more ramblings of a retired teacher
commenting (maybe ranting) on education - even my own

July 2014
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Libre vs. Gratis - Different Meanings of “Free”
Filed under: General
Posted by: Algot @ 10:50 am

I came across an announcement about an audio editor called “Ocenaudio” available for free which is cross-platform. It sounded good. I looked at the web site and found out that they don’t mention a license. Most open-source/Free Software programs are proud of their use of the GPL or any of the other open licenses.

Ocenaudio does not have an open license according to this forum post.

Just because it is “free” as in gratis, no required payment does not qualify it as Free Software (also often called “open source”). With “Free” as in libre, the issue isn’t cost at all, but your liberty/freedom use without limits, to study it, to adapt the work to your needs and to redistribute your version as long as you don’t try to limit others from those same four freedoms.

For somebody just looking for cheap, I guess there’s no difference. But for those who care to build a strong, community supported software commons, Libre matters way more than Gratis.

I’ll keep recommending Audacity instead of ocenaudio, too.

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LibreOffice Bug Triage
Filed under: General
Posted by: Algot @ 1:12 pm

The LibreOffice Hackfest in Boston was very kindly hosted at their local offices by Xamarin Inc. A group of us learned about some of the insides of LibreOffice. The ones of us who were new to the work, learned how to look at the bug reports which come in to the Bugzilla tool and we began trying to confirm the issue reported. Sometimes the right step is to mark the bug as “New”. Other times, it is necessary to ask for more information.

The most often forgotten information in a bug report is the user’s operating system and version of LibreOffice. Next most often is needing a file to be attached which clearly illustrates the issue. Checking bugs is too difficult for the Quality Assurance (QA) Team if it is necessary to build a complex test file.

Most of the time during the two weekend days was choosing from the “Unconfirmed” bugs on Bugzilla and then writing a comment to reply to the submitter. Typically a new QA person will change the status from “Unconfirmed” to “New” (a confirmed, repeatable bug) or “NeedMoreInfo” when the bug report isn’t complete enough to check.

The next step is to continue working through the list of unconfirmed bugs which grows every day. Sometimes the “bug” turns out to really be a feature request, instead. Sometimes a bug needs to be marked as a duplicate. That requires more familiarity than we fresh kids have. If we aren’t face to face, there is also the chance to communicate with others on the QA team by way of both a mailing list and ongoing chats on the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) system.

It was especially fun to meet some active members of the LibreOffice team, including Michael Meeks, Robinson Tyron and Joel Maderos. Having faces for names, wonderful. Thanks to them for organizing and being there, and thanks to The Document Foundation for sponsoring the event.

There are more, similar events being planned around the US as part of the effort to expand the base of active users in North America and to try to attract some of them go further to support LibreOffice users or to even become part of the development team.

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