A dollar per month contribution, and why LibreOffice needs it

By Eric Bright

We need your help here at The Document Foundation. LibreOffice needs your support. In this article, I am going to ask you for help. I am going to ask you for a commitment to a monthly donation to The Document Foundation.

If I am successful, at the end you will be convinced as to why LibreOffice needs your help, why even a small donation will help, and why a monthly contribution, even if small, makes a huge difference compared to a larger, one-time donation. Here is the story!

Costs! The old, ugly, familiar costs!

If I ask you to donate $1 CAD to The Document Foundation, you might ask yourself, “What? $1? What is that supposed to achieve? Are you kidding me?” read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2020) A dollar per month contribution, and why LibreOffice needs it. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2020/09/a-dollar-per-month-contribution-and-why-libreoffice-needs-it/

I don’t “need” LibreOffice

By Eric Bright

I don’t need LibreOffice. I WANT LibreOffice.

I am not exactly sure if anyone really “needs” LibreOffice as a product. LO is more an idea, an ideal, than it is a product. For one thing we have had exactly zero customer since the time of OpenOffice all the way to today.

No one needs LO. I am almost sure about it. I, as one, already have MS Office 365 down my throat by virtue of teaching at a college here in Toronto, Ontario. I don’t “need” to use LO.

If you don’t have a ton of money to pay for an MS Office license fee, then you have many other options: read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2020) I don’t “need” LibreOffice. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2020/09/i-dont-need-libreoffice/

LibreOffice – Designed by Committee

By Eric Bright

Tree Swing graphic by S Hogh 1993
Designed by Committee

Update 3 2020-10-10: 1- Typo corrected (thank you einpoklum for pointing that out) Update 2 2020-09-07: I stand corrected: 1- “ungraceful,” I am told I was, not “ungrateful” 2- The LO forked happened before AOO. That is true. Duly noted and corrected 3- There were many more reasons that lead to the eventual LO fork. Absolutely true Update 1 2020-09-07: I was informed by people involved with TDF that: 1- LO is based on “an extremely old, complex C++ codebase full of legacy stuff” [I knew that] 2- I was blaming the programmers for the issues the code has [not true. Read the post again] 3- I was being “ungrateful” [not true. Read the post again] 4- The LO does have some serious issues [🤷🏽‍♂️] 5- The contributors have been trying to help and fix them [absolutely true] 6- I am “blaming developers for not doing more” and hence am getting in the way of those who are trying to help [really? 🤨] 7- I “mis-informed” my friend from whom I asked for insights [read the post and see if that is true] 8- I am advocating for more “committee” to fix the problem of something being “designed by a committee.” [conflating concepts, sarcastic, a red-herring/straw-man cocktail, playing with words. Read the ... 🤦🏽‍♂️] What a wild-goose chase! This is exactly how the AOO’s BoD were reacting to all criticisms back in the days. I came to the same conclusion as those critics of AOO once did: There is no point in all these, since history repeats itself. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2020) LibreOffice – Designed by Committee. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2020/09/libreoffice-designed-by-committee/

The Internet’s Own Boy

The Internet’s Own Boy follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.” read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2020) The Internet’s Own Boy. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2020/07/the-internets-own-boy/

The fallacy of Backward Probability Calculation

Picture of Heath Ledger playing as the Joker character in The Dark Knight (2008) movie. He is holding a Joker card in his right hand while looking into the camera with a red smile carved on his face as in the movie.

By Eric Bright

Here is a simple puzzle for you with deep implications.

I have a deck of Bicycle cards with 52 cards plus two 🃏 Jokers (a black and white and a coloured one), as well as one Bicycle 🚲 introduction card, and an advertising card (56 cards in total).

I have been shuffling them for the past two months or so. Today, I got the following sequence of cards:

K♥, 5♠, 6♦, 5♥, 8♠, 7♦, K♣, 8♣, A♠, 4♥, 2♥, J♥, 8♦, 🃏C, 3♠, Q♦, 🃏B&W, A♥, 5♦, A♦, 9♠, Q♣, 2♣, 10♣, 3♦, K♠, J♦, 7♥, 🚲-ad., 9♦, 7♣, A♣, 3♥, J♣, 8♥, 4♣, 3♣, 4♦, 2♠, 10♠, 🚲-intro, Q♠, 9♣, 6♣, 10♥, 7♠, J♠, 4♠, 6♠, 5♣, 6♥, 10♦, 9♥, Q♥, K♦, 2♦. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2018) The fallacy of Backward Probability Calculation. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2018/12/the-fallacy-of-backward-probability-calculation/

The sky will fall if you keep religion out of philosophy. Seriously!

By Eric Bright

When I suggested that we ought to keep philosophy and philosophy communities and forums clear of religious discussions, I was greeted by comments similar to the following comment.

Kierkegaard is often considered to be a “Christian Existentialist.” How is one to discuss Kierkegaard without drawing on Christianity? One of his most famous books (Fear and Trembling) is about Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son Isaac. How can ‘Fear and Trembling’ be discussed without “appealing to religion to prove a point” [he’s citing me saying that somewhere else]? read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2018) The sky will fall if you keep religion out of philosophy. Seriously!. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2018/11/the-sky-will-fall-if-you-keep-religion-out-of-philosophy-seriously/

What should companies and governments migrating to LibreOffice do to succeed, but don’t?

By Eric Bright

Official LibreOffice Colour Logo Contemporary

For the ecosystem of LibreOffice and its related software to show its true potentials, they need to be supported by volunteers, users, companies, and governments that make the choice to move away from lock-in models to an open source model.

Most companies and governments do not support such projects, or any open source project for that matter. In not doing so, they almost guarantee their trip through the road they have chosen will be bumpy.

The strategy to support an open source project such as LibreOffice is a no-brainer, and yet not followed by most who benefit from that project. When you look at the millions that most large companies will save in licensing fees when they migrate to LibreOffice, no other option can meaningfully be justified. Of course, there is a cost to the migration and the maintenance of any software framework. Nevertheless, the cost to do it is dwarfed by the associated cost of acquiring and deploying a proprietary software, assuming the ongoing maintenance cost for any software would eventually average out to a similar number.

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2018) What should companies and governments migrating to LibreOffice do to succeed, but don’t?. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2018/08/what-should-companies-and-governments-migrating-to-libreoffice-do-to-succeed-but-dont/

How to make better arguments in philosophy

By Eric Bright

Two birds screaming at each other as if they are arguing.

I cannot remember reading any serious philosophy article or book, either by authors of antiquity or contemporary writers, in which the author engages in a fist-fight. I frequently see such fist-fights in some on-line philosophy communities. One reason might be because there is usually a monologue in those texts and no opponent’s voice can be heard. Yet, Plato’s dialogues do not suggest too many fist-fights between their participants either.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ~Aristotle read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2018) How to make better arguments in philosophy. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2018/02/how-to-make-better-arguments-in-philosophy/

Scribus is finally usable

By Eric Bright

The DEV version

Scribus icon

UPDATE 2018-07-07: Updated the URL to the portable version.
UPDATE 2018-02-20: Listed the latest test version.

You need to give Scribus 1.5.4-test, i.e. the development version, a try. It is a totally different beast now.

I always used to test the 1.4.x branch now and then, and it was a GUI disaster. Today, I stumbled upon the 1.5.4-test version and got the portable copy of it from here:


Holy smoke! It is usable! It is usable! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Almost all of my complaints about the 1.4.x branch was totally addressed and some. I might actually switch from InDesign to Scribus after all. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2018) Scribus is finally usable. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2018/01/scribus-is-finally-usable/

Is it possible to prove a negative?

there does not exists symbol
there does not exists symbol

Note: words in italic are technical terms with clear definitions in logic, which I’m going to omit explaining. Words in bold are substitutes for logical symbols with clear definitions and functions, which I’m going to omit explaining.

There are different kinds of impossibilities. One is physical. Another one is logical. Logical impossibilities are impossible, no matter what, no matter where, no matter the circumstances, no matter the universe, no matter the laws of nature, and no matter anything else. They are impossible and that’s the end of story. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2017) Is it possible to prove a negative?. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2017/12/is-it-possible-to-prove-a-negative/

What is the point of engaging in a philosophical dialogue?

By Eric Bright

My answer to the question that, ‘What is the point of engaging in a philosophical conversation?’ has always been “None!” At least to me. Most questions that make any difference to me are asked outside of philosophy, mostly in different sciences that, themselves, are born out of philosophy.

Given that, I have always been curious as for why people ask questions in a philosophy community. What do you want to know?

If it matters, it is most probably being investigated in sciences. If it is not, it most probably does not matter. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2015) What is the point of engaging in a philosophical dialogue?. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2015/04/what-is-the-point-of-engaging-in-a-philosophical-dialogue/

“I am going to follow my heart for a change.”

By Eric Bright

A red heart emoji.

Recently, a friend of mine wrote me this:

[…] My entire life and work has been based on logic, analysis and systems.  Everything was centered around processes in my head.  Got me and the World nowhere. For the last part of my journey I am going to follow my heart for a change and see what happens. […] Scientific belief is a nice crutch to hang on to but […].

Based on what he said, let us do a little thought experiment

Here is Mr. Johns (an imaginary character of course). He recently realized something interesting and said: read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2015) “I am going to follow my heart for a change.”. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2015/01/i-am-going-to-follow-my-heart-for-a-change/