Wednesday, November 22, 2006

red diamond Office collaboration server O3Spaces

Dutch firm O3Spaces B.V. of a program that lets OpenOffice and StarOffice users collaborate on office documents. O3Spaces is fully integrated in, so users do not need to leave OpenOffice to perform most functions. This is equivalent to MS SharePoint for MS Office.

O3Spaces is a cross platform collaboration server with integration in the desktop, and a browser interface. In this environment a team stores their documents, if ODF or MS Office format, on a central server and creates versions with every change saved. users can receive notifications if any document they have in their workspace changes.

With O3spaces users can share documents on different OS platforms, such as Linux, Windows or Mac OS X. In addition the server provides shared calendars for scheduling meetings. A workflow engine can route documents to different users for review or approval.

All documents are secured by access rights so only authorized users can access them. The user management can be integrated with any LDAP server.

The version for self installation, the professional edition, costs 295 Euros (~ $375) , for five-users. A 100-user license costs 5,900 Euros (~ $7,600). O3Spaces is also available as an on-demand version or hosted application service.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

red diamond Plan-B for - support for non-technical users

On November 14th, Conficio (my company) released "Plan-B for" a support website for non-technical users. The release is a public beta test and a major milestone in our work.

In our press release titled "Plan-B™ for - The innovative support service for non-technichal users - starts public beta test" we write:
Plan-B™ for is the first website that creates a comprehensive documentation of the application suite based on visual instructions. Kaj Kandler, founder of Conficio, is convinced "Non-technical users learn better with visual instructions like short videos." He says, "We are very excited to offer this new technology to the fast growing user base of, the free open source office suite. Plan-B™ for especially benefits users who migrate from other office suites." This service, with its easy to understand help topics, supports the on demand needs of users at all levels of expertise.
I'd like to encourage all my readers to check out this new service. I'd appreciate if you would leave a comment on this blog or send me a message through the feedback on every page that contains a screencast.

Expect me to explain the various features and benefits in the next few weeks on this blog.

And by all means, register at Plan-B for if you find the service helpful.

Friday, November 17, 2006

red diamond IDC, launches survey

IDC and have launched a survey to better understand the usage of (now closed). IDC is a leading IT market analysis firm. This survey will analyze who is using the suite and how.

IDC and will share the results of the survey with the public 3 month after conclusion. I think the community will welcome the feedback and use it to define the future direction of the productivity suite.

To attract more participants, IDC enters everybody into a raffle of 5 x $100 prizes. I'd encourage all my readers to take the survey right now (It's too late, now).

Saturday, November 11, 2006

red diamond And the Winner is -

Linux Journal, has announced it 2006 Editors' choice awards. In three categories won the top choice. wins in the category office suite. " delivers just the right combination of openness, power and similarity to Microsoft Office that it provides the features and familiarity people want in an office suite without the drawbacks of proprietary document format or proprietary code." write the editors of Linux Journal. They also note it is by far the most popular office suite behind MS Office. Calc wind the category spreadsheet. They write "if you're really serious about doing spreadsheet work, your best bet is with Calc." Honorable mention in this category goes to EIOffice and KSpread. Interestingly they don't mention neither Google nor other web based applications. Well they are probably not close enough to Linux.

The third category win goes to Impress as editors' choice of presentation software. They state that offering "that optimal balance of features, power and familiarity for those who want to migrate from Microsoft Office" did convince them to prefer it over KPresenter or the EIOffice presentation component.

The word processor choice went to AbiWord. Often a word processor is all one needs and AbiWord apparently does a good job in that. LinuxJounal mentions that "AbiWord has all of what most people will need in a word processor and then some, without the bloat and long load times of Writer". As LinuxJournal reviewd version 2.0.3, this category might change next year, as version 2.0.4 has much improved load times.

Congratulations to and the development team. I think these awards are well deserved.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

red diamond Writing sheet music with

Are you a musician or a music teacher? Do you have the need to write some sheet music? why not use

Did you know there is a simplified notation for music, called LilyPond. It is a simple system to describe the notes and also a program to typeset the notes as sheet music. Thanks to Dave Philips from LinuxJournal I now know how to write sheet music with

Dave demonstrates the use of Samual Hartman's open source project OOoLilyPond.
Sam's project is a set of macros that integrate LilyPond into and is tested with OOo 2.0.2 and 2.0.4.

Thanks Dave and Sam!

red diamond All or Nothing with Vista?

I just received a nice message from Intuit about "Decisions ahead on Vista Operating System". It states "Only QuickBooks 2007 will run on the Vista Operating System, as prior versions of QuickBooks were developed on pre-Vista technology and will not run properly on Vista."

That is rather surprising to me for two reasons. Isn't Microsoft the save bet that invests heavily in backward compatibility? Did Microsoft abandon this principle with Vista? The other reason is that using QuickBooks means I get constant updates. This is even true with my version that is a couple of years old now. So if Microsoft usually does preserve backward compatibility and Intuit has the software update process refined. What can be the reason for only a new version running on a new Version of Windows?

As a matter of fact they are serious that you need to upgrade "We know as a practical matter that many of you are supporting clients on previous versions of QuickBooks. For now the bottom line is that a user who upgrades to Vista will need to run QuickBooks 2007."

From where I stand this is a reason to not upgrade to Vista and may be buy my next PC without it all together. I'm also thinking hard about locking myself to Intuit's fine products if they are forcing me to upgrade because I upgrade something else.

Do you find this acceptable?