Archive for August, 2006

August

31

by Kaj Kandler

A french lead team works feverishly on porting OpenOffice.org natively to Mac OS X. Don’t get me wrong, OpenOffice.org runs already on Mac OS X. However, the current port does require X Windows. This means the software does not look like an OS X application and it requires an extra package to be installed. These are extra hurdles to overcome and might prevent new users from trying out OpenOffice.org. One solution so far was NeoOffice, an effort to integrate OpenOffice.org more closely with OS X.

It appears another team is working towards the same goal right in the original OpenOffice.org code base. They are ready to present their work at OpenOffice.org Conference 2006 (Lyon), September 11- 13 and Apple Expo (Paris), September 12 to 16.

August

24

by Kaj Kandler

The New Marketing” blog has developed a great story starting with an advertisement campaign in Redmont, WA. The campaign for OpenOffice.org, run by Sun Microsystems in the local bus system, pokes some fun at Miscrsoft.

The best part is how the blog follows up a few days later with “Observations on being on BoingBoing.com and Digg.com“. A great read of how the story was reported weeks earlier but did not get much attention. However, the new marketing’s version did get picked up by BoingBoing and later by Digg.com and so generated a buzz of 30,000+ readers.

I love the fact that the authors did follow up with another story about dropping leavlets as a propaganda technique.

I sure learned something about successful blogging from the folks at the new marketing blog.

August

19

by Kaj Kandler

I just found Appstream.com a web service that claims to make upgrading software easier by delivering only the differences between versions. They do support OpenOffice.org and I wonder if any of my readers has ever used this service? Does it work? How timely are the updates?

Please comment or let me know kajkandler *at* conficio.com.

August

18

by Kaj Kandler

Rick Jelliffe, from O’Reilley, writes today about “Comparing XML office document formats: using XML Metrics”.

He used a large document, the ODF 1.0 specification, (~735 pages) with tables and images and converted it into various formats for OpenDocument Format (ODF) using OpenOffice.org 2.0 and MS Office Open XML (MSOOXML) using MS Office 2007 beta. Then he used tools to measure the XML complexity with various metrics. This makes an interesting read for people who are interested in the debate of the two office document formats or are simply interested in the value of XML metrics.

Rick concludes:

The numbers seem to support the interpretation that beta MSOOX may be quite a bit less complex than ODF 1.1 at this stage, at least in the sense of using fixed structures more, and simpler in these sense of using fewer elements and attributes. ODF is flatter and has smaller filesize but seems to include more style headers than the MOOX does. The metrics indicate that the use of attributes may be significantly different between the two formats, for example for people looking at data conversion estimation. On the application level, Open Office loads the ODT file much faster than the Word 2007 beta loads the DOCX file.

A quick warning. Rick admittedly compares against a beta version of MS Office 2007. He states that “it seems possible that the Word 2007 beta saves a lot of information in bin64 encoded form that ODF exposes as attribute values.” and that this might be of temporary nature “while the thing [MS Office 2007 and the MSOOOXML] is under development.”

In any case a story I’ll follow up with.

August

16

by Kaj Kandler

Some folks at Mozilla had an idea to show their love for Mozilla Firefox, the free and open source web browser that keeps gaining market share.

They discussed the idea with others at OSCON06 and found collaborators in the Oregon State University Linux User Group. The idea was to create a crop circle for the Firefox logo.

The execution is awesome. Congratulations for showing creativity and stamina to make this beautiful work of art.

August

09

by Kaj Kandler

eWeek reports about Microsoft’s plans for the next version of Office for Mac. They will ditch support for Visual Basic macros in favor of AppleScript and and automator integration.

Does this open an opportunity for OpenOffice.org (and its OS-X cousin NeoOffice) to become the true enterprise office suite that ensures macro compatibility across Windows, Linux and OS-X?

August

04

by Kaj Kandler

According to a survey by OSS watch, the use of OpenOffice.org in UK’s higher education declined from 2003 to 2006. While an increasing number of institutions has an Open Source Software (OSS) policy, the deployment of OpenOffice.org declined from 38% to 23% and in further education from 24% to 23% (Table 26 following).

Not the best result OOo and also kind of surprising. However, one should keep in mind that “The survey was completed by more people: in 2003, … only 6% of UK HE and FE institutions; in 2006, a reply from 18% of institutions was obtained. Whenever possible, comparisons have been made with the results of the 2003 survey. However caution has to be adopted in doing this since the roles and responsibilities of those who answered the 2003 survey are not equivalent.”

The overall use of Open Source Software has increased and most ICT managers name total cost of ownership as a main reason. For 73% is the aspect of vendor lock in an important decision criteria.

August

04

by Kaj Kandler

I attended yesterday the Boston PHP Meetup (User Group) meeting for August.

Scott Mattocks introduced the basic concepts of PHP-GTK 2. He gave a well researched sample application using PHP and the Gimp Toolkit (GTK). The application queried an online database of events. His presentation went from from an empty window to the mostly functioning application with query form and result page.

Following his presentation we had a lively discussion about features such as long running tasks and complex widgets. Scott also assessed the learning curve as being a bit steeper than HTML forms but not as steep as Swing for example.

Finally we wondered “When would you use this kind of interface instead of plain server logic and HTML in a browser?” We figured that applications with sophisticated interaction patterns or requiring access to local data/databases would be best suited for PHP applications with an GTK interface. The caveat appears to be that there is limitations in deployment. The currently best method is deploying PHP, the libraries and the GTK one at a time. An alternative is emerging in Gnope, the PHP application installer.

Some lucky dudes took home Scott Mattocks book “Pro PHP-GTK” and T-Shirts. also many thanks to Optaros for hosting.

August

02

by Kaj Kandler

Erwin Tenhumberg writes about “Alfresco’s ODF Virtual File System“. This is part of the Open Source Alfresco Content Management system.

This virtual file system offers a drive in Microsoft Windows that if you drop a file, it will add it to the content management system and also convert it automatically to ODF.

This is the power of open standards at work!

August

02

by Kaj Kandler

Steve Rubel from Micro Persuasion and Matt McAlister comment today on screencasting with advertising. They refer to Infoworld’s new series of screencasts, where they now add an advertisement trailer.

Just in case, Infoworld intends to patent this one, I claim prior art since 2003.

See http://www.conficio.com/ (wayback machine)

I did not make this for money reasons nor did I use arbitrary ads. I simply used it to make the time required to load the screencast more entertaining and to benefit the sponsor (or buyer) of the screencast.