December 31st, 2005 Benjamin Horst
Worldlabel.com Releases Openoffice.org Label Templates.
According to the press release, “Worldlabel.com Inc., New York, N.Y., has released a collection of free label template downloads for Openoffice.org OOo Writer 1.1x and 2.0.
The collection includes CD, DVD, mailing and other types of labels and sizes. Making your own labels with OOo Writer using these templates is easy and the set up time is quick.
Templates are A5 size – 8.5” x 11” and will work with Openoffice.org Writer installed on Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD and Windows operating systems. To download, right click “Save target As” a then open.
The collection has over 50 sizes and types which include CD, DVD, mailing, address, shipping, VHS, diskette, round and other types of labels and sizes. Mini CD, Business card CD, and an Avery® Label template cross reference chart is available to find corresponding templates. Templates are blank and are excellent for mail merge, designing labels by importing images and using text boxes to personalize the labels and also general labeling needs like filing, storage and much other application.
Anyone is free to download the label templates in either .stw for Openoffice.org 1.1x version and .ott file format for Openoffice new version 2.0. Templates are free for use in any manner and are governed by the GNU and JCA license.”
December 29th, 2005 Benjamin Horst
Groklaw reports on Peter Quinn’s resignation, and the state of Massachusetts’ declaration that it will continue with its plan to implement ODF. Quinn apparently had enough of the political circus surrounding his very sound technical decision.
Groklaw’s piece concludes, “If the friends of Microsoft in the Commonwealth thought they were helping Microsoft by attacking Peter Quinn, I’d say they miscalculated. The Peter Quinn story makes Microsoft look bad, and the Commonwealth even worse. Haven’t you heard, fellows? This is the Internet age. Every dirty trick gets to be known and reported, with the light firmly shining on it, not by mainstream media folks perhaps, some of whom will print any old dirt you send them without even verifying if it’s true or not, but by bloggers, by citizen journalists. And there are millions of us.”
December 28th, 2005 Benjamin Horst
eWeek’s Peter Galli writes Sun Pushes for Greater Adoption of OpenDocument Format.
“Sun executives were unified in their call for all global governments, agencies as well as private enterprises, to adopt the ODF standard and, when asked why more in the public and private sector were not doing so, they said they were all closely watching the situation in Massachusetts.”
It seems crazy and inscrutable to me that anyone would oppose this move to the ODF standard, but a small number of people (most seem to have ties to Microsoft), actually do. Certainly, there is work in the short term to make this transition happen, but after that job is done, ODF will provide immense benefits all around.
A possible analogy is the world wide web, with its open HTML standard, compared to AOL’s information network that only permitted people and organizations to share their information with prior gatekeeper approval. Note how AOL’s network was surpassed and mostly swallowed by the growth of the web. AOL survived because it embraced this change, but there was a time when it seemed uncertain they would.
“Piper Cole, Sun’s vice president for global government and community affairs, said it is very important that government take a role in what is happening on the document standards front because they are strategic customers who can use their buying power to dictate that a multivendor baseline is created for file formats—just as Massachusetts has done.”
December 22nd, 2005 Benjamin Horst
Coolness. Russell Beattie, on RussellBeattie.com, writes, Nokia 770: Okay, Silicon Valley Time To Get To Work.
The new Nokia 770 web tablet is a fascinating platform, and his argument is that because the platform is totally open (based on Debian, in fact), that developers are going to build a community around it and make awesome software applications for this tool. I am really looking forward to what they build!
Beattie writes, “I can envision a million scenarios around this device. Streaming media is big (the streaming MP3 player that sits on the “desktop” is soooo cool) – all the podcasting and streaming music companies should be pushing this as an alternative to iPod downloads (Hey! No more bitching about Apple or DRM either!). Making a copy of Nintendo’s Picto-chat would another route, but integrated into the major IM networks – great for kids who would otherwise be tying up the family PC. In fact, there’s lots to learn from the Nintendo DS: A Nintendogs clone on the 770 would be awesome – touch screen, microphone and all. Lots of casual games would be perfect for this device: If a PSP can do RSS and Web browsing, why can’t the 770 be seen as a gaming platform? Hell, with the Bluetooth and USB connections, you could even provide add-on controllers for it too.”
Also, check out the thorough Ars Technica review of the 770!
December 20th, 2005 Benjamin Horst
Justin Podur of ZNet writes Free Software as a Social Movement, an interview with Richard Stallman.
Stallman is very serious about the motivation for, and meaning of, Free Software, which is quite distinct from Open Source. His unyielding approach is refreshing when there is so much compromise and indifference in the world at large.
This is a great read. And one of its outcomes already, is that the socially-conscious site publishing the interview, ZNet, is making plans to move its infrastructure to Free Software! They’re requesting input and assistance through their forums, so hop on over and see what you can do to help!
December 19th, 2005 Benjamin Horst
Macworld Magazine reports on Microsoft’s latest machinations in Microsoft: One Open Document Standard Good, Two Better.
In short, Microsoft now claims that competing standards are a desirable situation. This is simply because they refuse to acknowledge the existing standard, ODF, is superior to their own planned offering.
Everyone else in the world seems to think that competing implementations of one standard offers the best way to maximize innovation. The world also seems highly suspicious of Microsoft’s intentions, because every time they have supported an external standard in the past, they have subverted and attempted to wrest control of it. They have not been successful in every attempt, but they continue to try.
Why is Microsoft going so crazy? Because they feel the stakes are very high; in fact, their monopoly may be on the verge of cracking: “Massachusetts is the canary in the mine on this issue,” John Palfrey, clinical professor of law and executive director of the Berkman Center on Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School, said during the debate. “If Massachusetts gets this right, others will follow.”
December 17th, 2005 Benjamin Horst
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes ODF: The Better, More Affordable Office Standard for eWeek.
Vaughan-Nichols writes, “If you take a close look, as many people have, it’s clear that ODF, and not Open XML, is the better document standard.”
He also rounds up some good quotes from other sources, including this one:
“Dr. Manon Ress, a director at the CPTech (Consumer Project on Technology), a Washington, DC-based non-profit created about 20 years ago by Ralph Nader, sees ODF as a major consumer issue.
In her blog, Ress wrote, “What’s at stake? If we compare what is going on with the monopoly on word processing to the openness, creativity and innovation in the field of authoring tools for the web, it becomes clear that we could see important changes if ODF becomes the mandated standard.”
Vaughan-Nichols continues, with this interesting endorsement from a number of library consortia:
“In a recent letter to the Massachusetts government, a coalition of American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Medical Library Association and the Special Libraries Association, wrote, “documents in relatively long-term storage such as the hard drives of servers can be read only by programs that have backwards compatibility… documents created in ODF will remain accessible in the future because any programmer will be able to find its open, nonproprietary specifications.”
December 16th, 2005 Benjamin Horst
Common knowledge is that China will be a huge player in the global economy, and IT is no exception. The big IT players are scrambling for influence, to get in on the ground floor of what is thought to be the coming boom. Its population of 1.2 billion is four times larger than the USA’s 300 million, and the market for goods and services will (someday) be equivalently immense.
When Zhongyuan Zheng, VP of Red Flag Linux (China’s largest Linux company) announces “about 30 percent of desktops in China now use Linux. Microsoft has about 60 percent,” you should take note! That’s the highest Linux marketshare in any country of which I am aware, and it happens to be the biggest country in the world.
In addition to this choice quote, DesktopLinux.com reports on Red Flag’s role in China and the government’s promotion of Linux.
December 14th, 2005 Benjamin Horst
The Bangkok Post publishes OpenDocument Format: A Matter of Sovereignty.
The article hints that ODF is becoming a serious player among many governments right now. Massachusetts is breaking the ground, but numerous entities are following right behind:
“Today 13 countries are reported to be looking at Open Document Format (ODF) as a format for national documents as part of their e-Government projects, rather than to base everything on proprietary Microsoft technology.”
And for Thailand specifically, ODF is of great interest:
“Thaweesak… states in the report that making file formats open is now an immediate national priority for Thailand. Open standards would improve efficiency, continuity and transparency, he said.
Of particular concern is their role in ensuring a fair and level playing field within large-scale IT projects from government and corporations alike.
Manager of the ICT Ministry’s Software Industry Promotion Agency’s Open Source Department James Clark, is also known for endorsing ODF in a national context and his enthusiasm for OpenOffice 2.0 is well known. OpenOffice supports the ODF format natively and is being distributed on Sipa’s increasingly popular Chantra CD compilation of open source software for Windows.”
Aha! Another government distributing a CD of open source programs in local languages. A moment’s searching brings up a little bit more info.
December 13th, 2005 Benjamin Horst
Scott Kveton of the OSDL in Portland, OR, posts two consecutive entries about OpenOffice.
First, he writes OpenOffice Could Learn From Firefox. It’s all about customization!
“You can build something that meets, say 60% of users’ needs but you need a great deal of customization to really meet the needs of those other 40% of users. So why not leverage those people? Well, Firefox has. Head over to Addons with your Firefox browser and see what they have to offer. You can customize your browser to your hearts content. And all at little incremental cost to Mozilla (after all they did have to develop the XUL framework in Firefox and build the Addons site)…
If you had a simple framework, much like Firefox, you could enable all sorts of new tools and extensions for OpenOffice. This could help address the problem from above; getting new features and driving the product forward faster for the end-users. You would effectively be using the long tail to help drive adoption and use of OpenOffice. I think this could be the biggest driving force behind making OpenOffice the next killer app (and by killer I mean killing the incumbent).”
In his second article, The OpenOffice Value Proposition, Kveton discusses how a friend helped switch a company’s 100 desktops to OpenOffice:
“What if you replace that $350 copy of Microsoft Office with OpenOffice? Not only have you immediately saved $35,000 for the company you are still running Windows which saves you a lot of money in terms of transitional cost. All of those customer relationship packages your people use still work and they can even still open Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.
After talking with the CEO, my friend was able to make the value proposition above and convince him to go with just the transition to OpenOffice. They have saved money and will be able to leverage the new OpenDocument format (they will need to do this as they are in Massachusetts) to run their business.”