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Invoicing with

April 30th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Dmitri Popov writes Creating an Invoicing System with for the Blog.

Popov walks the reader through the steps, including creating a data source, creating an invoice template, creating and printing invoices, and creating an invoice manager.

A Foundation for OpenOffice?

April 29th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Computerworld publishes Oracle-Sun deal renews calls for’s independence, in which they discuss the hope of many community members that Oracle spin off into an independent foundation, along the lines of Mozilla, Apache, or Linux.

Updegrove said he thinks that Oracle would be wise to consider putting into motion the long-stymied spin-off of

“It would provide even greater credibility and greater incentives for additional developers to join the project, from both the independent community as well as from major vendors like IBM and Google,” Updegrove said.

John McCreesh blogged about the possibility of a Foundation recently, as well, stating, “Philosophically, I am bound to agree that this feels the ‘right’ model for an open-source community.”

Computerworld also discusses the funding structure of the Mozilla, Apache and Linux foundations, and theorizes on strategies an OOo Foundation might take to fund itself sustainably, which would be a key part of this entire process.

OpenOffice 3.1 Feature Overview

April 28th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

With 3.1 due for release very soon (I’m not exactly sure when), the 3.1 Features page has gone live, explaining what improvements and additions are in store.

You can download a release candidate of 3.1 now, which has been very stable for me.

Lots of features have been added across all of the OOo components, so check it out now to whet your appetite for the coming release of OpenOffice 3.1!

Tor: Protecting Political Speech Online

April 27th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

MIT’s Technology Review discusses the importance of anonymity software to political speech online, where it can save people in repressive regimes the threat of prison, or worse, for expressing their opinions on government and culture on the internet.

Dissent Made Safer discusses Tor and its importance for political dissidents in Zimbabwe, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other countries.

Tor is an open-source Internet anonymity system–one of several systems that encrypt data or hide the accompanying Internet address, and route the data to its final destination through intermediate computers called proxies. This combination of routing and encryption can mask a computer’s actual location and circumvent government filters; to prying eyes, the Internet traffic seems to be coming from the proxies. At a time when global Internet access and social-networking technologies are surging, such tools are increasingly important to bloggers and other Web users living under repressive regimes.

Many pages of detailed information should satisfy your curiosity about Tor–and perhaps even encourage you to install and use it, in order to support those whose lives could depend on it.

Ubuntu 9.04 Hits the Streets

April 23rd, 2009 Benjamin Horst

That’s right, today is the release day for Ubuntu 9.04, Jaunty Jackalope!

Ubuntu is a community developed, Linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. It contains all the applications you need – a web browser, presentation, document and spreadsheet software, instant messaging and much more.

One of the most user-friendly Linux distributions, Ubuntu’s combination of an attractive user interface, strong community of developers and users, and backing by a well-capitalized company (and leader), have pushed it to the forefront in recognition and into a true competitor to the longstanding dominance of Windows and other closed-source software.

Further, as a small taste of what the future will bring, the agility of open source is demonstrated by the quick creation of a mature netbook-tailored version in the Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

Groklaw on Oracle-Sun

April 22nd, 2009 Benjamin Horst

With all the press about the Oracle buyout of Sun this week (and not much information for those of us watching closely), I turn to Groklaw for intelligent analysis.

No one really knows how it will shake out, but at this point all we can do is hope for the best.

WorldLabel on OpenOffice

April 21st, 2009 Benjamin Horst

WorldLabel publishes Opens Up for Business, a blog post about the increased enthusiasm for open source, and OpenOffice in particular, in this time of economic difficulty.

The article is intended as an introduction for new users who may not know OOo yet, so it starts off easy, and includes the following handy anecdote:

Having switched the office I worked at, I know first hand that regular people quickly learn Originally chosen for its price, it was the standard office suite on all computers. Looking back, it would have been ideal to provide training, but the staff, clients, and newcomers learned it with fewer questions than I expected. Many people didn’t seem to notice it was not the Microsoft Office they used before.

Next is a useful summary of the steps involved in migrating a company to OpenOffice, from evaluation, to getting management support, running a pilot project and providing training and learning resources.

With some good advice on customization and suggestions for Extensions, it’s a great introduction to the software.

Open Source for Washington State?

April 20th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Josh Dressel, an employee of Washington State has begun reviewing, discussing and analyzing the potential impact of a migration to open source (especially and Zimbra) as a way to save his department money and prevent impending layoffs.

ZDNet discusses Dressel’s efforts on Dana Blankenhorn’s blog and seems concerned his efforts may put him at risk to lose his job.

Dressel has expanded his proposal to using Zimbra as well as OpenOffice, which he says will save $1.8 million. Zimbra would replace the department’s present Exchange Server, OpenOffice would replace Microsoft Office.

He says the initial cost of doing all this is not monetary, but staff time, and the department has staff. He concludes, “The status of IT at the DNR is we continue to be a Microsoft shop without any sound data to back staying this course.”

It will be interesting to see if Dressel’s name is on the lay-off list, and whether the local press picks up on his crusade.

Gribskov, Denmark Saves Millions with OpenOffice

April 17th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Leif Lodahl writes about Gribskov, Denmark‘s annual savings of 1 million Danish Kroner per year due to its adoption of OpenOffice.

Michel van der Linden is head of IT in Municipality of Gribskov in Denmark. In this article he explains how the municipality changed from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice some years ago. Initially they saved about two million Danish Kroner and later one million per year.

(According to Google, 1,000,000 Danish Kroner is about $180,000 US dollars.)

Machine translation of the original article in Danish is available here.

OpenOffice 3.1 Release Candidate

April 16th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

With OpenOffice 3.1 due any time now, I’ve begun using the OOo 3.1 RC1 on a daily basis already. I haven’t encountered any reason to make it feel like anything other than a final release, so hopefully others are in the same boat.

H-Online covers the OpenOffice release candidate in a recent post:

Baring any delays due to major bugs the final version is expected to be released on the 15th of April. A full list of features in the upcoming 3.1 final release can be found here.

Whoops, that day has passed, but it must surely be coming very soon!