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Massive Migration: Peugeot Moving 20,000 Desktops to Linux

January 31st, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Infoworld reports on an enormous corporate migration to desktop Linux in Peugeot Citro├źn revs up 20,000 Suse Linux desktops:

As part of a multiyear contract with Novell, the French company will install Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop on up to 20,000 computers in addition to 2,500 servers, the U.S. software vendor said Tuesday.”

The announcement came yesterday, which happens to be the day that Microsoft’s Windows Vista was made available for sale to the general public–I guess Peugeot wasn’t impressed!

Meanwhile, Miguel de Icaza, major open source contributor, also chimes in with some additional information.

OLPC’s Paradigm Shift, and OOXML’s Flaws

January 30th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

I’d better post these before they get stale!

Chris Duckett writes Will OLPC Change Linux?

He examines the OLPC project’s ability to rethink a lot of entrenched computing paradigms, because it’s a new platform without legacy dependencies:

“The OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project is in the enviable position at the moment of being able to change technologies and directions as they choose, with no rollouts and a lot of the work still to be done software wise. Free of the inertia that an existing product presents, OLPC can be fresh in its thinking and be a trend setter…

Another interesting choice was that of using application bundles, like OS X, and not a standard Linux packaging system. The reasons for this were that it is easy to install and delete, it is easy to share, there is no need for dependencies (because it is all in the bundle) and has an added benefit of removing the need for a centralized repository. If you think about children trying to use apt-get in the sub-Sahara, it makes sense to choose an application style that is decentralized and simple to use.”

Some very interesting thinking here!

Meanwhile, O’Reilly reports Groklaw Team Exposes Serious Flaws in Microsoft’s OOXML Specification. The original Groklaw analysis can be found here, carefully cataloging a long list of errors in the Microsoft spec. This analysis is an impressive piece of work.

ODF Keeps Growing

January 30th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Representing the OpenDocument Fellowship, Jean Hollis Weber writes OpenDocument’s Popularity Continues to Grow.

“The Fellowship now maintains on its website a Precedent page, which is an annotated set of links to decisions by government bodies. As the page says, “The list is far from comprehensive, addressing only adoption decisions reported on the OpenDocument Fellowship general discussion list and the marketing web site. The list is undoubtedly only the tip of a very large iceberg.”

Regardless of the Fellowship’s modesty, the page contains a wealth of information, and what I consider to be a large and very useful library of links to ODF implementations.

wikiCalc 1.0!

January 29th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Dan Bricklin’s awesome wikiCalc has reached version 1.0!

He announces: “After over a year and a half of work (part-time), I’m finally releasing the wikiCalc web authoring system as a “1.0” product. This means it has a pretty complete set of features for producing the quality output for which it was designed, has been relatively stable for a period of time, and has a reasonable amount of documentation. People who have held off testing or using the product until this point should now start taking a look. This is the code that will be the starting point for the SocialCalc project.”

Macedonian Municipal Employees Trained on OpenOffice

January 29th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

As a part of its effort to promote a knowledge-based economy and develop democracy, the Metamorphosis Foundation and USAID held training for 74 employees from 22 municipalities in the Republic of Macedonia this January.

The Macedonian government is moving away from pirated software by adopting open source. Furthermore, OpenOffice expertise is rapidly becoming necessary in the EU and for aspiring members, as the number of government computers running OOo in France, for example, has reached 400,000 in the past year.

Solveig on MSO 2007 vs. OOo, and French OOo Study

January 26th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Solveig writes More Brilliant People Saying that Office 2007 Is A Whole Different Program, So Why Not Just Use

Indeed. She quotes a blog by Baslow, who writes, “Faced with the prospect of tackling Microsoft Office 2007, many users may opt to move to; it will feel quite familiar to users of Microsoft Office prior to the 2007 version, it is well documented and it’s free.”

Supporting Baslow, Solveig rhetorically asks, “So why upgrade to MS Office 2007? Pay nothing, and switch to, instead. You retrain for both, but the cost of is hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands, or perhaps millions of dollars less than Microsoft Office, depending on how big your organization is. Saving a lot of money is, well, really good. It lets you spend that money on something that’s actually important: education, cure for cancer, better pizza, or whatever your business or organization is about.”

They are both right. And to prove that many others are not just thinking about switching to, but actually doing it, Ismael’s blog (from France) posts a Report About OOo’s Adoption.

He summarizes a French report that uses demand for software training as a proxy to measure demand for the software (what a clever way to determine real interest in open source programs).

Ismael writes “Their study is based on the demand of training instead of the number of licenses sold, which is more interesting for this type of software and which allows to measure the interest of companies and administrations for them. This report points out that use has increased by 30% in one year (2005 to 2006), like Linux. The best progression is for MySQL (+50%). For the others: PHP +20% and Java +5%.”

South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Adopts

January 25th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

A press release announces that South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has adopted on over 2,500 computers, in order to take advantage of the ODF standard file format:

“CSIR President and CEO Dr Sibusiso Sibisi, a well-known proponent of OSS and the driving force behind the CSIR’s adoption, comments: “Open document standards are of prime importance for allowing open access to information, now and in the future. By using open document standards to store our data, the CSIR is not locked into a specific vendor that developed and implemented a proprietary standard, thus eliminating the risk of not being able to access current data in future when such a standard may cease to be supported,” he says. “The maturity of OpenOffice, a powerful open source office suite that implements ODF, has in turn enabled the CSIR to adopt ODF without major obstacles,” he adds…

“The CSIR’s move to open standards will ensure that scientific knowledge produced in the organisation is preserved for posterity and that it can be accessed without limitation to specific tools. In this regard, it will empower the science community, and indeed, ultimately the people of South Africa,” Sibisi concludes.

ODF allows anyone to use the tool of their choice to open, view, change, edit and store data. It also allows free exchange of information, irrespective of the software used and it is an ISO standard controlled by the non-profit Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. ODF supports most office documents – text, spreadsheets, presentations, charts and graphical documents – and the standard is implemented by a range of applications and companies, including Google, IBM and Novell.”

MacGeneration Interviews OpenOffice Mac Project Lead

January 24th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Louis Suarez-Potts posts a translation of an interview with Eric Bachard, manager of the Mac porting project.

The original interview in French is available here.

The title given to the interview reflects the growing confidence of the OOo project, and the growing confidence of its expanding userbase: “Is 2007 the year of OpenOffice?”

From this and other media attention, the consensus is that 2007 will indeed be a year for rapid growth in the adoption of OpenOffice, on the Mac and other platforms, in major markets around the globe.

I personally expect that and NeoOffice‘s combined marketshare on Mac OS X will soon match and then surpass Microsoft Office’s share. This will have ramifications for Mac users but will also accelerate interest in OOo on Windows as they see Mac mavens migrating to the new tool.


January 23rd, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Wikis have been one of my key interests for more than four years now, because they bring a new level of interactivity to websites and web-based communities.

My own hands-on project in the world of wikis is Wikipages, a wiki-based local business directory that currently focuses on New York City.

Over the past year, Wikipages traffic has grown steadily as it has been linked to by bloggers and bookmarking sites. Its listings have grown to include hundreds of businesses in the city, with a preponderance of restaurants and bars, but also realtors, chiropractors, photo labs, and even the occasional copy shop. But we’re also happy to list parks and museums and to include neighborhoods and special districts like Stone Street, at the heart of downtown Manhattan.

Wikipages should grow very quickly in 2007, and more contributors are always welcome!

TWiki Updated

January 22nd, 2007 Benjamin Horst

TWiki, a structured wiki especially strong and widely-used for organizational intranets, has just been updated to “Edinburgh”, or version 4.1.

The press release declares, “TWiki is the leading open source enterprise wiki platform, and a pioneer in the field of situational applications. TWiki extends the free-form world of wikis by adding structure. With TWiki, wiki content can be browsed, searched, grouped, categorized, filtered and restricted for limited access. TWiki looks and feels like a Web 2.0 web site, and can be easily modified through standard web browsers.”