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Microsoft Office apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. are loaded with features; but, practically getting used to all of them would take weeks of training. Then there’s one feature that most of us aren’t a fan of – The Price Tag. Having said that, trying Microsoft Office alternatives is surely the easy way out. Well, today there are many such alternatives available, but Apache OpenOffice is the first legitimate free contender to Microsoft Office and a worth trying option.

Apache OpenOffice – Free Open-Source Office Software

Apache OpenOffice is one of the leading open-source office productivity software for word processing. The major components of this software include:

Writer: A word processor like Microsoft Word and WordPerfect.

Impress: A presentation program like Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote.

Draw: A vector graphics editor analogous in features to the drawing functions in Microsoft Office.

Math: A tool for creating and editing mathematical formulae, comparable to Microsoft Equation Editor or MathType

Base: A database management program comparable to Microsoft Access.

Apache OpenOffice is available in diverse languages and works well on all common computer systems. It is primarily developed for Windows, Linux, and macOS with ports to other operating systems. The default file format for this software is the OpenDocument Format (ODF), an ISO/IEC standard. However, it can also read and write an extensive variety of other file formats, with specific attention to those from Microsoft Office (i.e. DOCX, XLS, PPT, and XML). The software can be downloaded and used for any purpose and yes, it’s Free of Charge.

Note – Apache OpenOffice cannot save Microsoft’s post-2007 Office Open XML formats, but only import them.

Features of Apache OpenOffice

We will discuss the following areas of Apache OpenOffice:

Interface

OpenOffice Writer (Text Document)

OpenOffice Impress (Presentation)

OpenOffice Draw (Drawing)

OpenOffice Base (Database)

OpenOffice Math (Formula)

Here is a detailed description of each of these features:

1] Interface

Each of the applications appears the same as its counterpart programs in Office. If you are a fan of the static menu on Office, you will be pleased to see the File, Edit, View, Insert, Format, Table, Tools, Window and Help across the top of your document again.

2] OpenOffice Writer (Text Document)

A modern word processing application that aims at simplifying the writing of documents like books, letters, agendas, and faxes. One of the most interesting parts of this application is the “Wizards”. These wizards guide the users throughout as they work on documents; these are a great help as it allows the users to handle conveniently even the most complex writing task.

Writer includes styles, themes, clipart gallery, navigator and formatting features which allows the users to customize the overall appearance of the document. But it could be challenging if your ideas demand wrapping text above, around or below images. In addition to this, the tool can generate table of contents, tables, illustrations, biographical references, and other similar objects which enhance the look of the document and make a long and complex document digestible.

Another handy feature of Writer is “Word-Autocomplete”. As a user types words and phrases, the application suggests common words/phrases and automatically completes when one hits “Enter”. The tool also identifies and fixes instantly any typing mistake or misspelled word.

4] OpenOffice Impress (Presentation)

Meetings = Presentations and Presentations = PowerPoint. OpenOffice’s Impress is a dedicated tool that allows you to create impressive presentations, and enhance them with 2D and 3D clip arts, special effects, and animations. The toolbar and the sidebar of Impress appear notable with everything appearing clean with Properties, Navigator, Gallery, Styles and Formatting, Slide Transitions, Animation, and Master Pages buttons.

5] OpenOffice Draw (Drawing)

Draw is a separate tool that focuses on creating technical or general posters and has all the tools for a page-oriented drawing program. This application offers hundreds of backgrounds, clip arts, symbols, and shapes. This application is great for creating flowcharts, organizational charts, and network diagrams. With so many tools at disposal, Draw lets you be as creative as possible.

6] OpenOffice Base (Database)

To use this fully featured desktop database management system you would need to ensure that you have a 32-bit JRE loaded. OpenOffice Base supports multiple database engines, like MySQL, MS Access and PostgreSQL. The most interesting thing about this application is that it integrates well with other Apache OpenOffice tools, like Writer and Calc.

7] OpenOffice Math (Formula)

While the name “Math” or “Formula” might sound like this app might be the master program for calculations. Sadly, all it does is simplify the process of writing equations. There’s an interesting pop-up “Elements” window that allows adding odd math syntax into the text box at the bottom of the window. And yes, whatever equation you form can be inserted into any Apache OpenOffice application.

Also read: How to customize Keyboard Shortcuts in OpenOffice programs.

You're reading Apache Openoffice: The Free Open

Libreoffice Vs. Openoffice: Making The Write Choice

Anyone who’s been following all the drama and intrigue of office suite software development news for the past several years will know that LibreOffice has basically risen from the ashes of OpenOffice, as developers from the latter decided to go off to start their own project (while using the open-source code from the work they’d done on OpenOffice up to that point).

For a while it looked like OpenOffice was doomed, with Apache announcing that their development team was dwindling and unable to keep up with updates addressing everything from UI improvements to security vulnerabilities.

But after record-low download numbers in 2023, OpenOffice seems to have bounced back a bit, with a big update triggering people to take an interest again. In this article we compare the two Office suites to figure out which one wins.

Community/Support

Open-source software like LibreOffice is defined by its community. LibreOffice has an active subreddit page, as well as a constantly monitored Ask page. There’s a whole Wiki site dedicated to the latest updates and changes to the software, and comprehensive guides for every single major update released for LibreOffice.

Despite being largely discontinued, you can still find support for OpenOffice if you look in the right places. The OpenOffice subreddit is pretty barren, but you’re likely to find answers to your questions on the official OpenOffice forum, which remains active. Beyond that, many of the other support sources – like 8daysaweek and the unofficial OpenOffice forum have closed down due to inactivity.

So perhaps there’s no surprises here, but with LibreOffice you’re much more likely to find the help you need.

Compatibility

One of the first things you probably want to know about LibreOffice and OpenOffice is which one will most readily handly your existing files, which may be in all kinds of formats ranging from Microsoft’s proprietary formats to more obscure ones like WordPerfect’s “.wp” extensions.

Both OpenOffice and LibreOffice are capable of opening a huge range of file formats, though OpenOffice is in fact capable of opening documents in a wider range of formats than LibreOffice (103 to LibreOffice’s 73).

But there is a catch. Just because these suites can open a certain file format doesn’t mean they can save in that file format. When it comes to what file formats you can save in, LibreOffice is decidedly more modern, most notably being capable saving files in Microsoft’s latest range of proprietary formats (.docx, .xlsx and so on).

So OpenOffice may win in pure quantity of compatible formats, but LibreOffice arguably outdoes it by letting you save in the biggest formats out there.

Features

OpenOffice launches with a sidebar for various font and paragraph options, which is theoretically useful, except that many of the options are just repeats of what’s already in the toolbar across the top of the window. You can enable this sidebar in LibreOffice as well, but I think it’s a little superfluous.

Font embedding is a nice addition in LibreOffice, too, which ensures that whatever fonts you use in your document get displayed correctly in other word processing software that opens the document. On a related note, LibreOffice allows you to save in the .docx format, while OpenOffice doesn’t. (Both let you save in the OpenDocument format and most of Microsoft’s proprietary formats.)

Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice use open-source document formats and have exactly the same programs with exactly the same names contained therein. Namely:

Writer – word processing software

Impress – Presentation software (Microsoft Powerpoint)

Draw – A vector program (decent alternative to Microsoft Visio)

Math – Mathematical formula software

Base – Database management software (Microsoft Access equivalent)

In short, they look very similar, but LibreOffice has more quality-of-life features resulting from more consistent development of the software.

Tip: Use these OpenOffice tips and tricks to improve your productivity.

Security and Stability

LibreOffice gets updated much more than OpenOffice, thanks to a bigger team and more resources. A factor in this could also be that there’s a license in place, and that means the LibreOffice lot can help themselves to the code from OpenOffice but not the other way round.

The rarity of updates with OpenOffice also means they’re not quite as on the ball in terms of security, and the team often take a long time to address the latest security vulnerabilities and bugs. A major bug in the macOS version that causes crashes when making diagrams in Calc is yet to be fixed, while Apache seems to be constantly scrambling to iron out security issues.

OpenOffice is hanging in there, but you get the sense that it’s struggling to keep its head above the water.

Conclusion

This post was first published in Feb 2023 and was updated in September 2023.

Robert Zak

Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.

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Optimizing Apache Performance – Part 1

Apache is an open-source web server implementation, and it is the most popular web server all over the world. Almost 70% of the web servers on the Internet are using Apache. While we can improve Apache server performance by adding additional hardware like RAM, CPU, etc., we can achieve the same result by customizing Apache configuration as well.

This post explains how to improve Apache performance without adding additional hardware resources to your system.

Note: this guide is done on an Ubuntu 14.04 server 14.04.

MaxKeepAliveRequests

MaxKeepAliveRequests limits the number of requests allowed per connection. It is used to control persistent connections. In Ubuntu, the default value of MaxKeepAliveRequests is 100. You can change it to any value you desire. The recommended value of MaxKeepAliveRequests is between 50 and 75.

You can change this value by editing the Apache configuration file.

sudo

nano

/

etc

/

apache2

/

apache2.conf

Change the value from 100 to 60.

MaxKeepAliveRequests

60

Save the file and restart Apache.

sudo

/

etc

/

init.d

/

apache2 restart KeepAliveTimeout

KeepAliveTimeout defines how long the server waits for the new request from connected clients. Setting KeepAliveTimeout to a high value may cause performance issues in a heavily loaded web server. In Ubuntu, the default value of KeepAliveTimeout is 15. The recommended value of KeepAliveTimeout is between 1 and 5.

You can change this value by editing the Apache configuration file.

sudo

nano

/

etc

/

apache2

/

apache2.conf

Change the value from 15 to 3.

KeepAliveTimeout

3

Save the file and restart Apache.

MaxClients

It sets the limit on the number of simultaneous connections that will be served. Every new connection request will be queued up after this limit. Once a process is freed, then the queued connection will be served. In Ubuntu, the default MaxClients value is 250. It is recommended to keep this value at 150.

You can change this value by editing the “mpm_prefork.conf” file.

sudo

nano

/

etc

/

apache2

/

mods-available

/

mpm_prefork.conf

Change the value from 250 to 150.

MaxClients

150

Save the file and restart Apache.

MaxConnectionsPerChild

It is used to recycle processes. When this limit is set to 0, an unlimited amount of requests are allowed per process. MaxConnectionsPerChild sets the limit on the number of requests that an individual child process will handle. After it reaches the specified limit, the child process will die. In Ubuntu, the default MaxConnectionsPerChild value is 100.

The recommended values for this setting are:

virtualized server 300

server with 1-4GB RAM 500

server with 4+GB RAM 1000

You can change this value by editing the “mpm_prefork.conf” file.

sudo

nano

/

etc

/

apache2

/

mods-available

/

mpm_prefork.conf

Change the value from 100 to 300.

MaxConnectionsPerChild

300

Save the file and restart Apache.

KeepAlive

By default, this setting is set to On in Ubuntu. When the Apache server is getting requests from hundreds and thousands of IPs at once, then this setting should be Off. It is recommended to disable this setting to increase connection throughput.

You can disable this setting by editing the Apache configuration file.

sudo

nano

/

etc

/

apache2

/

apache2.conf

Change the value from On to Off.

KeepAlive Off

Save the file and restart Apache.

MinSpareServers and MaxSpareServers

It sets the desired minimum and maximum number of idle child server processes. It controls how many unused child-processes Apache will keep alive while waiting for more requests to put them to use. Each child-process consumes resources, so if you set the MaxSpareServers value too high, then it can cause resource problems.

The recommended values for MinSpareServers are:

virtualized server 5

server with 1-2GB RAM 10

server with 2-4GB RAM 20

server with 4+ GB RAM 25

The recommended values for the MaxSpareServers value should be set as double that of MinSpareServers.

You can change the MinSpareServers value to 5 and the MaxSpareServers value to 10 by editing the “mpm_prefork.conf” file.

sudo

nano

/

etc

/

apache2

/

mods-available

/

mpm_prefork.conf MinSpareServers

5

MaxSpareServers

10

Save the file and restart Apache.

Conclusion

Hitesh Jethva

Over 5 years of experience as IT system administrator for IT company in India. My skills include a deep knowledge of Rehat/Centos, Ubuntu nginx and Apache, Mysql, Subversion, Linux, Ubuntu, web hosting, web server, squied proxy, NFS, FTP, DNS, Samba, ldap, Openvpn, Haproxy, Amazon web services, WHMCS, Openstack Cloud, Postfix Mail Server, Security etc.

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Is Open Source The Answer To Software Piracy?

Ever since the dawn of commercial software, piracy has been a problem without a realistic solution that meets the needs of both the software vendor and the end user. From serial keys to outright DRM (digital rights management) schemes, the software industry has left no preventive measure untried.

Some software companies by contrast, have opted to step out of the DRM minefield altogether as it was a perceived irritation to their customers.

Open source is easiest when it starts out that way.

It would be naive to believe that moving from a closed source business model to that of the open source variety is a good fit for all software companies. This is simply wishful thinking. It is generally more effective when a software project starts off with open source code from day one.

Two of the biggest reasons include:

• Development teams are already used to sharing ideas and working with open source code.

• Switching licensing gears midstream can be a little bumpy on the revenue front without one fantastic open source model in your business plan.

At the same time, a closed source company can indeed make the change with a strong model in place as to how they will keep from losing their customers and, in the process, the bottom line. Unfortunately, this presents a risk that can be difficult to calculate with any expected accuracy.

This brings us back to square one – the closed source software will still be pirated and the companies creating this software are not finding a lot of success battling this.

Before going on, however, I think it might be helpful to fully understand why this software is being pirated in the first place. After all, in many cases there are otherwise viable open source alternatives that meet the needs of thousands of users everyday. So what is the hang-up with its adoption in place of proprietary software piracy?

Fundamental software differences.

Products like Open Office, Scribus and GIMP have long since been trumpeted as a piracy alternative to those who prefer to steal a copy of MS Office, MS Publisher and Adobe Photoshop over Peer-2-Peer networks.

While these notable open source applications have certainly provided value to those honest enough to use legal alternatives to piracy, there is a bias against these applications as being “true replacements” over their closed source counterparts. Here are some examples.

Open Office vs. MS Office.

Perhaps the best example of end users opting for a commercial application over the open source alternative has to be Open Office vs. MS Office. Despite there being little difference with regard to functionality, the core reasons I hear for selecting the expensive closed source alternative are as follows:

• Familiarity. I use Open Office everyday. Then again, I am used to its layout. For someone migrating, there is a small, but real, learning curve; the user interface is different. Some people would rather avoid this altogether. What is amusing about this is how the user believes Word 2003 has less of a learning curve than Open Office. One has managed to maintain a closer resemblance to older versions of the Microsoft word processor than the other. And best part is, it is not Word 2003.

• Java is used with Open Office. Many Windows users feel that Java is simply too bloated and slow to be used for daily use.

• Charts do not always convert well with Open Office’s Calc application.

How To Install Pagespeed Module For Apache In Ubuntu Server

There are many factors that can affect the speed of a website, and one of them is the server performance – how fast the server can render the web page and serve it to the browser. While there are many ways to improve the speed of a WordPress site, there are also server tools that can optimize the performance of a server. PageSpeed Module for Apache is one of them.

The PageSpeed module is a module for the Apache web server to optimise web pages, improve performance and apply output filters.

Features

Some of the main features of the PageSpeed module include decreasing load time, the amount of requests and payload size. You can use up to 44 filters to optimize your webpage. Here is what the PageSpeed Module can do:

Combine Javascript and CSS. One of the main things that the PageSpeed Module does is combine the Javascript and CSS to fewer files, thus reducing resources requests made to the server.

The above is minified to make this:

The above two files both do the same job, but the second one is smaller in size, hence translates to a fast load time of the site.

Javascript Deferred Loading. The loading of Javascript file will be delayed until the web page is loaded. This will make sure that your visitor will see the content first as soon as possible. Do take note that this feature might break your site, depending on the functionality of the Javascript code. When activating this feature, first test your website before making it live.

The Pagespeed module comes with a number of rules that it uses to compress and optimize images to reduce the website’s load time. The rules include responsive images, lazyload images and Inline preview which shows a low quality of images.

Installation

The following commands install the PageSpeed module in Ubuntu. Do note that this is for Apache, which mean your server need to be running Apache. If you are using Nginx, you have to build from source.

If you are using a 32-bit OS, run this command:

The above commands download the package. These commands unpack and install it.

sudo

dpkg

-i

mod-pagespeed-

*

.deb

sudo

apt-get

-f

install

Installing PageSpeed adds Google’s repository to the system, so it will auto-update itself on every system update. We can verify the installation by running the command below and you will get the output shown:

Configuration

The configuration file is stored at the “/etc/apache2/mods-available/” directory. When installing PageSpeed, the module is automatically enabled as well as the “mod_deflate” which is a module for gzip compression.

To turn the PageSpeed module on and off, edit the configuration file using your favorite text editor.

sudo

nano

/

etc

/

apache2

/

mod-available

/

pagespeed.conf

Opening the file, you can see that “ModPagespeed” is set to “on” by default. Changing this to “off” will disable the Pagespeed module.

While PageSpeed is optimizing a website, it generates some resources that are stored in a directory called “pagespeed_static”. To change this directory, edit the configuration file and add this line:

ModPagespeedStaticAssetPrefix

/

custom

/

static

/

directory Usage

The PageSpeed module gives a browser interface to view the statistics of its output. To access the browser interface on a public IP, you will need to edit the following lines in the configuration file:

Below the Allow from 127.0.0.1 line, add a similar line with your public address in place of the localhost address, something like:

Allow

from

192

.xxxxxx

Replace “192.xxxxxx” with your public IP address.

You can now restart Apache and visit that address. You will see an output that looks similar to this;

Conclusion

The PageSpeed Module provides a good way for a webmaster to optimize the server performance without having to do a lot of tweaking. It can be easily installed and work out of the box. A little note though, when enabling its filters, it is best to test it on a test server and see if it works first before making it live.

Jackson Mwendwa

I am an intelligent and presentable individual with a degree in Computer Science and over four years experience in Management, Software Development, Information Technology Support and Tech article/tutorial writing. I possess a fresh, modern approach to the industry, employing creative and enthusiastic methods to problem-solving and would like to realize my full potential through practice, effectiveness, and innovation.

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Data Engineering For Beginners – Partitioning Vs Bucketing In Apache Hive

Overview

Understand the meaning of partitioning and bucketing in the Hive in detail.

We will see, how to create partitions and buckets in the Hive

Introduction

You might have seen an encyclopedia in your school or college library. It is a set of books that will give you information about almost anything. Do you know what is the best thing about the encyclopedia?

Yes, you guessed it correctly. The words are arranged alphabetically.  For example, you have a word in mind  “Pyramids”. You will directly go and pick up the book with the title “P”. You don’t have to search that in other books. Can you imagine how tough would the task be to search for a single book if they were stored without any order?

Here storing the words alphabetically represents indexing, but using a different location for the words that start from the same character is known as bucketing.

Similar kinds of storage techniques like partitioning and bucketing are there in Apache Hive so that we can get faster results for the search queries. In this article, we will see what is partitioning and bucketing, and when to use which one?

Table of Contents

What is Partitioning?

When to use Partitioning?

What is Bucketing?

When to use Bucketing?

What is Partitioning?

Apache Hive allows us to organize the table into multiple partitions where we can group the same kind of data together. It is used for distributing the load horizontally. Let’s understand it with an example:

Suppose we have to create a table in the hive which contains the product details for a fashion e-commerce company. It has the following columns:

Now, the first filter that most of the customer uses is Gender then they select categories like Shirt, its size, and color. Let’s see how to create the partitions for this example.

CREATE TABLE products ( product_id string, brand string, size string, discount float, price float ) PARTITIONED BY (gender string, category string, color string);

Now, the hive will store the data in the directory structure like:

/user/hive/warehouse/mytable/gender=male/category=shoes/color=black

Partitioning the data gives us performance benefits and also helps us in organizing the data. Now, let’s see when to use the partitioning in the hive.

When to use Partitioning?

When the column with a high search query has low cardinality. For example, if you create a partition by the country name then a maximum of 195 partitions will be made and these number of directories are manageable by the hive.

On the other hand, do not create partitions on the columns with very high cardinality. For example- product IDs, timestamp, and price because will create millions of directories which will be impossible for the hive to manage.

It is effective when the data volume in each partition is not very high. For example, if you have the airline data and you want to calculate the total number of flights in a day. In that case, the result will take more time to calculate over the partition “Dubai” as it has one of the busiest airports in the world whereas for the country like “Albania” will return results quicker.

What is Bucketing?

In the above example, we know that we cannot create a partition over the column price because its data type is float and there is an infinite number of unique prices are possible.

Hive will have to generate a separate directory for each of the unique prices and it would be very difficult for the hive to manage these. Instead of this, we can manually define the number of buckets we want for such columns.

In bucketing, the partitions can be subdivided into buckets based on the hash function of a column. It gives extra structure to the data which can be used for more efficient queries.

CREATE TABLE products ( product_id string, brand string, size string, discount float, price float ) PARTITIONED BY (gender string, category string, color string) CLUSTERED BY (price) INTO 50 BUCKETS;

Now, only 50 buckets will be created no matter how many unique values are there in the price column. For example, in the first bucket, all the products with a price [ 0 – 500 ] will go, and in the next bucket products with a price [ 500 – 200 ] and so on.

When to use Bucketing?

We cannot do partitioning on a column with very high cardinality. Too many partitions will result in multiple Hadoop files which will increase the load on the same node as it has to carry the metadata of each of the partitions.

If some map-side joins are involved in your queries, then bucketed tables are a good option. Map side join is a process where two tables are joins using the map function only without any reduced function. I would recommed you to go through this article for more understanding about map-side joins: Map Side Joins in Hive

End Notes

In this article, we have seen what is partitioning and bucketing, how to create them, and are pros and cons of them.

I would highly recommend you go through the following resources to learn more about Apache Hive:

Related

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