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Vietnam’s Big Plans for Open Source

January 14th, 2009 Benjamin Horst’s Standards Blog points out, “Vietnam Starts New Year with Open Source (and ODF).”

Andy Updegrove analyzes this news in the context of the broader global movement toward open source in developing countries:

It’s hardly a surprise that Vietnam should make such an announcement. It has an increasingly sophisticated and growing IT industry, and like the governments of many other¬†emerging nations, is interested in keeping IT budgets down while expanding IT services, as well as nurturing its own IT industry rather than shipping all of its IT budget dollars abroad. For nations throughout Asia and South America in particular, open source (and open standards compatible with open source) are becoming increasingly incorporated into enterprise infrastructure guidelines and procurement requirements.

The source article is published on VietNamNet as “Vietnam to Widely Use Open Source Software.”

The requirements are for government agencies, as part of an effort to modernize IT infrastructure and government operations while cutting unnecessary costs:

By June 30, 2009, 100% of clients of IT divisions of government agencies must be installed with open source software; 100% of staffs at these IT divisions must be trained in the use of these software products and at least 50% use them proficiently…

Open source software products are OpenOffice, email software for servers of Mozilla Thunderbird, Mozilla Firefox web browser and the Vietnamese typing software Unikey.

The instruction also said that by December 31, 2009, 70% of clients of ministries’ agencies and local state agencies must be installed with the above open source software products and 70% of IT staff trained in using this software; and at least 40% able to use the software in their work.

While the timeframe is aggressive compared to many government open source deployments, it should be easy enough for a motivated organization to achieve.

OpenOffice News Roundup

January 13th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

A helpful visitor to the OpenOffice website collected recent articles for inclusion on our news section. While I haven’t checked if the webmasters have added them yet, I will nevertheless replicate the list here:

Thanks to Gerald for providing these suggestions! 3.0 Writer Guide Available

January 12th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

The OOoAuthors project has recently released the 3 Writer Guide at At $20 for a 552-page manual, it’s a bargain on a thorough, well-researched and carefully-edited book produced by volunteer writers from the global community of OpenOffice users.

The manual covers, in part, “setting up Writer to suit the way you work;using styles and templates; working with text, graphics, tables, and forms; formatting pages (page styles, columns, frames, sections, and tables); printing and mail merge; creating tables of contents, indexes, and bibliographies; using master documents, fields, and the equation editor (Math); creating PDFs; and more.”

Free PDFs of the same content are available for download at the OOo Documentation Project site. To download ODFs of the documentation that you can edit, or to participate in writing more documentation, start at the OOoAuthors project site.

Coolest Open Source Products of 2008

January 2nd, 2009 Benjamin Horst

ChannelWeb publishes “The 10 Coolest Open Source Products Of 2008,” selecting 3.0 as the number one coolest:

The popular — and free — open source productivity suite hit its milestone 3.0 version in 2008, making it more clear than ever that its functionality and compatibility with Microsoft Office (including OpenOffice Impress, which is PowerPoint compatible) make it a force to be reckoned with. With an acquisition cost of between $150 and $200 less than Microsoft Office 2007, it could have a big year in a down economy in 2009.

I agree that OpenOffice is the most useful, cost-saving open source application normal computer users and businesses should plan to adopt this year.

Other products on ChannelWeb’s list include IBM Lotus Symphony (based on OpenOffice, but I’m not sure if Symphony is open source itself), Firefox 3.0, Laconica (an open source Twitter competitor), and Google Android.