Lodahl's blog: 2006

28 December 2006

Start OpenOffice.org faster

Have you ever considered wondered why OpenOffice.org is so slow at starting up ?
You actually have several options to reduce the start-up time.

1) Preload OpenOffice.org
You can preload parts of OpenOffice.org together with your computer. This options is only available for some operating systems.

Select Tools Options OpenOffice.org Memory. Check the last field Load OpenOffice.org During System Start-Up. Next time you start your computer you can see a small icon in the system tray.

Be ware that this option takes some memory from your computer before you even start OpenOffice.org. If you have enough memory or if you are using OpenOffice.org most of the time, this option will be a good idea.

2) Load OpenOffice.org with parameter
You can create an icon to load OpenOffice.org without the splash screen. "C:\Programmer\OpenOffice.org 2.1\program\swriter.exe" -nologo . The parameter -nologo will improve startup time.

3) Edit soffice.ini
Find the file C:\Programmer\OpenOffice.org 2.1\program\soffice.ini and open it with a text editor e.g. notepad. Find the line Logo=1 and change it to Logo=0. Then save the file.

It's a good idea to create a backup copy of the file before you make changes to the ini file.

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29 November 2006

Important personal experience

Most people has some kind of relation to religion. No matter if you are christian or atheist, Muslim or Hindu. Most people has some considerations about religion.

I'm not religious in particular. I consider my self as christian because I follow the basic conducts that was given to my by my parents. So the Christianity is somehow inside me.

About one year ago I has an experience that was very close to a religious experience. I couldn't help thinking: Lord.

It was in the late summer and I had spend a week with my wife and two sons in a cottage on the west coast of Denmark. Very close to the ocean. Close enough to actually hear the waves on the beach in the evening.

Around midnight we saw a spectacular light outside and we looked up in the sky and we saw that the sky was covered with light. Northern Light.

When I was a boy I have seen something similar, but only a few waves floating over the sky. This night it was completely dark and at the same time ...light. The sky was completely covered with this carpet of waves. The waves came from a center point. All waves came from this point and moved out towards the horizon. The whole way around. Spooky, but also very calming and peaceful.

I was standing outside the cottage for about 10 minutes before it disappeared. I didn't have time to get a camera. Today, I would like to have had a picture from that night now, but I just didn't have time. (This picture is just a picture from the Internet. )

As I wrote: I'm not religious. But I am very happy that I have had this beautiful experiance.

16 November 2006

Conference - boring

I'm participating in a conference (Lotus Notes). Early morning - tired.

Hwo cares about LDAP sync and simular subjects ?

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08 November 2006

Could you pass me the salt .... Thank you !

Why is it so difficult to contribute to open source projects ?

Well, I know that thousands of people around the world is doing an effort every day. But it's not enough. The programs are beeng used by millions. Why doesn't everybody contribute ?

The answer is: They don't know !

  • They don't know why !
  • They don't know when !
  • They don't know how !
  • They just don't know !

What ????

Imagine that you are in a restaurant with your wife. The guest at the next table asks you politely: "Could you pass me the salt, please ?". Would you hesitate to pass it to him ? No, I don't think so. And when you pass the salt; he will say "Thank you".

To pass him the salt didn't cost you anything and the response "Thank you" didn't cost him anything. We learned to behave like this as children and we try to teach our children to do the same.

Why ? - Because it works !

So, what has this to do with open source software ?
  • The cost !
  • The price !
  • The good deed for the day !
If we teach our children that they can pay back when they get something for free, they will automatically give a small contribution when they use open source software. Not only by typing their credit card number. Well, that will be okay, but actually it would be better if we gave them some easy opportunities to contribute:
  • Create a CD and give it as a present to somebody
  • Use 1 hour as a translator
  • Write a small manual (or check another authors manual for misspellings)
  • Put a OSS logo on you website
  • Write your name on the 'supporters wall' (references)
  • What ever ...
It should cost anything else than some private time. A commercial enterprise could 'donate' some hours in a project.

All we need is to find out some easy ways to contribute. And learn the children why, when and how.

Let's make a 'thank-you' campaign !

05 November 2006

Creative ...

My family and I are taking part of a group or network for families with handicaped children. Our youngest son Alexander has a small handicap.
I just made a logo for the group. Thanks to Inkscape and openclipart.org.

30 October 2006

OpenOffice.org on Danish LinuxForum Bof last saturday

Last Saturday I was lucky to represent the native danish project on LinuxForum BoF (Birth of a Feather) (http://bof.linuxforum.dk/2006/bofs/) at Symbion (http://www.symbion.dk) in Copenhagen, Denmark. The BoF was arranged by BSD-DK, DKUUG and SSLUG.

I presented the latest news in 2.04 and some goodies from 2.1 (future).

We had a good discussion about education and development of a new "PC-drivers license". We have a good dialog with Dansk-IT (http://www.dansk-it.dk).

Another issue was the poor spellchecker. What can we do to make it better ? My suggestion is to ask one or two danish universities to help make it a quality spellchecker. Language components is not to be produced by me or you. Qualified people with specific language skills should be involved in the project.

Danish newsletter on OpenOffice.org

October newsletter has been published



16 October 2006

Easy use of OpenClipart.org

I'm often using cliparts from OpenClipart.org in my Writer documents. I don't want to download the whole package from the site; and for several reasons:

  • It takes up a lot of space on my harddisk and most of it i'll never use anyway
  • New cliparts is added every day

When I need to use a clipart I'll find it on the site directly. Usually I find it by browsing the archives.
When I'we found the clipart that I'll like to use in my document, I open it with the browser. Then I can copy the URL-address to the clipboard.
In Writer; I can insert an object (Insert > OLE-object > From file) and paste the URL into the field and hit Enter

13 October 2006


Today it's the OpenOffice.org 6th. anniversary. Congratulations ! On the
very same day we see 2.04. Fantastic. No more and no less.

Today has been a good day. Its Friday the 13th. but its NOT a scary night tonight. Its celebration and happy hour.

I'm proud to be a part of this. Thank you everyone !

26 September 2006

The Ramboell report in English

The conclusion in this report from Ramboell Management is clear: There is no reason to wait. Worst case is, that id doesn't cost anything to implement open standards in the public administration. More realistic is that the society will reduce costs with several millions.


17 September 2006

Lots of reasons for using OpenOffice.org

  • The price
OpenOffice.org is free. You can use itf free of charge no matter if you are a private person, a student or a commercial company.
  • Its legal

Making a copy for a friend is completly legal. You don't have to control who have access to your CD anymore.

  • Its open

If you need to make changes to the application you can find the source code and you can make any changes that you want.

  • Its good

OpenOffice.org has allmost the same functionalities as competitive applications. Most people think that OpenOffice.org has less features and this is in a way true. But the features that is not in OpenOffice.org is typical features that nobody uses anyway.

  • OpenOffice.org is well documented

You can find several manuals and how-tos on www.oooathors.org in several languages. The translation is an on-going process.

  • Its supported

Lots of companies around the World is supporting OpenOffice.org. Sometimes the product is called another name as StarOffice, but you CAN get support for OpenOffice.org.

  • OpenOffice.org is social and solidarity

Its free of charge. Not only for you but also for any other child or adult in the World. This means that people in the third world can get access to a comprehensive office application. Because it's open anyone can make a local translation. This is NOT the case with commercial office applications.

  • Democratic

Any one can participate in development. There is not a company taking all decisions about the content. YOU can vote for new features. Or you can create features for the application.

  • OpenOffice.org uses OPEN document formats

If you use a 'closed' format you are actual taken hostage. What happens if the provider makes a new version or closes? You will be asked to pay ransom to get your documents back. When you use OpenOffice.org your documents are GARANTIED in the future. The format is open and can be used by ither applications. If OpenOffice.org is no longer available you can use any other application that uses the format (StarOffice, Workplace, NeoOffice, ...).

  • OpenOffice.org runs on allmost any platform

Other applications are often tied to one single operation platform. OpenOffice.org runs on several platforms and is continuously ported to new platforms. If you are using several platforms like Linux, Windows and Mac you will find OpenOffice.org on all these platforms.

OpenOffice.org can use YOUR contribution
Not only developers can participate. A lot of translation work is going on. Graphical work is needed too.

14 September 2006

Whats new in OpenOffice.org 2.04 ?

One of the reasons for me to join the OpenOffice.org community some years ago was the PDF export. And there is more to expect. Look at this 4th. tab on the PDF Options dialog in 2.04:

Security !

Ì just love OpenOffice.org

Where do the users live ?

Ever thought about where users live ?
I am working on a map that shows all danish references.


Just for fun :-)

11 September 2006

StarOffice in your own language ?

OpenOffice.org comes in more than 68 languages. StarOffice 8 from Sun Microsystems only comes in 11 languages. I wonder why.

But don't worry, because it's so easy to create a new language your self. I assume that you have a valid license for StarOffice 8.

Before you begin: Make sure that you don't have an existing OpenOffice.org installation on the computer. OpenOffice.org and StarOffice is basicly the same program and if you install both on the same computer, you will see unpredicted results. Belive me: I tried it.

Step 1: Install StarOffice 8.
You can use any language, e.g. the english one.

Step 2: Install OpenOffice.org language pack for you locale. Make sure that the version matches the StarOffice version (SO Update 3 matches OOo 2.03).
During installation you will see en errormessage, because OpenOffice.org is not installed. Select the StarOffice path instead.

Step 3: Open StarOffice Writer and select Tools -> Options -> Language Settings -> Languages
Select User interface = Your locale
Close StarOffice again.

Step 4: To install additional languages for spellcheck you must optain the appropriate files from the OpenOffice.org website. Copy the files into the path share\dict\ooo and open the file dictionary.lst to show only the languages you manually installed. This example below shows the danish spellcheck and hyphenation dictionary.

Step 5: The Hyphenation needs to be installed. You must find the file hyphen680mi.dll from another OpenOffice.org installation. Remember that the version must be the same as your StarOffice installation. From StarOffice you can install the file using Tools -> Package Manager -> Add.

Now you are ready to use your StarOffice in your own language. Congratulations.

# List of All Dictionaries to be Loaded by OpenOffice
# ---------------------------------------------------
# Each Entry in the list have the following space delimited fields
# Field 1: Entry Type "DICT" - spellchecking dictionary
# "HYPH" - hyphenation dictionary
# "THES" - thesaurus files
# Field 2: Language code from Locale "en" or "de" or "pt" ...
# Field 3: Country Code from Locale "US" or "GB" or "PT"
# Field 4: Root name of file(s) "en_US" or "hyph_de" or "th_en_US
# (do not add extensions to the name)

HYPH da DK hyph_da_DK
DICT da DK da_DK

# 10-09-2006 23:36:12
Thanks to Henrik Just from Hjørring Highschool for technical details. Henrik has been using this method on the high school for some time now.

07 September 2006

The Bergen thing ...

Just a few days ago I read that the community if Bergen, Norway has given up the project of implementing Linux in the local government.
First of all; They didn't give up Linux. They agreed to postpone the implementation of Linux on the desktop. Linux is absolutely a serious part of the server park in Bergen.

Anyway, this is just another example that shows that this kind of pioneer project can't be done without some kind of financial support. A local government and a school has a one year budget. The IT-budget is not big. Hardly big enough to keep the users happy. An implementation project takes about a year and the investment will not return before years later. Thats why we don't see more pioneer projects.

One or two major projects (like the Bergen project) would give the politicians some practical and real life examples.

I don't understand why it's so difficult to find the money to run a few pioneer projects in scandinavia. I just don't get it.

04 September 2006

Give the children a choice ...

Last year my oldest son came home from school one day: His homework that week was to write an essay. It should be delivered as a Word document. IT is an important part of school. I asked him if I could see the assignment and I was surprised to see that it was true.

The teacher used "Word document" as it was a synonym with "text document". I called the teacher. She didn't understand my point: Computerized text documents are called "Word documents". Then I asked if a spreadsheet is called an Excel sheet. Yes she said.

I think that it is very dangerous if we allow specific product names become common used words. My children must learn to make their own choices. I think that the school teachers should be guarding the language against this kind of development. What comes next ? Will the police ask to see your Toyota license next time ?

I know that the language are developing over generations. I speak another language than my parents as my parents speak another language than their parents.

31 August 2006

Visit Solveig Haugland ...

Solveig is teaching OpenOffice.org in the US but she is learning the whole world how to use OpenOffice.org. On her blog you can find lots of tricks.

Solveig also wrote af few books over the years. I recommend the material from Solveig for new users.

30 August 2006

Organic software again

About a week ago I wrote a post comparing open source software with organic vegetables. A few days later I found this picture on www.aigis.dk. A small shop by the road selling organic vegetables and ...open source software. Can you belive that?

Open source is fair trade. No doubt about that. People from the 3th. world can take advantage of the work we do in the rich world. Proprietary software is translated into languages if it pays. OpenOffice.org is translated because someone needs it. The 3th. world users can't pay the license fee and the proprietary software is not translated into all necessary languages.

29 August 2006

The report from Rambøll Management claims that the danish central administration can save a lot of money over the next years if OpenOffice.org is implemented.

The report has been mentioned several places on domestic news sites the last couple of days. I hope and expect this report to become an important part of the discussion in Denmark in the future.

The report works with tree scenarios:
1) Office Open XML with Microsoft Office
2) ODF standards with OpenOffice.org
3) ODF with Microsoft Office and plug-in

This report is claimed (by Microsoft) to be a part of the the discussion and not a reliable. The report was ordered by an organization (osl) who is a part of the discussion.

Yes of cause !

What do they expect. Microsoft is using lots of resources in cases like this. Why shouldn't people like The Danish Open Source Business Association do the same.

You can find the original (danish) report here http://www.osl.dk/Ramboell_rapport

Danish report on OpenOffice.org in the central administration

Yesterday Rambøll Management released a report ordered by "The Danish Open Source Business Association" (www.osl.dk).

This is an unofficial translation of the conclusion (Thanks to Kristen Thiesen)
Based on the prerequisites which Rambøll Management operates with and the present price of e.g. Microsoft Office licenses the main figures for five years are:
  1. Cost of transition to Office Open XML-document standard in existing Microsoft Office versions will amount to approximately 105 million Danish kroner. Assuming that the central administration follows its usual praxis and performs a transition from present Microsoft Office licenses (predominantly Microsoft Office XP and 2003) to the new version 2007 the overall cost will amount to 380 million Danish kroner.
  2. Cost of implementing the ODF-standard in conjunction with a transition to OpenOffice.org is estimated at around 255 million Danish kroner.
  3. Cost of implementing the ODF-standard in Microsoft Office is estimated marginally higher than the cost of the first scenario primarily because of larger cost of converting and support. It is important to underline that the very high cost are not only due to the implementation of the two formats Office Open XML and ODF. The cost is also due to the expense caused by existing deals and the costs generally accompanying an upgrade or change to a new version. The reasonable implementation of one or the other office pack in the central administration should be the result of a business case, which contains expected pro and cons including economical effects of the implementation.

24 August 2006

Just found this site in Norway: http://ingrid.bitnexus.net/OOo/ . Lots of goodies. If you understand it.

Ingrid is active on both Norwegian and Danish forums.

In the danish papers there has been some discussion about introducing OpenOffice.org in the public sector. Sceptisme and fear for the unknown is natural. But when it comes to professionals like IT-managers I'll expect a little more.

Anyway; one of the heavy arguments has been that 'The users needs training' and 'Our users knows how to use MS Office. They would need to learn the new system before they can use it'.

Ha..... Thats what YOU think.

A research performed by Andy Brown about average users knowledge about MS Office showed that the users actually don't know how to use MS Office.

The results showed that 86% of users answered between three and nine out of 15 questions correctly.

A research paper from about two years ago (OpenOfficice.org 1.1.3) proved that the average user actualy learned OpenOffice.org very fast and without any training except a brief introduction.

So whats the problem ?
  • Users don't know how to use MS Office !
  • Users can learn OpenOffice.org very fast !

22 August 2006

Organic software ?

About twenty years ago I saw a TV show with a very happy farmer talking about organic vegetables. At that time he was one of very few farmers that produced organic vegetables. Most people laughed at him then.

Today when I go to my local supermarket I can make a choise. It is my own decision if I whant organic og conventional stuff. No one is laughing now.

Open source software is not exactly organic but I would like consumers to make their own choise anyway.

21 August 2006

Firefox (fieldwork you might say)

Mozilla foundation did a great job promoting Firefox. I love this kind of marketing stuff.

See more pictures here: http://lug.oregonstate.edu/index.php/Projects/Firefox/Firefox_Circle

Solidarity in software

Supporting open source software is a also supporting the Third World. Open source is by definition solidarity.

When you choose to use open source software like OpenOffice.org you have the choice to join the project if you like. You can participate with whatever skills you have and give any effort you can. This is no matter if you are a rich company in the western world or a local carpenter in the Far East or South America. Open source software gives people all over the world the opportunity to get free software.

Companies, NGOs and governments in in the rich part of the World should take this issue into consideration. If we can get governments in Europe and the US to use OpenOffice.org this will be a indirect contribution to developing the Third World. If more people are using the software there will be more developers contributing to the project.

Start supporting open source software. Stop supporting Bill Gates' pensionfund. Bill doesn't need it. Our poor friends in the World does !

20 August 2006

Make a decision: don't do what you are expected to do !

Yesterday I talked to one of my friends about OpenOffice.org. She asked me how I can recommend OpenOffice.org when Microsoft Office i obviously better.

The answer is very easy. And I will admit that Microsoft Office has some functions that are not yet available in OpenOffice.org.

The answer is: 'The difference in functionality does not justify the difference in price'. Microsoft Office is too expencive. Actually only very few people needs or uses the features in Microsoft Office that are missing in OpenOffice.org.

When you go to buy a new car you will make a weighting between what you as a user needs and what the car cost. You will make a decision. You don't just buy the best car, because the best car might not be what you need. And it might not be what you can afford.

Lack of decision
The problem in many companies is, that the easiest thing to do is to do what we used to do. Nobody will ask questions if we do nothing (select Microsoft). What we need is some IT-Managers taking a decision. If that meens selecting Microsoft it's OK with me. As long as it's actually a decision based on analysis and calculations. But I'm sure that many companies and organisations will see that OpenOffice.org is a relevant alternative. Even if it's not exactly as feature rich as MicroSoft Office. Because nobody really uses last 5% of the suite anyway.

By the way: I'm driving a ten years old Skoda ;-)

17 August 2006

How did I get into working with OpenOffice.org and open source ?

Well, it was about tree years ago, I was looking for a way to create pdf's. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on Adobe Writer, so I started surfing on the internet. Along with several other small applications like CutePDF and PDFCreator I ended up with OpenOffice.org installed on my computer. The program it self (1.1.1) was allright, but the manual was like something babelfish had thrown up. I'm Danish by the way.

I joined the mailinglist and after some time I began to translate. Funny, because I could se the progress up the versions. By translating the help files I actually learned a lot.

Later on I started to use the advanced features and found that all I needed was there. Fantastic. I didn't had to pay MS for the application and I had found the alternative. I am one of us that still remember the best wordprocessor in the world: Wordperfect 5.1.

15 August 2006

Today I found that one of my old colleagues; Jacob, has a website with his own artwork. Take a look at www.hulemalerier.dk .There is even a few drawings with my kids on the page. Give him a nice feedback on the site.