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December 12th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Our friends in the KDE project were the first to fully adopt ODF in their office suite, KOffice, putting to rest our opponent’s claims that ODF was designed only for

Now KDE has come out with a strong statement of support for ODF and against the dishonest Microsoft effort to rubberstamp its MSOOXML file format as an ISO standard. (Note: to date, Microsoft has failed in that project.)

ITWire quotes the original release in part:

“The standardisation process of OfficeOpenXML has turned sour, not in the least because Microsoft couldn’t resist the temptation to cheat. Right now we’re seeing evidence of a concerted campaign at discrediting OpenDocument vis-a-vis OfficeOpen XML. That’s unfortunate, to say the least. If OfficeOpen XML becomes an ISO standard, we will, in all likelihood, still not spend time on supporting it. The standard is enormous, very complex and to a large extent so badly specified that a full implementation is probably even harder than implementing the old Microsoft binary file formats. Add to that patent encumbrances and problems with copyrighted elements — and our conclusion is that we prefer to concentrate on making KOffice a great set of applications that are satisfying to use and satisfying to develop.”

Dutch Government Proposes ODF

December 11th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

In its world tour of governmental standards adoption, ODF makes a stop in the Netherlands.

CIO magazine (UK) writes:

“On Wednesday the Dutch parliament will discuss a plan to mandate use of the Open Document Format (ODF) at government agencies. The proposal is part of a wider plan to increase the sustainability of information and innovation, while lowering costs through the reuse of data.”

“Policy makers see interoperability as the key to achieving these goals and therefore recommend that open standards should be used whenever possible. Bodies that wish to deviate from the open standards policy can request a temporary stay, but have to show a timeline showing a planned implementation date — a policy described as “comply or explain.”

Taking it a step further, the plan also recommends that open source applications be used where possible, to save even more money:

“The proposal recommends the use of open source software if that’s a viable alternative over closed-source applications, which could give a major boost to applications like OpenOffice.”

Europe has certainly become a hotbed of ODF and adoption. We should begin to see this reflected in market share statistics over the next several years.

Mozilla Annual Report

December 10th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Mozilla is undoubtedly a pillar of the open source world, not only because of the importance of Firefox, Thunderbird, and its other products, but also as a model for organizing open source software development and the promotion of open standards that benefit everyone participating in an open marketplace.

Mitchell Baker posted (in October) financial and operational highlights of Mozilla’s latest year of operations. With revenues of $66 million, mostly from the Google searchbar, it was a very good year!

The post includes tons of other really interesting info about Mozilla’s role in the marketplace, its  download statistics and web infrastructure, impact on the future of the internet itself, and much more.

Updegrove Chronicles ODF vs MSOOXML

December 7th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

Andy Updegrove has begun work on a book chronicling the current struggle between the ODF and MSOOXML file formats.

As far as format wars go, this is turning into one of the biggest and most important that has occurred in years. Thus, Updegrove intends to keep track of the events so they may be analyzed by others in the future.

Chapter two was posted recently, inserting more historical context on the players involved.

The draft chapters posted so far have also generated a healthy conversation in the comments section, with a mix of theoretical discussions, editing, and other feedback. Writing the book itself is going to be an interesting process to follow along.

OLPC Advances in India

December 6th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

There have been a number of pieces of good news for the global OLPC community in the past few weeks, including the success of the Give One Get One program, the first order of 100,000 units from Uruguay, and an order of 40,000 plus options on 210,000 more from Peru.

On top of all this, a group has formed to promote and distribute the OLPC XO in India:

“We have received excellent response from at least a dozen state governments in India and we expect that large scale implementation will start from March or April next year, with an initial import of 20,000 to 25,000 laptops. And after that, subsequent imports could far exceed that number” said Joshi.

“Backing OLPC India is one of India’s largest mobile telecom companies Reliance Communications (RCOM) which has tied up with the global OLPC alliance, the OLPC Foundation, to promote e-learning for children. According to RCOM, along with OLPC Foundation, it has assumed the task of evangelizing the concept in the country by working with government agencies, non-government organization (NGOs), content developers, translators, teaching communities and project managers to create a successful ecosystems, and help proliferation of OLPC in India.” on gOS

December 5th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

gOS is an Ubuntu variant designed for simple end user tasks. In lieu of many (though not all) desktop applications, it points users towards Google’s set of online tools for email, maps, calendar, news and other functions, as well as other web properties like Facebook and Wikipedia.

gOS got its start recently with Everex’s $200 gPC, which quickly sold out (but seems to be back in stock again) at Wal-Mart and is also available at ZaReason. takes a look at gOS to see how it might fit into the marketplace, and is impressed with the product:

“It’s a cute little system with lots of functionality and great looks. It works well and is fast and stable on my laptop. It should work on any computer that any other Linux supports. Enlightenment is an impressive desktop environment, and the iBar is a low-overhead way to blend cool effects with needed functionality. I think users will like it.”

Yet More Applications Supporting ODF

December 4th, 2007 Benjamin Horst

More applications seem to announce support for ODF every day. Erwin Tenhumberg writes a post titled “Fast-Growing ODF ISV Support” about this very fact:

“I refer to Solutions wiki page for a list of products. The three new products I found out about today are DEVONthink and DEVONnote as well as EMS SQL Manager for SQL Server. DEVONthink seems to be a note taking software with ODF support for the Mac platform and EMS SQL Manager for SQL Server allows importing and exporting ODF data into or from databases.”

Mozilla and Firefox Market Share

December 3rd, 2007 Benjamin Horst

John writes a detailed post on the methodology used by Mozilla to estimate Firefox’s global market share.

Here is a direct quote of his summary points, but the full article is worth a careful reading:

  • We think there are at least 125,000,000 Firefox users in the world right now, give or take. That represents a doubling since Firefox 2 was released a little over a year ago, and significant growth in every country.
  • At Mozilla we view market share as an important quantitative metric that can help us ask smarter questions and build better products, but it’s only one of many
  • We have systems here that tell us approximate number of daily users, and use that information to inform much of what we do.

By all measures, Mozilla (and especially Firefox) is an open source success story. They are also pioneering new metrics to measure the penetration of open source tools into business and user markets. This good data will help to further increase the market share of those very open source tools being measured, by helping guide us to more effective ways to promote them.