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January 24th, 2010 Benjamin Horst

Wishler is our new social wishlist sharing service. Using a bookmarklet, Wishler users can add items from any online store to their wishlists, and share them with friends. Our current site is a beta and we plan to continue adding features and improving the interface with community feedback, so please let me know what you think of the site:



November 22nd, 2009 Benjamin Horst

My team recently created a demonstration site to promote Six Apart’s new Motion platform and provide a space for community members and fans to share with each other at Share

The site is ideal to quickly post questions, links, and images and to embed videos and spark conversations within the community.

Still to come is custom design work and an ongoing promotional campaign to introduce the site to the broader community of and open source fans.

KDE’s Social Desktop

July 5th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Slashdot pointed out the gradual arrival of the social desktop elements long-planned by the KDE project in Social Desktop Starts to Arrive in KDE.

The concept behind the Social Desktop is to bring the power of online communities and group collaboration to desktop applications and the desktop shell itself. One of the strongest assets of the Free Software community is its worldwide group of contributors and users who believe in free software and who work hard to bring the software and solutions to the mainstream. A core idea of the Social Desktop is connecting to your peers in the community, making the sharing and exchanging of knowledge (PDF) easier to integrate into applications and the desktop itself.

This ties in with the Dashboard Concept I’ve been working on as well. Integrating web with desktop applications is one important step, and then moving beyond that to integrate social software makes it yet more valuable to the community of users.

BuddyPress 1.0 Arrives

May 4th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Distributed social networking is percolating everywhere I look today.

BuddyPress has been in development for a while, but it’s now matured to a 1.0 release, reports Andy Peatling:

This release marks over a year of solid development, starting from the roots of the ChickSpeak project, all the way to the blossoming developer community I see interacting on this site everyday.

See the project’s feature list or test it on the demo site for more.


March 17th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

An open source lifestream software, Sweetcron, has been created by Tokyo-based web producer Yong Fook. Sweetcron can be seen in use on his site

Similar to FriendFeed, Facebook’s activity stream, Twitter, Mugshot, and other services, it’s great to see a fully open source, distributed version of the concept arise. I am looking forward to experimenting with it further.

DrupalCon DC 2009

March 4th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Today is the first full day of DrupalCon DC, by far the largest DrupalCon to date. Last year’s US conference in Boston had 800 attendees, and this year over 1,300 tickets sold out a month before the event.

This morning Dries gave his keynote on the state of Drupal, including plans for Drupal 7 and how Drupal and its community can contribute to the future of the internet (the “semantic web”, “web 3.0”, the “giant global graph” or whatever else it may be called).

He also reviewed the history of Drupal, which stood out because it illustrated just how quickly the community and the power of the software have grown.

Many many Drupal experts and development companies are in attendance, and all of them seem to be quite busy–converting most of the web to Drupal, it seems! on

February 23rd, 2009 Benjamin Horst

As part of its marketing, outreach, and community support efforts, community members are forming groups on various social networking sites to create more communication between existing users and to promote OOo to potential new users.

The latest, as promoted this week by Alexandro Colorado, has been on, an open source competitor to Twitter. I believe you must be logged in before you can see the group, but it should grow into a useful real-time place to follow OOo news, so it’s worth signing in (it allows OpenID, so you have no excuse not to do it).

I know there are Facebook, LinkedIn, and many other social network OpenOffice groups out there, so I’ll post them here when I get a chance to catch up (or add a comment yourself, please).

British Opposition Talks Up Open Source

January 31st, 2009 Benjamin Horst

The British opposition has become ever more aggressive in its support of open source software as a means to save money and, perhaps, increase the success rate of government IT projects.

George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, specifically discusses Linux and the open source philosophy as central to the new paradigms of the information age.

In an article for The Guardian, Osborne expands on the theme:

Looking at cost savings that have been achieved by companies and governments all over the world, it’s estimated that the UK government could reduce its annual IT bill by over £600m a year if more open source software was used as part of an effective procurement strategy. That’s enough to pay for 20,000 extra teachers or 100,000 hip operations.

Additional articles in ZDNet and ComputerWorld UK also discuss the growing calls for open source adoption in government IT projects and for government to model more of its processes on open source, distributed development models.

(Thanks to Alan Lord of the Open Learning Center, for providing these links.) Template Repository

January 29th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

Mirroring the OpenOffice Extension repository, the project has recently set up a centralized OpenOffice template repository. It’s an easy way for non-programmers to get involved in the OOo project:

This Template Repository is a place for the submission of new templates made by you, the community!

You created a nice template? Submit it, get feedback and help others to be more productive!

Tying the suite in to more online services will continue to make it more and more web-native, and as the community of users and developers continues to focus on these add-on services, the rationale for using OOo will grow ever stronger. It’s a great positive reinforcement loop and a differentiator from competing software applications.

Coolest Open Source Products of 2008

January 2nd, 2009 Benjamin Horst

ChannelWeb publishes “The 10 Coolest Open Source Products Of 2008,” selecting 3.0 as the number one coolest:

The popular — and free — open source productivity suite hit its milestone 3.0 version in 2008, making it more clear than ever that its functionality and compatibility with Microsoft Office (including OpenOffice Impress, which is PowerPoint compatible) make it a force to be reckoned with. With an acquisition cost of between $150 and $200 less than Microsoft Office 2007, it could have a big year in a down economy in 2009.

I agree that OpenOffice is the most useful, cost-saving open source application normal computer users and businesses should plan to adopt this year.

Other products on ChannelWeb’s list include IBM Lotus Symphony (based on OpenOffice, but I’m not sure if Symphony is open source itself), Firefox 3.0, Laconica (an open source Twitter competitor), and Google Android.