Home of The Tiny Guide to

Zoho Applications!

June 29th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Zoho Writer now supports ODF! And Zoho has a collection of other very useful, AJAX web applications that are very well-written and effective, including a personal organizer, spreadsheet, and presentation program.

See the full suite of Zoho applications at

Delhi Government Phasing Out MS Office for ODF-Based Suites

June 28th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

According to Economic Times Delhi (India), the government of Delhi is abandoning Microsoft Office in favor of ODF-compliant free office suites. More than 2/3 of the government’s software purchases in 2004-2005 were spent on office suite licenses! The motivation behind the change to free ODF-based suites is to save that money for better uses.

In addition, the national goverment of India “also plans to use ODF-based software in the national egovernance project. The project envisages setting up of over one lakh IT kiosks in rural areas across the country.” I believe a “lakh” is 100,000, therefore this project will be quite sizable.

Belgium to Require ODF

June 26th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

ZDNet reports the government of Belgium will only use ODF and other open formats for document exchange:

“The OpenDocument Format (ODF) is to be the standard format for exchanging documents within the Belgian government. This proposal, which is expected to be approved by Belgium’s Council of Ministers on Friday, increases the pressure from governments worldwide on Microsoft to embrace open standards.

From September 2008 onwards, all document exchanges within the services of the Belgian Government will have to be in an open, standard format, according to the proposal now before the Belgian Ministers. Only ODF is accepted as such a standard in the proposal. Earlier drafts of the Belgian proposal had treated ODF and Microsoft’s own Open XML format (which is to be included in Office 2007) on equal footing.”

Microsoft Attacking Massachusetts

June 23rd, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Consortium Info’s Standards Blog covers two stories about Microsoft’s attempts to steamroll democratic decision-making in Massachusetts.

First, Andy Updegrove covers Microsoft’s donation of “$30 million” worth of software to MA schools. (Of course, MS is measuring the value based on sticker price of the software boxes in stores, not on the marginal cost for the production of each additional unit, which would be about $0.25 per CD delivered.) MS’ obvious bribe attempt was accompanied by a large ad next to the opinion pieces in the Boston Globe, in which convoluted and irrational arguments were made that MS’ new XML format allows for great interoperability! (Nothing but irony and satire!)

Secondly, Updegrove discusses the RFI responses received by Massachusetts with regard to an ODF-reading and -writing plugin for Microsoft Office. Microsoft responded and used the opportunity to soapbox, but didn’t provide any information of value. Sun also responded with a detailed proposal and a workable solution to Massachusetts’ request.

In general, it appears that MS is responding to the ODF situation in Massachusetts with a series of uncoordinated actions that will probably not move the Commonwealth to accept its so-called logic. All that is needed now, to really throw the monopolist into disarray, is for one or two more states to announce their imminent adoption of ODF.

Google – Why not send Google Pack/OpenOffice CDs to everyone?

June 22nd, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Remembering AOL’s strategy of sending AOL sign-up CDs (and before that, floppy disks) to everyone in the country, and how it helped lead them to the top, I think Google should adopt the same tactic.

Make the “Google Pack” starter kit CD, containing all the applications of Google Pack, attached to an easy way to create a Google account for the pack updates, gmail and the other g-services. Add another application to the Pack–, with a new Google plugin that allows it to very easily save and read files stored online with Writely. (Think if it like IMAP email–you can read your email from your heavy desktop client when at home, and from your web interface when on the road.)

Mail this starter kit CD to every high school and college student in the country first. Then to small business owners, then to everyone else. Put it next to the checkout at grocery stores and drugstores, in “Google vending machines” on campuses, and next to the gates at airports for business travelers waiting to board.

New and imaginative distribution channels like this are required, because the existing entrenched monopolist already has a hammerlock on today’s channels. New subscribers who have missed Google’s current (all-digital) distribution efforts will be turned into a huge pool of new customers.

And of course, when OpenOffice pushes Microsoft Office aside as the leading suite, Google won’t have to worry about all that revenue (35% of MS’ total) subsidizing MS attacks on Google’s core markets.

Solveig Picks up the Metro Ads Meme

June 19th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

On Solveig Haugland’s Training, Tips, and Ideas blog, she mentions the OOo Metro Ads project today.

The next step in our endeavor will be to seek several larger grants from corporate sponsors of OpenOffice. Hopefully we can strike up some interest from the likes of Sun, Novell, IBM, Red Hat, OSAF, Linspire or others.

The project link is here.

Brazilian National Meeting (

June 18th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

The first national community meeting (“”) was held in Brazil. is becoming a juggernaut in Brazil. Perhaps it will be the first country where OOo gains majority marketshare?

Of particular interest are the success cases mentioned at the meeting:

“Three success cases in the migration to illustrated the second part of the meeting. Banco do Brasil, Brazilian Army, and FIEC presented their migration cases detailing strategies and techniques used in the deployment of the software.

From Brasília, the senior analyst Dinis dos Santos presented Banco do Brasil’s case. Altogether, 2.0 was installed in all 4,000 branch offices, in the central management, and departments, adding up to 31 thousand workstations. According to Banco’s information, the savings were in the order of 7 million Reais.

Soon after, in Fortaleza, it was the Brazilian Army’s turn to present their case in the person of Major Alexandre. In the Army, migration was based on the strategical planning for Free Software in the Federal Government, from October, 2003. According do Major Alexandre’s presentation, is perfectly adequate for organizations of any size. However, one of the decisive aspects for their success was the training of human resources.

Ending the presentation of cases, César Cals Neto, from FIEC, presented the institution’s case of success, showing that over 80% of the 1000 workstation network already uses The project used São Paulo’s Subway’s Authority’s experience as reference for their Free Software Migration.”

OpenOffice Ads in NYC’s “Metro” Newspaper

June 14th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

We’ve started collecting funds via to purchase ads in New York City’s free “Metro” newspaper.

Visit our project site to contribute!

Want to discuss or ask more questions? We have also set up an Ads Google Group for that purpose.

Press attention is starting to gather, starting with a great deal of attention from Digg.

ODF for Denmark?

June 13th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Groklaw reports on the recent Danish resolution in support of open standards. It passed on June 2, and reads in summary:

“Motion for Parliament Resolution Regarding Use of Open Standards for Software with Public Authorities

Parliament directs the government to ensure that the use of information technology, including software, within public authorities is based upon open standards.

No later than January 1st, 2008, the government should introduce and maintain a set of open standards that can serve as inspiration for other public authorities. Hereafter, open standards should be a part of the basis for public authorities’ development and purchase of IT software, with the aim of furthering competition.

The government should ensure that all digital information and data that public authorities exchange with citizens, corporations and institutions are available in formats based on open standards.”

Working Model of $100 Laptop

June 11th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

A working model of OLPC’s “$100 laptop” is starting to make the rounds.

“At the MITX (Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange) What’s Next Forum and Technology Awards June 7 in Boston, Nicholas Negroponte, the co-founder of the MIT Media Lab, was inducted into the MITX Innovation Hall of Fame…

But Negroponte used his time at the podium to talk about his current job as chairman of the One Laptop per Child association and its goal of putting what is commonly referred to as the $100 laptop into the hands of children in developing countries.

Negroponte didn’t just talk about the association and its goals; he also brought the first working model of the $100 laptop.”

A lot of innovations designed to specifically tailor the laptop to its intended markets have been introduced, some of which (such as wireless mesh networking) aren’t available anywhere else.

“During his talk Negroponte discussed some of the core requirements of the $100 laptop, such as that it run at very low power (around 2 watts), be readable in bright light, and be rugged enough to work in inhospitable areas.

One of the most interesting points was regarding the wireless mesh capabilities of the laptop. Negroponte pointed out that the point of most distributions will be to make sure that the villages have some form of internet connectivity in a central location, such as a school.

Each laptop will then use wireless mesh technology to spread wireless networking across the entire village. When the laptop is shut down, it will continue to work as part of the wireless network.”