Home of The Tiny Guide to 3.1 Released Today

May 7th, 2009 Benjamin Horst 3.1 was released today.

The official press release announces:

The Community today announced the general availability of 3.1, a significant upgrade to the world’s leading open-source office productivity suite. Since 3.0 was launched last October, over 60 million downloads have been recorded from the website alone. Released in more than 90 languages and available as a free download on all major computing platforms, 3.1 looks set to break these records.

Download it here. And, why not join the OpenOffice Facebook group while we’re all celebrating?

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!

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!

Hungary and Tatarstan Choose FOSS

April 13th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Our friend Christian Einfeldt reports on Slashdot that Hungary and Tatarstan (in Russia) have made strategic moves to adopt Free and Open Source Software.

On April 2, the Hungarian government announced that it will be modifying its procurement rules to mandate that open source procurement funding match expenditures for proprietary software, according to Ferenc Baja, deputy minister for information technology. In Tatarstan, a Republic of 3.8 million inhabitants, the Deputy Minister of Education announced that by the end of this school year, all 2,400 educational institutions in Tatarstan will have completed a transition to GNU/Linux, following a successful pilot program it rolled out in 2008.

With the 2010 annual conference to be held in Budapest, Hungary, this is especially timely news.

PC Mag’s OpenOffice Tips

April 9th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

It’s great to see the increase in ordinary articles about in mainstream computer (and other) magazines. Not just “here’s an open source alternative app” but instead, “how to do X in OpenOffice”…

Today’s entry in this category comes from PC Mag, in 7 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do.

They are not complex things, and you probably already knew they were possible, but for the target audience of this article, the tips it contains could be quite helpful.

The first tip is for editing multiple parts of a document in different windows at one time: doesn’t let you split a window into two panes, but it offers an even better feature. Click the Window menu, then New Window, to open a new window that displays the same document you’re working on. You can open as many windows as you want, each at a different place in your document; any change you make in one window immediately appears in all others.

(I don’t think I knew this one…)

Other tips include opening legacy document formats–in which OOo is a true champion–modifying the default saved file format, playing an easter egg game, and automating various actions with macros.