Archive for May, 2007

May

31

by Kaj Kandler

Klaus Manhart has published an article about converting documents from and to MS Office, using OpenOffice.org. He tells it as it is, that simple documents are easier to convert than more complex ones.

In his article he gives two sets of cut and dry advice for text-documents used in OOo Writer/MS Word:

Basic rules for successful data exchange

  • If you know that a Microsoft Office document will be opened in Openoffice.org later, don’t use complicated formatting and functions.
  • Agree on the exact Microsoft Office file format to be used. If someone generates a document that’s going to be exchanged and uses a newer version of Microsoft Office, then RTF or another format up to and including Office 97 should be used, rather than anything more recent.
  • Try to avoid round-trip conversion, where documents are edited alternately with Openoffice.org and Office. It’s not realistic to have a file that’s sometimes edited with Microsoft Word and sometimes with Open Office.
  • If you’re going to send an Openoffice.org document to someone who just needs to read and print it, it’s probably simpler to export it to a PDF file.

and
Maximize Word compatibility in Openoffice.org Writer

  • Enable Use printer settings for document formatting
  • Enable Add spacing between paragraphs and tables
  • Enable Do not add leading (extra space) between lines of text
  • Enable Consider wrapping style when placing objects

Learn at Plan-B for OpenOffice.org, how to enable/disable OOo Writer compatibility options for compatibility with MS Word or OpenOffice.org Release 1.1

May

27

by Kaj Kandler

Apparently, interest to use OpenOffice.org as a tool to other means is growing. I just discovered that OpenMRS, an open source Medical Record System framework, plans to use OpenOffice.org as an alternative Data Entry mechanism.

More precisely, Matthew Harrison proposed this project for the Google summer of Code challenge, and apparently got accepted. Michael started blogging about his project. Currently he is reading up on OpenOffice.org macros programming and XForms, which he intends to use for formalized data entry.

Google’s summer of code
pays student interns for the summer to create open source code for many open source projects. It has been quite popular with students from around the world. While the stipend of $4,500, is nice compensation for something a student might do anyhow, it is a lot of money to many students in other countries. In any case it does help many open source projects to get some additional resources which they mentor and help to achieve the project’s goal.

OpenMRS is an initiative to build a much needed medical record system framework, that is affordable for developing countries to manage their are number of patients or such diseases like AID/HIV. Impressively, the project is only one year old, but has implementations in seven countries and collected millions of patient observations.

May

24

by Kaj Kandler

Plan-B for OpenOffice.org has grown to 110 screencasts and 157 glossary entires.

This is our Plan-B approach to documenting the popular open source office suite with screencasts (short videos) and smart search technology that helps you find what you are looking for.

If you have not checked it out, please join the other ~150 a day that visit this site teaching OpenOffice.org. If you like it come back like the growing number of repeat visitors. If you love it, register for more benefits to come.

May

23

by Kaj Kandler

Yoon Kit blogs over at Open Malaysia about the physical size of the Microsoft OOXML spec presented to the International and national standardization boards.

You got to see the pictures of the 6039 pages in context. They are really eye popping.

Yoon also argues that this is probably by far the largest spec reviews in such short time. He puts his weight behind the request of various national organization bodies at the International Standardization Organization (ISO) to not fast track this mammoth of a standard specification. But these requests were ignored. This post is a must read!

May

23

by Kaj Kandler

I just stumbled upon this interesting article about the OpenOffice.org and StarOffice quality assuarance efforts. I used to be a QA Manager for 4+ years, so I sympathize with my fellow German Thorsten Ziehm. QA work is not the most creative and sexy task one can do. But it is vitally important for a successful product and it teaches you a lot.

Thanks Thorsten for the work and for the insight (and the great charts)!

May

23

by Kaj Kandler

It was bound to happen sooner or later, OpenOffice.org caught it’s first worm. Sophos reports the first sightings of an OOo scripting worm in the wild. It uses an OOo document to carry itself. Remarkably, the worm is cross platform and uses perl on Linux, ruby on Mac OS X and JavaScript on Windows to infect other files and distribute itself through instant messaging.

The damage? It looks like the worm does download and display a porn image.

To the delight of Sophos, the presumable author did send the file directly to Sophos address.

May

22

by Kaj Kandler

I would like to present today some new screencasts for OpenOffice.org Draw, the vector graphics application in the OpenOffice.org suite.

We posted some basic screencasts for OpenOffice.org Draw yesterday.

While these number of screencasts for Draw is still small, the set is already useful. Lets assume you want to create a flow chart. A novice user might create some rectangles, and draw ellipses and connect these with lines. However, this will require careful planning so you position all the boxes first and the draw the lines. If you need to move any of the shapes you also have to adjust the end points of the lines.

You are probably better off to draw shapes from the flow chart menu, which gives you all the elements that are normed for this type of drawing. Then use object connectors to build a flexible mesh of objects and their connections. These connectors stick to the connection port of the objects and do move with the objects.

Finally, you annotate your flow chart with text frames and add potential notes withcallout bubbles.

May

17

by Kaj Kandler

This year’s Java One Conference was held in Australia and some of the sun engineers where in for a surprise. The airplane offered StarOffice in the displays in the back of the seats. StarOffice the commercial version of OpenOffice.org. The application allowed to open and save files from a USB device. Ain’t that cool?

May

16

by Kaj Kandler

Gerry Singleton, a co-lead of the OpenOffice.org documentation project passed away a couple of days ago. He will be missed by the OpenOffice.org community and the software’s users.

May

15

by Kaj Kandler

Henry Neufeld, offers on his blog an OpenOffice.org (OOo) template for publishing a 6×9 booklet. Henry writes Bible related texts and publishes them as booklets. He shares his publishing template in ODF format with the world.

Henry’s OOo Writer template contains Title pages, dedication, acknowledgments and table of content as well as a list of chapters. The preface has roman numerical page numbers and the chapters show a title page as well as content pages with page numbers. All pages are sized for a 6 x 9 inch format.

With a little editing of the publisher information and the ISBN reference you can use it to publish your own texts. What are you going to write about?