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Happy Birthday,!

October 15th, 2005 Benjamin Horst


13 October, 2005 – 1400 UTC

On this day, five years ago, the fledgling community provided the first public access to the source code donated from StarOffice by Sun Microsystems. The community had recently been formed, and declared its intent “to create, as a community, the leading international office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access to all functionality and data.” Since then, the popularity and functionality of the office productivity suite has grown exponentially and has had a major impact not only in the greater Open Source community, but for all users of office productivity software, worldwide.

OpenOffice Developer Interviews

October 13th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Our friends at Mad Penguin are conducting a series of three interviews with developers behind the forthcoming release of 2.0.

The first interview, with Florian Reuter, covers X-forms, web services, service-oriented architectures, and the importance that everyone submit bug reports!

The second interview is with Gary Edwards, and focuses on the OpenDocument XML file format used by OpenOffice and other suites. It also reveals why the new XML formats touted by Microsoft will not be acceptable for widespread use.

The third interview is forthcoming.

Migrating to Linux in Indonesia

October 12th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Fajar Priyanto writes in FedoraNews about his experience helping migrate companies from Windows to Linux and OpenOffice in Indonesia.

New South Wales, Australia, Heading Toward Linux

October 11th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

The NSW Office of State Revenue plans to migrate to OpenOffice and Linux desktops for its 600 employees.

“[Manager of Client Services Pravash] Babhoota said the emergence of a new version of Microsoft Windows, Office and their commensurate licensing would naturally lead his IT shop to consider consolidating its applications on open source.

“At this stage the benefits have been in delivering [savings through] consolidation and thin clients. In a few more months the focus will shift to replacing Office,” Babhoota said…

“As soon as support ends for XP, we will look at moving to Linux [desktops],” Babhoota said, adding the back-end switch to open source had cost 17 percent of what a proprietary upgrade had been costed at, with the agency doubling the amount of business it processed in the same 12-month period.”

“Portable OpenOffice”

October 10th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

John Haller has hacked OpenOffice to run directly from a removable media or flash drive, without installing anything on the host computer. He calls his clever project “Portable” (and he has done the same thing with Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird and NVU).

This is a great example of how open source allows for innovation at the margins. Great work, John!

“Using Open Source Software on Mac OS X”

October 7th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Newsforge publishes a good article about a number of Mac-specific open source applications.

Some of the apps discussed are ClamXav, Growl, Seashore, Vienna, Adium X, Cyberduck, DTV, and others.

Vassar College Suggests OpenOffice

October 5th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

If you dig around a bit on almost any college or university’s website, you’ll find mention of OpenOffice somewhere. Vassar College‘s New Student FAQ suggests students use OpenOffice.

The relevant text:
“The campus does, however, strongly encourage students to adopt the Microsoft Office or OpenOffice suites for word-processing and spreadsheet applications because the document types produced by both suites are the campus-wide standard.”

That’s cool, now we just have to convince Vassar to give an OOo installer CD to each incoming student…

“Migrating to 90% Cheaper…”

October 4th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Computerworld Singapore publishes a piece entitled Migrating to 90 per cent cheaper than to Microsoft Office 12.

If you dig deeper, you’ll find that these are ‘back-of-the-envelope’ calculations, but with MS Office 12 barely in beta, not much more would be possible yet. It is certainly no less outlandish than the estimates promulgated by the other side, in any case.

From the article:
“Thanks to excellent new features and through Microsoft’s poor decisions, has suddenly become the de-facto next-generation office suite to move to,” said Cybersource chief executive officer, Con Zymaris. “This is because is now more familiar to existing Microsoft Office users than Microsoft Office 12 is…”

“In a recent presentation to the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, the state’s secretary of administration and finance Eric Kriss said that his organisation would ‘save significantly by migrating to OpenDocument-based products rather than going with Office 12 – on the order of US$5 million for OpenDocument versus US$50 million for Office 12, including hardware and operating-system upgrade costs.”

“We believe a 90 per cent reduction in costs, as suggested by the independent Commonwealth of Massachusetts analysis noted above, is an excellent reason for all businesses looking at updating their office suite software, to choose 2.0,” concluded Zymaris.”

The $100 Laptop

October 3rd, 2005 Benjamin Horst

More news comes from the MIT Media Lab’s effort to develop a $100 laptop for students around the world. The project website describes some of the laptops’ design elements: wireless mesh networking, an innovative, inexpensive screen, hand crank for electrical power, Linux-based operating system, and plentiful USB ports.

University of Toronto at Scarborough Standardizes on StarOffice

October 2nd, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Yahoo reports, University of Toronto at Scarborough Standardizes on StarOffice for all Student Computing Resources.

“There were a number of compelling technical reasons for us to provide StarOffice to our 10,000 users, and in the end it came down to ubiquity and value for our students,” said Dr. Philip Wright, Director, Computing and Networking Services, University of Toronto at Scarborough. “StarOffice meets the needs of all of our students, independent of their area of study or their choice of operating system.”

“StarOffice has seen considerable uptake in Ontario academic circles. In May 2004, the Ontario Ministry of Education acquired StarOffice licenses for the Province’s 72 public and Catholic school boards. More than 2.5 million students now have access to the leading alternative office suite on Windows.”

Another sizable migration to add to the list of university and educational switchers. Watch out for the Tipping Point ahead!