Lodahl's blog: 2007

28 December 2007

Amusements for Christmas

Christmas time is time for relax and having a good time. Amusement together with your family and friends.

Earlier in December, I found a blog post on http://jacob-sparre.dk/ about a popular toy from Denmark: Lego. Jacob Sparre has made some fine Danish manuals and he has revealed some of his own models.

Normally you buy a box of Lego and hen follow the instructions, page by page. My own kids are getting a little too old (13 and 15 years) for Lego, but when I introduced them to this concept, they actually returned to what they were about five years ago: Amused by Lego again.

I think most people has experienced the feeling of opening a box of Lego and taking the challenge of building something beautiful or very complicated.

Imagine that you have all the Lego that has ever existed and in all colors in the World. You will never 'mis' that last piece or end up with the wrong color. You have everything, right by your right finger.

OK, this computer program doesn't replace the feeling of building your own model out of those red and blue bricks from Lego, but it can give you the feeling of creating something new.

The program is called LDRAW http://www.ldraw.org and it's open source. You can build all the models that you can imagine - and for no charge at all.

About LDraw:

LDraw™ is an open standard for LEGO CAD programs that allow the user to create virtual LEGO models and scenes. You can use it to document models you have physically built, create building instructions just like LEGO, render 3D photo realistic images of your virtual models and even make animations. The possibilities are endless. Unlike real LEGO bricks where you are limited by the number of parts and colors, in LDraw nothing is impossible.

How about this model of The Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb by Matija Puzar


See more here: http://www.ldraw.org/module-LdrawMOTM-entry-modelid-261.html

25 December 2007

Danish OpenOffice.org newsletter

The January edition of the Danish OpenOffice.org monthly newsletter has just been released. You can read the pdf version here: http://doc.oooforum.dk/Nyhed/2008Januar.pdf

Subscribe to the newsletter here: nyhedsbrev-subscribe@da.openoffice.org?subject=Tilmeldingen%20sker%20ved%20at%20sende%20denne%20besked

The newsletter is in Danish. This time you can read about these topics:

Merry Christmas
Languages
Schools in municipal of Tønder
Sweden: municipal of Allingå
Competition
ODF Internationally
* The netherlands
* Norway
* Denmark
Analysis of open standards
Version 2.3.1
Version 2.4
Tip: language packs and spellcheckers
Tip: bullets and numbering
OpenOffice.org as web application
IBM Lotus Symphony beta 3
About the newsletter

24 December 2007

Happy Christmas to you all


I know that my blogging frequency has been a little lazy the last week or so. I have been busy buying presents for my family and friends.

I wish you all a happy Christmas.

21 December 2007

ODF Alliance Newsletter

ODF Alliance Newsletter
20 December 2007

You can sign up to receive the free newsletter or download a PDF version: http://www.odfalliance.org/mail_list.php.

15 December 2007

Answer to Jesper Lund Stocholm

Thank you to Jesper Lund Stocholm for his comment on this post http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2007/12/inquirer-has-coment-on-this.html

And thank you Jesper for correcting me when I misunderstand the information from the National IT- and Tele Agency. The thing is that I didn't participate in either of the two conferences. As a unpaid volunteer, I can't join all the meetings and conferences that takes place during daytime. I have a job to take care of. This is also the reason for not being so active on the blog over the last few months. I'm sorry if this is disappointing you Jesper, but that is how it is. Unfortunately this now ends up in you criticizing me for who I am and what I don't do.

These are some of the basic rules in open source communities:

  • Don't put criticism to what people don't do, only to what they do
  • Only put criticism to the actual work, not to th persons who did it
  • respect other people even if you don't share your own opinion

I kindly ask you use another tone in the debate in the future, thanks.

The reason for the two posts on my blog http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2007/12/groklaw-denmark-pretends-msooxml-is.html and http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2007/12/inquirer-has-coment-on-this.html is that I have seen these international reflections to the situation in Denmark. The international press probably don't read Danish, so I try to keep them up to date with the situation. And yes, this is the situation as it looks from my point of view. I'm sure that someone else will talk about the same issue from other points of views.

13 December 2007

The Inquirer has a coment on this

Thanks to Mads for this link.
The Inquirer calls the Danish approach a comedy.

http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2007/12/12/danes-set-open-standards-trial

A comedy is what it is. The Danish parliament first agrees on implementing open standards for office documents. It ends up with open standards or stick with Microsoft. The final solution is for text documents only.

The individual authority will be able to reject following the resolution, because it must be finacial neutral. So anything that costs money is a possible reason for not implementing open standards.

My conclusion is, that the resolution isn't worth the paper.

12 December 2007

Groklaw: Denmark Pretends MSOOXML is an "Open Standard"

According to Grocklaw the Danish government is pretending that EOOXML is an open standard approved by ISO. http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071211153924324

It's true that the public authorities is about to implement open standards in the public sector and that EOOXML is one of the accepted standards.

It must be emphasized that the ISO approval (or rejection) has never been a part of the discussion in the Danish Parliament. The ISO approval is not the final and true prove weather a document format is an open standard. ISO doesn't have the final word, but the the decision will of cause have effects in Denmark as well.

The Danish decision is this:

  • ODF is an open standard (accepted)
  • EOOXML is for now accepted as an open standard, but Microsoft must prove true openness in the process before end of 2008. The Danish Competition Authority has been asked to look after this.
I have talked to a few MP's about this both last summer when the discussion was open in the Parliament but also this late autumn where there was an election for Parliament. The politicians is very much aware of this problem and Microsoft will not get a final accept if the process isn't getting more open.

10 December 2007

OpenOffice.org on school computers

The municipal of Tønder ( http://www.toender.dk ) has installed OpenOffice.org as the only office suite on all 1.500 computers in public school.

07 December 2007

And the award goes to ....

Oh - sorry. We don't have an award. Sorry, the bill will be sent to ....

Contests are fine. I might even participate myself. Its a fine way to get new contributers out of the bushes. The problem is, that a contest only takes what comes in the limited contest period. A lot of people are doing a big contribution every day. Both when a contest is running and between. What about that effort. Shouldn't that be rewarded as well ?

Sun Microsystems has announced that they will support the Sun driven open source projects with an amount of 1 million dollars.

http://www.sun.com/software/opensource/awards/index.jsp . Contest will be published within the individual projects soon. These projects are GlassFish, NetBeans, OpenJDK, OpenOffice.org, OpenSolaris and OpenSPARC.
You can find the announcement from Sun here: http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20071205005370&newsLang=en.

The contest for openOffice.org has not been published yet, bur further details is promised before the Christmas holidays. It'sinteresting to see what they will come up with this time.

I suggest that some of the money from Sun should be used to establish an international annual open source award. The award can be given to a person, organization or OS project that has contributed to open source in general or an individual project in particular.

I'm also thinking domestic. In Denmark we have had an annual event now for a decade, called LinuxForum. From 2008 the event has changed name to Open Source Days ( http://www.opensourcedays.org ) because the event isn't just Linux.

Why don't we establish a domestic open source award.

06 December 2007

Lotus Notes to OpenOffice,.org integration

I was trying to help my Norwegian colleges find out why our Lotus Notes to OpenOffice.org integration didn't work properly. I have used several hours figuring out what the problem was.

Of cause field mapping must be accurate and in this case it's also case sensitive. And of cause: all required data must be available in the Notes-document.

Hokus pokus. It works.


Here is a movie that shows how it works

04 December 2007

OOXML is defective - we have to live with it !

No !
We can't live with it.

Microsoft posted the XML based to ECMA and later on to ISO to get it approved as an international standard for documents. But the purpose is to rubber stamp Microsoft Office.

Listen to this: Microsoft made a mistake back in the nineteenhundred-and-nineties. It was just a small bug, but it still lives in Microsoft Office. Thats a long time ago, but Microsoft is guaranteeing backward compatibility with old documents.

So that bug is implemented in the International standard OOXML as a feature. So, if you want to create a document based on this standard document format, you have to know about a bug in Microsoft Office and implement that in your application. How come ? Because Microsoft says so. Backward compatibility (with old bugs) are more important than building a robust document format.

What is that bug then ?
Well, it's not one bug, but several bugs in Excel spreadsheet.

One of them is that Microsoft has a function called 'workdays'. The purpose is to calculate the number of days between two dates, except for weekends. Microsoft assumed that all people in the whole world has the same good as the Americans and that we all keep the same weekdays off ( http://www.dis29500.org/gr-113 ).

This was back in the nineties. That must be gone now. No. Microsoft says:
We agree that the implementation of WORKDAY makes assumptions as to which days of the week are weekdays versus weekends. In order to maintain backwards compatibility with the corpus of existing documents, no semantic change will be made to the function. A spreadsheet application could create a new function which would allow for specification of which days of the week are workdays.

First of all, I consider this very disrespectful to all people who doesn't share religion with the developers in Redmond. And second, note the last paragraph: It's up to you to correct a Microsoft bug in your application.

03 December 2007

That might be the reason for our struggles ...!

A research performed by one of the Danish IT newspapers Computerworld reveals one of the main problems:

  • 56% of the answering persons has never heard of open source software.
  • 38% of them answered that they have open source programs installed on their computer.
Some of the comments to the result says that there is probably people that is using open souce software without knowing that it's actually open source.
  • 25% are using open source software
  • 84% of those who are using it, knows that open source is free of charge
The research is representing 1.200 people that uses the Internet.

I think that one of the problems is, that teachers in public schools don't know about license rights and copyright law. From my point of view, all students that leaves public school should know about whats right and whats wrong and how free software can be free of charge. That's the only way to change this.

Clean ODF implementation IS realistic

Jesper Lund Stockholm has posted this comment to my blogpost about the implementation manual: http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2007/12/now-its-getting-operational.html#c8036683144354266846

- Thank you for that Jesper.

Jesper claims that according to a technical report, it's clearly not realistic to do a clean ODF implementation in the public sector.

I must say that I'm disappointed with the project in the Danish IT- and Tele Agency. From the Parliament came a clear message: use open standards for exchanging office documents. But the Agency has managed to shave the decision down to "Use open standards or Microsoft for text documents- if you find it appropriate".

To Jesper I will say: the technical report you are referring to is taken out of its context. You know that this report is written based on a decision of dual standards. A situation where we know that to kinds of documents formats will live side by side. In this scenario there will be a lot of document conversion every day - from now and forever. If the decision had been one standard only, there would only be initial conversion of a lot of documents. Later on, conversion of documents would happen only rarely.

How come it's not realistic in Denmark when it already happens in France, Norway, Brazil and many other countries ? What is it that makes it different in Denmark ?

01 December 2007

Now it's getting operational :-)

First it was strategical decision in Folketinget (the Danish parliament) in summer 2006. This summer 2007 the agreement between government and the Danish municipals was a fact. And now we are getting close to the operational level. It all should start on January 1th. 2008, where all Danish authorities must be able to receive both ODF and OOXML documents.

A few days ago the Danish IT- and Tele agency published a 'manual' for the authorities. I think the manual as it is leaves the spirit of B103 behind and leaves the authorities with a choice of 'make he easy choice' with no respect for the original purpose and spirit of the resolution.

The manual (in Danish) can be found here: http://dokumentformater.oio.dk/billedmappe-til-dokumentformat-hjemmesiden/leverancer/62451-v4j-vejledning_-_rapport_tdh.pdf

There is a two week hearing period for this paper, and I will try to put rejections and comments.

Thanks to Jesper Lund Stocholm to direct my attention to this.

Danish OpenOffice.org Newsletter

The December edition of the Danish OpenOffice.org monthly newsletter has just been released.

Read it !
Text edition: http://da.openoffice.org/servlets/ReadMsg?list=nyhedsbrev&msgNo=40
Pdf edition: http://doc.oooforum.dk/Nyhed/2007December.pdf

28 November 2007

Whats up duck ?

I haven't been blogging that much lately. Sorry, but I feel rather busy at the moment.

And then of cause
  • I promised my family to be present once in a while. On Saturday I think we will all go to the movie theater together. Perhaps I should ask my wife out for dinner too. Yes, this is a high priority task on the list :-)

26 November 2007

The history of open standards

or

the first 21st
Century Format War
How did it all begin, this thing about open standards and wow did it suddenly become very much like a war against one company ?

Can anyone remember ?

Andy Updegrove has decided to write the story about open document standards and the war between Microsoft and the rest of the World. And he is asking for your help to get all the details. The attention is to release it as an eBook when done.

You can read the first chapter here: http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/article.php?story=20071125145159900

23 November 2007

Answer from IBM

Douglas Heintzman, Director of Strategy has answered my questions here

We do plan to incorporate the most recent code form open office as soon as we can into Symphony. The question of which features, such as otx files, get in and get in first is a mater of prioritization. Much of this prioritization is being driven by user feedback.
Hmm... And what does that mean ?
I guess that IBM actually don't know where and when. I'm sure that IBM will do a great contribution to the community and from this answer I can read that IBM plans to keep up with the code line in OpenOffice.org. But when this will happen is unfortunately still unclear. It could be great if we could tell existing Lotus Notes users, that they don't have to go to open standards because open standards will come to them.

22 November 2007

3522 comments on ECMA OOXML

...thats a lot.

662 proposed dispositions of comments posted ( http://www.ecma-international.org/news/TC45_current_work/First%20group%20of%20662%20proposed%20dispositions%20of%20comments%20posted.htm ) on the ECMA portal. Unfortunately we are not able to see neither comments or how ECMA is acting on them. According to Brian Jones ( http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2007/11/19/update-on-open-xml-s-iso-progress.aspx ) from Microsoft and member of the TC45, the ISO regulations forbids the members to reveille anything from the process. It would be nice if we could follow the work in an open forum.

Charles-H. Schulz comments on this lack of transparency on his blog here: http://standardsandfreedom.net/index.php/2007/11/22/where-did-you-go-publicity-what-have-you-become-transparency/

The answer might be a complete new and more modern way of handling development of standards. Please take a few minutes to read the feature article from the newsletter Standards Today distribuated by ConsordiumInfo.org (Gesmer & Updegrove):
http://www.consortiuminfo.org/bulletins/#feature

19 November 2007

Gartner: Long term trends

In my previous post It's not enough that the IT solutions works
http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2007/11/its-not-enough-that-it-solutions-works.html I discussed the fact that open source software is challenging the traditional software marked.

In my blog post, I recommend that the declining cost is used as investments in new and valuable software like collaboration software or other software that adds value and supports the business processes.

Gartner Group has just revealed a report about Long-Term Trends That Will Radically Alter Licensing in the Software Market
http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?id=533714.

This report is discussed in the computer magazine C|net

We would advise IT organizations to use BPO (business process outsourcing) and open-source alternatives to improve their negotiating power with software suppliers, as well as employing the emergence of third-party vendors as a means to reduce higher maintenance fees on older versions of software,

http://www.news.com/Software-licensing-costs-predicted-to-fall/2100-1011_3-6219263.html

According to Gartner, the software prices will decrease in the upcoming decade. The reduction is caused by several things in the marked:
  1. Increased Use of BPO (business process outsourcing)
  2. Increased Use of SaaS (software as a service)
  3. Low-Cost Development Locations Combined With Modular Architectures
  4. The Emergence of Third-Party Support Offerings
  5. Growing Interest in Open-Source Software
  6. Emerging Chinese Software Companies
  7. Rapid Expansion of Chinese, Indian and Brazilian Markets Drives Demand for Lower Costs

18 November 2007

It's not enough that the IT solutions works

-Solutions needs to add value !

Traditionally we think of laptops, servers, network, Windows operating system and pc programs when the talk comes to IT in business matters. But if you want to get the best of your IT investments, it's important that you don't make your discissions based on the amount of features and functions. Much more important things must be taken into consideration.

It's no big deal to buy a new server or to install an update to the database system. The challenge comes when we want to exchange the new technology into actual valuable working processes in the organization. One of the conditions for creating value is that the staff, customers, subcontractors and so on can and will learn how to use what comes from the investments. This can only happen if the investments has been

  1. based on business needs
    not from what others do or what you think would be a nice geek. The organizational needs must be covered up front, so that the solution can help improve the collaborative processes in the right direction.
  2. introduced during a successful implementation
    not only from a technical perspective, but also from an organizational perspective. Users must be involved, so the solution is set up to match the individual needs.
  3. adopted in a way that suits the business needs
    This is unfortunately not always the case in real life. Education and full introduction is necessary to get a successful implementation.

Today, words like Web2.0, mobile access and on demand as well as the technology behind it, is setting the agenda. Everything must be accessible from the web and from mobile devices. For instance, users can read mail and see customer information from CRM systems. Mobile access has limited functionality, but covers most of the needs.

We are going away from the traditional computer installed program. The trend is going towards focusing less on individual features and we accept that the applications work a little bit different from what we are used to.

This is a healthy development, because it's more important that a function is adding value to the people using it, for instance by enhancing collaboration, than adding a bunch of new buttons. Many has already discovered this by changing from Microsoft Office to the free and open OpenOffice.org. With a simular investment you can both install the software (free) and develop templates and macros as well as train the users in how it works. This is because the expenses moved from licenses to organizational implementation.

By doing this, you spend money on adding value, not only on making it work

15 November 2007

OpenDocument Foundation closes up shop after slamming OpenDocument Format

By Ryan Paul | Published: November 13, 2007 - 11:46PM CT

The OpenDocument Foundation, a little-known industry group that was originally created to promote the OpenDocument Format (ODF), has closed its doors after controversially dropping support for ODF in favor of an obscure W3C format.
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071113-opendocument-foundation-closes-up-shop-after-slamming-opendocument-format.html

14 November 2007

My mobile reached the next level: ODF files

As a regular user of OpenOffice.org, I have a lot of text and spreadsheet files on my computer. Some of these documents is stored as attachments in my mail box and in a file repository called Symfoni eOffice. I can access both mail and repository from my mobile phone (Nokia 6120 Classic), but until recently, I couldn't open my OpenDocument files.

Now my mobile has reached the next level !

This ODF file reader (Mobile Office) is easily to download and install and both text files, spreadsheets and presentations opens nicely. Okay, the screen is small, but I can actually read the documents.


http://www.sept-solutions.de/English/office_download.php

12 November 2007

Questions for IBM

In the late summer IBM announced their support to the OpenOffice.org community and about a week later, they announced a new free (of charge) product, IBM Lotus Symphony. The new product is basically a stand-alone version of the productivity tools in Lotus Notes 8.

If you ask me, I think it's great that IBM is now standing up behind OpenOffice.org together with other large companies and I think it looks great that IBM will contribute with better acceptability and usability, I'm sure that OpenOffice.org can take advantage of that. Just have a look at the work IBM did to make Symphony look that nice.

I'm using Lotus Notes 8 from IBM and I think it shows that IBM Lotus is going in the right direction. But I still need answers for two questions:

  1. Will IBM Lotus productivity tools (in whatever product package you get them) follow the OpenOffice.org code line in the future ?
    The version we use now is a very old OpenOffice.org
  2. Will IBM Lotus productivity tools support OpenOffice.org extensions (oxt-files) ?
I would very much like to tell customers that the IBM Lotus product line is on the right track, but I can't do this as long as the code is more than two years old and doesn't support one of the most important and most significant improvements in OpenOffice.org.

I have tried to ask around at IBM in Denmark without luck. If anyone here can find out who can answer these question, please let me know.

08 November 2007

Election for Parliament

Sorry about my absence on the blog recently.

On Tuesday there is election for the Danish Parliament and I have been working on some political issues lately. I'm preparing a letter to the new Parliament regarding the implementation of open standards in the public administration in Denmark. Further more I've had the opportunity to meet some of the MP's (and some new candidates) and talked about OpenOffice.org and open source software.

This election can be important. The opposition parties are primarily positive to open source and open standards and the parties in the existing government is mostly against interception of 'free enterprise' (Microsoft). If we get a new government, we can expect to see a change in opinion in the Ministries. But, don't expect to see things change over night.

You know politicians.

01 November 2007

Lotus Symphony Linux Beta Review

This review of IBM Lotus Symphony on Linux http://polishlinux.org/apps/openofficeorg/lotus-symphony-linux-beta-review/ by Borys Musielak is actually quite positive:

Lotus Symphony is a really interesting initiative. There’s a great need of competition on the office suites (especially those that support the ODF format) market.
The positive outcome of the document support issue surprised me:
Testing results were quite positive for Lotus (it was a little surprise for me). Lotus viewed most of the tested documents (text documents and presentations) correctly. Documents had a little visual differences, but — and this is crucial for me — files created using Writer and then saved in Lotus, were identical after reopening them on OpenOffice Writer.
There is, on the other hand also some negative things:
In comparison to KOffice or Abiword (both can compete with OO.org on the efficiency and better graphical environments like GNOME and KDE cooperation fields) Lotus Symphony has nothing to impress us (except of few little functions).

29 October 2007

Schools warned off Microsoft deal

Have a look at this article on BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/7063716.stm

Schools warned off Microsoft deal
The UK computer agency Becta is advising schools not to sign licensing agreements with Microsoft because of alleged anti-competitive practices.
About time we see some concrete advise on this issue. Here is the original press release from Becta.

28 October 2007

Bibliographics

I came across this blogpost (http://netapps.muohio.edu/blogs/darcusb/darcusb/). It's a discussion about bibliographic applications, here Zotero versus RefWorks.

I am using Zotero my self. Zotero is licensed as open source and works as extensions to other application (Mozilla Firefox and OpenOffice.org).
RefWorks is what I would call proprietary software going towards freeware. The software is in some context free (as in free beer, not as in freedom).
The discussion in the above mentioned blogpost is very much a comparison of free software and proprietary software. Why some librarians can recommend students and scientist to use a non-free application. In my mind there is nothing wrong with proprietary software. I am using proprietary and commercial software every day together with free and open source software. I choose from a various of parameters. To mention a few: Functions and features, robust data storage, openness in data format, price versus value.

As I see the problem is, that both applications in the comparison, as well as any other bibliographic application, stores data in closed binary databases. None of the two applications are actually open in the way data is stored. I chose Zotero, because I find the connection between my Internet browser (Firefox) and my text editor (OpenOffice.org Writer) convenient.

The basic problem here, as in many other situations, is that we don't have an open standard for storing bibliographic data. If the providers of bibliographic applications could agree on one common way of storing the data, any student, teacher or librarian could use an application of his or her own choise. Data can be published, exchanged and searched in.

Should this be a part of the ODF standard ?
I don't know.
I am one of the people speaking the ODF case in Denmark.
It would be natural to extend ODF to contain bibliographical data as meta data (Rob Weir about the Semamtic Web: http://www.robweir.com/blog/2007/10/odf-enters-semantic-web.html)

On the other hand we must be careful not to think that we can put everything into one standard. ODF is developed in OASIS and approved by ISO. ODF is implemented in OpenOffice.org, Kword and many other applications. A new version of ODF will be a hard work to get through the two organizations and the implementation will be delayed several years. The more different aspects the format contains, the more difficult versioning and implementation will become.

24 October 2007

My favorite extensions

The extension mechanism was introduced in OpenOffice.org 2.04 but even before that, you could install so called UNO-packages. But the extension framework has been developed over several versions and we haven't seen the end yet. In the future we will see support for multi language extensions and automatic update.

If you would like to know more about extension, just tune in on http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/

This is how extensions are described on the OpenOffice.org homepage:

OpenOffice.org offers a complete framework allowing it to be enriched. You'll find here entry points for the various aspects of creating and distributing these extensions. An extension is a third party tool that brings OOo new functions. This can be done through addons, addins, deployed by UNO packages. Extensions also covers templates, galleries.



Here is my favorite extensions:

SVG Import
This extension makes it possible for OpenOffice.org to consume SVG files (scalable vector graphics). I use SVG files from http://www.openclipart.org/ in almost all occasions where I need to show drawings in my documents. A project in OpenOffice.org is about to implement a native filter for inport/export, but until then, you need this extension
http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/project/svgimport

Lorem Ipsum generator
He-he, I made this my self. As I'm often writing training material, I need to produce a lot of 'dummy documents' for both OpenOffice.org and Lotus Notes. This extension gives you the opportunity to generate any amount of Lorem Ipsum you like.
http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/project/Lorem_ipsum_generator

OOoWikipedia
This extension is not an OXT file, so you must open the extension manager and import the extension from there. OXT files can be activated by clicking the icon or directly from your internet browser.
This extension makes any word in your writer document 'active', because you can just click the icon and a Wikipedia search will be submitted immediately.
http://www.indesko.com/telechargements/ooowikipedia

Zotero
Zotero is actually a bibliography plug-in for Firefox, but in conjunctions with an extension for Openoffice.org, you get a very comprehensive tools. Read this article by Dimitri Popov http://www.linux.com/feature/119419. The extension is well documented on the website http://www.zotero.org/documentation/
http://www.zotero.org/documentation/openoffice_integration

OOoLilypond
Lilypond is a stand alone application for music notation. OOoLilyPond is a macro for OpenOffice.org that simplifies the integration of music notation in OpenOffice.org Writer, Impress and Draw. It can be used to write a book on music theory or to write down exercises for music instruments or voices which need to be commented with lots of text.


http://ooolilypond.sourceforge.net/

Dmath
This is a very comprehensive application for mathematical notation and even graphs. For students, teachers and engineers.
http://www.dmaths.org

BasicAddonBuilder
BasicAddonBuilder is an OpenOffice.org extension that allow you to export a StarBasic library in the OpenOffice.org extension format, ready for deployment.
http://www.paolo-mantovani.org/downloads/BasicAddonBuilder/BasicAddonBuilder.oxt

Sun Report Builder
Create with the Sun Report Builder stylish, smart-looking database reports. The flexible report editor can define group and page headers as well as group and page footers and even calculation fields are available to accomplish complex database reports.
http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/project/reportdesign

Grammatik
This is a Danish extension that provides young students with a grammatical tool for analyzing sentences. Inserts grammatical symbols below each word.
http://www.hj-gym.dk/~hj/gramsym/grammatik-var.oxt

23 October 2007

Open source is not about cutting down expenses

The general discussion about the use of open source software like OpenOffice.org very often comes around talking about money. And most people expect that cheap (in this case very cheap) software is poor software. In some cases this is actually true, but not in all cases. There are lots of software projects that serves high quality applications for you.

Open source is not about cutting down expenses but about spending money where you get value.

Lets take a look at one of the most popular open source projects, OpenOffice.org. Compared to Microsoft Office, this project is a little bit less feature rich. But what's the difference, when your employees haven't learned how to use the application that you bought so expensive ? Nothing. A much more valuable choice could be to implement OpenOffice.org and I say implement. Not just install it, but actually make sure that everybody who needs to know, will know. Teach them how to use it. And you will find that the actual result will be, that OpenOffice.org will increase productivity, because the number of usable features is higher. You have gained more value.

Another thing to consider is, to begin thinking about collaborative software. Take the Office thought a little bit further. How about spending money on collaboration instead of fancy features in desktop applications. Features that we use because they are there - not because we need them. If you implement OpenOffice.org and spend the license fee to buy good and solid software like Software from IBM Lotus, you will see your employees work together and find them think as a team instead of individual pieces. The jigsaw will soon show a very pretty picture: Pieces will come together.

Open source software is not about cutting down, but about spending differently.

21 October 2007

Support

I receive about 3 -5 direct mails on a daily basis, asking questions about OpenOffice.org. Please respect me, when I reply, that I can't answer all these mails individually. I have a full time job and spends several hours every day working for OpenOffice.org in Denmark.

Support questions can be posted here:
Danish: http://www.oooforum.dk . I will, together with many others, try to answer all questions here.
International: http://www.oooforum.org

Further more, you can find manuals and documentation here:
Danish: http://doc.oooforum.org
International: http://documentation.openoffice.org/

I can also recommend this blog (Solveig Haugland): http://openoffice.blogs.com/

Most questions I get is about two issues: Installing the Danish spellchecker and reading docx files.

Regarding the Danish spellchecker:
I expect the Danish spellchecker to be pre-installed with OpenOffice.org 2.4. There are several discussions about installation on the Danish support forum about this. And yes: there are still some problems.

Regarding handling docx documents:
Ask the sender to use an international acknowledged file format like ODF. And subscribe to the Danish Newsletter (mailto:nyhedsbrev-subscribe@da.openoffice.org?subject=Tilmeldingen%20sker%20ved%20at%20sende%20denne%20besked).
I'm trying to keep up with the latest news every month (Read older issues: http://da.openoffice.org/servlets/BrowseList?listName=nyhedsbrev)

18 October 2007

13 reasons why Linux should be on your desktop

I just fell over this article by Kim Brebach (Oct. 16, 2007). The article is a summary of, how and why you should consider Linux a serious alternative to Microsoft Windows. http://www.desktoplinux.com/articles/AT5836989728.html. Specially now, that it can be difficult to avoid an operating system that is defect and you actually don't want to use (Vista).

The article is specially relevant now, that Ubuntu has released 7.10.

17 October 2007

Administration of OpenOffice.org

Imagine you are asked to deploy OpenOffice.org in a large company, maybe 1.000 users or more. You will definitively need some tools. Lucky for you, there is an Administration Guide for that purpose. What about accessing user profile settings from on an LDAP server or restricting functionality for users. Would that be relevant in a large installation ?

Just turn in on the Administration Guide here: http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Documentation/Administration_Guide

16 October 2007

Introduction II - start and open files

This is the second film:

Symfoni Software

Zotero and OpenOffice.org

I just found this article from Dmitri Popov
Using Zotero to manage OpenOffice.org bibliographies

http://www.linux.com/feature/119419

If OpenOffice.org's own bibliography feature doesn't really cut it for you, you have several choices. One popular bibliography solution is Bibus, a cross-platform tool that integrates nicely with OpenOffice.org. It is, however, not the only bibliographical tool out there. In fact, there is another nifty tool called Zotero that turns Firefox into a powerful research tool.
Directly integrated with OpenOffice.org. Amazing how extensions can make things happen.

15 October 2007

Introduction to OpenOffice.org (in Danish)

I am working on a series of introduction videos for OpenOffice.org in Danish. This is the first one:

This is done together with my company Symfony Software.

14 October 2007

Trade unions - take a stand !

I have previously written about trade unions. Or the lack of commitment from the trade unions (blog post here: http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2007/05/where-is-trade-unions.html ).

Lately I have seen two Danish trade unions take a stand: They will provide their members with Microsoft certified courses. First it was HK/Samdata http://www.version2.dk/artikel/3857 that are dumping the marketplace with almost free Microsoft certification. This week I could read that another trade union is about to take up competition. The union is Prosa http://www.prosa.dk/News/index.php3?story_id=2989 who is also 'selling' Microsoft courses. This latest initiative is quite surprising, because Prosa has been very active in the work for open standards from a competitive point of view.

Why offer a Microsoft course to the members ?

Why not offer courses in game development ?
Why not offer courses in Java ?
Why not offer courses in XML ?
Why not offer courses in ITIL and Prince2 ?

By offering courses in vendor specific products like Vista and .Net, the trade unions becomes a part of the problem: We all think that a Microsoft certificate is needed to get a job and because of that we actually need it. Not because it's relevant, but because everybody agrees that this is a must-have certificate. As a result, all decision makers is schooled by Microsoft and partners.

I don't mind that the trade unions are offering IT courses to the members. I think it's a good idea. But the education should not be a part of the Microsoft strategy: Take over the education. We have seen that in public school and universities. This strategy makes Microsoft products de-facto needs in business.

10 October 2007

Thats a challenge

Once in a while I see some challenging questions on the Danish support site http://www.oooforum.dk . Today I found a question about outline numbering. The question came from a couple of guys from University of Southern Denmark (http://www.sdu.dk/?sc_lang=en). The university is using OpenOffice.org and these two are doing an assignment.

They need to make a TOC like this:

Header
1. First chapter
1.1 First issue in first chapter
1.2 Second issue in first chapter
2. Second chapter
2.1 First issue in second chapter
Another header
3. Third chapter
3.1 ...
3.2 ...
etc.

Please note that they want to continue the numbering of chapters, even if there is a header in between. The problem is, that the normal behavior would be like this:

Header
1. First chapter
1.1 First issue in first chapter
1.2 Second issue in first chapter
2. Second chapter
2.1 First issue in second chapter
Another header
1. Third chapter
1.1 ...
1.2 ...
etc.

The outline numbering will reset after the heading entry.

The difficult part is, that the document actually contains four numbered levels of headings 8+ the top level). But only two numbered levels is to shown in the TOC.

Hmmm.....

Normally this would be accomplished this way:

Header <- Heading 1
1. First chapter <-
Heading 2
1.1 First issue in first chapter <- Heading 3
1.2 Second issue in first chapter <-
Heading 3
2. Second chapter <-
Heading 2
2.1 First issue in second chapter <-
Heading 3
Another header <-
Heading 1
1. Third chapter <-
Heading 2
1.1 ... <-
Heading 2
1.2 ...
<- Heading 2
etc.


But the problem is, that the outline numbering always starts from the top. So what we did was this

Header <- Heading 3
1. First chapter <-
Heading 1
1.1 First issue in first chapter <-
Heading 2
1.2 Second issue in first chapter <-
Heading 2
2. Second chapter <-
Heading 1
2.1 First issue in second chapter <-
Heading 2
Another header <-
Heading 3
3. Third chapter <-
Heading 1
3.1 ... <-
Heading 2
3.2 ... <-
Heading 2
etc.
The header styles and TOC styles was changed, so it looks as if Header is higher level that Chapter and issue. The TOC is evaluating untill third level and the two first levels are numbered.

Done.

09 October 2007

Reading ODF files

If you want to read ODF files, you can use OpenOffice.org for that purpose. If you are using OpenOffice.org you can even read files directly in your browser. Read this article:

OpenOffice.org documents within Firefox
(http://mozillalinks.org/wp/2007/09/openofficeorg-documents-within-firefox/)
By Percy Cabello, Posted on September 23, 2007

If you don't have OpenOffice.org installed already, you can download it here for free http://download.openoffice.org

But even if you don't want to install OpenOffice.org you can read ODF files without any problems. It's just a plug-in for your Firefox browser. Read this article:

View open document text files with Firefox
(http://mozillalinks.org/wp/2007/02/view-open-document-text-files-with-firefox/)
By Percy Cabello, Posted on February 15, 2007

You can also download an ODF viewer from this place:
http://opendocumentfellowship.org/odfviewer . But why not install OpenOffice.org in stead ?

If free software isn't enough

My son Christian Lodahl showed me this (turn in the speakers, it's great music too):

08 October 2007

How to put a watermark text on your documents

I know at least three ways you can put a watermark text in your documents:

  • Background image
  • Drawing text
  • Insert Fontwork

1) Background image
Select your page style in the style navigator. Right click and choose Modify.
Select the Background tab and select Graphics in the first field.
Now you can select an image file from your system.
You can either stretch the image or place it on a specific position.

2) Drawing text
From the Toolbar Drawing, select the tool Text.
Draw a box with you mouse and type the text in the box
If you want to see the background text on all pages, you can draw the box in the page header or footer
Mark the text in the box and format it as you need (text size, font, color etc.)
If you mark the text, you can use the rotate tool to rotate the text (grab the corners with your mouse and drag)
Mark the text box and right click. Select Arrange. Select In background

3) Fontwork
Click once in the page header og footer
Click Fontwork Gallery and select a Fontwork style
Type the text you want to appear in the background
Select the inserted Fontwork, right click and select Wrap - In background

Conclusion

Each of the above methods has advantages and disadvantages. Choose from your needs in the individual case. There might even be other methods to achieve the same or better results.

07 October 2007

Search the Internet form OpenOffice.org

Very often when you are working with text documents in Writer, you need to do some research or look up a word on the Internet while you are writing. You can actually look up words on the Internet directly from OpenOffice.org bur very few people has yet discovered this handsome feature in the application.

Some general search sites are predefined in OpenOffice.org, e.g. AltaVista, Gogle and Yahoo, but you can also define your own searches. I often use the Mariam-Webster on-line dictionary to look up English words.

How to define a new search

First you have to find out how the search site parses the search string in the URL address. Try to make a simple search on the search site and the take a look at the URL address when you see the result. On Mariam-Webster it looks like this:


The word I was looking up here was 'accent'.

Now copy the URL string and open OpenOffice.org Writer

Select Tools – Options – Internet – Search

Create a new search and paste the URL from the clipboard into the 'prefix' field.

Select 'Or' and do the same again

Select 'Exact' and do the same again.








Close the Options dialog.

How to search from OpenOffice.org

If the toolbar “Hyperlink bar” is not visible in OpenOffice.org you should make it visible by selecting View – Toolbars and then select “Hyperlink bar”.

Now you are ready to look up any word from your document. Select a word in the text and you will see that the word is now automatically filled in the first field on the Hyperlink bar.

Now you just need to click the search icon and select the search site you want to use. In this case I select M-W and my browser will immediately show me the search result.

Conclusion

OpenOffice.org has lots and lots of secret features and this is one of them. Very few people will discover all features, but if you try to have a look around the application you will find lots of them.

I can recommend Solveig Hauglands blog. She has made a lot of small tricks and how-tos.

04 October 2007

Translation (press release)

Wide agreement about open standards
(Unofficial translation of the press release)

03.10.2007

The government KL (Danish Municipals ) and Danish Regions has made an agreement about the application from obligatory, open standards for software there public sector.

Before the summer the Minister of Science and technology and the Parliament (Folketinget) agreed on a schedule plan for adopting the open standards. The schedule and the adoption of the first part of obligatory , open standards is validated by a government decision and is actually validated by an agreement between the government, KL and Danish Regions.

The agreement implies , that public authorities from January 1th. 2008 shall apply seven sets of open standards in connection with new it - systems, unless that results in extra expenses. All authorities shall contemporary be able to receive text documents as two open standards (EOOXML and ODF).

Obligatory , open defaults shall :
- support contest and options on the software markedet
- give rise to the assumption by context between it - systems, solutions and organisations
- secure bigger effectiveness and better problem solving.

later that year there will be a conference about the adoption af open standards in the public sector.

The government KL and Danish regions has agree to continuously take standardization into account and adopt open standards. It will secure against connections across the public sectors and ensure competition, innovation and a multiple software market to the best for development of the digital governance.

Minister of Science and technology Helge Sander:
”This agreement means, that vi actually seriously has set of to adopt open standards. Denmark is already leading at this field and therefore every new steps we take, give echo abroad. I expects , that the citizen and the businesses will experience, that there will be further options , and that they digital solutions proves better connectivity and is more user friendly.”

Chairman of KL Erik Fabrin:
”For the municipals the agreement is an importantly step in the right direction. I am persuaded, that the use of open it standards is the access to a better working public sector, where we can be give citizen better consecutive services and better accessibility. I also expects, that an enhanced adoption of open standards will make it less expensive to exchange data between authorities and make it easier for new businesses to come in at the public it market with new solutions. However the agreement itself is not doing that. We must make an effort in all parts of public sector and use resources push that development."

Charman of Danish regions Bent Hansen:
”The regions are pleased to have been a part of this agenda in relationship to the adoption of open standards. The demands on accessibility will as an example help that all inhabitants , also persons with disabilities, can benefit of the digitalization of the public sector. The agreement shows that the public sector in cooperation can handle improvement of an important task and take commitment to the future digital development."

Progress in Denmark

The last few days shown a few interesting news.

The Danish Government has made an agreement with Danish Municipals ( http://www.kl.dk ) and Danish Regions ( http://www.regioner.dk ) about how open standards should be implemented in the public sector. This press release is in Danish:
http://videnskabsministeriet.dk/site/forside/nyheder/pressemeddelelser/2007/bred-aftale-om-aabne-standarder
My own unofficial translation here.
A lot of details about the implementation has been published here: http://videnskabsministeriet.dk/site/forside/nyheder/Aktuelle-temaer/aabne-standarder/bilag e.g. these manuals for the offices: http://www.oio.dk/aabnestandarderforsoftware .

The Minister of finance has been asked to reveal how much the Danish state is paying Microsoft each year ( http://www.computerworld.dk/art/41817 ). The Minister (Thor Pedersen) claims that these numbers is impossible to collect. This is rubbish, because the sate has a centralized purchase of software licenses.

Several Members of the Danish Parliament wants to liberate the scholar system from Microsoft monopoly. Microsoft is offering a 70% discount to schools and universities but despite that, the bill is too high. And the MP know that monopoly in schools will keep the Microsoft monopoly in the rest of the country, both public and private sector. http://www.computerworld.dk/art/41789
The reason for this discussion is an article ( http://www.computerworld.dk/art/41785 ) that covers the fact that using Linux in the schools is more expensive than Windows. But the actual cause for that fact is, that Linux support is very expensive today. Why ? Because not many customers are using it. If the schools could gather together and collaborate about a common solution and establish a support center, it would be much cheaper.

What is nearly grotesque is that the agreement between the government and the Danish Municipals specifically mentions schools, hospitals and public libraries as not covered by the agreement. So what is it worth, when my children don't get the opportunity to learn about OpenOffice.org and open standards at school. They will end up as Microsoft users just like the previous generation. When they get on the job market, they will ask for Microsoft applications.

Sorry that all my references are in Danish. I'll try to find some time to translate to English one of these days.

03 October 2007

Extending OpenOffice.org

Sorry, I have been away from my blog for a few days.

This summer I wrote a Danish manual about extensions and how to create and maintain extensions( http://doc.oooforum.dk/Extensions.pdf ). When I wrote the manual, I used both the wiki on http://www.OpenOffice.org : http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Extensions . I also used two articles by Dimitri Popov (http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/7802 and http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9412).

Dimitri is using an example in his article, where he is creating dummy text with Lorem Ipsum. I remember, that it was annoying that the example was masde as a mock up as example and didn't actually create Lorem Ipsum text. I know that this was not the purpose of the article, but I was still thinking: "Why not do it ?".

I have never made a macro in OpenOffice.org before, so I took this as a challenge. I had to find out everything from the beginning and I has some difficulties extracting data from the XML stream. The solution is a little clumsy, I will admit that. If any of you know a better and more elegant way, please feel free to make a new macro.

There is still a few other issues , but I expect to get them solved over the next few weeks.

I have uploaded the solution as extension to the repository, but it's actually not published yet. You can find the odt-file here: http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/download/288

When you have installed the extension, you will see a new tool bar with a button. This button will call http://www.lipsum.com/ give you some dummy text. Not rocket science, but anyway a helpfull feature.

Thanks to DannyB for this description of how to parse an XML stream http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.phtml?t=4907 and to Andrew Pitonyak for his dokumentation "Useful Macro Information".

30 September 2007

You are either with us or ...

President George Bush said something like "You are either with us or against us". when he started the invasion of Iraq. In the the battle for one and only one standard for document formats, it has been just like that too. You are either with us or you are against us. Most bloggers and other participants has been either pro or con. Even the journalists has been force to take side in the battle. One standard versus Microsoft. Nothing in between.

I have seen only one participant in Denmark taking an odd approach (odd should not be understood as weird). One person only has taking the position: Two standards is OK if they can reach the expectations. Other participants has had either "Microsoft sucks" or "Microsoft rules" as their basic opinion. And I count my self in here as well. I'm not neutral, because i think they sucks.

This guy deserves some respect, because he has been able to stay relatively neutral in the debate. He has my respect. He has been angry with us on the ODF side, because he thought we became too much anti Microsoft. But he stayed calm and picked up the challenge to make a technical comparison on his blog. Unfortunately it's in Danish.

He did what we all talked about: He implemented it. Both standards ! He has been critical in his description of both ODF and EOOXML and he finds none of them perfect.

He started the debate on the website http://version2.dk but later he opened his own blog on http://idippedut.dk/

To Jesper Lund Stocholm i would like to say:

Your posts deserves either your own or a professional translation into English. I think they could be a very important input int the debate internationally.

26 September 2007

Working plan for the new releases

Have you ever wondered how the development process is ?
Here you can see the plan for the next couple of releases. Note that the work actually overlaps the versions. Working on a specific version starts long before the version before is finished. But remember: plans can be changed.



2.3.1

  • Code_freeze: October 25th, 2007
  • Last cws integration for fixes: Nov 8th, 2007
  • release candidate for all languages: Nov 22th, 2007
  • Product release: December 4th, 2007
2.4
  • November 15th 2007: UI and Feature_freeze
  • November 22nd 2007: Translation update 2.4 start
  • December 13th 2007: Translation update 2.4 delivery
  • December 20th 2007: TCM l10n testing
  • January 17th 2008: code_freeze
  • February 7th 2008: Last cws integration for fixes
  • February 21th 2008: release candidate for all languages
  • March 4th 2008: OpenOffice.org 2.4 release
2.4.1
  • Not planed
3.0
  • First translation handover: January 18th, 2008
  • UI and Feature_freeze: March 6th, 2008
  • Translation update 3.0 start: March 13th, 2008
  • Translation update 3.0 delivery: April 3rd, 2008, code freeze for Beta
  • Begin TCM testing: April 10th, 2008
  • "last cws integration" for Beta: April 17th, 2008
  • OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta: April 30th, 2008
  • Code_freeze, last regular translation delivery: July 4th, 2008
  • Last cws integration for fixes: July 18th, 2008
  • release candidate for all languages: July 25th, 2008, begin of TCM testing
  • Product release: September 2nd, 2008 or OOoCon 2008 mid September ?

25 September 2007

Summary from OOoCon2007 in Barcelona (III)

Quality
The quality of any software product can always be discussed. OpenOffice.org has from time to time met criticism. One thing is for sure: "It will never be bug free".
The quality program that we in the Danish community is a part of is one way of controlling the quality of each version. On the conference was demonstrated another approach to the problem. And even developers among the spectators had to acknowledge the results.
University of Szeged in Hungary has, with financial support from EU, developed a tool that can analyze the source code. With this tool it will be possible foresee where a bug will appear later on. I saw the tool demonstrated and it's very impressive, how it is possible, on a very detailed level, to analyze the code for possible future bugs. It is furthermore possible to analyze the progress from version to version and see if quality is getting better or worse. The University is planning to pass the information to the development project, but this must be done with care, because the test results can be used to create vulnerable code like virus. http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/friday_162.pdf

IBM Symphony
Friday morning I was specificly invited to join a presentation of IBM Lotus Symphony arranged by IBM. Michael Karasick presented the product and talked about the background for the decision behind the product. The product is a stand-alone version of the productivity tools that comes with lotus Notes 8 and I actually didn't see anything new. Except of cause, that IBM now is talking about it as "It's OpenOffice.org version 1.1.4 inside".
By the way, I got permission to correct a little misunderstanding in the Danish press: The reason for choosing version 1.1.4 is not that later versions are less stable. The reason is that until a fw weeks ago, IBM had no right to use the code in version 2.x because of the licenses.
After the presentation I had the opportunity to have a little talk with Rob Weir from IBM about other topics. http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/friday_abstracts.html#ibm

Marketing
A few presentations was about marketing. This presentation of one person, who decided to do a full page advert in New York Metro shows that, it's possible to get adverts with limited funds and that one persons work can do the difference. http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/wednesday_54.pdf.

Some of the presentations was about the problem: "How can we attract more individual contributors". I don't think we found a solution, but a small sub committee that will take care of a strategy on this issue. The waves goes the same way as the "Google Summer of Code" initiative in conjunction with earlier positive experiences from the Sun teaching RedOffice in China. What the result will be, we don't know, but I think I got my self involved in the committee.

24 September 2007

Summary from OOoCon2007 in Barcelona (II)

OpenOffice.org in the future
Louis Suárez-Potts opened the conference with a speak about the future development tasks. In overall terms:

  1. Support of web2.0 technologies as Wiki, blogs, collaboration tools etc. http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/thursday_80.pdf
  2. Closer integration with products from Mozilla, the so called PIM tools like contacts and calendar http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/thursday_70.pdf
  3. Interoperability with other office suites http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/thursday_94.pdf
  4. Tools for developing extensions as well as continue to enhance extension possibilities http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/thursday_48.pdf and
    http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/thursday_149.pdf
  5. PDF support by making it possible to open and edit pdf files and create hybrid documents (both ODF and PDF at the same time) http://blogs.sun.com/GullFOSS/entry/completing_pdf_support_in_ooo1
  6. Support pivot tables from Excel and a new solver function http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/friday_114.pdf
  7. Notes- and comments http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Notes2
  8. New porting: MacOS http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/wednesday_769.pdf and
    http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/wednesday_158.pdf
These and many other features can be expected in version 3, planned to be released spring or summer 2008. But of cause: plans can always be changed.

Chinese influence
Some time ago, Sun Microsystems made an agreement with Beijing Redflag Chinese 2000 Software Co. http://www.ch2000.com.cn/english/index.htm. This company is contributing with development of OpenOffice.org and is at the same time developing a special Chinese version that respects the special Cinese culture. As it was explained to us at the conference: "Microsoft will always try to learn us to use computers the way its done in the west. Only by developing our own office suite, we can have a suite that satisfies us and respects our culture and identity".
Just a few days before the conference opened, IBM published the news, that they will contribute to OpenOffice.org development in the future. This contribution will be from China too, because all office development, e.g. Lotus Symphony is done in China. http://www.openoffice.org/press/ibm_press_release.html

Summary from OOoCon2007 in Barcelona (I)

The conference in general
I participated in the conference on behalf of the Danish OpenOffice.org community http://da.openffice.org and my journey was sponsored by
Sun

Symfoni Software Denmark
DOSS

I was invited to the conference to speak about the political process in Denmark regarding the Parliament resolution B103 and the implementation of the resolution.

The conference was held at the Barcelona University right in the middle of Barcelona. It couldn't be more central and the University gave us a perfect frame for both formal and unformal meetings. The conference was arranged by the Catalonian language project and SoftCatala http://www.softcatala.org .

The conference program was very tight and it was impossible to find the time for everything. Four tracks of presentations all day long. The most important thing for me was actually to meet all the people that I only knew from emails and blogposts. To meet these people face to face was very important and I got an impression of how huge and complex the organization behind an open source project like OpenOffice.org is.

Overview of available information
All presentations are available under each day: http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme.html

I will emphasize the Keynote speak of Louis Suárez-Potts, the community manager for OpenOffice.org: http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/wednesday_186.pdf

Here is film recording of some of the sessions: http://ooocon.kiberpipa.org/ with photos.

Here is a subset of the pictures taken:: http://flickr.com/photos/tags/ooocon2007/show/

Here is my own presentation from the conference: http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/wednesday_79.pdf

I also participated in a debate on the subject
ODF Impact on Industry and Governments: http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/friday_179.pdf arranged by Donald Harbison (Program Director, ODF Initiative / IBM ).

23 September 2007

sophie wrote:

Hi all,
Thank you very much for this conference, thanks to all the organization team, you have make it a really great event.
The university was... impressive ! but very comfortable and a lot of places to talk to each other, central in the city and easy to find (for those who had followed that it was the one in the center ;-)
Jesus, even if you don't think so, I've seen every body appreciating the catering and especially the chocolates :).
One more time, it was very nice to meet you all, and as always, to short.

Thanks again
Kind regards
Sophie
And I can ony agree with Sophie. Thanks to everyone who participated in this great arrangement.

22 September 2007

Home sweet home (but Barcelona is also ok...)

I Just got back from OOoConf2007 in Barcelona.

Here is an overview of information from the conference:

All presentations are available under each day: http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme.html

I will emphesize the Keynote speak of Louis Suárez-Potts, the community manager for OpenOffice.org: http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/wednesday_186.pdf

Here is filmrecording of some of the sessions: http://ooocon.kiberpipa.org/ with photos.

Here is a subset of the pictures taken:: http://flickr.com/photos/tags/ooocon2007/show/

Here is my own presentation from the conference: http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/wednesday_79.pdf

I also participated in a debate on the subject
ODF Impact on Industry and Governments: http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/friday_179.pdf arranged by Donald Harbison (Program Director, ODF Initiative / IBM ).

21 September 2007

IBM Symphony - is it out of date ?

John McCreesh writes about IBM Symphony on his blog today here in Barcelona. He discovered that IBM Lotus Symphony, which is a very new product, is actually a modified version af OpenOffice.org 1.1.4. See http://www.mealldubh.org/index.php/2007/09/20/legal-but/.

IBM Lotus Symphony is exactly the same implementation as in Lotus Notes 8.

20 September 2007

Lunch break

As far as I'm concerned, the breaks are actually more important than the actual presentations.

Yesterday I made my presentation regarding the democratic process in Denmark and I have talked to many people yesterday and today about this and other issues. Having a smalltalk with people from Mexico, Hungary, Norway etc. gives much more deep insight of what is going on in the countries around the world than any presentation can give.

I have found out, that the Danish community is in many ways privileged by the rich society and all, but in other ways we are way behind and underprivileged. In most countries (not all) there is a much better understanding and adoption of the whole idea behind open source software and of the benefits for society. Many open source projects (open source in general and OpenOffice.org in particular) are actually sponsored or partly sponsored by governments and local governments.

Why is it, that the Danish government can't see, that open source is a strong accelerator for innovation and development ?

Image is from http://ooocon.kiberpipa.org where you can find more pictures and movies.

Mozilla and OpenOffice.org

Just a few days ago Mozilla Foundation published news about the Mozilla Calendar products (Lightning and Sunbird) will be extracted from the other Mozilla products. The Calendar project is now on their own. If this is a positive new approach or if this will leave the team on their own to die is not to say.

Today Sun Microsystems explained how Sun is contributing to the Mozilla project. Surely e-mail and calendar is the missing components in OpenOffice.org when comparing to another office suite, so it was very interesting to hear.

The project is at the moment preparing new versions with focus on supporting additional technologies e.g. small devices in the front end and more free7busy suppliers in the back end.

Better and more intuitive user interface with a new pane in the e-mail views that shows 'today at a glance'. I'm looking forward to try this and compare with e.g. Lotus Notes 8.

19 September 2007

Chinese movement (From Barcelona)

Mr. Hu Cai Yong was talking about the background for the Chinese interest in open source software and OpenOffice.org. The company RedFlag 2000 has made their own distribution of OpenOffice.org called ReadOffice. This distribution is in no way competitive to OpenOffice.org
but is more as a distribution with a Chinese spirit inside. As Mr. Hu explained:

"Other providers of office suites is trying to implement western software and a western way of thinking."
and he continued:
"Translating an application like an office suite into Chinese is far more than just translating the words in the menu".

In Chine, as an example, all letters in the alphabet is the same size. And Chinese documents should not be suppressed by western standards, just because a it's common use in North America and Europe. With open source software as OpenOffice.org, the Chinese developers can make their own version that supports the specific needs that comes from Chinese traditions and culture.

I think it was important for all participants to hear that from a Chinese point of view, open source is solving a problem that proprietary western software can never do. We from North America and Europe will never be able to solve problems that actually has its beginning in culture.