Thursday, October 26, 2006

red diamond in Colleges and Universities 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.

Friday, October 13, 2006

red diamond 2.0.4 released

Highly anticipated, the next minor release of is out officially today. You can download release 2.0.4 here.

It is mostly a bug fix release. However it brings support for several new local data such as Namibian Afrikaans, Tigrigina Eritrea, Amharic Ethiopia, Tajik Tajikistan, Kirghiz, and Farsi Iran. is now capable to format locale dependent information such as date and time in these languages.

Release 2.0.4 improves the integration with KDE, using now system wide parameters correctly. Apple OS X users will like the better integration of native fonts into applications.

Calc became a function "INFO" that allows to ask for system data and makes spreadsheets more compatible with Microsoft Excel. An improve HTML import makes is more likely for Calc to read HTML formatted tables correctly.

Impress got a new feature to save shapes as images directly from the context menu. can now also import LaTeX formatted files. Also this release lays the ground work for extensions to be come popular and easier to manage.

And last but not least, release 2.0.4 is supposed to be wicked fast at start up.

I'll report on my experience after I have used the new release a few days.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

red diamond Speed is essential for

Apparently speed is a major concern for the development team of They were not satisfied with the time it takes to load large spreadsheets from Excel into Calc. So they improved Calc to load large spreadsheets faster by a factor of 15+.

When they say large spreadsheet, they mean really large, 25 megabytes, 100 sheets, 1 million cells and hundred thousand formulas. A change in the algorithm used brought down the times from ~39 minutes to 2:37 on a 1.8 MHz Pentium IV. On a Dual Core AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 275 with more memory, the time reduced from ~28 minutes to 43 seconds, almost a gain of factor 40.

Unfortunately, the improvements will only be included in Release 2.1, targeted for end of the year. Hope for a nice Christmas present.

Monday, October 09, 2006

red diamond Danish study confirms saving with

Switching to could save the Danish government $21 million over an upgrade to Office 2007. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by Ramboll Management an IT consultancy. The report was commissioned by the Danish Open Source Business Association.

The Danish Parliament decided on June 2 that starting 2008 all documents exchanged with its citizens must be based on open standard file formats. The report compares the two options of upgrading to Microsoft Office 2007 with OpenXML and OpenOffice with the OpenDocument Format (also known as ISO 26300 standard).

The report looks at the cost over five years, including training and file conversion. The report concludes that on a strict cost basis, sticking with installed Offixe XP and Office 2003 and using a plug-in to load and save ODF documents would be the least expensive option. However, switching to OpenOffice, which uses ODF as its native file format, is little more costly. While upgrading to MS Office 2007 would cost additional $21 million.

red diamond Saving on Software in 2056

Scott Carpenter published a rather sad satire about "5 ways to save on your monthly software rental bill in the year 2056".

Scott looks into the rear view mirror at current trends of monetizing software not with an up-front one time license but with a monthly or annual license fee. Well, as many of us know, commercial software does not really have a one-time fee anyhow. After a number of years the pressure to upgrade to the new version becomes so strong that there is no escaping. Did you know that Microsoft's assisted support for Outlook 98 ended on January 16, 2004. This is barely five years after inception and not atypical.

So enjoy Scott carpenter's satire and see the grain of truth he is conveying.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

red diamond 2.0.4 late but in a hurry

It appears the next minor release is a bit delayed. According to the roadmap the next minor release with bug fixes and smaller improvements was planned for September.

However, apparently release candidate 3 of the release does turn some heads with its improvements in speed. Some beta testers can't but rave about its quick startup time.

Sounds rather good to me. I can't wait.

Friday, October 06, 2006

red diamond The new chart module gets noticed

I have recently reported on the new chart module and its improvements. Looks like has also noticed the ongoing development of better charts for Calc. They have some nice screen shots of the chart preview, the ability to add regression curves, and the new flexible data ranges.

Unfortunately, they confirm the uncertain release schedule.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

red diamond Template and Clipart Contest sponsors a contest for template and clipart held by the the Documentation Project.

While (OOo) has reached a functional parity with the market leader in most categories that matter, it has not developed the wealth of templates for documents from faxes to letters, presentations and classic calculation projects such as business plans and budgets or travel expenses. It also lacks a great deal of creative clipart for newsletters and memos or simple product fliers.

The OOo documentation project has put the challenge to the many talented designers
and business people to share their creations. All entires must be licenses under Public Documentation License or LGPL. Entries must be posted to the documentation project by October 31st. Prizes of up to $750, sponsored by will be awarded for the best entries by December 1st.

See the contest home page for further details.