LibreOffice controversy

Today, I read some article around LibreOffice 7.0 and the way it is presented. Basically, it says LibreOffice will be labelled personal edition, but nothing else will change.

This however is a major error. For years, I am advocating the use of LibreOffice in companies. Advocating this against MS Office is tough because most people are not IT people, and they are unable to make a proper judgement when it regards a choice in a domain that is not theirs.

With version 6, what are the pros and contras when comparing the two suites:

  • It is free, you do not have to crack it in order to use it (+).
  • There is no hassle activating. (+)
  • It is truly cross-platform. (+)
  • The user interface is different. (-)
  • The formatting is lost. Especially complex documents or presentations. (-)
  • The perceived functionality is less. (-)
  • Everyone else uses MS Office . If I make a document with LibreOffice, the other guys cannot open my document. (-)
  • There is no-one promoting it as all professionals make their living with something that is paid for, enabling them to hide their fees. (-)
  • What version to select? LibreOffice, OpenOffice, WPS Office, … and all the other variations. Opposed to that you select MS Office based on how much you are ready to pay now and in the future. (-)

As you can see, there are more arguments against LibreOffice as there are against MS Office. I admit, the reality is different, but I am talking about perceived reality.

Yet, now we will give another argument against LibreOffice. The version you get is not for the enterprise, only for the individual. How will we fight this if the distributor is working against us?

I herewith call the ones distributing LibreOffice to label the new version as follows:

Enterprise version with free community support. Personal use and distribution is free.

Recently, I came across a bug that a document I created could not be opened with an older version of LibreOffice. Seems the default file format version number has changed and the new format is not backwards compatible. The file correctly opened on LibreOffice when saving in .xlsx format however…. I believe there are some strange decisions taken that are wrongly communicated to the user base. If you are playing the underdog, you must be better and avoid these kind of issues. Why no say upon saving: save for all versions of LibreOffice or save for users of version x upwards, something in the style of .xls or .xlsx…

Observium installation on Debian 9 – adding devices fails

Installing fresh Observium (18.9.9420) (community version) on Debian 9 does not end up with a working installation.  (See Observium documentation)

Only one device is added, that cannot be viewed afterwards.

Possible solution: modify the database structure after installation and before adding your devices.

Start checking if the devices_id field has an auto-increment value set and is the primary key.

One can do so by issuing following commands:

mysql>show columns from devices from observium;

or alternatively:

mysql>show create table devices;

If the auto-increment value is missing, please add it:

mysql> use observium;

mysql> alter table devices change column device_id device_id int(11) not null auto_increment;

Easy fix, but takes some time to find out.

Some background information from the logs:

##### Software versions #####

o OS Linux 4.9.0-8-amd64 [amd64] (Debian 9.6)
o Apache 2.4.25
o PHP 7.0.33-0+deb9u1 (OPcache: DISABLED)
o Python 2.7.13
o MySQL 10.1.37-MariaDB-0+deb9u1 (extension: mysqli 5.0.12-dev)
o RRDtool 1.6.0
o Fping 3.15 (IPv4 and IPv6)

##### Memory Limit #####

o PHP Unlimited

##### MySQL mode #####


##### Charset info #####

o MySQL utf8

##### Timezones info #####

o Date Wednesday, 15-May-19 13:35:30 CAT
o PHP +02:00
o MySQL +02:00

After making the change, please check the auto_increment value is there.

show columns from devices from observium;


People have heard about sharepoint, some people have heard about exchange…. Not difficult to miss if you consider the marketing engine that is behind it. Microsoft is desperately trying to change its business model now that Linux has become an low-cost alternative for people that are not wanting to pay for something that should be free.

The idea behind sharepoint is to tie people into an eco-system that will generate a future-proof eco-system. It took linux years to become ready for the mass market. Now that it is, Windows is only there for specific needs or for the ignorant. The only way windows will survive in the future, is to make it free for the masses.

Now this takes away a revenue stream for Microsoft. So they positioned a new one. Sharepoint is there to surplant Exchange, and to make people dependent.

Here are a few alternatives that already exist on the market (Article on groupwares).

LDAP install guide CentOS

At first sight a good explanation on setting up an ldap on a CentOS machine.

First we start looking at a low profile CentOS machine to activate on my ESXi. Follow these steps:

1) Getting CentOS:

2) Preparing the ESXi instance:

3) Installing CentOS:

4) Installing LDAP:

5) Testing LDAP:
… to be done … I will update the article once finished.


Multiple web-sites behind a single IP

In order to install multiple web-sites with the same IP, the web-sites have to be identified by DNS name. Secondly, one will want to have a different installation of apache for each of the individual web-sites.

I configured a set-up where I have a single forwarding proxy, and all different vm’s with individual web-services. With Apache 2.2, the config is as follows.

The firewall has a public ip, and is forwarding all requests on port 80 and port 443 to the private proxy. The proxy server has a private ip (e.g. and is forwarding all requests to individual servers. I will present 2, but you can repeat as much as you want. The private servers are on and up….

Activate your proxy includes by creating a symbolic link:
su root
cd /etc/apache2/mods-enabled
ln -s ../mods-available/proxy.load proxy.load
ln -s ../mods-available/proxy_http.load proxy_http.load

Edit /etc/apache2/httpd.conf and add following sections:
UseCanonicalName On

ProxyPreserveHost On
ProxyPass /
ProxyPassReverse /

ProxyPreserveHost On
ProxyPass /
ProxyPassReverse /

… that is it… simple once you know but it took me a lot of time to find it out.


How to install redmine on a Mac: