Home of The Tiny Guide to

Corporate Support Packages for OpenOffice

May 19th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Uninformed critics will probably tell you that open source software has no support options. This just isn’t true.

Top-tier corporate support is available for from Sun Microsystems all across the planet. at Iowa State University

May 18th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Among educational supporters of, we can add Iowa State University.

Open Standards in Gov’t and Education Links

May 17th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Birmingham, England Migrating to FOSS

May 16th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

According to ZDNet, Birmingham, England is pilot-testing a move to Linux, OpenOffice and Firefox:

“The council the largest in Europe will move 1,500 desktops and all the associated back-end servers in its library service to Linux and other open source software including OpenOffice and Firefox. The year-long trial will be backed by government money, and include a final, neutral assessment of the value of the move. Public terminals in libraries will be shifted to Linux, as well as office systems in the library service.”

The Java Ruckus with OpenOffice 2.0

May 15th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Slashdot and others are discussing the ruckus over OpenOffice 2.0’s need for Java.

This is publicity for OpenOffice, and in that way it is beneficial. Plus, people seem more comfortable when you can talk about something but also admit it has flaws. This is perfect for promoting OpenOffice, since the flaws will turn out to be something most users just don’t care about. (The majority of OOo users are running Windows, and that is far less Free than Java, so the issue is moot for them.)

Addendum: The Apache project has announced their plans for an open source java implementation, which they call Harmony, covered here on Newsforge. Also, Christian Einfeldt interviews Simon Phipps for his perspective on the issue.

Addendum 2: Bruce Byfield describes the solution worked out between OpenOffice and the FSF.

Big News From BECTA

May 13th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

BECTA, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, has released its long-awaited report from the study “Open Source Software in Schools: A study of the spectrum of use and related ICT infrastructure costs.” (Follow the link for a PDF download of the report.)

The study finds very significant TCO (total cost of ownership) savings (up to 50%) for schools that move from proprietary operating systems, office productivity software, and other applications to open source competitors like Linux, OpenOffice, the GIMP, and others.

eGov monitor provides a convenient summary as well.

Bruce Byfield Compares FOSS Spreadsheets

May 13th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Bruce Byfield delivers another winning article at Newsforge, in which he compares the three open source spreadsheets KSpread, Gnumeric, and OpenOffice Calc.

Calc walks away as the champion, but both Gnumeric and KSpread were able to best it in some of the tests. It’s good to see competition; this should make them all stronger as they continue to develop.

Meanwhile, in Linux Journal, Byfield publishes a how-to article covering the use of tables in OpenOffice.

Tracking Linspire with Lraiser

May 12th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Linspire, the popular commercial Linux distribution, runs a site called Lraiser, where it collects stats about the places people are using Linspire. Particularly interesting is the map section, where new users are mapped across the world, and each week’s or month’s new user map is available. This information may also be helpful in calculating the total number of Linux and OpenOffice users.

Linspire also announced a distribution deal with Micro Center, a great computer store. (I used to visit the Cambridge, MA branch.)

The OpenDocument File Format

May 11th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Robin Good covers the importance of an open, standards-based file interchange format for office documents. The benefits of avoiding vendor lock-in and enhancing compatibility across versions and platforms are key features he considers in this introduction to the OpenDocument file formats, used in 2.0, KOffice, and soon to be many more. at SUNY Buffalo

May 10th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

The Faculty of the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, adopted a Resolution for University Support of Open Software and Standards in April 2003. It specifically calls for the university to support OpenOffice and other open source applications, and discourages “the use of secret and proprietary formats such as Microsoft Word.”

More information, including a PDF download of the file, here and a backup copy here.