Archive for the ‘Benjamin Horst’ Category



by Kaj Kandler

… unless they can get it for free.

A marketing study at the Univeristy of Arizona asks the question what makes students pay for office suite software and are free open source alternatives like Open Office an alternative to pirated copies of the market leading MS Office?

The research looked at how much students would be willing to pay for a legal copy if the consequences woudl be the two choices. It turns out that $98 is the media price students were willing to pay to own a legal license. And that registration was a wee more effective than the publication that the software is not registered with every document that is produced and shared with others.

Interestingly, a group of students that was educated of the free open source alternative Open Office did not show less incline to pay for the MS Office suite. The researchers conclude that stability of the product and logevity of the maker are more important than the price to pay. Also an important factor is the convenience of using an application that is already familiar and does not come with the pain of re-training.

* The article cited mentions in the introduction: “Microsoft Office suite claims an impressive 95 percent market share.” Benjamin Horst an Open Office dvocate from NY, pointed out in a discussion about this article that market share numbers are often misleading in the context of free software. Because, market sizes are measured in annual revenue spend for a particular product. However, free products do not generate any revenue, so the basis for comparison is off. By Horst’s estimation, Microsoft claims 400 Million Office installations, and claims 100 Million. Ignoring the rest of the competition, he estimates a 20% market share for Open Office.



by Kaj Kandler is a popular office suite. As it is open source and available for free it is very attractive to institutions that want to save some money. This is especially true for institutions of higher education, that also want to save some money for students.

How popular is at the nations colleges and universities? That question has been researched by Benjamin Horst a NY based open source advocate. If your college uses OpenOffice and it is not on the list, drop Ben a comment.

Also, Digg this story so more people read about it and we get an even better list.



by Kaj Kandler

Ben Horst and a group of activists has started a fund raising campaign to raise awareness for the open source office suite Their plan is to place full page advertisements in New York’s Metro newspaper. The concept has been pioneered by the Spread Firefox campaign in 2005 when the open source community raised the substantial funds required to place a double page ad in the New York Times.

The Spread Firefox campaign raised awareness for the launch of Firefox 1.0. The campaign to place an ad in the NY Times became news in itself, because it seemed so outrages. The fund raising was so successful, that a double sided ad appeared in the NY Times with the names of thousands of donors.

Ben Horst, a long-time activist for takes it on him self to organize the effort. He set up a project at to raise $10,000 for two full page advertisements in NY Metro. New York’s Metro is a free newspaper that is distributed to 330,000 people every day and read by 450,000 readers. The goal of Ben’s efforts is to raise awareness that there is an easy to use, free and guaranteed legal alternative to high priced office productivity suites.

In addition to raising the funds, Ben Horst runs also a grassroots discussion group and a competition to design the full page advertisement. This is a real grass roots effort that should help to put in the minds of people outside of the geek community.

If you’d like to contribute, please hurry. Ben’s goal is to place the ads in the first week of July.