01.30.08

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Good News for a Change: Schools, Italy Embrace OpenOffice.org

Posted in Asia, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenOffice, SUN at 2:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ODF is not OpenOffice, but OpenOffice helps ODF adoption

We duly apologise for delivering so much annoying news, but as we say time and time again, ignoring or escaping the problem won’t just make it go away. It’s awareness that can help us make a problem — rather than ourselves — finally escape out of this world. Here is some more encouraging news which is a sign of greater adoption of ODF.

The first is a report from Asia which shows that the educational IT curriculum is less likely to sustain its nature as a “Windows/Microsoft Office training course”. Many nations still serve as trainers of Microsoft’s own technologies — the agents of monopolisation if you like. This may be starting to change.

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.

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.

According to this new posting from a marketing blog, in addition to those one million downloads of OpenOffice.org per week, Italy alone counts a surge which peaked at almost 2 million downloads last year.

According to Davide Dozza, Chairman of Associazione PLIO: “The numbers are exactly the same. If it’s just a coincidence, it’s a very strange one. Downloads of the Italian version of OpenOffice.org were 800.000 in 2006 and 1.800.000 in 2007: the difference is exactly in the million of Italians that – according to Microsoft – have downloaded the trial version of Office 2007. We think that these users have decided to switch to OpenOffice.org as soon as they have realized that the effort to get used to the new ribbon interface is higher than the effort to migrate to the open source suite. In 2007, the majority of information requests has been about the compatibility with Windows Vista, and the trend stays unchanged in 2008″.

Those who claim that OpenOffice.org is not adopted are clearly forgetting that such software is distributed, not sold. It is quite common to alter definitions for bragging rights [1, 2]. Speaking of which, Microsoft is channel-stuffing Office 2007 to create an illusion of adoption.

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