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New Official Forums

November 29th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Erwin points out the new project forums recently launched. (Direct link to OOo forums here.)

This was a project discussed at this summer’s OOo Con in Barcelona, and it’s great to see it happen. Time to log in and see what is going on over there…

ODF vs MSOOXML via Language Library Support

November 28th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

The “Command Line Warriors” blog takes a look at programming language libraries available for ODF and MSOOXML.

Of Python, Perl, Ruby, PHP, Java and C#, all six have libraries ready-to-go for ODF. Only one has libraries to work with MSOOXML, though projects have been started for two more.

From this loose litmus test, ODF is clearly far ahead in this contest. And as we have heard from Ballmer himself, developer interest is extremely important, because it results in usable products and services for end users. And thus adoption by those end users.

My prediction is that web-based document production will heavily favor ODF, as it’s technically much better adapted to the environment. And with a robust set of desktop editing options available too, users will find it an easy transition. ODF will also naturally flow back toward the desktop as it becomes firmly established on the web, getting some synergies from being strongly competent in both environments.

Slashdot: France Leading Charge Against OOXML

November 27th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Slashdot discusses the current state of the ODF-MSOOXML struggle for national government data standards. Many countries have begun to standardize on ODF, while none have yet selected MSOOXML:

“13 nations have announced laws or rules that favor the use ODF over Microsoft’s Office formats. Those nations include Russia, Malaysia, Japan, France, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, and Norway.”

Computerworld started the latest round of discussion, writing “France is still making the strongest move to ODF and its native office suite, OpenOffice.” (Over 500,000 French government employees have adopted ODF by adopting as their default office suite.)

They also mention South Africa, the Netherlands, and Korea as additions to the list above.

Zoho’s Gears

November 26th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

This morning, Zoho’s offline editing capabilities received a boost, with the ability to edit, not just view, documents while offline.

Arvind wrote to inform me of this new feature:

“We announced the Zoho Writer – Google Gears integration a few weeks back. The first cut had offline viewing facility alone. And now, we are ready with the offline editing capability too as promised… You can test drive the new feature at

“A brief video demo of it here:

The Zoho suite continues to get more powerful and capable all the time.

Obama on ODF?

November 21st, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Andy Updegrove picks up on a possible statement of support for ODF from Barack Obama.

Updegrove writes,

“Out of the campaign cacophony of the last week emerged a handful of words from Senator and Democratic party hopeful Barack Obama that could not fail to catch my attention. He used them during the presidential debate held in Las Vegas, and they also appear in the “Innovation Agenda” that Obama had released a few days before. He announced this agenda in a speech he delivered on November 14 at an aptly selected venue: the Google campus in Mountain View, California. One of the pledges he made in the course of that speech reads in part as follows:

To seize this moment, we have to use technology to open up our democracy. It’s no coincidence that one of the most secretive Administrations in history has favored special interests and pursued policies that could not stand up to sunlight. As President, I’ll change that. I’ll put government data online in universally accessible formats. [emphasis added]

“A presidential candidate that is including “universally accessible formats” in his platform? How did that come about?”

No doubt, there are plenty of possible interpretations here, but the statement could be positive for ODF users. If the US Federal government started to adopt ODF, it would catalyze the states and other municipal governments that have tried to act but been halted by wealthy lobbyists.

With other governments around the world rapidly moving to ODF, it’s also becoming a competitive necessity to follow suit. The last one to adopt a new standard will have some catching up to do, and hopefully the US government will recognize that and make its move before too much longer.

Linux Mag: 2008 is the Year!

November 20th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

While I might argue that “the year of the Linux desktop” has been a recurring annual event several years running, lots of people like to predict that each year will be the one.

Linux Magazine makes a strong argument for 2008 in Joe Brockmeier’s “Is 2008 the Year of the Linux Desktop?

Cheap and popular new hardware options are the key:

“I’m talking about the Asus EEE PC and the Everex Green gPC. Both systems are, by today’s standards, cheap, underpowered, and limited in function. They also play to Linux’s strengths by being cheap, underpowered, and limited in function. Despite limited horsepower, both systems are more than adequate for performing basic desktop functions (email, Web browsing, running, etc.) and offer stripped-down interfaces that are less confusing for new users.

“They’re also, as of this writing, both sold out. The gPC has been selling through Wal-Mart, and sold out in just a matter of days. The EEE PC was sold through a number of online retailers, and also sold out in just a few days. I’m sure both systems were in limited supply, but there’s clearly pent-up demand.”

Following the path outlined by Clayton Christensen in The Innovator’s Dilemma, open source will disrupt the market from below and push Windows and Office up the ladder until they are nothing more than niche products. Linux will take the majority share of the market.

ODF Becomes Korea’s National Standard

November 19th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

The Open Malaysia blog reports on a neighbor’s success in “ODF a National Standard in Korea.”

They quote (and translate) the Korean newspaper that broke the story some months back:

“On August 27, Korea Agency for Technology and Standards announced it accepted ODF as national standard (KS). Office application such as word processor, spreadsheet, presentation has been accepted as document format for the first time. Following KS establishment, ODF now stands as the national standard.”

Linux will Dominate the Desktop

November 16th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

InformationWeek writes “Why Linux Will Succeed on the Desktop,” outlining its strategic position and anticipating its future market domination.

Nicholas Petreley begins:

“I believe Linux will become the de-facto standard desktop operating system. Though it’ll take a while for many users to break free from ties to Windows, there is good reason to believe that this day will come… The global community is already beginning to rally behind standard document formats.”

Petreley is surprisingly anti-GNOME, which I personally think is an excellent desktop environment. Aside from my disagreement with him there, I think he raises a number of important points and I certainly agree with his overall conclusion that Linux use will grow until it displaces Windows as the default desktop operating system for most users.

A Week of IBM Lotus Symphony Links

November 15th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Bob Sutor rounds up several links on IBM Lotus Symphony this week.

Highlights: Symphony has surpassed 250,000 downloads, IBM is doubling the number of developers working on ODF-related products including Symphony to 70 people, a second beta became available for download on Nov 13, and interest in Symphony, ODF and the entire related ecosystem keeps growing at a fast pace.

Miro 1.0!

November 14th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Miro 1.0 has been released!

Miro is the internet video player and feed reader, bittorrent sharing, HD-capable open source king of the hill of media applications. Of course it’s available for the three major platforms, has a strong developer and user community, and is beloved by Boing Boing.

See the official release announcement in the Miro blog.