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Software Wars, the Movie

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Status update on LibreOffice / Apache OpenOffice

Michael Meeks has posted a status update on LibreOffice versus Apache OpenOffice. It is worth reading, but there are some points I’d like to add and emphasize.

The first is that the Apache OpenOffice project went public about a year ago. And in the meanwhile, all they’ve done is make a build with a small amount of new features:

Most of the new features they will announce are features done by Sun / Oracle, but never debugged / shipped. Only a handful of features have been achieved by this new organization. In other words, while Apache are now making a release under the OpenOffice brand, it is not a version moves things forward very much. It should be a concern that the value of the OpenOffice name is decreasing. How many would still be running Firefox if it didn’t make major improvements for 2 years? What is the point of a brand if you aren’t building the best product to represent it? It is cheapest if the brand is handed over to LibreOffice, though primarily IBM stands in the way.  In the meanwhile, explaining to as many people as possible that LibreOffice is a better OpenOffice is helpful. I am happy several people mentioned LibreOffice in my movie interviews.

The Apache incubation started because IBM didn’t understand that LibreOffice had just build everything they would need and that copyleft is considered a good thing by many. IBM are convincing a few handfuls of naive contributors to use lax license with a primary benefit that allows IBM to use but not give back. I don’t recommend these people play poker.

The biggest point from that chart is that it documents how Apache OpenOffice is behind and will never be able to catch up with LibreOffice, especially considering their license prevents them from incorporating LO code. It should have been possible to predict these results a year ago, and now we have the evidence. I don’t expect these facts to make it into the skulls of smart but stubborn people at IBM, but it is a good reminder of the situation. There will surely be some announcements of their first release coming soon, and which will ask the community to try it out and help. Fortunately, the Linux community is already clued in to what is going on. LibreOffice is one of the most important communities to enable more people to run Linux on a full-time basis. There are many ways for people to help out.

Milton Friedman quotes

Here are some great quotes by Milton Friedman which describe some of the biggest problems in modern society.

The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.

The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.

The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that’s why it’s so essential to preserving individual freedom.

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.

Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest?

Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.

Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.

So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.

The black market was a way of getting around government controls. It was a way of enabling the free market to work. It was a way of opening up, enabling people.

The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy.

Protests in the UK

I think of my friends in the UK.

Many Americans feel their country is crumbling too. There have been demonstrations in the US against the current government for 2 years now. They are known as the tea party. They protest for economic improvement like people are demanding in your country.

The official storyline in the US is that the tea party protesters are: “racist, uncompromising, potentially violent, and stupid”. The movement is mentioned regularly in the US news, and on comedy shows, and it is almost exclusively in a negative light. (Here is one example.) This is in spite of the fact that they have not flipped over even one car yet. This is done mostly to slow the growth of the movement, and it has had great success. Almost everyone who has not seen or been to a tea party rally are fully convinced they are diabolical.

The good news is that the solution to economic stagnation in our countries is simple: we need to unwind the bankrupt welfare state.

Maybe you could create a tea party in the UK? We’ll combine efforts! We can send you Sarah Palin and you send us Daniel Hannan.

Another huge problem is single motherhood. Incidence of this in the UK is the highest in Europe. Single-motherhood is a consequence of the welfare state. The social and economic are thoroughly mixed!