Home of The Tiny Guide to 3.1 with 100 Languages

April 7th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Frank Mau writes Pootle and, in which he discusses continued refinements to the translation tools available for OOo native language communities. Among those tools is Pootle, which helps to manage translation project teams.

Of interest to the whole community, is the vast breadth of translations that have already been completed for the development branch of OpenOffice 3.1. Mau announces: 3.1 is knocking on the door and we are proud to deliver more languages than ever before. I’ve seen near by 100 full install-sets for m5 testing! Great to see this engagement by the community, big thanks to everyone.

25 Highly-Anticipated Open Source Releases

April 6th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

ComputerWorld publishes a lengthy piece titled 25 Highly-Anticipated Open Source Releases Coming This Year.

It’s a roundup of some major open source project releases scheduled for the rest of this year, although article commentors pointed out a number of important projects that weren’t mentioned… which shows how important and enormous the field of open source has become.

Firefox 3.5, Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10, Android, Maemo, Eclipse, 3.1, Kaltura, Dimdim, Foswiki, WordPress, several open source hardware projects, and much more.

It’s going to be a huge year for open source!

OpenOffice Performance Contests

April 1st, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Our friends at Ninja have concluded a performance test between and several derivatives on the Linux and Windows platforms.

Performance has rarely bothered me, but it can be a severe irritant for many users, although the differences from one OOo distro to another and one platform to another are rarely more than seconds. Indeed, Ziem writes:

All editions and both operating systems performed well, and it’s not possible to identify a single champion.

He also points out that 3.1, due to be released soon, is expected to offer further performance enhancements.

Great graphs and analyses make Ziem’s original post well worth reading.

Recession Helps Drive Open Source Growth

March 31st, 2009 Benjamin Horst

It’s long been common sense that economic downturns aid some businesses, even while harming most others. Beneficiaries tend to include discount retailers, as shoppers shift downmarket, as well as similar cost-conscious products and services that can replace more expensive alternatives.

Because of its price benefits, open source is now benefiting in this way, writes Eweek, in Why Recession Is Causing Enterprises to Rethink Open-Source Strategy.

Author Chris Preimesberger writes:

Budget limitations and continued improvement in software and associated services are making open-source software alternatives such as MySQL, SUSE Linux, and plenty of others look mighty good to IT managers and CFOs.

Interviewing Matt Asay from Alfresco, the article asserts that open source is starting to be seen as the safe, default option that will save a manager’s job, whereas in the past it was often considered new, untested and risky.

Is this evidence of an arriving tipping point?

Measuring’s US Userbase

March 30th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Recently, I noted the analysis concluding that OpenOffice may have 11 million users in the US.

Eike Rathke points out why this may be an undercount. He listed many aspects of the survey’s methodology that likely exclude more OOo users than MSO users. Rathke notes the survey…

– did not measure usage by pupils under age of 18 at school and home
– did not measure anything on other operating systems like Linux, OpenSolaris, MacOSX, …
– did not measure that 100% of all users of Linux and OpenSolaris do not use Microsoft Office
– did not measure the fair amount of MacOSX users using
– probably wouldn’t have been able to recruit Linux users anyway, because users of Free Software usually care more about privacy

Based on these factors, it does seem fair to say the survey did not fully count the US OpenOffice userbase. Maybe in the future we can gather more accurate numbers, but for now, at least we know its bottom boundary.

OpenOffice 3.0 Exceeds 50 Million Downloads

March 26th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

John McCreesh sent a note and blogged this morning to highlight the ongoing success of 3.0: it has been downloaded over 50 million times since its release last fall:

Yesterday – Document Freedom Day 2009 – we reached our 50 millionth download of from since 3.0 was released. Celebrate!

Interest in OpenOffice and its exposure to more users continues to increase, building a positive upward spiral of adoption and development of the application suite.

UK’s Guardian on Open Source Apps

March 20th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

The Guardian publishes Open Source Apps are No Small Free Beer, analyzing how their free cost is leading to a major boost in interest during this great downturn.

There cannot be a corner of the industrialised world that doesn’t rely on some form of free software. But free software, and the open source movement it inspired, has so far affected mostly the back-end world of servers and databases, or taken over from software, like the web browser, that was already available at zero cost.

Until now, suggests the Guardian, looking specifically at

Take OpenOffice, the leading alternative to a paid-for “proprietary” software application. As the downturn started, its download figures began to rocket. According to Oregon State University, since it launched its third version in mid-October, OpenOffice has been downloaded more than 42m times. That’s roughly four times (3.75) every second.

Recent efforts have been made to analyze usage share of OpenOffice to see whether it is displacing users from Microsoft Office.

In November, the US analyst Clickstream reported ( that 5% of internet users used OpenOffice in the last six months. By comparison, 51% used Microsoft Office, suggesting that Microsoft had 10 times as many users as OpenOffice. But this also suggests that Microsoft’s dominance could be declining, as three years ago it enjoyed 95% of the market.

Not only is OpenOffice showing strongly inĀ  competition with MSO, but this information also shows MSO has a much lower usage than many IT analysts assume, if only half of internet users are opening it in a six-month period.

In the public sector, for governments around the world, OpenOffice is proving to be even more popular.

From Birmingham to Brussels, local and regional governments are switching to OpenOffice in a bid to confront the hegemony of Microsoft. “The idea of using open source software not originated by an American multinational corporation seems to go down particularly well in the French public service,” says John McCreesh, marketing project lead of

France’s Gendarmerie Saves Millions with Open Source

March 19th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Several years ago, the French Gendarmerie police force began its migration to open source for the 90,000 desktop computers used by its 105,000 police officers. In a recent followup (Gendarmerie Saves Millions With Open Desktop and Web Applications), finds the Gendarmerie continues to succeed with its open source strategy:

The French Gendarmerie’s gradual migration to a complete open source desktop and web applications has saved millions of euro, says Lieutenant-Colonel Xavier Guimard. “This year the IT budget will be reduced by 70 percent. This will not affect our IT systems.”

The migration still continues now, as new systems are bought to replace older machines. In this way, change is managed as a gradual process, while the general rule against buying new software licenses (using legacy licenses until they are replaced with open source) means that money is being saved immediately.

“If one of us wants a new PC, it comes with Ubuntu. This encourages our users to migrate.” Guimard estimates Gendarmerie since 2004 has saved 50 million euro on licences for standard office applications, hardware and maintenance.

The decision in 2004 to move to open source, was raised by one of the Gendarmerie’s accountants. “Microsoft was forcing us to buy new software licences. This annoyed our accountant, who tried OpenOffice.” According to Guimard the proprietary software maker then started lobbying the Gendarmerie, which is how the general manager found out about the experiments. “When he saw OpenOffice worked just as well and was available for free, it was he that decided it should be installed on all 90,000 desktops.”

After sampling open source with OpenOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird, the Gendarmerie took another step and migrated to Linux as well.

In 2007 the Gendarmerie decided to replace even the desktop operating system. Guimard: “Moving from Microsoft XP to Vista would not have brought us many advantages and Microsoft said it would require training of users. Moving from XP to Ubuntu, however, proved very easy. The two biggest differences are the icons and the games. Games are not our priority.”

11 Million US OpenOffice Users?

March 13th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Matt Asay writes Does OpenOffice have 11 million active U.S. users?

While Microsoft Office is actively used by roughly 50 percent of U.S. Internet users, according to a 2,400-strong survey administered by ClickStream Technologies, 5 percent of U.S. Web users also actively use the open-source productivity suite

Importantly, ClickStream wasn’t measuring installations. It was measuring use. The company actually installed client-side software that tracked which applications the users were running.

Based on the population of the US and the number of internet users, Asay calculates OOo users in the USA to number 11 million, concluding:

An estimated 11 million people interacting with OpenOffice on a daily basis sounds like an incredible beachhead for much broader market penetration.

Open Source in India Today

March 11th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Alolita Sharma publishes an overview titled Open Source in India Today on the FOSSBazaar blog.

The current position of FOSS in India is strong:

Over the past decade open source software has become popular with technology users in India. The benefits of open source – affordability, availability of source code and freedom of choice – have made open source a preferred platform for many innovative Indian organizations and individuals…

The government of India has been involved as well, setting up a National Resource Center for Free and Open Source Software (NRCFOSS) in 2005, and the Institute for Open Technologies and Applications (IOTA) in 2007.

IOTA’s mandate is to promote open source software in government and academia. IOTA provides information on open source software and open standards to organizations looking to understand how open source can fit into their IT infrastructure. IOTA also offers training on Linux and OpenOffice.

Federal and state goverments are leveraging open source to provide services to their citizens as well as run their offices at a lower cost. Numerous organizations promote open source in India for these gains in efficiency and in the reach of providing government services to a larger part of the population.