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Pictures of OLPC XOs in Use in Nigeria

April 13th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

CNet hosts a photo gallery of 10 and 11-year old students in Nigeria using the OLPC’s XO machines.

Their school, 10 miles from Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, is the first test deployment in the region. Before OLPC, the teacher had never used¬† a computer before, much less any students!

OLPC staff were onsite to kick off the learning process.

50 Open Source Success Stories

April 12th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Solveig links to a post on “50 Open Source Success Stories” from CRMchump.

Lots of talk about governments adopting open source tools, including SugarCRM at the Oregon Department of Human Services, Moodle at the Open University in London and the University of Illinois, mentions of OSAF, Ubuntu, MIT, Sun, various FOSS databases, the Google Summer of Code, and Zimbra’s increasing success.

ODF Alliance Newsletter for April 2007

April 10th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Hasan, of the Open Malaysia blog, posts the latest edition (April 9) of the ODF Alliance Newsletter.

Lots of important news about migrations to ODF and OpenOffice (“The German City of Freiburg will deploy on 2,000 desktops and expects to save Euro 0.5m (USD 0.7m) over the next two years compared to a migration to Microsoft Office 2007.”), national and regional governments adopting ODF,¬† applications supporting ODF, the conference in Barcelona this summer, new ODF Alliance members, and a long list of ODF-related news.

The momentum continues to build each month, but in particular, I am looking forward to this summer’s Barcelona conference, which I hope to attend!

Walt Hucks on ODF and California

April 9th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

As we know, a bill has been put forward in California that would require state data be created and stored in an open format like ODF. (Slashdot reports on MSFT’s efforts to lobby, via astroturfing, against this bill.)

Walt Hucks lives in California and has been communicating with his representatives about this new bill. He’s written a very strong, very detailed essay in support of the California open format bill.

While we’re on the subject, I want to point out another of Hucks’ posts in which he describes how to use, write, edit and share ODF files. He provides a fairly comprehensive list of ODF-capable applications.

And, finally, Hucks finds that lots of people are searching for ODF, and arriving at his site: “65 to 70% of people that arrive from Web search engines are asking how do I open [.odt|.odp|.ods] files?.”

Okay, one more thing: video footage from Oregon showing Peter Buckley testifying in favor of his open formats bill for his state. Cool!

Response from Michael Gianaris

April 6th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

My New York State Assemblymember has already responded to my email of March 30!

I am very happy with his response. He writes:

Dear Mr. Horst,

Thank you for contacting my office regarding data formatting and long term archiving of important digital information in New York. You will be happy to know that I am a consistent advocate of methods that make information more accessible and more sustainable in the future.

In fact, I am currently working with my colleagues to draft legislation that will address many of your concerns.

Please be assured that I will continue to advocate for improved data formatting and archiving methods and will work tirelessly to ensure that New Yorkers benefit from cutting edge information technology.

I appreciate your taking the time to inform me of your views on this important issue. If you have further thoughts on this or any other matter, please feel free to contact my office.

Sincerely yours,

Member of Assembly

Inquirer Reviews the Nokia N800

April 4th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

The Inquirer reviews the Nokia N800 in Nokia’s cheap UMPC alternative is future-proof, giving it nine out of ten “beers” for a very positive result.

“With [the N800], the expensive UMPC vendor camp and the PDA vendors both have something to worry about. At the same time, road warriors needing web browsing and e-mail on the go can finally consider leaving notebooks at home, only using them as desktop replacements.”

Lots of good photos in this review, and it demonstrates an understanding of the real importance of the Maemo’s open source nature (which is why they call it “future-proof”).

The Maemo platform is in a very strong position for the web tablet market, probably analogous to what DOS achieved in the early days of the PC market. And web tablets, or something similar, will probably replace the expensive and awkward UMPC category entirely.

Further, open source has proved (witness Apache), that once it starts strongly in a new market niche, it is nearly impossible to dislodge it. I expect the future product category of web tablets to be another area where open source completely dominates, like web servers, because of the strong position it is already carving out for itself now with the Maemo and N800.

40,000 Arizona State University Students Adopt Google Apps

April 3rd, 2007 Benjamin Horst

InformationWeek reports on some exciting news: Arizona State University has moved 40,000 students and faculty to Google Apps and will migrate the rest of its 65,000 students as well as the remaining faculty and staff later this year.

They are currently using the email and calendar services, and will roll out Google Docs in the near future as well.

“Initially offering new e-mail accounts based on Google’s Gmail service (but retaining the “” domain) on an opt-in basis, Sannier and his team found that students were making the switch at the rate of around 300 per hour. Today, more than 40,000 ASU students and faculty have made the switch, and he expects to shut down the University’s in-house mail servers near the end of this term. Since the e-mail switch-over, Sannier has been rolling out additional applications including calendar (which users can now share online, a capability the old university system didn’t have), IM, and search. Within the next two months he expects to offer personalized home pages as well as online word-processing documents and spreadsheets based on Google Apps.

The cost to ASU: zero.”

Macintosh Biblioblog Recommends NeoOffice

April 2nd, 2007 Benjamin Horst

The site “Macintosh Biblioblog” publishes NeoOffice a Great, Free Microsoft Office Replacement.

The review is very positive and helps to get the word out. (That’s a pun–it’s a bible study blog!) Now is a great time to switch to NeoOffice:

“We’re putting in a computer lab of all iMacs at our church and so have been exploring Open Source solutions for our application needs. And with NeoOffice having a new version this week, I’ve downloaded it, installed it, and played with it. And I think I may never buy Microsoft Word again.”