Home of The Tiny Guide to 3.0’s PIM Plan Gets Noticed

October 31st, 2007 Benjamin Horst

While it hasn’t been kept secret, to my knowledge the first public mention of Thunderbird inclusion with 3.0 was made at this year’s OOoCon. CyberNet News is impressed with OOo’s plans to include Thunderbird and Lightning as its default PIM next year:

“One thing that really caught my attention was their reference to including a Personal Information Manager (PIM). More specifically the presentation mentions bundling Thunderbird with their Office Suite, and refers to it as an “Outlook replacement.”

For savvy users, it’s no effort at all to install OOo and Thunderbird/Evolution/KMail/etc on a computer. But for whatever reason, many users still ask for a PIM to be “included” with OpenOffice. If it helps, why not go for it! (Plus, Sun has standardized its 36,000 users on OOo and Thunderbird already, so might as well roll that out to the world!)

Ask Slashdot: Do OOo Users Save in ODF or MS Formats?

October 30th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

A Slashdot user asks the community if users save all their documents in Microsoft formats, as a Quickoffice company executive assumes.

The results are not surprising: OOo users prefer the ODF format and tend to use it for their own documents or within their own companies. They’ll switch to PDF for sharing with outside contacts, and will also use DOC in situations where it is required. Many also use RTF or plain text where possible.

Coupled with new requirements that many governments must store their data in open standard formats (almost always, and exclusively, ODF), Quickoffice is clearly backing the wrong format here. Hopefully for them, they will be able to change course quickly enough to avoid disaster.

FOSScamp Boston

October 29th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

This weekend I traveled to Boston to attend FOSScamp, a BarCamp-style event held at the Hotel at MIT. FOSScamp was sponsored by Canonical and led into the Ubuntu Developer Summit, happening this week at the same venue.

I represented the OOo community in an informal way and gave my talk “Guerrilla Marketing in the New York Metro Newspaper” in front of a diverse audience including KDE developers, an FSF representative, and a number of others. It was well-received and brought to light the fact that lots of open source projects are working on evangelizing/marketing, but that we could improve our effectiveness by pooling our efforts and sharing our experiences more broadly.

One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting Mark Shuttleworth, whom I had communicated with only once (by email) before. He is a charismatic and well-organized leader, which I think is reflected in the successful, rapid growth of the Ubuntu community.

Lots of other great, intelligent and hard-working people attended FOSScamp, and the atmosphere of collaboration and openly exchanging ideas and knowledge will lead to the continued great success of the open source movement.

Edit: A few other mentions of FOSScamp have popped up today. Ars Technica picks up a quote from Shuttleworth’s introductory remarks about “brilliant flashes of innovation” that occur because of the free sharing of ideas in the open source world, and Corey Burger summarizes FOSScamp on the Ubuntu Fridge.

South Africa Adopts ODF

October 26th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Tectonic breaks the good news: South Africa has adopted ODF as its government standard data format!

Tectonic spoke to Bob Jolliffe of the department of science and technology who was part of the working group that compiled the document. He was optimistic about the MIOS document’s implementation, saying that it now cleared the playing field for the adoption of government’s free and open source software policy.

“Jolliffe noted two key features of the document, that of what defines an open standard and the inclusion of the ODF standard.”

The South Africa plan is to adopt ODF as its open data format standard now, and then use the freedom that allows to migrate its software applications to open source options over the next two years.

Its own definition of an open standard requires multiple implementations be available, which rules out MSOOXML immediately.

ODF Office Suite for Mobile Devices

October 25th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Mobile Office” by SEPT-Solutions is the first ODF office suite for the Symbian platform:

“With Mobile Office, you can read those files on the road without the need to convert them to other formats as well as compromising on formatting and ODF features.”

(SoftMaker Office 2008, currently in beta, includes ODF export and runs on the Palm and Pocket PC platforms.)

Mobile Office could play an important role, as there is little representation for ODF in the mobile space yet. It’s another niche market that, added all together, will collectively create a very large marketshare for ODF and its ecosystem of editing applications.

MS Admits OOo Matches MSO Feature Set

October 24th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

“Linux and Unix Top News Blog” discovered information on Microsoft’s website in which the company seems to admit the feature set of and Microsoft Office are essentially identical.

Microsoft’s public stance has been that their product has more features, though it seems to me OpenOffice has the advantage here (with Draw, Base and a better equation editor, more file formats, greater language options, etc).

Could just be a semantics issue, but it’s a little bit of fun, anyway.

RedFlag 2000’s Contributions to OOo 2.4

October 23rd, 2007 Benjamin Horst

The GullFOSS blog discusses some of the fruits of RedFlag’s participation in the community. A handful of new features will make their appearance in OOo 2.4, and it is planned for the process to accelerate from there.

Nokia N810 Announced

October 22nd, 2007 Benjamin Horst

At Web 2.0 last week, Nokia announced its forthcoming N810, the successor to the N800 Internet Tablet.

New features include a hardware slideout keyboard, built-in GPS, and 2GB of Flash memory.

A new OS update will be released with it, which will also be installable on N800s. Screenshots from Ari Jaaksi’s blog show it to be quite attractive.

October 19th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Most Linux distros (and the NeoOffice project) use a slightly modified with enhancements built by Novell on top of the standard Sun-compiled version (as well as customizations provided by their distro distributor).

Can Windows users access this slightly-different build of OOo? Indeed, you can get it from

See a summary of the extra features it includes.

Ubuntu 7.10 Released Today

October 18th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

The official announcement from Canonical states that Ubuntu 7.10, “Gutsy Gibbon,” is now available.

I’ve been using the beta for a few weeks now, and it is a beautiful, polished, full-featured operating system, that I think handily outdoes Windows. I’ve been very pleased with it and expect Ubuntu’s marketshare to continue its rapid rise with this update.