Home of The Tiny Guide to Educational Videos

December 31st, 2007 Benjamin Horst

The Education project within has been restarted recently and is showing a flurry of activity. One of its members has been developing how-to video tutorials for OpenOffice with her students (in Austria). The tutorials are available in several languages, including English, so they should be useful to a global audience.

Polish Linux: Ubuntu vs Vista

December 28th, 2007 Benjamin Horst (referring to the country, not a high level of shine) publishes “Ubuntu Linux vs Windows Vista: The Desktop Battle.”

Author Borys Musielak begins, “It may be a brave opinion but I predict that Ubuntu Linux and Windows Vista are going to be the two operating systems that will take over the largest chunk of the desktop OS market during the next couple of years.”

I guess the brave part of the prediction is that Vista will get any significant adoption! (If not for OEM preinstallations, Vista would be gone already.)

Poland is quickly becoming a software powerhouse, and open source is very strong there (it has one of the highest rates of Firefox usage in Europe and the entire world, at over 41% market share), so I am sure Musielak’s prediction is correct for his local market, and many others around the world.

In terms of user interface, Musielak puts the two systems on equal footing, which means that one of Linux’ longstanding shortcomings is gone. In terms of adding software, Ubuntu wins because of its Synaptic Package Manager. The author wonders why there’s no package manager for Windows. As do I.

Hardware support, robustness, flexibility and advanced features were all compared, and in the end, the author prefers Ubuntu by a statistically-significant margin.

Without its special OEM relationships, Windows would be crashing and burning right now, just like IE in Europe. Even with this huge advantage, its dominance is eroding in a process that will accelerate faster and faster.

Asus Eee PC Exceeds Sales Target

December 27th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Asus’ Linux-based Eee PC has exceeded its 2007 sales goal by more than 50,000 units, writes Linux Loop.

“Over 350,000 Eee PCs have been sold so far since the release in mid October, according to Tech Digest. This is already 50,000 over the original goal of 300,000 units sold by the end of 2007… the success of the Eee PC shows other hardware manufacturers that there is a market for computers with Linux on them that is worth getting into.”

How does this compare with Dell’s half-hearted efforts to sell Ubuntu Linux machines? While Dell’s Ubuntu sales are good, the Eee blows them away:

“To put the 350,000 number in perspective, Dell is thought to have sold 40,000 Ubuntu PCs over a period of about 5 months, according to The Register. This is about 8,000 per month compared to about 175,000 Eee PCs per month.”

Ubuntu at the Library

December 26th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

A cool librarian from Vermont, Jessamyn West, demonstrates how easy it is to install Ubuntu on donated computers for use in her town’s library. The two new Ubuntu machines have doubled the library’s public computers, and brought Linux to 50% marketshare over the course of an hour!

(This was posted in the beginning of the year, but I only got a chance to see the video recently.)

Norway Mandates Open Formats

December 20th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Virtuelvis translates a Norwegian government announcement that from January 1, 2009, it will require government offices to use ODF, PDF and HTML for publishing documents online.

“Goverment, state and regional agencies, authorities and services may also publish in other formats, but they must always publish in one of these formats. The decree is retroactive, and by 2014 all documents published prior to this decree must have been converted and made available in one of the three formats.”

New York State Looking for ODF or MSOOXML Comments

December 19th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

The New York State Office for Technology has put forth a request for public comment on the issue of data storage formats, particularly ODF vs MSOOXML:

“All stakeholders are encouraged to submit responses to all or parts of the RFPC, irrespective of whether they currently do business with or intend to participate in future procurements by CIO/OFT and/or the State of New York.”

Responses are due by December 28.

The RFPC consists of two parts and asks many detailed questions. I suspect this means New York State takes the issue very seriously, so I imagine they’ll see through the smoke blown by a monopolist, to understand that adopting ODF is of great importance to NYS and its citizens.

This could turn out to be big!

CNN Money on Open Source and the Dutch Government

December 18th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Following up on my post from last week about the Dutch government adopting ODF, CNN Money has picked up the story as well. (Clearly from the same release, with the same errors!)

Writing “Dutch Government: Open Source Software To Be Adopted By April 2008,” CNN announces, “The Dutch government has set a soft deadline of April 2008 for its agencies to adopt open-source software such as free word processing programs and Internet browsers, a spokesman for the Economic Affairs Ministry said Thursday.”

The motivation is primarily for cost savings and vendor independence:

“The decision directs government organizations to use the Open Document Format, or ODF, to save text files, rather than Microsoft’s Open Office XML (sic, should be “Office Open XML”), and to use Mozilla’s Firefox or other open-source browsers, rather than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Van Scherrenburg said the government estimates it would save EUR6 million annually on city housing registers alone due to a switch to the ODF standard.”

The phrase you’re thinking of is “tipping point.”

OpenOffice Appearing in Austrian Schools

December 17th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Erwin finds a German article about the provisioning of training videos for Austrian schools.

Oftentimes you can’t find direct usage statistics about open source software, so you don’t even know it’s been rolled out until you hear about something like this.

Good for the Austrian schools!

Linux in China

December 14th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

China’s Linux Desktop Market Booms,” writes

Linux on the desktop is competing against pirated Windows in China, but is steadily gaining ground. As the government gets stricter about its own offices’ use of pirated software, most are beginning to migrate to Red Flag Linux:

“Although China’s Linux market as a whole doubled from 2003 to 2006 to $20 million per year, sales of Linux desktop software grew more slowly. In fact, the market share of Linux desktop software in China dropped from 16% to 12% in the same period. But according to CCID Consulting, sales of Linux desktop software increased 25.1% in the third quarter of this year, catching up with the quick growth of China’s Linux industry as a whole. Several new developments have added fuel to the growth.”

Market share figures are extremely difficult to determine in China, but with the government and many vendors supporting it, Linux’s opportunity is going to be great. Microsoft, of course, recognizes the significance of the Chinese market and is fighting back with every tactic it can devise. But to my mind, there is no chance they will be able to achieve a monopoly dominance like their current position in the developed world.

More Pre-Installs, and ODF Growth

December 13th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Erwin Tenhumberg let loose a flurry of blog posts this week covering OOo and ODF issues…

He uncovered a UK outfit selling PCs with preinstalled, adding to the pressure on other OEMs. I’m sure we will see steady progress on this front, bringing us ever closer to the tipping point.

He also announced (though I’m sure I already knew this) the OLPC XO will use ODF as its default format for its office productivity applications, meaning several million more users will be joining the ODF installed base.

And, he follows up on the Dutch government’s ODF plan: “According to this German article on heise, the Dutch parliament approved the open standards and open source adoption plan submitted by the Ministry of Economy. According to the plan, government agencies are supposed to read and write ODF in parallel to existing formats by April 2008, at least that is my understanding.”

Momentum is growing tremendously for ODF and Congratulations to everyone involved!