OpenOffice January Newsletter

Announcements Community Innovation Program

"On 7 December 2007, Sun Microsystems Inc. announced a new million-dollar fund to foster innovation in six of the open-source projects it
sponsors and contributes to. We are pleased to report that was included. The contest, which we have titled the Community Innovation Program, commences tomorrow, 30 January, and we invite Community members to participate".

OOoCon 2008 Call for Location – deadline extended

"Last month we set a deadline of January 31st for the receipt of proposals for hosting the Annual Conference 2008 – see In response to a number of requests from organising teams, we have agreed to put back the deadline to midnight UTC February 10th. We will aim to open the community voting process a few days later, and announce the winning bid on March 1st".

Fosdem 2008

"Fosdem 2008 (23-24 February, Brussels, Belgium) [0] is legendary for being a focused and exciting developer and contributor conference. This year, it will host a Developer Room (DevRoom) for from 23-24 Feb. (the weekend). The purpose of the Developer Room is to give developers and other contributors the space and time to present and conduct workshops on and related technologies. We will have this room for the weekend, from morning to evening. All interested are welcome to participate, and if you have a new integration, extensions, add-on or functionality, here is your chance: you are invited!".

Success Stories

Sears starts selling $199 PC

"I just learned that the large retailer Sears just started selling $199 PC’s (after $100 mail-in rebate) which have Freespire pre-installed. As can be read on the Freespire homepage, this means that buyers of this PC will get access to the Sun StarOffice software. Since Freespire is Linspire’s free offering, I guess people have to pay in order to get StarOffice, but AFAIK Freespire also allows includes as a free option. This is yet another example of a major retailer selling low-cost PC’s with an ODF implementation pre-installed, or at least very closely attached. BTW, I just learned that the Eee PC will start selling in Germany on January 24. I’m anxious to get my hands on one of those little guys."

Indian organization saving money with

"Umashankar says that his office uses the suite. This saves them close to Rs 12,000 on each desktop. We buy Intel dual core desktops with 19" TFT monitors for Rs 21,600 including the Linux OS. If we bought a proprietary office suite at Rs 12,000 for each desktop, the cost of commissioning infrastructure would go up to Rs 33,600 – a 55 percent increase", he says. "And when you have to refresh over 30,000 PCs, that’s a figure that can add up: to about Rs 17 crore. And that’s not all. These figures don’t take into account software upgrades for applications. By using the free suite and a Linux OS, Elcot has bypassed yearly licensing fees for proprietary software".

Lenovo now also pre-installing Linux and, too

"I just read this article. Apparently Lenovo will pre-install Linux and, too. I wonder what high-profile hardware vendor comes next!?".

Yet another cheap laptop with pre-installed

"Measuring 9" in length and 2 pounds in weight, the Everex CloudBook caters to users seeking the latest in mobile computing. With its 1.2GHz VIA C7-M ULV mobile processor, the laptop averages 5 hours of battery life on a 4-cell, lithium-ion battery. Unlike many of its competitors, the CloudBook also features 30GB of internal storage, digital video output (DVI-I), 4-in-1 card reader and 1.3MP webcam.

The CloudBook, model CE1200V, showcases the Linux based gOS operating system and familiar applications from Mozilla, Skype, Google, Facebook, Faqly and Available January 25th, the computer will be available at for $399". The full announcement can be found here. I’m pretty sure that all these low-cost laptops will increase the global acceptance and market share
of open source desktop software like As a consequence, the OpenDocument Format (ODF) will become increasingly popular, too.

Alternatives to Word and Windows at Israeli schools

"Even the unadventurous Israeli education system may soon discover that there is (computerized) life after Microsoft. The country’s schools will forgo Word and Windows in favor of parallel programs from Sun Microsystems. For the first time, the education system’s tenders committee has authorized cooperation in principle with Sun, in a move that could undermine Microsoft’s sovereignty in Israeli

Usage of in Vietnam

"Weeks ago, the Ministry of Information and Communication recommended a list of open software solutions for use in State agencies and the education sector, comprising Open Office, Thunderbird, Firefox and Unikey. In the same gesture, the Office of the Vietnam Communist Party has announced it has replaced Microsoft Office by Open Office, and by the end of 2008, all 20,000 desktops at Party organs throughout Vietnam will be installed with Open Office. Other state agencies like the Department of Post and Telematics of Khanh Hoa Province, and three departments of Trade, Science and Technology, and Post and Telematics in HCMC are using Open Office on a trial basis. After this stage, HCMC agencies will expand the trial use of this open source software to three more departments and five districts in the first half of this year. An official of the HCMC Department of Post and Telematics says that the trial time shows that Open Office meets the requirements of the department".

Featured News

French Gendarmerie Adopts Ubuntu

"The gendarmerie’s 70,000 desktops currently use Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system. But these will progressively change over to the Linux  system distributed by Ubuntu, explained Colonel Nicolas Geraud, depu
ty director of the gendarmerie’s IT department. "We will introduce Linux every time we have to replace a desktop computer," he said, "so this year we expect to change 5,000-8,000 to Ubuntu and then 12,000-15,000 over the next four years so that every desktop uses the Linux operating system by 2013-2014". There are three reasons behind the move, Geraud said at the Solution Linux 2008 conference here. The first is to diversify suppliers and reduce the force’s reliance on one company, the second is to give the gendarmerie mastery of the operating system and the third is cost, he said".

"Open source software has the ability to change the face of the Education Industry"

"A number of education institutions around the globe are looking towards open source software (OSS) as a means to gain more control over their solutions. From this a new report by independent market analyst Datamonitor predicts that spend on OSS (including maintenance and services) by the Education sector globally will reach $489.9 million by 2012, compared to $286.2 million today, providing sizeable opportunities for technology vendors".

Advice for the Dutch public sector on Open Source

"The programme OSOSS informs and advises the Dutch public sector about the possibilities of open source software and stimulates the use of open source software in their information systems. The acronym OSOSS stands for “Open Source as an Option in your Software Strategy”. The OSOSS programme offers concrete support by providing information, knowledge and instruments that governmental bodies can use to start using open source software. The programme is run by the foundation for
e-government, ICTU, on request by the Ministries of the Interior and of Economic Affairs".

Tips & Tricks

Alternative to Endnote (bibliography / citation)

"I just found out about Citavi. Citavi is an alternative to bibliography / citation tools like Endnote. Currently, Citavi is only available in German, but I guess the company is willing to add more languages based on user feedback. Thus, send your language and feature requests per email to Citavi! The interesting thing about Citavi is that there is a free entry version of Citavi which should be sufficient for the needs of most students, at least for the first years.

Have you heard of Zotero? Zotero is a Firefox extension for managing bibliographies that has a "cite as you write" extension for OOo. It works great, is cross-platform (Linux, OS X, and Windows all supported), and, most importantly, it has a Free software license.

Zotero incorporates the open standard CSL citation language developed by the co-leader of the OOo bibliographic project team (OOoBib), Bruce D’Arcus, who recommends Zotero for everyday use:"

New Chart features in 2.4

"Now, it is possible to display the equation for a trend line (regression curve) next to it. The formula object can be moved around, formatted with a number format, font and graphical formatting.

Axes can be reversed, i.e. they point in a different than usual direction. In the example the y-axis points down from the top, instead of the usual orientation.

You can set individual number formats for the value displayed in a data label, as well as for the percentage".

Improved picture cropping for Draw/Impress

" Of course there is an existing Issue for this (i3545) and in my daily work I get a lot of feedback from users who need and want this functionality, too. But unfortunately our developers are busy with more important features. So I decided to specify the needed redesign in my free time and I found a developer who saw the same need for this improvement. Christian Lippka from the Graphics team supported me and helped in his free time to get this working. Great job, thanks again! By now there is a quite good beta version implemented in CWS cropmaster2000 and there is not much work left to be done. So I hope soon this will make its way into the master build. And this is how it works: Selecting an inserted picture brings up the picture toolbar. Clicking on the cropping-button brings up 8 blue object-handles on the sides and angles of the picture. Moving the mouse cursor over these handles shows the cropping cursor. Now you can easily grab one of those and crop the picture by dragging these handles. It’s as simple as that and works in Draw and Impress".

Macros in Database Documents – Milestone 1

A while ago, I talked about macros in database documents, and that we had finished the work to re-factor various parts of’s application and scripting frameworks, so that we could start embarking upon implementing the real feature: Basic macros as well as JavaScript, BeanShell and Python scripts embedded in database documents. Nearly 3 months passed, and what I now want to advertise is the first milestone of this implementation: If you’re interested in, you can get your hands onto a version of which allows you to put your macros into your database document, and then run those macros from all sub components of the database: from within your forms, reports, the query, table and relation designer, and from within the table data view. Well, of course also from within the database document itself. The CWS which is dedicated to implementing the feature is called odbmacros2, and a snapshot of it is available to everybody for download, as Linux and as Windows version. For the details of what you can expect, please refer to the feature specification in our Wiki, and to the release notes in the download directory.

ODF News

Arcor introducing web conferencing with ODF support

"According to this German article, Arcor is introducing a new phone and web conferencing solution which supports sharing ODF documents among participants".

Yet another reporting tool with ODF support

"Adding FastReport VCL to your application is a breeze. You need to put several necessary components on the visual form, then connect to needed data sources and make a report form. It’s as easy as working in Corel Draw.
The end user who got FastReport VCL in an application can edit templates and available reports, convert reports to 15 formats (such as PDF, XLS, RTF, and ODF), and send reports by email directly from the application".

Book about ODF vs. OOXML discussions

"This article reminded me that I had not written about Andy Updegrove’s book project. I’m sure it will be an interesting story!".

ODF Alliance Publishes Response to Burton Group Report

"In case you had not noticed, the ODF Alliance just published a response to the recent Burton Group report".

Poll regarding ODF and OOXML

"Here is an interesting poll regarding ODF and OOXML. I’m curious about the results!".

Dispelling Myths Around ODF

"Yes, ODF 1.0 did not specify a formula language but allowed arbitrary formula languages instead. This was recognized as an interoperability issue and is thus being addressed by ODF 1.2. However, many ODF 1.0 based products from different vendors even don’t have an interoperability issue in the formula area because they are based on the same code base. It would have been fast and easy to define a formula language by simply documenting the formula language of one single application. However, ODF chose to specify formulas based on broad industry experience and best practices.

The formula language in ODF 1.2 is based on the following applications:

  • Microsoft Excel (many different versions)
  • / StarOffice
  • Lotus 1-2-3
  • Quattro Pro
  • Gnumeric
  • Koffice Kspread
  • WikiCalc
  • SheetToGo
  • Mathematica
  • Macsyma
  • Octave

And the key benefits of the ODF 1.2 formula language are:

  • Broad application coverage, incl. Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and
  • Innovative functions, e.g. XOR, BASE, SEC, etc.
  • Reuse of standards, e.g. ISO 8610 date and time representation
  • Support for supplier-unique namespaces, enables rapid, decentralized  innovation
  • Avoids bugs like the „1900 leap year bug“
  • No limitation to the number of rows and columns
  • No constraints on the user interface
  • Predefined function sets for different application areas

Thus, the ODF 1.2 formula language covers all key areas without sacrificing vendor independence and openess".

Becta supporting ODF

"I guess you have all read the news articles about the latest Becta report about Vista and Office 2007. It is great to see that Becta is supporting ODF. In case you haven’t seen the report yet, you can find it here".

New ODF-XSLT Project

"Lone Wolves is happy to announce the ODF-XSLT project. The ODF-XSLT Document Generator is a library written in PHP 5 that brings the full power of XSLT to your OpenDocument files".

ODF making ‘amazing progress’

"Twelve countries and six regional governments have adopted "pro-ODF policies," according to the group, composed of companies and organisations that advocate for the format. The latest countries are the Netherlands and South Africa, which require government agencies to use the format. Also, more than 40 applications now support ODF and the Alliance’s membership ranks are set to rise above 500, according to the report".

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