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LibreOffice Paper Plane

December 21st, 2010 Benjamin Horst

Based on recent LibreOffice discussions regarding a new logo and associated marketing/promotional opportunities, I’ve created the following paper airplane template. This is a draft, so please download it and let me know how well it works for you.


  1. Fold the page toward yourself along its long axis, shown as line 1. Flatten the paper again, to leave a crease.
  2. Fold the top corners to the center line crease you just created. (Lines 2a and 2b.)
  3. Fold the now-triangular top section of the page toward yourself along line 3.
  4. Fold its triangular nose back toward the far side of the paper along line 4. (Line 4 is on the paper behind the piece you will fold–use its edges to determine where you’ll fold the triangular nose.)
  5. Again fold the far side into triangles along lines 5a and 5b. Undo these two folds to leave a crease for each.
  6. Fold toward yourself along lines 6a and 6b.
  7. Fold again along lines 5a and 5b. Tuck the flaps created by lines 6a and 6b under the triangular nose formed by line 4.
  8. Fold away from yourself along lines 7a and 7b.
  9. Fold toward yourself along lines 8a and 8b to form triangular stabilizers.
  10. To launch your new plane, hold it from the back and push gently forward while pointed very slightly down.

Download this ODG file: LibreOffice_PaperPlane


  1. Add a second page with final instructions and pictures to clarify the folding process.
  2. Update the logo and text to satisfy marketing requirements based on community feedback.
  3. Upload to the LibreOffice wiki to share widely.

Groklaw Interviews Sugar Labs

September 23rd, 2008 Benjamin Horst

A new non-profit organization has grown out of the OLPC project, by the name of Sugar Labs.

Sugar Labs’ mission statement: “Sugar provides a simple yet powerful means of engaging young children in the world of learning that is opened up by computing and the Internet. Sugar promotes sharing, collaborative learning, and reflection. Through Sugar’s clarity of design, children and their teachers use computation on their own terms; they are free to reshape, reinvent, and reapply both software and content into powerful learning activities. Sugar is a community project; it is based on GNU/Linux, a free and open-source operating system.”

Groklaw interviews Sugar Labs’ founder Walter Bender about the project.

Bender says, “I think that Sugar, while still a relatively new project, has already shown great impact and even greater potential for learners. There is a growing community of Sugar users, developers, and supporters. New activites are being written on a regular basis. There have been aggressive efforts by the community to document Sugar and translate it into local languages (there was just a sprint to translate Sugar into Aymará). And as I mentioned, dialog with teachers is growing, especially in Latin America. So while there may be some loss of support for OLPC within the FOSS community, the support for Sugar seems to be growing. (I should point out that there is a dedicated team of developers at OLPC who believe deeply in the importance of FOSS to learning.)”

Great interview and a great project!

Laptop Mag on OLPC XO-2

September 11th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

Laptop Magazine has an article (some months old) about design mockups for OLPC XO-2, not due for release until 2010 but already remarkably creative in its design ideas.

“Negroponte didn’t share many details about the XO-2’s hardware, but the new system has two touch-sensitive displays… The XO-2 will be much smaller than the original machine (half the size, according to the press release) and will have a foldable e-book form factor. “The next generation laptop should be a book,” Negroponte said.”

Having created a new product category (the “netbook”) and reached hundreds of thousands of children with its first generation XO, it appears OLPC is going to follow that up with an even greater impact for the world when it releases the XO-2. They’ll also continue the Give One Get One program, meaning interested geeks in the developed world will have the opportunity to acquire OLPC machines for their own use too.

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.

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.

ODF Victory News Roundup

June 23rd, 2008 Benjamin Horst

Erwin Tenhumberg is (sadly) leaving Sun and this may be his last blog post there. It looks like he’s following a good opportunity at another company, and he hopes to continue blogging about open source in some form.

Today, he points out a number of ODF and successes, such as a download average in 2008 of 1.2 million copies of OOo per week (with recent weeks averaging closer to 2 million). He also writes:

“In addition, Asus, Acer and HP are now shipping laptops with pre-installed, and more and more organizations deploy in a large scale. Finally, according to Google file type searches like this one and this one, ODF is still clearly the market leading editable XML document file format. Thus, I’m sure ODF and have a bright future!”

All this he reports in the context of an “ODF Workshop” Microsoft will hold at its headquarters in the near future. Skepticism is healthy with Microsoft, but if they implement ODF honestly and completely (with none of their “embrace, extend, extinguish” behavior), this really is the victory bell for the ODF format.


June 16th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

The OLPC project has an active community right here in New York City. This past weekend they held a “Grassroots Jam” event including a code sprint to develop a new server for the platform:

“According to LXNY secretary Jay Sulzberger, the server will provide “automatic backups, end-to-end encryption and authentication of email, extra processing power for individual and group tasks, convenient Bitfrosting (working with the default OLPC security platform), and [working] with programs which today do not yet run on the XO-1 [laptop].”

See more information on the Grassroots Jam at the OLPC wiki site.

Colombia Chooses OLPC’s XO

May 30th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

The BBC reports “Colombia Signs Up for XO Laptop.”

Initially, 65,000 children in the Caldas region will receive XO laptops, while the project will be expanded to other regions later.

BBC writes, “In a statement announcing the deal, OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte said the organisation was starting to get “good traction” from countries keen to sign up and buy the distinctive green and white XO laptops in large numbers.

“Currently each machine costs $188 and OLPC has sold about 600,000 of them.”

Mako on the OLPC and Free Software

May 16th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

Benjamin Mako Hill writes a post called “Laptop Liberation” on the importance of Free Software as the platform for the OLPC project.

Mako writes, “I gave a talk at Penguicon called Laptop Liberation where I talked about why I thought that OLPC’s use of a free software operating system and embrace of free software principles was essential for the initiative’s success and its own goals of education reform and empowerment. I’ve been saying similar things for some time.”

He points out the similarities between the OLPC’s educational philosophy of Constructionism and the way the Free Software world itself functions–they’re largely identical:

“Constructionism and free software, implemented and taught in a classroom, offer a profound potential for exploration, creation, and learning. If you don’t like something, change it. If something doesn’t work right, fix it. Free software and constructionism put learners in charge of their educational environment in the most explicit and important way possible. They create a culture of empowerment. Creation, collaboration, and critical engagement becomes the norm.”

Keeping control over one’s technology means keeping control over one’s destiny. This is the promise of open source/free software, and of the OLPC project.

“We can help foster a world where technology is under the control of its users, and where learning is under the terms of its students — a world where every laptop owner has freedom through control over the technology they use to communicate, collaborate, create, and learn.”

OLPC in the USA

May 13th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

While OLPC’s XO laptops have been appearing around the world, it wasn’t a part of the original plan for them to be used in developed countries. However, the XO’s child-centric design and constructivist learning paradigm are certainly well-suited to students here, as anywhere.

It’s exciting to see the OLPC XO being adopted in Birmingham, Alabama schools.

“The Birmingham City Council in March approved spending almost $3.5 million to buy 15,000 laptops for schoolchildren and to upgrade technology at city schools. The computer program is being piloted at Glen Iris [Elementary School], which has almost 800 students but received about 1,000 laptops, Principal Mike Wilson said.”