OOo4Kids with SCALE 8x UpSCALE Speaker Alexandro Colorado
We had a chance to sit down and chat with one of the UpSCALE speakers for SCALE 8x, Alexandro Colorado. Alexandro is a member of the OOo4Kids project.
SCALE: Can you give us some background information about OOo4Kids? What thegoals are?
Alexandro Colorado: OOo4Kids is a project from the Education project in OpenOffice.org (http://education.openoffice.org). The project aim is to build simple tools with which younger students can acquire the basic skills for using productivity software. OOo4Kids has a simple enough interface for students to be able to grasp and do basic operations. It also provides a tool where teachers can contribute with templates aimed to ease this skills.
SCALE: Since a large concentration of business uses commercial officesuites, do you think it makes sense for kids to learn OpenOffice.org instead? Do you think by learning OpenOffice.org they may be more successful in introducing it to others later in life?
AC: OpenOffice.org adoption has grown consistently since its foundation. Nearly 21% of businesses in Germany are using OpenOffice.org and we just achieved a record 300 million downloads since the 3.x release.
But the real reason to use OOo4Kids is to acquire skills on tools, not brands. If you are good at word processing you should be able to produce quality work regardless of the vendor. This is the basic goal that many people feel IT education should be take on. When you learn to drive a car, it doesn't matter which brand of car it is, or if it has a digital board or it uses gas or ethanol. You should be able to at least be able to do some basic driving.
SCALE: What do you think is the roadblock to OpenOffice.org having a morewidespread use?
AC: Again, I think that OpenOffice.org has a widespread use already. At least 4 regions in Spain run OpenOffice.org through out their school system. That means nearly 300,000 schools run OpenOffice.org everyday. However, maybe in the US OpenOffice.org is not as popular because FLOSS has not been adopted as widely as many other countries in Europe, and South America. A tight control of IT policy by vendors might be a big cause why OpenOffice.org is not yet listed on the procurement list of many Government, and Educational catalogs.
It also opens up a great opportunity for third party vendors to be able to work with the community in providing the commercial service offering into the system. As lead of the Business Development project, we have been able to create a good catalog of VARs, trainers and developer shops that provide services across the world. We would love to grow this list and have a distributed marketing offering.
SCALE: Where do you see OpenOffice.org heading in the future?
AC: OpenOffice.org has been growing at an astonishing rate, and it doesn't seem that it will slow down any time soon. We are looking forward to continue being the lead office suite that works on OpenDocument Format natively and be able to deliver also a better experience and tools to our users.
OpenOffice.org is translated into more than 100 languages and is maintained by many groups around the globe. Specialized businesses such as migrations have been growing continuously since more and more governments are adopting ODF as a state-recognized format for all government processes and OpenOffice.org has been the lead suite to become adopted for such.
SCALE: Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, Alexandro.
To learn more about the work being done by the OOo4Kids project, be sure to attend Alexandro's UpSCALE at SCALE 8x.