Community announces The Document Foundation

The Internet, September 28, 2010 – The community of volunteers who develop and promote, the leading free office software, announce a major change in the project’s structure. After ten years’ successful growth with Sun Microsystems as founding and principal sponsor, the project launches an independent foundation called “The Document Foundation”, to fulfil the promise of independence written in the original charter.

The Foundation will be the cornerstone of a new ecosystem where individuals and organisations can contribute to and benefit from the availability of a truly free office suite. It will generate increased competition and choice for the benefit of  customers and drive innovation in the office suite market. From now on, the community will be known as “The Document Foundation”.

Oracle, who acquired assets as a result of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, has been invited to become a member of the new Foundation, and donate the brand the community has grown during the past ten years. Pending this decision, the brand “LibreOffice” has been chosen for the software going forward.

Personally I’ve been using OpenOffice a lot more recently on my Mac, although iWork is my main workhorse. However, I’ve had it installed on various machine over the last few years and found it has been getting better and better.

But if you don’t use OpenOffice you might be thinking, so what? Should you care about the future of OpenOffice? I think there are a couple of reasons:

  • OpenOffice might be part of the back end of another product you use; and
  • If you care about the adoption and use of The Open Document Format (ODF).

Like many others, I hope Oracle does the right thing here and hands over the OpenOffice brand.

Filtering and verifying the social media information stream with SwiftRiver

You might have heard of Ushahidi – the open source crisis software, used to map and visualise information as it is happening – but have you heard of their other project, SwiftRiver?

“SwiftRiver is a free and open source platform that helps people make sense of a lot of information in a short amount of time. The SwiftRiver platform was born out of the need to understand and act upon a wave of massive amounts of crisis data that tends to overwhelm in the first 24 hours of a disaster. Since then, there has been a great deal of interest in this tool for other industries, such as news rooms and brand monitoring groups.
In practice, SwiftRiver enables the filtering and verification of real-time data from channels such as Twitter, SMS, Email and RSS feeds. This free tool is especially useful for organizations who need to sort their data by authority and accuracy, as opposed to popularity. These organizations include the media, emergency response groups, election monitors and more. This might include journalists and other media institutions, emergency response groups, election monitors and more.”

The goals of the components in the Swiftriver platform are to:

  • To speed up the process of managing real-time data streams (email, web, sms, twitter)
  • To add elusive context (location, historical data) and history (reputation of sources) to online research
  • To offer a dashboard for monitoring multiple channels of information at once
  • To offer advanced aggregation and analytic tools on or offline
  • To give the user control over advance curation tools and filter

Just like Ushahidi has possible applications outside of humanitarian crisis situations, looking at that list above its pretty obvious that SwiftRiver could also have many useful applications in any situation where you are trying to manage a stream of social media information. Premium access is apparently coming soon. See the site for more information.