Ooo4Kids: Open Office for the XO Laptop

   
   
   
   
   

Do you like your office automation software to be a free and Open Source as your Sugar Learning Platform? Then rejoice now that Eric Bachard has helped create OOo4Kids, an Open Office customized for 7-12 year old children that works on the XO laptop:


Bastien Guerry, of OLPC France had this to say about the Ooo4Kids experience on the XO:

As an alpha-tester, I was able to test OOo4Kids on the XO. Launching it is straightforward, and the application runs without any glitch. The launch takes a while, about 40 seconds, but then it runs quite smoothly. Sure I must test it with more complex documents, but on the overall I'm very impressed by the performances and I think it's a very promising start.

What do you have to say?

Related Entries

27 Comments

What about a download link of the .xo file?

A download link would be great, but all I can find is: "Windows, Linux and Mac OS X versions work, but we have still some details to manage, and nothing to download yet, sorry."

If you want to test, mayb" the best is to contact me directly ? ( e.g. joining #education.openoffice.org on irc.freenode.net server ? )


Finally,

Something that is actually educational!

And applicable to real world.

whew...if your goal was to show that even the most bloated piece of crap available in the open source community works on the OLPC...you made your point. This is even worse than putting xulrunner on top of python GUI on top of fedora. And I'm sure it will behave just great when you try to put some pictures into your 5 page document. The kids will get bored of so-called civilization real fast.

Okay, I'm sorry. But really, its a pity. A quick test showed that an optimized distribution, .e.g using the framework from buildroot.org, would have resulted in quite a snappy environment. And I can't help but wonder why on earth you base your work on OOo. Even on high-end machines people notice that OOo is slow, unless of course they already use gnome/kde.

Any recommendation for alternate open source Linux programs for word processing, spread sheets, or presentations?

All of a sudden, teaching kids office automation software is not a crime, because the product is not made by Microsoft!

What a bunch of pathetic hypocrites.


Sad.

I am pretty sure I will NOT advice any child to load OO.o on a SSD netbook.

I have yet to see an activity in primary school that just requires such a resource hog. Even if you really need a spreadsheet there are better options.

And don't get me started on Powerpoint/Impress.

Winter

As I asked above, any recommendation for alternate open source Linux programs for word processing, spread sheets, or presentations?

@Mark Warschauwer:
"any recommendation for alternate open source Linux programs for word processing, spread sheets, or presentations?"

Abiword is good for word processing and I understand it has a plugin for a presentation mode (one slide at a time).

LyX would be a great document creation tool as it removes the "every word in a different style" distraction of standard word-processors. But I am not sure whether it is not too complicated for children.
http://www.lyx.org/

LyX too can be used to generate (pdf) presentations:
http://wiki.lyx.org/LyX/Presentations

If it would allow children to use Beamer, LyX blows out every other program (Beamer is what you need for real presentations).

Presentation programs, when AbiWord nor LyX fit:
http://www.shallowsky.com/linux/LinuxPresentations.html

Note that many presentation programs output PDF or HTML. This removes the old "Power corrupts, PowerPoint corrupts absolutely" problem in presentations ("The little airplane on this line is supposed to be the symbol ").

If you really think a spreadsheet would help children (or their parents?), there would be several options. The one most directed to the XO seems to be SOCIALCALC:
http://peapodcast.com/sgi/olpc/

Then there is Gnumeric, but I am not sure whether that would be an improvement over OOcalc.

See also the discussion here:
http://www.olpcnews.com/content/education/olpc_spreadsheet_solution.html

Note, btw, that all really powerful (and useful) programs are incompatible with MS formats, eg, PDF, LyX/LaTeX.

Winter

@Winter

Thanks--
mark

I have to chime in with "Open office is a bloated piece of garbage"

I sure hope you started with the GO-OO fork of it. Unhappy with how crappy OOo development is, and how much Sun ignores input, they created a fork with many patches that improve performance, among other things. Usually this fork is quietly used on mainstream Linux distros, which is why Linux folks seem to rave about the speed of Open office while Windows and Apple users are cursing at it.

We saw it load... wow... now what? How responsive is the application once loaded? Does it have problems loading documents? How long till it runs out of memory?

@John Smith:
'I have to chime in with "Open office is a bloated piece of garbage"'

I disagree. I do NOT consider OO.o garbage.

I regularly use OO.o on three platforms and prefer it over MS Office anytime.

That said, I recognize the devious problems of having to support all office file formats, including all the twists and bugs in MS Office, by way of reverse engineering.

When I prefer LatTeX or AbiWord, it is because I can often ignore these Memory Dumps MS pass for office documents.

Winter

I’m getting confused here…
Someone is adapting a major piece of software for the XO and people try to discourage him!!! So OOo should not run on the XO, and if not why? Running on the XO does not mean being the only document program; it just means that you have the option. What’s wrong with that?
Yes, is bloated. Yes, is slow. Yes, it out of the educational goals. Yes, there are some alternatives out there! However, OOo is BY FAR the most compatible MSOffice suite and 99.9% of the available documents/slideshows/spreadsheets that are not PDF or HTML are MSOffice documents. I happen to have an MSOffice collection that spans almost 20 years several OSs and multiple encodings. OOo is the one that can open most of these. Others (including AbiWord) are showing garbage. And there is really nothing to handle the notorious but omnipresent PowerPoint files. So OOo can do things that no other Linux application can.

But is it relevant to OLPC? I think Yes!
It is likely that teachers may have/get relevant educational material in MSO format not recognizable by other applications. They may even need it for administrative work (not many Governments are FLOSS-bound…) So, even slowly, they can use it if they need it and have the option.
It is also conceivable that students in their extracurricular activities may come across such documents that they would like to see (maybe an application form an agency, a slideshow etc).
To have it is better than not having it!
Dismissing OOo and its potential use on the XO is almost dogmatic. Yes the developer could work on something else that would better suites YOUR preferences, but this is FLOSS! Remember?
A “thank you” and help to debug/optimize I think is the way to go here.

To the one who do not understand :

we propose a LIGHT version of OpenOffice.org :

- no Base
- no Java (completely removed)

And we work with :

- teachers to simplify the UI

- teachers to MODIFY the behavior : e.g. 64 columns/128rows, only one tab per default, display only 8 functions in the Calc wizard, create a wizard for Writer, proposing 3 types of ocuments for children, wit predefined styles .. include the stylist in the UI .. and so on

- students to work on profiling and improve performances

e.g. : the students must propose a measurable improvement, and if the code is good enough, it will be proposed for integration in OOo itself.

Last, I'll be paid by my school to teach OOo source code (I'm core dev for OOo)

I'd like to insist: pedagogical, is really included in OOo4Kids project.

@Eric Bachard:
"To the one who do not understand :"

I plead guilty. I did not read carefully.

I applaud any effort to slim down OO.o.

I would like to point you to Chad Wollenberg's Open Classroom project:
http://www.vaopenclassroom.org/

And his lengthy interview with the LinuxLink Tech Show
http://www.podcastdirectory.com/podshows/4463055

The ultimate breaker of Powerpoint presentations proved to be the proprietary fonts that MS Office supplies. As you are not allowed to distribute these, the layout of your documents will ultimately not depend on the application, but on the fonts.

Winter

Yes, OO has a lot of problems, but let's get back in touch with the real world for a minute. As you know perfectly well, there are countless school districts around the world that are wedded to Office, and they won't buy into the XO unless it can read and write Office files. You may think that is stupid, and I agree, but that is how it is, and all the FLOSS rants in the world won't change it.

@eduardo montez:
"As you know perfectly well, there are countless school districts around the world that are wedded to Office, and they won't buy into the XO unless it can read and write Office files."

I am puzzled.

My impression was that the XO was designed for schools that had no computers at all in countries where computer use in education was non-existent. How can these school systems be wedded to Microsoft Office?

If we look at the ways children use text processing, they should be discouraged to use the very complex MS Word layout functions that would break Abiword's import functions.

So I still do not see why a word processor that can handle index tables inside nested tables the Word way would be necessary.

Winter

winter wrote:

"My impression was that the XO was designed for schools that had no computers at all in countries where computer use in education was non-existent. How can these school systems be wedded to Microsoft Office?"

Because it is NOT about education. That's why it is ok to replace MS Office with a MS Office clone ;-)

@Eris:
"Because it is NOT about education."

As usual, you ignore what has been written.

Specifically @Eric Bachard:
"And we work with :
- teachers to simplify the UI
- teachers to MODIFY the behavior....
- students to work on profiling and improve performances"

So this work is done in collaboration with schools.

Winter

winter wrote:

-----------------------------------
As usual, you ignore what has been written.

Specifically @Eric Bachard:
"And we work with :
- teachers to simplify the UI
- teachers to MODIFY the behavior....
- students to work on profiling and improve performances"

----------------------------------

as usual, Winter, you forgot one line in that little list:

- other anti-Microsoft nerds to include Microsoft clones, regadless of how useless (for a kid's education, that is) they might be.

:-)

Irv,

Please maintain one identity.

Thanks.

Relax, Vota!

I was just poking fun at Winter; he is the one who - for whatever the reason - called me "Eris". Read his post above mine.

:-)

Sorry Wayan,

I just thought that Eris was so much a better name for whomever hides behind "Irvin".

Winter

winter wrote:

------------------------------------
I just thought that Eris was so much a better name for whomever hides behind "Irvin".
------------------------------------

I agree.


Perhaps Wayan can do a "search and replace" to change my id to "Eris".

Wayan?

You two are too funny - go with Eris from now on. Just trying to keep identities stable so others not in your clique know who is who.

Thanks, Wayan!

ROFLMAO!

XO Tablets for Sale

Buy Your XO Tablet on Amazon.com
OLPC is selling the new XO Tablets on Amazon.com for just $149. Buy yours today!

xo-tablet-amazon.jpg

Discussions

Recent Comments

Community Forum

Close