Home of The Tiny Guide to

Groklaw: Dan Geer’s Letter to Massachusetts

December 12th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Groklaw publishes the text of Dan Geer’s letter to Massachusetts Senator Marc Pacheco, in which he discusses the hazards of a computing monoculture.

The argument traces the monoculture to its ultimate source, which is file format lock-in. Break that, and monoculture can be eliminated, creating a vastly more secure computing infrastructure and therefore a much more secure state government and regional economy.

Massachusetts’ selection of OpenDocument Format is the tool to achieve independence and this security.

“OpenOffice 2.0 Base: Getting the Right Views” by Solveig Haugland

December 11th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Solveig Haugland is one of the most knowledgeable people using and writing about OpenOffice. Any time I see an article with her name on it, I know I’m going to learn something. Recently she covered Base, the frequently requested new addition to the software suite. If you ever need to use a database, take a peek!

Major Deployments Wiki

December 9th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Cool new wiki on the OpenOffice website collects information about major deployments. This is similar to my own page, “Open Source New York City,” so I think some ‘code sharing’ is in order!

Macedonia Deploys 5,000 Linux Machines

December 8th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Another big Linux and FOSS migration in Europe! GNOME Journal reports, “When the Republic of Macedonia decided to deploy Linux in 468 schools and 182 computer labs nationwide, they chose GNOME on an Ubuntu distribution.”

Darko Arsov, head of the project, explains, “The planning started in early 2004 and the actual implementation began in June during the summer holidays. In about four months weve managed to clone 5,000 PCs and install high speed WiFi Internet in 460 schools.”

Macedonia has a relative paucity of computing and internet infrastructure, but with smart moves like this, it will quickly leapfrog into the top tier of tech.

OpenOffice Newsletter – November 2005

December 6th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Momentum builds every month for OpenOffice, the OpenDocument Format, and open source software!

This month’s Newsletter covers IBM’s adoption of ODF for its new Workplace software suite, follows the continued maneuverings in the Massachusetts ODF decision, reviews the move of Mannheim, Germany, to OpenOffice and Linux for its employees, and links to a number of OpenOffice “how-to” articles, and a range of opinion pieces covering all the recent activities.

Two links I particularly like:

Rocketboom Browser Interviews

December 4th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Rocketboom posts a great video blog entry in which Amanda interviews random people in Washington Square Park, asking whether they prefer Firefox or Internet Explorer. Yes, it’s a Firefox rout, and those who claim they prefer the competition almost always admit that it’s just because that is what they have used.

National Center for Open Source Policy and Research

December 3rd, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Recently, the National Center for Open Source Policy and Research was launched!

Based at the University of Southern Mississippi, “NCOSPR is a non-profit organization established to promote the use of open source software solutions within government IT enterprise environments for the benefit of government agencies and public sector entities. NCOSPR accomplishes this by serving as a facilitator and administrator of development and implementation services among government, academic, open source community and information technology (IT) industry developers, distribution and user communities.”

Exposing Microsoft’s “Open Format” FUD

December 1st, 2005 Benjamin Horst

To try to salvage its opportunity to cause harm in Massachusetts, Microsoft has submitted its new XML file formats to some standards agencies for a rubberstamp. It’s unlikely they’ll succeed, but this announcement of vaporware is a standard trick in their arsenal of FUD: They’re running around town claiming to have an open format and trying to draw attention away from the superior ODF!

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols covers the situation in Microsoft Drops the Office Open Standard Ball, just published on eWeek.

Vaughan-Nichols quotes RMS: “Richard Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation and the author of the GPL, said in July that the current license governing the use of the formats is “designed to prohibit all free software. It covers only code that implements, precisely, the Microsoft formats, which means that a program under this license does not permit modification.” And with the recent announcement, nothing of substance has changed.