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Howard County Library in Maryland

October 31st, 2006 Benjamin Horst

The Howard County Library in Maryland deployed OpenOffice on 283 computers for public use.

This library is on the right path. From the link above:

“Howard County Library has embraced Open Source technology because we believe it will allow us to:

  • Provide users with the tools they need to accomplish their work-related and library resource-related tasks;
  • Reduce total costs of ownership including costs associated with acquisition, upgrade, maintenance, development;
  • Enhance network and device security; and
  • Enhance stability.

Howard County Library is committed to using Open Source software whenever feasible.”

Firefox, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, and Linux are their flagship open source programs in use. Congratulations to the residents of Howard County who will benefit from this! in Universities and Colleges Roundup

October 26th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

As continues to improve, one target market that seems poised to adopt en masse is education, specifically college and high school students.

On this hunch, I spent a few minutes searching the web and discovered many colleges and university websites promoting OpenOffice, IT groups sharing it with students, or administrations examining OOo as a possible option. Among them, in no particular order, I have found:

St Antony’s College of the University of Oxford

University of Wisconsin – Madison

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

University of Florida College of Medicine

Eckerd College in Florida

Duke University

St Catharine’s College in the UK

Concordia College in Minnesota

Malaspina University College in British Columbia, Canada

Foothill College in California

Richland Community College in Illinois

American University

Stanford University

Rutgers University

Utah State University

Drexel University

University of Pennsylvania

Please add more from your own experience in the comments below.

Huffington Post Covers ODF

October 25th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Huffington Post, a political blog, covers the importance of ODF to an increasing number of governments around the world.

Several have already mandated ODF for their own use, based on the theory that open standards will promote competition among office suites (and other document creation tools), which will improve quality and drive down prices–a reversal of the stagnation that’s been the norm for the past decade.

In addition, and more importantly, governments want to ensure the data they produce will remain accessible, and not be threatened by the decisions or strategic moves of a single entity. Data only a few years old, stored in Microsoft’s Office formats, is quickly becoming inaccessible due to format changes that are not documented to the world. The only way to escape this is to use a fully documented, open format, that can be (and is) implemented by multiple software programs. Microsoft’s formats do not meet this requirement; only ODF does.

Governments already mandating ODF include Belgium, Denmark, and Massachusetts.

Others look like they might be moving in the same direction. My guesses for the next to make this smart decision are more US states such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as Brazil, France and India.

Blogging Extension for OpenOffice

October 25th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Sun has released a blogging extension for OpenOffice. It allows for complex design of blog posts, as well as creation of posts offline (while on a plane for example) that you can post later. Pretty cool.

In addition, this extension is a good example of things that can be built on top of OOo. It costs something ($9.95), which I see as an illustration of how companies can make money by building tools and features on top of the OpenOffice foundation. There could be a large market for shareware developers here, too. Altogether, an interesting development.

Mark Shuttleworth on Crossing the Chasm

October 24th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Mark Shuttleworth, internet entrepreneur, astronaut, and Ubuntu SABDFL, has announced his new “audacious goal” is to get Free Software across the chasm and into the hands of normal users.

This is an important goal, and one toward which Shuttleworth has long been striving! Good luck to him, and to the rest of us working toward the same goal. State of the Project, Year 6

October 23rd, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Louis Suarez-Potts delivered the State of the Project, Year 6 talk at OOoCon 2006.

OpenOffice is rising! This project is seeing significant success, and the rate of growth continues to climb. Louis estimates there are now 350,000 copies of OOo downloaded from the main website each week! Add to that the users acquiring OOo with their Linux installations, via peer-to-peer distribution, and CD copies or sales, and the growth is huge and impossible to measure.

Louis also mentioned my Metro Ad project in his talk, which is very exciting.

An Insight for Promoting Open Source

October 20th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Brad Jackel of Newsforge writes Promoting OSS: Show, don’t tell.

“The lesson for OSS advocacy that can be drawn from this is that when you are dealing with people who view software as a tool, don’t enthuse about a better tool and expect to be listened to. Rather, show them the better tool in practice in a way that is specifically relevant to the problems that they need to solve by using it. That is, focus on their task, not your technology. Changing from one platform or software package to another then becomes a non-issue, as the focus is the task, not the tool.

People who are focused on IT are used to seeing the possibilities of new features quickly. People who are not focused on IT are not. Simply explaining what tabs do is not enough — users need to be shown specifically how to use them.

It is well worth the time to take the trouble to learn what a given audience does with its computers (and how) and then focus any presentation or advocacy on improving that work. Users will enthusiastically embrace a better tool when they are not just told what it can do, but shown how they will be able to use it.”

Democracy Player Reaches 0.9.1

October 19th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Democracy Player released version 0.9.1 today. It’s an internet TV platform, a video-RSS feed aggregator, and it is great. Download the latest version now.

“Two ways Microsoft sabotages Linux desktop adoption”

October 19th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

Jan Stafford of writes “Two ways Microsoft sabotages Linux desktop adoption.”

“Microsoft has mastered desktop lock-in, undermining users’ confidence in any alternatives and creating a slew of minor difficulties that irritate those who do switch.

Two themes dominate the stories I hear about the tribulations of using and adopting non-Microsoft business desktops: the difficulty in finding compatible hardware and the stranglehold Microsoft Word has on users.”

Despite the difficulties imposed by Microsoft, the switch still pays off in the long run: “Despite the difficulties they’ve encountered, both Canfield and Holt will continue using and evangelizing Linux desktops. They firmly believe, as do I, that the business that plans, trains and implements Linux and OpenOffice desktops well can overcome the short-term hassles and get long-term cost and productivity benefits.”

French and Danish Governments Analyze ODF and OpenOffice

October 18th, 2006 Benjamin Horst

CNet’s writes French government report lauds ODF.

Not only is France very enthusiastic about using ODF for internal government needs (as evidenced by over 400,000 government PCs being migrated to OpenOffice), but it’s also interested in heartily promoting ODF to other EU member states.

“A member of the French Parliament has prepared a report for Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin which recommends that France mandate the use of the OpenDocument format, or ODF.

According to French news reports, the study was commissioned one year ago and recently presented to de Villepin by Tarn Bernard Carayon.

He recommends that the French government “propose to its European partners to systematically favor open standards and, as the first example, to mandate the international ISO format ODF for the creation and diffusion of all official document exchange at the European level.”

Meanwhile, Denmark has been eyeing and analyzing the cost savings of over the forthcoming Microsoft Office 2007. CIO Magazine reports Study: Danish Gov’t Can Save With OpenOffice:

“The Danish government could save about 125 million Danish kroner (US$21 million) over the next five years if it adopted the productivity software instead of upgrading to Microsoft’s Office 2007 suite.”

Enhanced interoperability and huge cost savings are the one-two punch that ODF and OpenOffice can provide governments and other large organizations. The market is going to shift soon.