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OLPC and Fedora’s Strong Relationship

July 30th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

Gregdek writes a post to reassure the world of the strength of the relationship between OLPC and Fedora, and to point out that despite news mentions of Windows forcing its way onto OLPCs, that has not happened yet in the real world:

“OLPC has shipped over 300,000 units to kids around the world. They plan to ship at least another 50,000 more each month, and very likely more than that. It’s entirely possible that by the end of 2008, there will be a million OLPC systems deployed worldwide.

“Of those systems, 100% of them currently run Fedora, and 0% of them currently run Windows — despite the press clippings you may have read.

“The OLPC project is based on Fedora. The engineers at OLPC have invested thousands of person-hours in making Fedora a successful base for OLPC deployments. Fedora is now, and will continue to be, the base operating system for the OLPC project. Period.”

300,000 units distributed is a large number, but it hasn’t impressed the media as much as I would have expected. Nevertheless, I expect growth to continue at a healthy rate, especially as we see successes coming from the current adopters, and over time the project will come to receive its due recognition. Wins Three Sourceforge Awards

July 29th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

OpenOffice has won in three categories at the Sourceforge 2008 Community Choice Awards!

This puts it far ahead of any other single project, reflecting the open source community’s understanding of the strategic importance of an open source, open standards-based office suite. This product category, after all, is where Microsoft continues to earn billions of dollars it funnels into attacks on every other open source program and project, as well as stymieing efforts to create true open standards and level playing fields.

Before I get carried away, what were the three categories? They were: Best Project, Best Project for the Enterprise, and Best Project for Educators.

I would have to agree!

Ubuntu and Macedonia

July 28th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

In 2007, Macedonia implemented a program to put computers in all its schools, and for price and performance reasons, chose Ubuntu as the operating system for the project. This has led to a high level of literacy in Ubuntu and related open source programs not only in schools, but among the country’s population generally.

Aid Worker Daily provides a snapshot of the current level of Ubuntuphilia in Macedonia, and the positive side effects the school migration is having for the entire population.

“A few weeks ago, while my wife was still in Macedonia, I asked her to install Ubuntu on our old laptop which her parents had been using for years, primarily for Skype. The machine had contracted a bug and I am not a fan of bootleg software. With the popularity of Ubuntu it was easy enough to find someone to handle the installation (the neighbor) and within 24 hours she was back up and running. It seems as if everyone in Macedonia keeps a copy of the ISO in their back pocket.”

And then, he blows apart the argument that Linux is hard to use. His father-in-law had never used the laptop before, either running Windows or Linux: “Shortly after returning to the States my wife called her father and asked him if he had a minute so that she could explain to him how to get online. His response was, “Don’t worry about it. I figured it out on my own.”

It has long been my opinion that Ubuntu (and most other modern Linux distros) are more logical and usable than Windows, and here is another anecdotal confirmation of that.

XiTi Monitor on Firefox 3’s Growth

July 25th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

We all know the release of Firefox 3 was a huge success, with the attempt to win a Guinness World Record for downloads having been achieved.

But how has it been doing since? One of my favorite sources for open source statistics, XiTi Monitor, analyzes Firefox 3 adoption since its release.

In short, not only are Firefox 2 users upgrading very rapidly, but the Firefox family of browsers continues to gain on its main rival. Its pan-European average usage rate ranges from about 32% on weekdays to over 35% on weekends, and continues to grow each quarter.

Drupal Museum: a Themes Showcase

July 24th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

The site Drupal Museum provides a showcase of excellent designs implemented in Drupal websites. This is a fine resource to refer back to for inspiration, and for website designers to aspire to inclusion one day.

OLPC XO Receives Design Award

July 23rd, 2008 Benjamin Horst

A 2008 International Design Excellence Award was given to the OLPC XO laptop in honor of its hardware, software interface, and overall project design.

Ryan Eder, on behalf of the contest, explains: “Brilliant design for an even better cause. From the physical design to the sociological impact, every element of this laptop is exemplary of true innovation. This product is immensely practical and beneficial to all users across the globe. Design at its best!”

I imagine that as it receives more exposure and real-world use, OLPC will continue to collect accolades like today’s IDEA award.

Adeona: Recover a Lost Laptop

July 22nd, 2008 Benjamin Horst

Adeona is a free and open source tool for recovering a lost or stolen laptop. Install it on your computer and then if your laptop disappears, you can track where (IP address and location) it is being used and work to recover it.

It also works hard to maintain your privacy on an ongoing basis:

“Adeona is the first Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop that does not rely on a proprietary, central service. This means that you can install Adeona on your laptop and go — there’s no need to rely on a single third party. What’s more, Adeona addresses a critical privacy goal different from existing commercial offerings. It is privacy-preserving. This means that no one besides the owner (or an agent of the owner’s choosing) can use Adeona to track a laptop. Unlike other systems, users of Adeona can rest assured that no one can abuse the system in order to track where they use their laptop.”

Developed by two University of Washington Ph.D. students, this is a great tool to keep in your kit.

Another OpenOffice 3.0 Preview

July 21st, 2008 Benjamin Horst writes a preview of new OOo features in 3.0: What to Expect?

The features it covers are probably well-known to readers of this blog, but it includes good screenshots and a great deal of enthusiasm (using far more exclamation points than even I do):

“If you thought 2.4 was major release, then you have seen nothing! Come September, will release it’s 3.0 version! That must be quite a big jump!”

The author likes multiple-pages view, the new notes feature, Mac OS X support, Calc’s user interface improvements, tables in Impress, PDF import, and the Presenter Screen extension.

As I, the author is quite pleased with this upgrade:

“OpenOffice 3.0 is a major milestone for the project, there are tons of other new features. I also noticed a great improvement in speed, which has always a bane in previous versions.

“If you can’t wait until September, why don’t you download the beta version and try it out, so far it has been very much stable for me. You can download 3.0 beta here.”

Open Source Champions of Europe

July 18th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

451 CAOS Theory has a fun analysis of national open source adoption and support in European countries, written as if it were the soccer European Cup, to declare the “Open Source Champions of Europe.”

Author Matthew Aslett places the teams in qualifying groups, compares their success in moving to open source and open standards, and declares a winner for each matchup. The “teams” proceed through further matches until an overall champion is declared.

The final match occurs between two true heavyweights, and is ultimately determined by the strength and number of open source companies operating successfully in the country determined as champion (and which I won’t spoil here…)

Open Malaysia Blog on EU Competition

July 17th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

The Open Malaysia Blog wrote a good post last month covering Neelie Kroes’ discussion of open standards as a smart business decision, and its relevance to Malaysia.

Yoon Kit writes, “It’s apparent that Malaysian agencies like MAMPU are also doing the right thing in adopting true open standards like ODF as their document file format, despite the fact that Microsoft Malaysia is constantly lobbying and interfering with MAMPU’s decisions. The reaction from Microsoft’s lobbying is certainly interesting. I think people are getting tired of their underhanded tactics, and false cries of “competition” and “fairness”.”

The post led to an interesting discussion/debate in his comments that is worth reading as well. (I like that Yoon Kit stands by his positions and thoroughly defends each of his remarks when challenged!)