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[News] Ars Technica Blasts Microsoft Office and the Winner is Free Software

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The prospects of Microsoft Word in the wiki-based world

,----[ Quote ]
| Word, to this day, is still largely a digital representation of a bunch of 8Â 
| by 11 pieces of paper. Pages have numbers which you must use to reference 
| them, and every page has a header and a footer. Word does have a display mode 
| called "Draft" that makes it look more like an endless stream of toilet paper 
| than separate pages, but I always switched to "Print Layout"âpartly because 
| Draft was so ugly, but mostly as a kind of unconscious reflex, a need 
| to "know" what the printed form would look like even though I was rarely 
| printing things out any more. Even in Draft mode, the pages are still there, 
| and are always the same size.        
| [...]
| I chose MediaWiki, the open-source software that powers Wikipedia. It was 
| relatively easy to install on a virtual Linux server. Since everyone has read 
| Wikipedia, the interface was familiar and so our users needed no training. 
| Because Wikipedia managed to efficiently storeâat the time of this writingâ
| all human knowledge, speed and scalability weren't a problem. Finally, the 
| price (free) was acceptable.     
| [...]
| So farewell, Microsoft Word. Don't feel too badâyou had a long and prosperous 
| run. We had more than twenty years of fun together. You added feature after 
| feature after feature, and I learned how to avoid your crazy style changes 
| whenever I deleted an invisible formatting command. Maybe if you just 
| had "Reveal Codes"â nah, it wouldn't have mattered. The world simply changed.    


Dying cow.


Insecure by design: MS Office formats

,----[ Quote ]
| You see, when you're opening an Office document today, you're not just
| opening static words, images, or numbers. You're actually starting a program
| that uses Microsoft Office as its interpreter. And, no matter whether you're
| using Word 2,0 formats or the 2008's 7,000+ pages mis-mash of 'standard'
| ECMA-376 Office Open XML file formats, there is no built-in network security
| layer. Instead, there is a mis-mash of fixes for one problem or the other.


55,000 French Students to Receive OpenOffice

,----[ Quote ]
| Open Source Schools (UK) has a discussion thread on the recent announcement
| that 55,000 laptops pre-installed with OpenOffice.org will be distributed to
| students in Oise, just north of Paris.


OpenOffice.org being distributed to Portuguese schools

,----[ Quote ]
| I was just made aware of this Portuguese blog entry. CDs including
| OpenOffice.org will be distributed to Portuguese schools again. Great news!


Open Source in Education

,----[ Quote ]
| The UK Government, even more so now they have just spanked Â500bn propping up
| the banking system, must start to act and reduce the outrageous and
| completely wasteful expenditure on proprietary software. Why oh why donât we
| just do a nation-wide roll out of OpenOffice.org to EVERY computer in the
| public sector and especially in Education? It would be a good start, and then
| we can get rid of that festering boil called Windows later.
| Â Â * No more extortionate upgrade costs,
| Â Â * no more public documents created in binary, patent encumbered formats,
| Â Â * an end to the single vendor lock-in and monopoly,
| Â Â * no more two-tier childrenâ



'We are not competing but contributing'

,----[ Quote ]
| A well-acknowledged global trend is that most school children and first-time
| computer users get their basic computer lesson by learning to use Microsoft
| Office and Windows Operating System. Â
| This raises the hackles of many Open Source advocates who rue the fact that
| most schools and governments do not promote the use of Open Source software
| such as Sun Microsystems-sponsored OpenOffice. While Microsoft Office enjoys
| over 90 per cent of the market, OpenOffice.org and StarOffice are slowly
| making inroads into enterprises, government and education sectors.
| Localization efforts by contributors are enabling OpenOffice to reach more
| countries in multiple languages. Jim Parkinson, vice president, Collaborative
| Engineering, Sun Microsystems spoke to Priya Padmanabhan of CyberMedia News
| OpenOffice and Sun's commitment to promote developer efforts on the program. Â Â Â Â


District set to use free productivity software

,----[ Quote ]
| Our students will be expected to be versatile in a variety of
| technology tools upon their graduation, not just the one
| application promoted in the states. OpenOffice.org is available
| in 65 languages and is quickly becoming the global standard for
| colleges, corporations, international communications and world
| markets as the number one productivity suite.


Schools should use Openoffice.org

,----[ Quote ]
| Tradition and continuity are really the only reasons that schools
| are still buying MS Office, but not for long.


OSSDI - Open Source Software Distribution Initiative

,----[ Quote ]
| OSSDI is a brand-new organization committed to distributing open
| source alternatives to expensive commercial software packages,
| especially in education. Initially, OSSDI will be focusing its
| efforts on giving away professionally pressed CD-ROMS containing
| the OpenOffice.org software suite within school districts in
| poverty-stricken areas.

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