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OpenOffice Coming to Google Pack?

January 12th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

John Battelle’s Searchblog covers the new Google Pack.

At the bottom of the post:
“I spoke to Marissa Mayer about Pack, and she had some fun stuff to say about it. I noticed no version of OpenOffice in the Pack, and she reminded me this is just the first version of the Pack, and since it updates itself automatically, why, there might be OpenOffice in an update shortly. They are in active discussions, I was told.”

This reminds me of an idea I had a few months back, for a “Synaptic for Windows.” Synaptic is the GUI tool used on Debian, Ubuntu and others to keep the OS and applications up to date, and to install or remove programs. Google Pack is similar to the applications side of this, because it automatically updates the apps that a user has installed on his system, and it appears to be managed through a web page configuration tool. Your apps can always be up-to-date, even if you use an obsolete platform like Windows! Keep expanding this concept and it could become a very powerful idea, even a store like Linspire’s Click N Run warehouse of apps.


January 10th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

At today’s Macworld, Apple announced the MacBook Pro laptop, a new iMac, and many software updates, as well as the all-new iWeb application. Excellent.

OSAF Chandler

January 10th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Chandler 0.6 has been released by the OSAF. While still distributed as a test release, the vision document of where they’re headed for 1.0 is fascinating! The planned functionality and the general concept, including its unified communications workflow, are amazing. Keep an eye on this project.

New Acting MA CIO Appointed

January 9th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

The Standards Blog reports that a new acting CIO has been appointed for Massachusetts to fill the gap left by Peter Quinn’s departure:

“Bethann Pepoli has been appointed acting CIO of the state’s Information Technology Division by Thomas Trimarco, the state’s secretary of administration and finance, according to Eric Fehrnstrom, communications director at Gov. Mitt Romney’s office.

Pepoli, who formerly served as the chief operating officer of the IT Division, will temporarily replace Peter Quinn, who stepped down at the end of last month, citing political pressure. A search for a permanent replacement is ongoing, Fehrnstrom said.”

In addition, the implementation of ODF is still on!

“Fehrnstrom said the state remains on schedule for an implementation of OpenDocument-based desktop software in executive branch agencies. “There have been no changes in the commonwealth’s published OpenDocument rules, and we are still on track for a January 2007 implementation,” Fehrnstrom said.”

OpenOffice Everywhere

January 8th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

At any university, college or school, there are open source advocates who see the advantages FOSS can bring to their institutions. They are common “in the trenches,” but in a Dilbert-esque twist, are rare among the decision-making elite. Over time and as their careers advance, I think we’ll see the inexorable increase in use of Firefox,, and other FOSS applications as formal policy. Until then, I’m watching the subtle clues that tell us what’s hiding out there. Here’s a good example from Zane State College in Ohio:

“I have dominion over a handful of laptops that faculty can check out of the IDEA Center. After MIS puts the base image on the laptop (operating system, Novell stuff, MS Office) they hand it over to me to add whatever I want. Then MIS captures the image and pushes it down to the other laptops and we end up with five identical images.

So what did I put on the image?”

Hit the link above to see the chosen apps.

RaptorHead Open Source CD for Windows

January 7th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

RaptorHead Open Source CD for Windows

This is what SolidOffice’s original purpose was almost three years ago! I wish them good luck; I think getting all this open source software in front of users is extremely important. I see this company as filling the important role of marketer of FOSS, and if they can persuade the retail chains to sell FOSS CDs (no easy task), they have contributed a great deal to the movement by delivering huge numbers of new users! Good luck!

Two on ODF in Massachusetts

January 6th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Over at, Andy Updegrove reports on the positive state of Massachusetts’ ODF policy:

“I’m happy to report that the official who has direct authority over the implementation of the open format policy, Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance Thomas H. Trimarco, met with ITD General Counsel Linda Hamel earlier today, and unequivocally assured her that Peter Quinn’s departure “will result in no change to the Administration’s position on the ODF standard.”

Meanwhile, Groklaw counterattacks David Coursey’s opinion of the Mass. ODF situation, calling his article “mean-spirited” and “FUD.”

PJ’s counterattack contains a great list of 8 specifications that should be considered necessary for a standard to be truly open, but what I like best is her conclusion:

“And do you know why it’s inevitable that the world is going to increasingly turn to Free and Open Source software? Because no one muscles you to use it. It’s based on old-fashioned values of trust and honesty and fairness. Who doesn’t want those things? No. Really. Think about it. Who likes to be told they have to use a product or they’ll be punished? That is so wildly offensive on so many levels it truly amazes me that Coursey can even think it could work out in the end for any company. It’s contrary to human nature.

Incidents like the libel of Peter Quinn cost Microsoft business. Here’s why: There’s something in the human heart that utterly despises a bully.”

Tom Adelstein on “Who Railroaded Peter Quinn”

January 5th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Tom Adelstein writes a piece for LXer, Following Bill Gates’ Linux Attack Money if you still wonder about who railroaded Peter Quinn.

The article investigates ties between Microsoft and the corrupt politician Tom DeLay, as well as other threads in the tangled web of corporate and political power in Washington DC, and how these ties help Microsoft to maintin its monopoly in many US government bureaucracies.

Brazil’s “Computers for All”

January 4th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Pablo Lorenzzoni writes that Brazil’s “Computers for All” initiative is already a huge success. His blog post is in English, but the links are Portuguese, so I cannot share any more detail than his synopsis:

“We’ve ended up 2005 in a pretty good shape: fisl7.0 promises to be the best of all, fisl6.0’s videos were finally put online, the process that was leading to the buying of more than 5 thousand Windows/Office licenses by the National Congress was halted, the standards for the Brazilian digital tv is going open source, and, finally, the best of all: the “computer for all” project is a huge success.

All of the above are great, but this last one I point out for it’s the largest digital inclusion project I know: It puts a pretty good computer (by brazilian standards) inside the home of anybody that can pay ~ R$ 60,00 (around US$ 25,00) a month for two years, with internet access and running a branded GNU/Linux. The reports have been great (e.g. one of the sellers sold 13 thousand units in a month while expecting to sell 5 thousand). I think this project is a major score!”

Congratulations to Brazil’s people and its leaders!

Computerworld Singapore: “Open Source for Governments”

January 2nd, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Computerworld Singapore writes, Open Source for Governments, in which author Kenneth Liew discusses the growing support among governments the world over for open source software as a key governmental platform.

“More and more countries are embracing the collaborative model of open source on a national level to fend off caged IT models. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore’s (IDA) Technology Group has positioned Linux as a medium term technology bet, which means one to three years to mass adoption…

In other parts of Asia, India’s Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) is distributing a CD of free productivity applications in Tamil, as part of an effort to promote computing among the country’s inhabitants. Over 50,000 CDs have been distributed so far and C-DAC aims to distribute 3.5 million of them. Some of India’s largest public sector bodies: BSNL; Indian Railways; South Asian Petrochem; IDBI Bank; Central Bank of India; and the Department of Treasury, Government of West Bengal are running on Linux.

China is not far behind. The Consortium of Chinese software companies called the Beijing Software Industry Productivity Centre (BSIPC) is now promoting Beijing as not merely the capital of China but also “Asia’s Linux Capital…

In 2001, the German parliament adopted a resolution that declared the government should use open-source software “whenever doing so will reduce costs”. Two years later, a technology advisory group to the European Commission issued a report that called open-source software “a great opportunity” for the region that could “change the rules in the information technology industry”, reducing Europe’s reliance on imports. Since the German uprising, more than 125 national open-source policies have been proposed worldwide.

This triggered off a movement amongst countries with a socialistic background, notably Russia, China and Cuba. Even Latin America, comprising of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela are shaping to be one of the world’s fastest-growing regions for Linux adoption, so much so that Brazil has announced a three-year plan to switch 80 per cent of its government systems to Linux and funded the project properly to accomplish it. The Venezuelan government gave a decree that all government institutions in the country must present a migration plan to move to open source software by October this year.”