010 Live. The future of remains uncertain.

As contributions to project requires copyright assignment to Sun (now Oracle), which the community has faith with Sun but might not remains at the same level with Oracle, it is this critical moment that some lead developers of had just made a critical decision, to form a new group called The Document Foundation and to fork a rebranded called LibreOffice. The historical moment was  28 September 2010 .

The Document Foundation will continue to be focused on developing, supporting, and promoting "the same software", now known as LibreOffice as the trademark is legally owned by Oracle.

In fact, this move also resolved some of the former disputes in the project. For example, LibreOffice will now incorporate all the enhancements produced by the Go-oo team (with Novell behind the scene). Go-oo was forked earlier from as Sun refused to put in some of the contributions such as better support to Microsoft's OOXML into With this latest move,  Go-oo might be obsoleted by LibreOffice.

The Document Foundation and its LibreOffice have received support from Red Hat, Canonical (maker of Ubuntu), Novell (maker of SUSE), Google, Free Software Foundation (FSF, which Richard Stallman is the president), The GNOME Foundation, The Open Source Initiative (OSI), etc.

LibreOffice 3.3.0 is currently on beta, and has been downloaded for over 80,000 in a week time. People have started to contribute to the code, suggesting features, committing patches and filing bugs. In just one week, around 80 code contributions (patches, and direct commits) have been accepted in LibreOffice from a total of 27 volunteers, several of them newly-won, with around 100 developers hanging out on the #libreoffice irc channel which is buzzing with activity (around 14,000 messages sent).

Click here for more information about The Document Foundation and LibreOffice.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Dell Studio XPS 8100 home PC (Part 4)

... continues from Part 3 ...

The Dell SK-8165 Studio Consumer Multimedia USB Keyboard (OEM by Silitek of Lite-On Group) that comes with Studio XPS 8100 has a compact keyboard layout similar to laptop keyboard.
This is a nice keyboard with 12 multimedia buttons on it, which provide one-key shortcut to open your web browser, email client, Computer Explorer, Calculator, Media Player, sound control and DVD player control.


The Dell M-UAV-DEL8 6-button Laser USB Mouse (OEM by Logitech) that comes with Studio XPS 8100 is a Class 1 laser device. Unlike those infra-red optical mouses which you can see the red light at the bottom, its laser beam is too tiny to be easily seen though.

This is a nice mouse with 4 adjustable DPI speeds (400, 800, 1200, 1600) which can be switched with a single button and indicated by nice LED lights on top of it.

It also has 2 side buttons for the function of "Previous" (left side button) and "Next" (right side button).

I have tested this mouse on glass surface, and yes, it can still function on the glass.

19-in-1 media card reader

Despite some other branded PC comes with 40-in-1 media card reader, Dell Studio XPS 8100 only comes with a 19-in-1 media card reader. Supported flash memory cards are:

  • Secure Digital (SD) Memory Card
  • MiniSD
  • Hi-Capacity Secure Digital (SDHC) class2
  • Hi-Capacity Secure Digital (SDHC) class4
  • Hi-Capacity Secure Digital (SDHC) class6
  • Multi Media Card (MMC)
  • RS Multimedia Card (RS-MMC)
  • Multimedia Card Plus (MMC+)
  • Multimedia card Mobile
  • Memory Stick (MS)
  • Memory Stick Duo
  • Memory Stick PRO (MS PRO)
  • Memory Stick PRO Duo
  • Memory Stick Micro
  • Compact Flash I
  • Compact Flash II
  • Smart Media Card (SM)
  • xD Picture Card (xD)
  • Micro Drive (MD)
USB ports

The Dell Studio XPS 8100 has 8 USB 2.0 ports. 4 are behind the chasis, 2 on top of it, and another 2 are concealed behind a sliding bay door in front of it.

Note that the keyboard and mouse already used up 2 of the USB ports.

Casing, power supply unit and fan

The casing cover of Dell Studio XPS 8100 is just secured with one easily removable knob. You can easily inspect what is inside it. Anyhow, there are handles for you to lock the casing with external lock if you want.

The power supply unit (PSU) of this Dell Studio XPS 8100 is pretty small at 350 Watt only. It does not have power output socket to monitor. Interestingly, Dell provides you a separate power cord in the package, beside the power cord for computer to connect to wall socket) for you to connect your monitor to the wall socket directly.

Anyhow, so far I don't have any problem with my Dell Studio XPS 8100 using this 350 Watt PSU. I think this PC is quite "green" and save electricity consumption.

Inside the casing, below the PSU, you'll find a standard fan as cooling measure, blowing hot air out from behind of it.

Preinstalled software

Beside the Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition, and McAfee Security Center, other pre-installed software are:
  • Adobe Reader 9 - to read some of the documentations shipped in softcopy format
  • Dell Getting Started Guide - this will run right after the first time OS configuration is completed
  • Dell Dock - can keep the Desktop cleaner by organizing the frequently used applications in this Dock and removing their shortcut links from Desktop
  • Dell Support Center
  • Dell DataSafe Local Backup - I don't find any use of this, other than to create the System Recovery Media. Other feature such as system backup or file backup would require additional payment to upgrade to Premium Version of it.
  • Dell DataSafe Online - This is the tools for me to backup my files to the 2GB online backup storage in the Internet.
  • Intel Repid Storage Technology - Utility for the Intel RAID controller
  • Modem Diagnostic Tool
  • NetWaiting - This is a tool to temporary put the dial-up Internet on hold when there is incoming call. No use for DSL connections.
  • Roxio Easy CD & DVD Burning
  • Cyberlink PowerDVD DX
  • Skype

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Dell Studio XPS 8100 home PC (Part 3)

... continues from Part 2 ...

Video card
The default NVidia GeForce GT220 with 1GB DDR3 memory isn't exciting at all.
However, at the cost of just RM34 only, I can upgrade it to ATI Radeon HD5770 with 1GB GDDR5 memory, which has much better performance than GT220.
The ATI Radeon HD5770 takes up 2 PCI-E slots. It has 2 DVI, 1 HDMI and 1 DisplayPort. It supports DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.2, ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology, ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU technology, ATI Avivo HD video display technology, ATI PowerPlay power management technology, etc.
It is well-known to have a very decent power consumption rate. No wonder it can fit in Dell Studio XPS 8100 which has a relatively low PSU of 350 Watt only.
On 29 July 2010, I wrote about "Top 20 display cards as of end-July 2010".
On 28 July 2010, I wrote about "Calculate the recommended power supply wattage for desktop computer".
Sound card
I have chosen to use the default onboard integrated high definition 7.1 channel audio of this Dell 0T568R motherboard. It is a Realtek ALC887 chipset.
As I only have a normal 2.1 speaker set, this onboard sound card is sufficient to me.
Microsoft Office 2010
This Dell Studio XPS 8100 comes with Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition, which consists of scaled down Word and Excel, with ads running.
There is an upgrade option to Microsoft Office 2010 Home & Student (SEA) Edition for RM274, which is an OEM version and can only be installed in 1 computer only.
I ended up buying a boxed Microsoft Office 2010 Home & Student Edition with license for 3 computers at the price of RM239 only from Digital Mall. It contains Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
Beside Microsoft Office 2010, I also downloaded and installed the free 3.2.1.
I have opted to include the Conexant D850 PCI V.92 56kbps soft modem by adding RM42 to the package.
This price is a bit high, and I found out that it is only a data/fax modem and does not support full voice command sets. This means you cannot use it to handle voice (like using with IVR).
I need this modem as occasionally I'll need to fax out documents. Windows 7 has a nice Fax and Scan application for use together with this data/fax modem to turn the computer into fax machine.
The modem also acts as a backup Internet connection device, in case the ADSL link is down.
Network card
This Dell 0T568R motherboard comes with integrated Broadcom Netlink BCM57780 gigabit ethernet controller with one RJ-45 fast gigabit ethernet port.
This is good enough for me to connect the computer to my D-Link DSL-G604T wireless ADSL router.
Wireless solution
This Dell Studio XPS 8100 provides an option for Dell 1525 Wireless-N PCI-E card for RM102.
I find this to be expensive, as I've bought a Dlink DWA-125 wireless N-150 USB adapter for RM60 only.
... continues to Part 4...

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.