Wow, sometimes you think you’re really tied into a product and who’s using it and where, but even I was surprised at the amount of people and institutions deploying, using and enhancing OpenOffice.org. The vast majority are kind enough to take the time to document their experiences so others can take advantage of those findings.

I can’t tell you how many discussions, presentations and other encounters I have had lately where people have been so kind as to share their objections and misgivings about OpenOffice vs Microsoft Office, and partly I wanted to make this roundup into a set of references that could easily and quickly be investigated by those who are OO-curious and want to go and see who is doing what and how with this great office suite.

Blogs and Articles

A very interesting blog posting recently by one Nate Grondin on the subject of OO in Schools started off this research project, and as I write this, there are over 50 Firefox tabs with relevant info waiting to be included somehow, this is an incredibly rich area of progress on the Open Source front.

Another interesting site and resource is the OpenOffice Training, Tips and Ideas blog, with a lot of good articles, links to free and commercial training and books etc, subscribe to the RSS feed and keep an eye on this one.

Projects and Coordination Sites

The Education Project, hosted on the OpenOffice.org site is a great starting place for those who want to help educators and students, either in classes or individually to help develop OO.o. The goal of the project is: “to help teachers as well as students or anybody involved in education to enter the OpenOffice.org project and find a place where to contribute or to find informations.” With it’s tools and development categories, it’s user and development lists and other documentation, this is a great resource for the Education community.

The openSUSE.org site has a great education page, run by our friend James Tremblay from Newmarket NH. The goals of the project are to:

  • Catalog and collect all educational software built or converted to run on Linux
  • Separate all cataloged software into server and desktop categories
  • subdivide all collected software into it’s curricula discipline and age groups
  • build the “Edu-cd” (which is an add-on CD/DVD specifically for education tools/programs)

Additionally, on this page you can find links to the Education News, how to make an account and get involved, the IRC channel info, links to the Education Application Index including the currently collected lists of Desktop and Server Education Programs, HowTo’s and a Wishlist. This is an excellent project to get involved in, it’s very easy to contribute and you’ll get a lot out of it.

Another resource on the OpenOffice.org website is the Major OpenOffice.org Deployments Wiki, where a complete world-wide overview of deployments of OpenOffice.org are listed by categories including Governments, Schools and Universities, Private Sector and other areas. There are 14+ major deployments listed in North America in the Schools and Education category, there must be more, get your deployment listed and join in.

Other major resources you’ll find as part of the OpenOffice.org site are the OpenOffice Marketing Project, the Why OpenOffice Wiki and the very comprehensive Case for Switching (to OpenOffice.org) Wiki pages.

The most authoritative location for documentation of OO.o is the official OpenOffice Documentation Project site. With it’s plethora of information, links and resources, and broken up into Users and Developers sections, this is the main location for OO.o documentation and it’s creation. If you want to contribute to the project, go here and get started.

The OSDI project is one that wants to distribute OO.o CD’s to people in dis-advantaged environments, they’re raising money and almost have the amount they need to do the first big push, give ‘em a few bucks and help get OO.o into people’s hands and their computers and free ‘em from the Microsoft Tax.

Focusing on the K-12 market is a great site called K12OS whose goal is to provide news, links, resources and discussion about the use of Open Source in the K-12 market. With it’s discussion forums, listserv’s and loads of links, this should be on every educator’s daily rotation.

Training and Tutorials

Linked off the official OpenOffice Documentation Project siteand the OpenOffice.org Wiki, but not obvious, is an incredible resource called the OOo Help Outline, with it’s long list of FAQ’s, HowTo’s and per-application help documentation it’s a must for everyone.

Then visit the somewhat simplistic but very useful Tutorials for OpenOffice howto site. Check out the various categories, organized by the application in OO.o, and contribute if you feel so moved.

Next up, is the ByteBot site with it’s OpenOffice.org training materials. You can download the materials and use them, just please do ask them if you use the materials commercially. They also have a rudimentary Linux training course you can get the same way. ByteBot also has an archive of the mysteriously missing OpenOffice Unofficial FAQ, which should be located at OOAuthors, but seems to not be linked properly.

A very nicely done site and great resource is the iTrainOnline site, it offers Open Source documentation and courseware, including OO.o Write and Impress mini-courses.

Statistics, Other Roundups and Misc.

The OpenOffice.org Market Share Analysis site is excellent for those who want to see how OO.o is making inroads in their market, or to show others that a grassroots change is happening, or just to keep an eye on the numbers and see what is happening in each area for OO.o deployments.

Last, and surely winning an award for the most links in a single HTML page is the Why Open Source in Schools article. I have yet to fully investigate the articles, lists and other resources listed there, but I’ll add the most useful ones to the Education page for our blog.

Hopefully this roundup is helpful for everyone, we’re very serious about helping Open Source get implemented in the Education environment. If you have resources or think we missed something, or might have a cool project you want to get some free publicity for (subject to review and approval) leave a comment or email me.

RossB

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