December 4th, 2008 Benjamin Horst
So far, OpenOffice.org 3.0 for Mac has been limited to Intel machines only. However, plenty of Mac users are still running PPC machines and would like to use the latest OOo on their computers as well.
Fortunately, Nakata Maho has been working on builds for PPC Macs, and with a little help from other developers, has overcome several issues in delivering a PPC version of OpenOffice 3.0.
Current versions available for download are developer builds, so you may encounter lots of bugs. And new versions may be released superseding those linked here. Try this page and look for the latest directory to see if newer builds are available. (As of this writing, the most recent is “Dev_DEV300_m36“).
December 2nd, 2008 Benjamin Horst
Recently, I’ve been in contact with an Ohio school district through an educational technology mailing list. The district has migrated to NeoOffice on all its computers (Macs, of course), but did not implement training or documentation for the new users. Thus, they have had some frustrations with the migration.
I sent the following in an email to give them the resources they need to get comfortable with their new software, and I’m posting it here in case it is useful for others in a similar situation:
I’m happy to help you find the NeoOffice (and related OpenOffice) online communities. Without participating in these, or without any training to accompany the switch, I can see why you and your colleagues would be frustrated! I hope I can help you all cross over the transition period to smooth sailing beyond.
For manuals, I suggest Solveig Haugland’s and the OOoAuthors Project’s manuals.
Solveig’s blog offers useful tips every day: http://www.openoffice.blogs.com/
Her book is called “OpenOffice.org 2 Guidebook” and is the definitive reference on the software: http://openoffice.blogs.com/bookresources/
OOoAuthors is a group of volunteers who have written a plethora of great books on the OpenOffice component applications. You can download any of them free as PDFs, or you can purchase the printed books from Lulu.com for a reasonable price. Links to all of these can be found on the site’s homepage: http://oooauthors.org/en
For online resources, NeoOffice maintains a user forum and a wiki where you can ask specific questions of the many users and volunteers who participate there.
NeoOffice Forums: http://trinity.neooffice.org/modules.php?name=Forums
NeoOffice Wiki: http://neowiki.neooffice.org/index.php/Main_Page
OpenOffice has its own official forum as well. Since the two programs are very similar in most functionality, you can also ask questions of the site users there:
In reviewing it just now, I came across the following thread that should be particularly useful for you: http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=11660
The books above should provide the step-by-step instructions for specific tasks. If you need more, then any book about OpenOffice should suffice, and you can also look into The INGOTS online training and certification program, at www.theingots.org, for online training materials (accredited in the UK, but quite useful here in the USA too).
Good luck, and let me know if you have further questions!
November 3rd, 2008 Benjamin Horst
Fortune Magazine’s Big Tech blog predicts the coming decline of Windows in “PC makers move closer to a post-Windows world“:
“In January, Hewlett-Packard will introduce a glossy black mini-laptop at retail for a mere $379. When it does, it will become the first major computer maker this decade (besides Apple, of course) to push a non-Windows PC in stores… This Linux-based version of the HP Mini 1000 will not slay Microsoft Windows. But it will add to a growing sense that the iconic operating system’s best days are behind it.”
Author Jon Fortt credits the “Windows Vista flop,” Apple’s enormous growth, competitors in the smartphone market and mini-laptops (“netbooks”) for breaking open major cracks in the Microsoft fortress. Specifically regarding netbooks, Fortt writes, “more than 35% of today’s mini-laptops run a non-Windows operating system,” which means this new fast-growing market segment will probably never come under the thumb of Microsoft. HP sees it as an opportunity to develop its own brand, instead of just the brands of others that make processors and operating systems, putting them in a better longterm position in the market.
“This is the part of the Windows Vista backlash that really matters,” said IDC analyst Richard Shim, who had recently seen HP’s Linux mini-laptop.”
A newly competitive marketplace for operating systems will bring out much more rapid innovation (look to the smartphone industry for a precedent), lower prices and more opportunity for new startups and existing companies to grow. I expect it also to boost open source, as a great way to quickly implement new products and services.
October 20th, 2008 Benjamin Horst
OpenOffice.org 3.0 was released one week ago today. John McCreesh writes:
“From the official announcement on Monday 13th October at 09:00 UTC, to midnight on Sunday 20th October, OpenOffice.org 3.0 recorded an astonishing three million downloads via the Bouncer. That’s:
- 221,230 GNU/Linux users (who might be considered obvious users of the world’s leading open-source office suite)
- an impressive 320,622 Mac OS X users (enjoying OpenOffice.org with a Mac “look and feel” for the first time), and
- a staggering 2,449,863 Microsoft Windows users.”
Another of John’s posts provides additional information and analysis.
“If you download OpenOffice.org from the download page, you will go via the Bouncer, and your download will be logged. These logs are the only figures we are able to quantify accurately, but they are a considerable underestimate of the actual number of downloads…”
So how many people are already using OpenOffice.org 3.0? No-one knows. We know that the Bouncer figures underestimate the number of downloads. We know the number of downloads is considerably less than the number of installed copies. So five million users already?”
The release of OOo 3.0 is definitely its biggest to date. The userbase is clearly expanding, and now Mac OS X can be a part of that, as in this first week its downloads represent a healthy piece of the total, at almost 11%.
October 15th, 2008 Benjamin Horst
OpenOffice.org 3.0 was released on Monday, October 13, and download demand has been enormous since then. In fact, it’s been so strong the website is down and a temporary download-only site has been put in its place until the spike recedes.
Frank Mau announces over 350,000 downloads were initiated in the first 24 hours since OOo 3.0’s release:
“It could be more but the huge traffic on www.openoffice.org bear down the web-infrastructure on the site host. Hope the next days will bring up the service back on a stable base.”
Eike Rathke points out the release of OpenOffice 3.0 is also the project’s 8th birthday. He also provides a list of known mirrors to download 3.0 from if you cannot reach the main site.
Kazunaro Hirano writes: 3.0.0 Released! Website down but Mirrors are OK! He too provides links to mirror sites for alternate download access.
There are lots of reasons for this huge interest in OpenOffice.org 3.0, and I like to think pent-up demand from Mac users is one of them.
September 16th, 2008 Benjamin Horst
Codeweavers has announced CrossOver Chromium, a port of the open source Google Chromium browser to Mac OS X and Linux:
“Google has announced plans to support native Mac and Linux versions of Chromium, but they have yet to be released. CrossOver Chromium, however, runs the Windows version of Chromium natively on both Mac and Linux.”
Codeweavers doesn’t recommend using this as a primary browser, but has created it as “a proof of concept, for fun, and to showcase what Wine can do” (which is quite a lot)! Give it a try and get a feel for what Google Chrome is all about, without having to use that awful operating system under it.
June 10th, 2008 Benjamin Horst
Firefox continues its growth into a true powerhouse. TG Daily writes, “Browser war gets uglier as Firefox is set to grab 20% share.” (By uglier, I interpret the article to mean, “more intense.”)
While Firefox is growing, so too is Safari. Yet Internet Explorer continues to fade:
“The most recent browser market share numbers released by Net Applications confirm further Firefox and Safari gains at the expense of Internet Explorer. According to the research firm, Mozilla is likely to hit a milestone this month by capturing one fifth of the browser market. A closer look, however, reveals that browser makers are using sophisticated strategies to aggressively push their browsers onto computers. It seems that the browser wars are heating up once again.”
In other good news, the browser market shift is also tied to a platform shift. Mac OS X is gaining marketshare against Windows, which brings more users to Safari and Firefox too:
“Another factor contributing to the rise of Safari and Firefox at the expense of IE comes from Mac market share growth. As more people switch to Macs, they use Safari or Firefox. Mac market share gains appear to directly translate to Safari browser gains and, to a smaller part, to Firefox for Mac.”
May 22nd, 2008 Benjamin Horst
Still in development and not scheduled to be a final release for almost four months, nevertheless OpenOffice 3.0 beta is garnering great reviews around the net.
Erwin Tenhumberg has recently pointed out three such reviews of the Mac OS X version:
Review One: Reviewed on The Apple Blog: “The first noticeable item is how quickly OpenOffice 3.0 beta loads, even when compared with Microsoft Office 2008. In less than five seconds you are at the welcome screen ready to create your next masterpiece.”
Review Two: From a Usenet posting you can read through Google Groups: “It is more that three times as fast as NeoOffice and more than twice as fast than both MSOffice 2004 and 2008! – And until now i haven’t had a single ‘unexpected quit’ with the last two builds of OOo3.0. – Also the fonts handling is quite a lot better than in NeoOffice and MSO2004/2008.”
Review Three: Reviewed by a reader on Macintouch.com: “I’m very impressed with the first public release beta of OO for OS X. It is both faster and more stable than the Office 08 demo I tried out. Since I’m not working in a corporate setting and don’t need absolute compatibility with Microsoft, I see no reason to purchase Office 2008 for an Intel native office suite. The presentation module isn’t near as slick as Keynote but the word processing and spreadsheets are more capable than Pages and Numbers. If you need that extra functionality then give OO a try.”
May 19th, 2008 Benjamin Horst
This weekend I installed and tested an open source desktop virtualization software, VirtualBox. In fact, according to its own website, it is “the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.”
VirtualBox is now owned by Sun, which probably has the largest arsenal of open source software anywhere.
In my testing, I installed the latest Ubuntu, 8.04 Hardy Heron, which runs beautifully in VirtualBox on my MacBook.
April 23rd, 2008 Benjamin Horst
Collanos Workplace is a really interesting peer-to-peer application for creating ad-hoc project workspaces to store files, notes and other shared data. You can invite other users into your workspaces and maintain a common repository of documents.
Collanos is built on the Eclipse Rich Client Platform and is thus inherently cross-platform, like most teams today. Apple even featured Collanos in its list of OS X applications yesterday.
Sad to say, Collanos is not open source, but it is free of charge and promises to remain so forever.