Lodahl's blog: 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006

31 August 2006

Visit Solveig Haugland ...

Solveig is teaching OpenOffice.org in the US but she is learning the whole world how to use OpenOffice.org. On her blog you can find lots of tricks.

Solveig also wrote af few books over the years. I recommend the material from Solveig for new users.

30 August 2006

Organic software again

About a week ago I wrote a post comparing open source software with organic vegetables. A few days later I found this picture on www.aigis.dk. A small shop by the road selling organic vegetables and ...open source software. Can you belive that?

Open source is fair trade. No doubt about that. People from the 3th. world can take advantage of the work we do in the rich world. Proprietary software is translated into languages if it pays. OpenOffice.org is translated because someone needs it. The 3th. world users can't pay the license fee and the proprietary software is not translated into all necessary languages.

29 August 2006

The report from Rambøll Management claims that the danish central administration can save a lot of money over the next years if OpenOffice.org is implemented.

The report has been mentioned several places on domestic news sites the last couple of days. I hope and expect this report to become an important part of the discussion in Denmark in the future.

The report works with tree scenarios:
1) Office Open XML with Microsoft Office
2) ODF standards with OpenOffice.org
3) ODF with Microsoft Office and plug-in

This report is claimed (by Microsoft) to be a part of the the discussion and not a reliable. The report was ordered by an organization (osl) who is a part of the discussion.

Yes of cause !

What do they expect. Microsoft is using lots of resources in cases like this. Why shouldn't people like The Danish Open Source Business Association do the same.

You can find the original (danish) report here http://www.osl.dk/Ramboell_rapport

Danish report on OpenOffice.org in the central administration

Yesterday Rambøll Management released a report ordered by "The Danish Open Source Business Association" (www.osl.dk).

This is an unofficial translation of the conclusion (Thanks to Kristen Thiesen)
Based on the prerequisites which Rambøll Management operates with and the present price of e.g. Microsoft Office licenses the main figures for five years are:
  1. Cost of transition to Office Open XML-document standard in existing Microsoft Office versions will amount to approximately 105 million Danish kroner. Assuming that the central administration follows its usual praxis and performs a transition from present Microsoft Office licenses (predominantly Microsoft Office XP and 2003) to the new version 2007 the overall cost will amount to 380 million Danish kroner.
  2. Cost of implementing the ODF-standard in conjunction with a transition to OpenOffice.org is estimated at around 255 million Danish kroner.
  3. Cost of implementing the ODF-standard in Microsoft Office is estimated marginally higher than the cost of the first scenario primarily because of larger cost of converting and support. It is important to underline that the very high cost are not only due to the implementation of the two formats Office Open XML and ODF. The cost is also due to the expense caused by existing deals and the costs generally accompanying an upgrade or change to a new version. The reasonable implementation of one or the other office pack in the central administration should be the result of a business case, which contains expected pro and cons including economical effects of the implementation.

24 August 2006

Just found this site in Norway: http://ingrid.bitnexus.net/OOo/ . Lots of goodies. If you understand it.

Ingrid is active on both Norwegian and Danish forums.

In the danish papers there has been some discussion about introducing OpenOffice.org in the public sector. Sceptisme and fear for the unknown is natural. But when it comes to professionals like IT-managers I'll expect a little more.

Anyway; one of the heavy arguments has been that 'The users needs training' and 'Our users knows how to use MS Office. They would need to learn the new system before they can use it'.

Ha..... Thats what YOU think.

A research performed by Andy Brown about average users knowledge about MS Office showed that the users actually don't know how to use MS Office.

The results showed that 86% of users answered between three and nine out of 15 questions correctly.

A research paper from about two years ago (OpenOfficice.org 1.1.3) proved that the average user actualy learned OpenOffice.org very fast and without any training except a brief introduction.

So whats the problem ?
  • Users don't know how to use MS Office !
  • Users can learn OpenOffice.org very fast !

22 August 2006

Organic software ?

About twenty years ago I saw a TV show with a very happy farmer talking about organic vegetables. At that time he was one of very few farmers that produced organic vegetables. Most people laughed at him then.

Today when I go to my local supermarket I can make a choise. It is my own decision if I whant organic og conventional stuff. No one is laughing now.

Open source software is not exactly organic but I would like consumers to make their own choise anyway.

21 August 2006

Firefox (fieldwork you might say)

Mozilla foundation did a great job promoting Firefox. I love this kind of marketing stuff.

See more pictures here: http://lug.oregonstate.edu/index.php/Projects/Firefox/Firefox_Circle

Solidarity in software

Supporting open source software is a also supporting the Third World. Open source is by definition solidarity.

When you choose to use open source software like OpenOffice.org you have the choice to join the project if you like. You can participate with whatever skills you have and give any effort you can. This is no matter if you are a rich company in the western world or a local carpenter in the Far East or South America. Open source software gives people all over the world the opportunity to get free software.

Companies, NGOs and governments in in the rich part of the World should take this issue into consideration. If we can get governments in Europe and the US to use OpenOffice.org this will be a indirect contribution to developing the Third World. If more people are using the software there will be more developers contributing to the project.

Start supporting open source software. Stop supporting Bill Gates' pensionfund. Bill doesn't need it. Our poor friends in the World does !

20 August 2006

Make a decision: don't do what you are expected to do !

Yesterday I talked to one of my friends about OpenOffice.org. She asked me how I can recommend OpenOffice.org when Microsoft Office i obviously better.

The answer is very easy. And I will admit that Microsoft Office has some functions that are not yet available in OpenOffice.org.

The answer is: 'The difference in functionality does not justify the difference in price'. Microsoft Office is too expencive. Actually only very few people needs or uses the features in Microsoft Office that are missing in OpenOffice.org.

When you go to buy a new car you will make a weighting between what you as a user needs and what the car cost. You will make a decision. You don't just buy the best car, because the best car might not be what you need. And it might not be what you can afford.

Lack of decision
The problem in many companies is, that the easiest thing to do is to do what we used to do. Nobody will ask questions if we do nothing (select Microsoft). What we need is some IT-Managers taking a decision. If that meens selecting Microsoft it's OK with me. As long as it's actually a decision based on analysis and calculations. But I'm sure that many companies and organisations will see that OpenOffice.org is a relevant alternative. Even if it's not exactly as feature rich as MicroSoft Office. Because nobody really uses last 5% of the suite anyway.

By the way: I'm driving a ten years old Skoda ;-)

17 August 2006

How did I get into working with OpenOffice.org and open source ?

Well, it was about tree years ago, I was looking for a way to create pdf's. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on Adobe Writer, so I started surfing on the internet. Along with several other small applications like CutePDF and PDFCreator I ended up with OpenOffice.org installed on my computer. The program it self (1.1.1) was allright, but the manual was like something babelfish had thrown up. I'm Danish by the way.

I joined the mailinglist and after some time I began to translate. Funny, because I could se the progress up the versions. By translating the help files I actually learned a lot.

Later on I started to use the advanced features and found that all I needed was there. Fantastic. I didn't had to pay MS for the application and I had found the alternative. I am one of us that still remember the best wordprocessor in the world: Wordperfect 5.1.

15 August 2006

Today I found that one of my old colleagues; Jacob, has a website with his own artwork. Take a look at www.hulemalerier.dk .There is even a few drawings with my kids on the page. Give him a nice feedback on the site.