A few days ago I summarized the most questionable or uncertain points of the software odissey of the City of Pesaro, saying that I’d also post questions and consequences, both for the City and Open Source advocates, not mentioned yet in this story. For Pesaro, the road forward has little or nothing to do with the initial topic, that is Open Source Software in Public Administration. The advocates, instead, should rethink some of their strategies. Let’s start from Pesaro, but what follows applies to practically every city.
Pesaro is a town of about 100 thousands people on the northern adriatic coast of Italy. Its Public Administration has been facing lots of critics from Free/Open Source software supporters because, in the last five years, it changed twice the same, important part of its ICT infrastructure. Both those changes bring consequences and open issues, both for the critics and for Pesaro, that have had little or no coverage at all so far, especially outside Italy (1). Before talking about them, however, it is necessary to summarize what happened.
Today, while cleaning up old backups, I found a text file named as this post, which I saved on November 17th, 2000, but never used. Cannot remember what I was planning to do with it, but here it goes. A bit naive, surely dated (just look at which Free Software companies I was suggesting to go for help…) but still interesting, considering how things stand today. Here it goes, unchanged:
(this is something I wrote in 2007. Everywhere you read “OO.o” you can (and should) replace it with “Apache OpenOffice or Libre Office”. See the bottom of the page for the origin and history of the text)
Many people, schools and small businesses use OO.o only because
(this is only the final part of something I wrote in 2007. Please do read the first part to understand where the text below comes from!)
A highly structured, metadata rich, application independent XML file format like OpenDocument can finally offer two huge advantages
- OpenOffice (OOo) is the free, currently most popular alternative to Microsoft Office, the office suite that (with active help from some schools and Public Administrations) creates cocain-like addiction problems.
- OpenOffice.org has failed to provide effective user support via email. LibreOffice can and should avoid the same mistake. (important: this is just one of the Three things to not forget to make LibreOffice (and ODF) succeed!
On October 6th, 2010 Microsoft published a short video on Youtube titled “A Few Perspectives on OpenOffice.org”. The video is about “Some thoughts from OpenOffice.org users and why they switched back to Microsoft Office” (OpenOffice.org and its offspring LibreOffice are “free-as-in-freedom” alternatives to Microsoft’s Office productivity suite. They have no license costs and natively support OpenDocument, an international standard format for office documents).
OOo4Kids is a special version of OpenOffice.org (the popular, free and easy to use alternative to Microsoft Office) which is very interesting and useful not only for schools, but also for many adult users. Besides, interaction with developers seems much simpler and friendlier than in many other Free Software projects. Keep reading to know, straight from OOo4Kids developer Eric Bachard, what is that makes OOo4kids unique.