Thursday, August 23, 2012

LibreOffice Upgrades & First Patch, NX Replacement and Zimbra

No pretty screenshots this time around, but lots of news on projects. 


I installed LibreOffice 3.6.0 on the server and it didn't go perfectly.  There were some issues it seems with the registration of extensions.  I was able to get things working well to move it into production.  Last night I installed 3.6.1 RC1 which fixed some thing, but not all of them.  Everyone on the IRC is wonderful in this regard and we are working on resolution. We are certainly running well enough that the users are not seeing any of the behind the scenes issues.  Seems like it will need another patch or so before it's working as expected.  If you are working in a business environment, it might be best to wait another point release or so.  The diversity of user settings is always a challenge; the fact that your session is working doesn't always mean it will for everyone else.

I'm now officially a LibreOffice hacker.  This is especially interesting since I don't know C++.  There were a few strings on the new file picker that were inconsistent and not perfectly clear to end users for EN-US.  I downloaded the source and changed them and uploaded a patch and it's already been merged.

NX Replacement Software?

We're getting a lot of grief over the long delayed NX client for iPad and some of the architecture changes in the NX 4 client.  If anyone knows of an 'enterprise' product to allow for connections to Linux multi-user servers, drop me a comment please.  Requirements are 1) support contract available 2) enterprise authentication 3) Works over low bandwidth including EVDO 4) Mac, Linux, Windows & iPad clients.  We already know about VNC (too slow),    Our Director has requested that I spend time looking at options.

Zimba/Email Update

The office administrators have all been given user accounts to look over Zimbra as a replacement for Groupwise/Evolution.  Feedback is positive and we are awaiting a few more users to spend the time to review the features and functionality.   Every few years we have reviewed the features in web based email and calendaring systems in comparison to Groupwise and so far they have come up short.  Zimbra 8 appears like a great product.  Continued testing continues.

Other projects:  Looking at why some printers are US-Letter and others A4 in LibreOffice when cups is configured correctly.  This is a longstanding OpenOffice issue as well.  Watching the hurricane track in the Gulf of Mexico; IT staff has been working to prepare in case it affects us.  Working with Federico and Byren to work out details for SuseCon and OpenSuseCon.  It will be fun to meet everyone in person.


Anonymous said...

VMware WSX

Anonymous said...

Oracle SunRay + OVDC

Anonymous said...

pbrobinson said...

SPICE in an open source protocol for the same sort of thing. There's linux and windows clients (as well as thin clients from a couple of sources) as well as a browser plugin. Not sure about an iPad app as yet as I don't use iOS but it's an open protocol so I wouldn't be surprised if someone was doing one. It's also designed for low bandwidth too.

Olivier Sessink said...

Hi Dave,

we're also a current Nomachine user, and we are also looking for alternatives. We are currently testing a product called ThinLinc. I haven't tested it yet for extremely low bandwidth / high latency (such as satellite links), but for the general users that work from home it works as good as Nomachine. Authentication is also over ssh, like Nomachine, but it has more options such as smartcard logon and such.

Anonymous said...


Mike Gabriel said...

Hi Dave,

about the NX replacement...

have you every heard about X2Go? We currently do not have an iPAD client available, but a client for Linux, Mac, Windows is available.

X2Go server runs on Linux servers and provides terminal servers over the NX compression protocol. However, only the graphical compression of NX is used, for the rest X2Go has developed its own protocol/handshake.

Feel free to contact me:

mike dot gabriel at das-netzwerkteam dot de


Gian Filippo Pinzari said...

Hello Dave,

Speaking for NoMachine, I want to clarify that we perfectly understand why you are becoming impatient after having waited considerable time for the new NX 4. We understand also that this frustration is having repercussions on the choice of virtual desktop solution within many organizations. So, let us have our say.

1. We are late, we know. We are tremendously late and we understand that having to use a product that is 10 years old in many fundamental aspects is causing considerable inconvenience with a lot of our customers. But the problem is that, while defining our targets, we were faced with an option: do we release an intermediate product so that users have something more up-to-date, or do we go straight for what will be the new NoMachine? We couldn't take on both projects simultaneously and we opted for the latter: to go for what NoMachine will become. This has taken considerable effort from the company and from our developers, but I assure you that it has been worth it.

2. Let's consider version 3 for a moment. The product is good for what it is supposed to do, and still defends itself well in the current landscape of similar products. Yet it is a product that is geared towards the enterprise, with the result being that it is unusable in the consumer world. Now that Windows and Mac have become the first citizens of NoMachine's products, this situation has had to be addressed. This has meant further work, which we could have avoided had we aimed at just improving the current product.

3. Performance. We want something that isn't just better than before, but actually becomes the new benchmark for comparison, exactly what the first NoMachine product did, albeit limited to the Unix world, many years ago. Compared to the desktop environments in use in 2003, everything has changed, just like the way we use computers has evolved. This has required a swift acceleration in many areas of development activity, which we had initially thought of bringing forward at a later stage. We have had to make some radical decisions, but the objective, once again, is not just to make our thousands of customers happy. Our aim is to satisfy the millions of people that still have to discover us.

These choices have led to several risks, the most significant being that we have upset a number of our most loyal customers, but every time the alternative was to either do it now, or do it better, we chose to do it better. In a few weeks, we will know whether we were right.

A last word on the topic of platforms and supported devices. During the past few years of the making of NX 4 we have developed the software on every major operating system, on every major CPU architecture and on systems of any size. Today, our code base can truly run on anything which has a microprocessor. The interface has been designed to fit on a cellphone, as well on a 40-inch TV screen. If there still isn't a native version for iOS it is simply beacuse we haven't had time to do it.

Best regards,

Gian Filippo

Sarah Dryell said...

Oliver, I did pass you some packages for testing which included smartcard authentication earlier in the year so we could check that your requirements were satisfied. If you do have time to evaluate NoMachine 4, get in touch and I will send you the link again.


ingwa said...

Regarding replacement of NX, I don't think VNC is to slow. You just have to pick the right one. TigerVNC is actually very fast and has some very nice hardware-accelerated compression algorithms.

And I can agree that Cendio has a very nice solution. I have run ThinLinc a lot and I love it! Check it out.