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SUNY New Paltz Suggests OpenOffice

September 15th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

SUNY New Paltz’ web page recommending computer purchases for students suggests they consider instead of Microsoft Office. The salient paragraph can be found at the bottom of the page, reading, “Students do not need to have Microsoft Office on their computers, though they will have to save their documents into Microsoft Word format. Nearly all word processing programs can save as RTF, which is compatible with Microsoft Word. Instead of buying an expensive office suite, consider using OpenOffice. It is free and can be downloaded from”

This is the second SUNY school I have discovered using OpenOffice. The faculty at SUNY Buffalo made a strong endorsement of OpenOffice over two years ago, which I cataloged here. Having come across these two by chance, I can only imagine there are many others following the same path.

Linux Replaces Windows on 2,460 Computers

September 13th, 2005 Benjamin Horst reports that “Some 16,000 students in the mountainous South Tyrol province of Bolzano in northern Italy will find 2,460 classroom computers upgraded from Windows XP to Linux when they return to school this month.” In addition, 20,000 Linux live CDs will be distributed to students and their families so they can use the same software at home that they will be learning at school.

More on Massachusetts and OpenDocument

September 12th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

The Boston Globe, generally great for computer and tech stories, publishes a piece by Hiawatha Bray about the recent OpenDocument decision.

Slashdot also revisits the issue. (The Slashdot discussion is based on this ZDNet UK article by Tom Espiner.)

Finally, for reference, the OpenDocument format is explained in detail at Wikipedia.

Why OpenDocument Won

September 7th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

David Wheeler analyzes why Massachusetts chose OpenDocument as its statewide standard document format of the future.

Wheeler writes, “Government officials in Massachusetts, Europe, and elsewhere, have been repeatedly telling Microsoft to stop posturing and actually meet their customers’ needs for complete interoperability, with no restrictions. Yet Microsoft has steadfastly refused to meet their customers’ needs, and they’ve done it so long that customers have abandoned their format. I suspect Massachusetts is only the first of many; governments around the world are working out their standards, preparing for the leap to XML-based office formats. The best information available suggests that everyone is switching to OpenDocument, for all the same reasons, leaving Microsoft with a proprietary format no one wants to use.”

This article also includes many other insights and analytical points worth examining.

Linux in Government – Winning in Australia

September 7th, 2005 Benjamin Horst interviews Con Zymaris about the progress he is making in promoting Linux and open source to Australian governments.

Zymaris writes, “We’re winning, but it’s no cake-walk… We’re winning in terms of acknowledgment from most industry stakeholders: The Australian federal and several state governments have enacted various procurement programs for accelerating the uptake of open source software. Corporates that won’t consider deploying open source software are now looked upon as anachronistic luddites by their peers. I’ve even been told of situations where vendors and staff have been fired for emphasizing Microsoft instead of Linux. The message is seeping out and opinions swayed.”

Continued good luck and perseverance to Con Zymaris and to us all!

South Korea Launches 10,000-school Linux Program

September 6th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

ZDNet UK reports that South Korea will implement Linux and open source systems at 10,000 schools across the nation.

“The South Korean government is rolling out a home-grown open source platform to 10,000 schools in the country.

The project, dubbed the National Education Information System (NEIS), is built on a Korean-developed version of Linux which already services 190 schools in the heart of capital city Seoul.”

That’s a large pilot program. That’s an enormous migration!

OpenOffice: Now Pure LGPL

September 4th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Louis Suarez-Potts emailed the following to the Marketing mailing list:

On 2 September 2005 Sun Microsystems announced that it was retiring the Sun Industry Standards Source License (SISSL), an Open Source Initiative (OSI)-approved software license. In recent weeks, the OSI, which authorises open-source licenses, has been discussing limiting license proliferation, so as to make the process of choosing a license easier for developers and companies. Sun’s move is in support of that objective.

How does this move affect As most know, code was launched under the dual banner of the SISSL and LGPL; licensees could choose which one they wanted to use, and nearly all have chosen the LGPL. Effective with the announcement that Sun is retiring the SISSL, however, will in the future only be licensed under the LGPL.

For users, the simplification means: no change. remains free to use, distribute, even sell. One can freely use it in commercial as well as government environments; nothing has changed.

For vendors, distributors, add-on and plug-in writers of The LGPL allows for commercial distribution without affecting derived products in the same way as the GPL.

For developers and other contributors: As the code will be licensed only under the LGPL, modifications to the source must be published. (The SISSL did not require all changes to the source to be published.) As most contributors are already openly contributing to the community, we anticipate no problems. And for those who have been using the SISSL exclusively, we invite you to join us.

More information available here:

Massachusetts Chooses OpenDocument

September 1st, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Articles are appearing all over the web about the recently announced decision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to standardize all office-type documents on the OpenDocument format. The Enterprise Technical Reference Model PDF is available for download and public comment is requested until September 9.

Slashdot picked up the story.
Groklaw has an excellent piece.
One of the earliest reports appeared at LXer.
The Financial Times (UK) also reports.
The Information Technology division of highlights the decision on the front page of its site.

Peter Quinn, Chief Information Officer of Massachusetts writes,
“After receiving comments from the public regarding our proposed Open Formats standards earlier this year we have had a series of discussions with industry representatives and experts about our future direction. These discussions have centered on open formats particularly as they relate to office documents, their importance for the current and future accessibility of government records, and the relative “openness” of the format options available to us.

This new draft version of the Data Formats section of our Enterprise Technical Reference Model (beginning on page 16) identifies the newly ratified OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) as our standard for office documents. Additional open and acceptable formats are also identified for other types of documents. We are once again asking for your feedback and comments before finalizing the standards document. Thanks in advance for your input.”