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LibreOffice on Chromebooks and Apache/OpenOffice

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LibO
OOo
  • How to install LibreOffice 7.2 on a Chromebook

    Today we are looking at how to install LibreOffice 7.2 on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

    If you have any questions, please contact us via a YouTube comment and we would be happy to assist you!

  • Apache Month in Review: September 2021

    Welcome to the latest monthly overview of events from the Apache community. Here's a summary of what happened in September [video highlights available]...

  • This Week In Security: OpenOffice Vulnerable, IOS Vulnerable, Outlook… You Get The Idea | Hackaday

    We start this week with a good write-up by [Eugene Lim] on getting started on vulnerability hunting, and news of a problem in OpenOffice’s handling of DBase files. [Lim] decided to concentrate on a file format, and picked the venerable dbase format, .dbf. This database format was eventually used all over the place, and is still supported in Microsoft Office, Libreoffice, and OpenOffice. He put together a fuzzing approach using Peach Fuzzer, and found a handful of possible vulnerabilities in the file format, by testing a very simple file viewer that supported the format. He managed to achieve code execution in dbfview, but that wasn’t enough.

    Armed with a vulnerability in one application, [Lim] turned his attention to OpenOffice. He knew exactly what he was looking for, and found vulnerable code right away. A buffer is allocated based on the specified data type, but data is copied into this buffer with a different length, also specified in the dbase file. Simple buffer overflow. Turning this into an actual RCE exploit took a bit of doing, but is possible. The disclosure didn’t include a full PoC, but will likely be reverse engineered shortly.

    Normally we’d wrap by telling you to go get the update, but OpenOffice doesn’t have a stable release with this fix in it. There is a release candidate that does contain the fix, but every stable install of OpenOffice in the world is currently vulnerable to this RCE. The vulnerability report was sent way back on May 4th, over 90 days before full disclosure. And what about LibreOffice, the fork of OpenOffice? Surely it is also vulnerable? Nope. LibreOffice fixed this in routine code maintenance back in 2014. The truth of the matter is that when the two projects forked, the programmers who really understood the codebase went to LibreOffice, and OpenOffice has had a severe programmer shortage ever since. I’ve said it before: Use LibreOffice, OpenOffice is known to be unsafe.

  • All Your (d)Base Are Belong To Us, Part 1: Code Execution in Apache OpenOffice (CVE-2021–33035) [Ed: How many still use OpenOffice instead of LibreOffice]

    Venturing out into the wilderness of vulnerability research can be a daunting task. Coming from a background in primarily web and application security, I had to shift my hacking mindset towards memory corruption vulnerabilities and local attack vectors. This two-part series will share how I got started in vulnerability research by discovering and exploiting code execution zero-days in office applications used by hundreds of millions of people. I will outline my approach to getting started in vulnerability research including dumb fuzzing, coverage-guided fuzzing, reverse engineering, and source code review. I will also discuss some management aspects of vulnerability research such as CVE assignment and responsible disclosure.

ODF 1.3 is an OASIS Standard

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LibO
OOo

The Document Foundation is pleased to announce that LibreOffice native document format – Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF) 1.3 – has been approved as OASIS Standard with 14 affirmative consents and no objections. ODF is a free, open XML-based document file format for office applications, to be used for documents containing text, spreadsheets, charts and graphical elements. ODF 1.3 is an update to the international standard Version 1.2, which was approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as ISO/IEC 26300 (2015).

The OpenDocument Format specifies the characteristics of an open XML-based application-independent and platform-independent digital document file format, as well as the characteristics of software applications which read, write and process such documents. It is applicable to document authoring, editing, viewing, exchange and archiving, including text documents, spreadsheets, presentation graphics, drawings, charts and similar documents commonly used by personal productivity software applications.

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The Best PowerPoint Alternatives for Linux

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LibO
OOo

If you are a Linux user and looking for the best PowerPoint alternative (either desktop or web-based), you have come to the right place. In this article, you will find a brief overview of some interesting presentation applications that can be natively installed on a Linux distribution or used online via the browser.

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The Best Free Office Suites for Linux in 2021

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LibO
OOo

LibreOffice is the most favored office suite app in the Linux community and this is not just due to the fact that it works as an excellent alternative to Microsoft Office Suite but also that it is completely free and open source.

It has successfully branded itself as more than just an app to be a community of culture, collaboration, and sharing. If you ever have any use issues or encounter platform-specific bugs be rest assured that your situation can be taken care of.

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Hiri – A Linux Email Client for Exchange and Office 365

Apache OpenOffice Recommends upgrade to v4.1.10 to mitigate legacy vulnerability

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Security
OOo

Who: Apache OpenOffice, an Open Source office-document productivity suite comprising six productivity applications: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math, and Base. The OpenOffice suite is based around the OpenDocument Format (ODF), supports 41 languages, and ships for Windows, macOS, Linux 64-bit, and Linux 32-bit. Apache OpenOffice delivers up to 2.4 Million downloads each month.

What: A recently reported vulnerability states that all versions of OpenOffice through 4.1.9 can open non-http(s) hyperlinks, and could lead to untrusted code execution.

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Also: Apache OpenOffice Vulnerable To One-Click Code Execution

The 5 Best MS Office Alternatives for Linux

Filed under
GNU
LibO
Linux
OOo

You did a fresh Linux installation. It’s fast, snappy, and secure. However, when you decided to use Linux, you decided to use open-source alternatives for most solutions. This means you are no longer interested in MS Office and are looking for MS Office alternatives for Linux.

You are not alone! Also, you are bound by the fact that MS Office is not natively supported by Linux operating system. To install it, you need to use virtualization solutions including CrossOver, Wine, and Virtual Machine.

Even though that’s a possible way to install MS Office, there is much to desire for native support. For instance, you will not get native support, which means that there will be a slow response or action. Moreover, you can also find yourself getting errors, which is not a great thing when working on your important project.

The good thing with Linux is that it offers alternatives that have equal or better feature-set. In the case of MS Office, you will easily get a dozen of options. And, that’s where we come in. To help you find the best MS alternative, we will list five of them for your reference.

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GNOME Desktop: GNOME Shell Tweaks and PaperWM

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OOo

  • Alan Pope: My GNOME Tweaks

    One of the neat things about GNOME Shell is that it’s pretty tweakable - to some degree - to customise it to a user’s preferences. I know some people use GNOME Shell stock experience. I don’t. I have previously written about some of my must-have extensions and add-ons. This supplements that with what I do to further tweak my (currently) Ubuntu 20.10 system to my liking.

  • Jonathan Dowland: PaperWM

    My PaperWM desktop, as I write this post.

    Just before Christmas I decided to try out a GNOME extension I'd read about, PaperWM. It looked promising, but I was a little nervous about breaking my existing workflow, which was heavily reliant on the Put Windows extension.

    It's great! I have had to carefully un-train some of my muscle memory but it seems to be worth it. It seems to strike a great balance between the rigidity of a tile-based window manager and a more traditional floating-windows one.

OpenOffice Still Gets +1.5 Million Downloads Per Month, Despite Being Discontinued

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OpenOffice started as the open source version of “StarOffice” by Sun Microsystems in 1999. It continued to be a the mainstream Microsoft Office alternative through the 2000s and kept improving over time, until a community fork happened in 2011 after Oracle acquired Sun. The community feared that Oracle would shut down the project due to its past dark history against open source software and didn’t want to participate in a project under its control. Hence, LibreOffice was born in 2011 and most community members started working on LibreOffice instead of OpenOffice.

Oracle found itself in a tough spot since most of the community migrated to the new fork, and hence decided to contribute the ownership of OpenOffice in the same year to the Apache Foundation. The Apache Foundation from its side continued the development a little bit for a while (Until 2016-2017) but then, OpenOffice stopped reciving any major updates.

The latest available version of OpenOffice right now is 4.1.8, which was released this month, but is nothing more than a bug-fixing release with no new features. Versions 4.1.7 and 4.1.6 were released in 2019 and 2018 respectively, and they also contained nothing more than few fixes (5-10) for some bugs. OpenOffice didn’t receive any major update since 2014, so this should give you a picture on how slow and discontinued the development is on the project.

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Standards/Consortia: Abolishing OOXML, Web Standards, and the European Commission's Interoperability Drive

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LibO
Web
OOo
  • Professors, please let us submit PDFs

    We are under two weeks away from a presidential election and already eight months into a deadly pandemic, but we still have time for the little things. No, I don’t mean smelling flowers and sipping pumpkin spice lattes, though you are welcome to do so—I mean the types of file formats that professors request students use to submit papers.

    In my experience, most professors ask for files with a DOCX extension, a format which was developed by Microsoft in 2007 to help standardize its file extensions across its various applications. Officially known as Office Open XML, the DOCX format broke backwards compatibility with the old .doc format. This meant that all previous versions of Microsoft Word prior to the new standard would be unable to open files with this particular extension. Consternation followed that development in 2007 (or 2008 for Mac users), but in the year 2020 we have mostly solved that issue, as most computers these days do not run any pre-2006 versions of Microsoft Office.

    The modern problems with DOCX are really not problems with DOCX itself, but rather with its place in the pantheon of file extensions that are now available. Most students in our current age produce their work in a Google Doc (in point of fact, this very article was produced in a Google Doc). It’s a simple workflow that has all the functionality of a full-blown application without having to leave a web browser or fight with a sign-in form (beyond the one that we’re always signed into as a part of daily campus life). I don’t support submitting an essay or exam as a raw Google Doc, however, and my reasons for not doing so are partially shared with my aversion to submitting in DOCX: all the writing tools are immediately available upon opening the document.

    [...]

    The obvious solution is for professors to request papers in Portable Document Format, PDF. Originally developed in 1993, the PDF file format has not outlived its usefulness. Anything, from Windows 10 to Windows 95, MacOS to OS X or Unix to Ubuntu, anything can open a PDF. And since anything can open it, when students finish writing and export to PDF, we can see exactly what it is we’re submitting with our names attached. And it’s not like professors should hate it; it’s the default format for any downloaded academic document, and providing comments is much closer to how comments are written on physical paper.

    Students shouldn’t be the only ones submitting files in PDF format either. For every file in DOCX a professor puts on Moodle, there are probably three copies on every student’s hard drive. Every weekday we face the choice of digging through our downloaded files for the syllabus we downloaded a week ago or downloading yet another copy of that same syllabus. Uploading PDF files instead of DOCX to Moodle lets students open it in a web browser, a faster and less cluttered operation that lets our focus stay on class instead of going through old files.

  • Static versus dynamic web sites

    In this post, I want to explore two fundamental principles or criteria that underpinned my original article, but were more or less unpronounced: sustainability and power. I also want to update you on my current site configuration.

  • [Old] Writing HTML in HTML

    I've just finished the final rewrite of my website. I'm not lying: this is the last time I'm ever going to do it. This website has gone through countless rewrites – from WordPress to Jekyll to multiple static site generators of my own – but this is the final one. I know so, because I've found the ultimate method for writing webpages: pure HTML.

    It sounds obvious, but when you think about how many static site generators are being released every day – the list is practically endless – it's far from obvious. Drew DeVault recently challanged people to create their own blog, and he didn't even mention the fact that one could write it in pure HTML:

    If you want a hosted platform, I recommend write.as. If you're technical, you could build your own blog with Jekyll or Hugo. GitHub offers free hosting for Jekyll-based blogs.

    Now, there's nothing wrong with Jekyll or Hugo; it's just interesting that HTML doesn't even get a mention. And of course, I'm not criticizing Drew; I think the work he's doing is great. But, just like me and you, he is a child of his time.

    That's why I'm writing this blog post – to turn the tide just a little bit.

  • Shaping the future interoperability policy

    The European Commission is currently evaluating the ISA² programme and the European Interoperability Framework to present a reinforced public sector interoperability policy in 2021.

    The related roadmaps (EIF and ISA²) are now published for feedback on the Commission’s Have your say portal. You can provide feedback on the EIF and future interoperability policy roadmap till 12 November 2020. Feedback on the roadmap for the evaluation of the ISA² programme is open till 13 November 2020.

Collabora Online moves out of The Document Foundation

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LibO
OOo

The Document Foundation (TDF) was formed in 2010 as a home for the newly created LibreOffice project; it has just celebrated its tenth anniversary. As it begins its second decade, though, TDF is showing some signs of strain. Evidence of this could be seen in the disagreement over a five-year marketing plan in July. More recently, the TDF membership committee sent an open letter to the board of directors demanding more transparency and expressing fears of conflicts of interest within the board. Now the situation has advanced with one of the TDF's largest contributing companies announcing that it will be moving some of its work out of the foundation entirely.

The dispute over the marketing plan has its roots in money, as is often the case. Developing a large system like LibreOffice requires the work of dozens of engineers, who need to be paid to be able to put a full-time effort into the project. Some of the companies employing those developers — Collabora in particular — think that TDF has succeeded too well; the free version of LibreOffice is solid enough that attempts to sell commercial support for it are running into a wall. The proposed marketing plan was designed to better differentiate "community-supported" LibreOffice from the professionally supported offerings from TDF member companies. This idea did not sit well with community members, who worried that LibreOffice was being pushed into a second-class citizen status.

The tension is at its highest around LibreOffice Online, which provides for collaborative editing of documents hosted on a central server. Evidently, what revenue does exist in the LibreOffice ecosystem is mostly focused on LibreOffice Online, which is a relatively hard service to set up and maintain without having somebody dedicated to the task. TDF has encouraged potential users to go with commercial offerings by, among other things, allowing the system to suggest commercial support to users and not offering binary builds of the LibreOffice Online server. Currently, if you want to establish a LibreOffice Online instance, you must start with the source and build it from there.

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More: an Online move ...

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