Since the end of September 2010, a group of German OpenOffice volunteers left definitively the project to join the The Document Foundation and develop a fork version of the famous free productivity platform now controlled by Oracle. After just few months we have LibreOffice: a (more or less) new cross-platform productivity software based on OpenOffice version 3.3 beta. We compared both the free suites and apparently we did not notice particular differences in features and tools. Also the graphic interface is similar between the two platforms and the buttons position is the same. At the moment LibreOffice supports less languages in its Linux and MAC OS X versions and it is not compatible with Solaris based PCs. Both the productivity platforms are able to use the OpenOffice extension library. Consequently, it is clear that it’s too early to notice relevant technical differences between the two competitors but, for sure, something will show off in the next versions. In fact LibreOffice has been created to guarantee a vendor independent office suite which can be developed with no copyright software chunks. The goal is prestigious and we can only say, Good Luck LibreOffice!
This week, on our Freeware Page , we have posted a brief review about Google Gears which allows you to keep, for example, your Gmail and Google Docs perfectly safe and synchronized with your computer. Google Gears does not add any new features if you think about what Thunderbird or Sunbird (now also known as Lightning) offer. On the other hand, Google Gears is very useful if we think it is very easy to setup and allows you to directly manage offline your email, documents and calendar without using other email applications. In the post we fastly show how to install Gears on your browser and how to start to use it. When you activate Google Gears a pop-up windows will remind you that this particular feature is totally experimental and you use it on your own risk but for our personal experience Google Gears works very well, in particular we really appreciated its Flaky option which allows you to synchronize your datas without “burning” too much band. When you are on a public PC you can also click on – load with offline disabled – button (on the below right corner) soon after the login window. Interesting!!
GSmartControl is a multiplatform (Windows, OS X, Linux) freeware drive health inspection tool which is very useful in all that case when you think something is not working perfectly on your HD. Today, in our Linux Page (in Spanish) we have posted a brief comment about this software which basically is the graphical user interface for smartct. The program is very intuitive and easy to use; it automatically detects all your internal HDs (with some external USB disks we had some problems because they were detected as unknown) and let you decide if you want to activate the SMART feature. This particular feature let you “predict certain kinds of failures with certain chance of success” so you have a better chance to avoid HD crashes and all the consequent data loss. If you prefer, clicking on the “Enable Auto Offline Data Collection” the HDs will be tested every four hours without impacting your CPU performance. I would like to focus your attention that GSmartControl is very well developed and it is possible to download many “personalized” versions for all the main Linux distributions, OS X and Windows. Last but not least, do not forget that SMART could predict some HD crashes but it is not 100% safe; for this reason we strongly recommend you to backup your PCs, at least every week!
This week, in our Linux Page (in Spanish) we have posted a brief post about Instantbird which could be actually considered as the most complete and flexible software to manage all your instant messenger client you normally use (IRC, ICQ, AIM, SIMPLE, SILC, YAHOO, MySpaceIM, XMPP, Sametime, Google, etc..). Moreover Instantbird is completely free, open source and cross platform so you can use it on every PC you have (also at work). We have tested Istantbird for a couple of weeks, without stressing it too much, and we really did not find any bugs so we are really satisfied from the results. Frankly speaking, this software does not contain any “revolutionary” new feature but it can be considered as the state of the art software in its category; something everyone has to benchmark if he (or she) is planning to develop a new instant messaging client! Recommended!