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10,000 Linux Desktops at India’s Canara Bank

October 30th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

The Sydney Morning Herald reports, in “Red Hat clinches big Indian bank deal,” that “Red Hat India has signed a deal with one of India’s top five banks to provide its enterprise Linux software for 10,000 desktops and 1000 servers, a company executive said today.”

“The software has so far been deployed at 600 of Canara Bank’s more than 2500 branches, Javed Tapia, director, Red Hat India, said.”

Efforts over the past few years are beginning to pay off in large deployments such as this one. And, these deployments are happening before they are reported widely in the press; meaning they are not mere bargaining positions to extract a better price from Microsoft.

Mambo, Lenya, and Plone CMS: a Comparison

October 29th, 2005 Benjamin Horst published an interesting article comparing three open source CMS tools. Plone and Mambo are both CMSes that I have been following and learning for a while now, while Lenya is entirely new to me.

“Everybody’s Guide to OpenDocument”

October 28th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Marco Fioretti, in Linux Journal, publishes a handy guide titled, “Everybody’s Guide to OpenDocument.”

The article discusses the impact in the media of Massachusetts’ decision to adopt OpenDocument, and dispels the misinformation spread by press releases (and propagated by some journalists) that can mostly be traced back to a jealous and powerful competitor’s agents.

It is targeted at a less technically-savvy audience, and therefore adds a new perspective on the relevant issues. Good to keep in the information arsenal.

OpenOffice Downloads Approach 50 Million

October 27th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

ZDNet UK reports that downloads of OpenOffice from the project website have reached the 50-million mark. Considering that many of its users acquire OpenOffice from other sources (Linux distros, other download sites, burned CDs, peer-to-peer, etc.), we can safely assume that the number of current users is far larger than this figure.

At the same time, the huge number of Firefox downloads and OpenOffice downloads probably reinforce each other, creating a rising spiral of downloads and user awareness. This is great news! It also leads us to the next battle, which is getting more formal endorsements from major IT organizations (corporate, government and educational), and trying to break into the OEM space (pre-installations on shipped computers).

OpenOffice Calc Tips

October 26th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Here’s a great site with daily updates and information on using OpenOffice Calc:
OpenOffice Calc Tips.

Open Source Content Management with Plone

October 25th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

O’Reilly publishes a useful piece on getting started with the Plone CMS.

“This article gives a high-level overview of what Plone is capable of, with pointers to resources to help you get started on the path to building your own Plone site. Future articles will pick up where this one leaves off, exploring topics such as defining workflows, skinning a site, and creating new content types quickly.” 2.0 Released!

October 21st, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Yesterday was a big day in the open source world, with the release of 2.0.

I hope the project doesn’t mind if I quote almost the entire press release here:

“ 2.0 is the productivity suite that individuals, governments, and corporations around the world have been expecting for the last two years. Easy to use and fluidly interoperable with every major office suite, 2.0 realises the potential of open source. Besides a powerful new database module and advanced XML capabilities, natively supports the internationally standardised OpenDocument format, which several countries, as well as the U.S. state of Massachusetts, have established as the default for office documents. More than any other suite, 2.0 gives users around the globe the tools to be engaged and productive members of their society.

Available in 36 languages, with more on the way, and able to run natively on Windows, GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris, Mac OS X (X11) and several other platforms, banishes software segregation and isolation and dramatically levels the playing field. And, with its support for the OASIS Standard OpenDocument format, eliminates the fear of vendor lock in or format obsolescence. The OpenDocument format can be used by any office application, ensuring that documents can be viewed, edited and printed for generations to come. 2.0 is a breath of hope for small economies that can now have a local language office suite well adapted to their needs and to their economical possibilities, reducing their dependency on the interests of proprietary software vendors.

“ is on a path toward being the most popular office suite the world has ever seen; providing users with safety, choice, and an opportunity to participate in one of the broadest community efforts the Internet has ever seen. As a member of that community, I’d like to offer my heartiest congratulations.” – Jonathan Schwartz – President and CEO of Sun Microsystems.

Built by a community including Sun Microsystems, its primary sponsor and contributor, Novell, Red Hat, Debian, Propylon, Intel, as well as independent programmers, translators, writers, and marketers; 2.0 demonstrates the success, dedication and proficiency of the open source software community.

That community now includes the City of Vienna, which recently started deploying throughout. “We are very happy about the functionality and quality of the software. We are confident that will be made available to all of our 18,000 workstation users.” – Brigitte Lutz, City of Vienna.

Louis Suárez-Potts, Community Manager, commented that “ 2.0 is the culmination of a collaborative process involving thousands working in dozens of languages everywhere in the world. It shows that open source can produce software of the highest quality and assure the robustness, usability and security that users expect in their office suite.”

In addition to the OpenDocument format, the redesigned user interface and a new database module, 2.0 also adds improved PDF support, a superior spreadsheet module, enhanced desktop integration and several other features that take advantage of its advanced XML capabilities, such as the ability to easily create, edit and use XForms.”

Additional information is available in the 2.0 Press Kit.

Firefox Exceeds 100 Million Downloads

October 20th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Mozilla Firefox has now been downloaded over 100 million times!

From the press release:
“Asa Dotzler, liaison for the Spread Firefox community explained, “Our community of more than 100,000 Firefox developers, testers, and grassroots marketers, is rejuvenating Web browsing, which is why millions of new users make the jump to Firefox every week. Spread Firefox members look forward to the next 100 million downloads as they mobilize for the exciting new release of Firefox 1.5.”

140,000 Linux Machines in China

October 19th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Anytime they do something in China, the numbers involved are large. Linux installations are no different; Sun Wah Linux has won a deal to supply 141,624 Linux PCs to primary and secondary schools in Jiangsu Province by the middle of next year.

“Sun Wah Linux will install RAYS LX, its Debian-based Linux workstation distro, as the default operating system on the desktop PCs. According to Minou Nguyen, a U.S.-based Sun Wah Linux spokesperson, although the project at one time specified Microsoft Windows as the desktop OS, Sun Wah “managed to turn these desktops into dual-boot machines with RAYS LX as the preferred loading OS.”

“The RMB $346.2 million (USD $42.7 million) award, funded in part with Chinese Ministry of Eduction subsidies, will mostly assist schools in lower-income urban districts of Jiangsu Province — a densely-populated area that includes the lower Yangtze River plain and the western approaches to Shanghai. The deployment is part of China’s School-to-School Project, which aims to connect 90 percent of the nation’s public schools to the Internet by 2010.”

UN Primer on Open Source in Education

October 17th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

According to, the UN has produced a primer on using open source and free software in educational settings.

From the article, “The International Open Source Network, an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme, has produced a 48-page primer on “Free/Open Source Software and Education,” which is now available for free public download. The primer is intended to help policy-makers and decision-makers understand the potential use of free and open source software (“FOSS”) in education.”

The document can be downloaded as a PDF from the International Open Source Network site. (Great Plone website, BTW.)