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4 March, 2005 -

Today sees the release of the first 2.0 Public Beta which showcases the new capabilities and features of 2.0. THis is a beta, or testing, release and should not be put to production use, but rather subjected to testing.

The beta can be downloaded at

An article on some of the features can be seen at Tectonic. at ICT in Education Conference

5 February, 2005 - Southern Africa

The ICT and Electronics in Education Conference and Expo was held at the MTN Science Centre in Durban from 3 to 5 February, 2005. The event was targeted at Senior Primary and High School teachers of all backgrounds from the greater Durban area.

Thanks to the efforts of the MTN Science Centre, Southern Africa had a stand at the event which was manned by Craig Adams and William Kinghorn. The stand was well attended with William being most popular giving interested parties an introduction to Ubuntu Linux and A large number of the teachers were particularly interested in the Math module in

Craig Adams also gave a presentation on Free and Open Source Software covering such topics as GNU/Linux, LSTP, Gnome, KDE, Ubuntu and, of course,

All teachers walked away with sets of Ubuntu Linux, which were kindly provided by The Shuttleworth Foundation. The Ubuntu Linux CD set contains a Live CD and an installation disk. The Live CD also includes some free Windows software, including

MTN Science Centre Stand

Craig Adams and William Kinghorn at the Table 1.1.4 Released

22 December, 2004 - 1.1.4 is now available for download. Building upon earlier 1.1.x releases, this version offers a number of bug fixes and the addition of a few minor enhancements.

The release notes provide additional information with regards to the changes made to version 1.1.4. at SAM Conference

4 December, 2004 - Southern Africa

Craig Adams, the Southern African Marketing Project Lead, attended as a speaker at the Marcus Evans Software Asset Management (SAM) Conference held at the Park Hyatt hotel in Johannesburg from 1 to 3 December, 2004.

Craig's presentation was entitled "Training Employees to Maximise the Benefits of SAM" but additionally focused on the effects of Free and Open Source Software licences within the enterprise. By all indications, the presentation, although hurried due to time constraints, was well received with the majority of questions raised focusing on free and open source software and in particular. Turns Four

13 October, 2004 -

" is the most important open source project in the world." These words, spoken by founder of GNOME and Novell Ximian CTO, Miguel de Icaza, on the occasion of the first anniversary of, are more true now than ever before. Today, four years after Sun Microsystems released the source code of its popular StarOffice to the open-source community, is widely seen as the future of open source and the key to its future.

As an international and multilingual project, gives everyone the freedom to participate, learn, and contribute. And as a product, has far exceeded all expectations. Able to run natively on Windows, Linux or Solaris, as well as every other major platform, and available in over 44 supported languages, is fulfilling the promise of open source.

Tens of millions use the application daily; millions visit the project website monthly; thousands contribute to the project, which CollabNet hosts. There have been at least 31 million downloads since the project began—and that is not counting the millions registered by Red Hat, Fedora Core, SuSE, or Mandrake Linux, which include in their distributions.

And what is that future? An application that bridges not just the closed- and open-source world but that also bridges the digital divide. An application which, along with its enhanced derivations, such as StarOffice, will become the default productivity suite for businesses and governments from Amsterdam to Zanzibar. An application that uses an internationally standardised file format and an open production process to give users perpetual right over their property.

The file format, an XML based implementation, is the open standard recently approved by the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). By using this file format, all documents created by the next generation of will be vendor neutral. There will be no possibility of vendor lock in. Rather, people will choose or its commercial derivations, such as StarOffice, on the basis of value, not because they have no choice.

The value of extends beyond the benefits of being open source to its extensive capabilities. These include the ability to export files as PDF and Macromedia Flash; to save as native Microsoft Office formats; security, reliability, ease of use and learning, and support for multiple platforms and languages. Early next year, 2.0 will come out, and it will leap over every other office suite. For those users clamoring for an Access equivalent, it will have it. It will be more interoperable. And for those developers wanting more modularity and more responsiveness, 2.0 has that, too.

This coming year will be remarkable, and our door is open.

Article: 2nd Open Source Software Africa Conference

by Craig A. Adams
10 September, 2004 -

Open Source Conference Africa Banner

The 2nd Open Source Software Africa Conference was held at the Indaba Hotel in Johannesburg on the 26th and 27th of August, 2004.

Open Source Conference Africa Venue

The event was attended by delegates mostly from South Africa with the majority of these delegates being drawn from government and academia.

I was given the opportunity to chair the event on both days and whilst the conference got off to a rocky start due to issues with notebooks and projectors, the conference was an overall success.

Last year the 1st Open Source Software Africa Conference attracted approximately 80 delegates, but this year the attendance more than doubled to 168 delegates, including speakers, guests and exhibitor staff.

Exhibitors, Sponsors and Endorsers

Exhibitors, sponsors and endorsers of the conference included BD Solutions, Dax Data, Go Open Source, LPI, MPS, NACI, Novell,, PM Ora Software, Savant, SITA, SmartSource, Sun Microsystems and Tectonic. A number of delegates noted that several exhibitors, quite surprisingly, were displaying software not related to Free and Open Source Software except by only the most tenuous of links.

Open Source Conference Africa Exhibitors

Day One - Thursday, 27 August, 2004

Presentations began late on Thursday morning with Ross Addis, providing an interesting and divertingly fresh presentation focussing on the motivations of FLOSS developers, his presentation drawing upon the works of Vincent van Gough, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet and various others.

Also of particular interest was that by Alan Levin's "10 Reasons Open Source Software Builds Society". This presentation was particularly insightful with a look at how ....

Stafford Masie, the Managing Director of Novell South Africa, provided some particularly interesting news with the announcement of the near availability of Suse GNU/Linux from at least a number of significant OEM distributors in South Africa and a national support centre to provide support. This has subsequently been officially announced by Novell in a national (South African) roadshow held over the week of the 6th of September, 2004.

Day Two - Friday, 28 August, 2004

The second day ran a lot more smoothly than the first, until lunch at least. With any two day conference held on a Thursday and Friday, it is expected that a large number of delegates would drop out on the second day for various reasons including flights and early weekends. I was, therefore, was pleasantly surprised on the Friday morning to note that we had lost less than ten percent of the audience. Unfortunately, this trend was not to continue. After lunch about half the delegates had vanished, and by the end of afternoon refreshments, the count had dropped to below thirty.

Dr McKay Motshabi, of the State IT Agency, provided the most important news of the entire event, revealing that the South African Cabinet had adopted the Open Source Software Strategy document. The work has now begun in respect to finding the best way to implement the policy.

Due to the haemorrhaging of delegates, I asked those remaining if the presentations should continue or if we should hold a general discussion session. By general consensus, the discussion session was selected.

In the general discussion session the challenges facing the exposure and distribution of FLOSS in South Africa was discussed and strategies towards alleviating some specific problems, relating to Africa as a whole, were considered. This session was the most fruitful from my perspective as it was an inclusive discussion which invited real participation and the incubation of ideas.

The remaining delegates voiced the need for a more inclusive type of conference where people can actually confer with each other, rather than act as a passive audience listening to a string of speakers expound their interests, concepts, companies, projects and relative worth.

For me, the conference was valuable from a networking and an exposure perspective. It allowed me to renew acquaintances, communicate with a number of parties about some of the Southern African Project's initiatives, glean new ideas, and garner more grass roots support.

Open Source Conference Africa People

From Left (Visible Faces): John Grant, AJ Venter, Craig "the grin" Rodney and Eugene Coetzee Released in 3 South African Languages

28 August, 2004 -
Software Freedom Day saw the launch of the Zulu, Afrikaans and Sepedi translations of by These languages have been packaged together into single multi-lingual packages for GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows. The mulit-lingual packaging allows users to switch easily between the English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Sepedi interfaces. The original press release can be found on the website and a further article can be found at Tectonic. The multi-lingual versions can be downloaded from the website. 1.1.2 Now Available for Mac OS X

28 June, 2004 - is happy to announce the availability of version 1.1.2 for Apple Mac OS X in time for the 2004 Apple World Wide Developers Conference. This version operates under the X11 system, and is not available for the Aqua interface. If you are an Apple developer with C++ and/or Cocoa skills, please consider assiting in the porting of to Aqua. 1.1.2 Available

18 June, 2004 : 15H00 SAST - 1.1.2, codenamed Hakone, is now available for download. This release includes a number of enhancements and new features including improved support for dBase database files, additional language support, improved XML export facilities, and the addition of the FontOOo Autopilot, which downloads and installs fonts from various sources.

Zulu, Northern Sotho and Afrikaans versions of version 1.1.2 will soon be available from and the full text of the press release can be found at at Brainshare

30 May, 2004 : 11H30 SAST -
Thanks to sponsorship from Novell and Thusa Business Support, Southern Africa was represented at Novell Brainshare 2004. The show was a great success with numerous people attending the joint and Linux Professionals Association stand. The stand was staffed by a number of volunteers including Craig Adams, Mark Stockton, Jeremy Maccelare, Calvin Browne, John Grant, Dwayne Bailey and Ilma Stockton (please forgive the omissions).

Various people at the stand at Brainshare 2004
A view of the stand with various people in attendance. 1.1.1 Announced!

30 March, 2004 : 16H00 SAST - announced the availability of version 1.1.1, code named Prague, today. Primarily an update release, some new features are added including DicOOo, an automated dictionary installer. The entire international press release can be found at

Afrikaans Dictionary for Released

26 January, 2004 -
A free Afrikaans spellchecker has just been released by as a New Years present to the Afrikaans community, making it possible to spellcheck emails and documents in Afrikaans. The project has pioneered software translation into various South African languages such as Xhosa and Zulu over the past two years. The spellchecker builds on the work of many individuals and organisations who have made contributions over the past 15 years.
See for the full press release. at Idlelo

16 January, 2004 - was represented at the Idlelo - Open Source and Open Content Conference in Cape Town from 11 January 2004 to 15 January 2004 by Craig Adams, the Southern African Marketing Project Lead. 1.1 Final Now Available

1 October, 2003 - 1.1 Final has now been made available. For the complete press release, please visit at Aardklop Festival

29 September, 2003 - was represented at Potchefstroom's Aardklop Festival by Eugene Coetzee of PotchNET Open Cafe. Eugene says that the festival was a great success for PotchNET cafe and had some success in distributing and Slackware CD's.

Jeanette Moremong, Anna Dani and Eugene Coetzee at the Aardklop Festival
Jeanette Moremong, Anna Dani and Eugene Coetzee
at the Aardklop Festival in Potchefstroom. 1.1 Release Candidate 5 Available

23 September, 2003 -
Release Candidate 5 of 1.1 and the Software Development Kit (SDK) is now available on all public mirrors including SAIX. 1.1 Release Candidate 4 Available

09 September, 2003 -
Release Candidate 4 of 1.1 and the Software Development Kit (SDK) is now available on all public mirrors including SAIX. Online

02 September, 2003 - Association of South Africa
The Association of South Africa (OASA) is happy to announce the launch of a South African portal this morning.

The portal aims to provide relevant local information regarding the free office suite to South African users. The website is available at

OpenOffice 1.1 promises big things

25 August, 2003 - Tectonic - Alastair Otter
With the long-awaited 1.1 just days away from full release, Tectonic took the most recent release candidate (RC3) for a spin to get an insight into what users can expect.

Complete article available at Tectonic.

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