[ubuntu-uk] OpenOffice 2 in UoE Open Access Labs

chombee chombee at nerdshack.com
Mon Dec 11 14:14:04 GMT 2006

Following Ubuntu installs we've been doing for people over the last year
or so, we found that if students are writing an essay at home on their
Ubuntu laptop, they have to remember to export the essay from OpenOffice
in either .doc format or .pdf (neither of which is perfect). The
university computers in the open access labs run Windows with MS Word.

So Erik Chakravarty and I wrote a letter to the university computing
services explaining the situation and asking them to deploy OpenOffice 2
due to its support for the Open Document format. A couple of weeks
later, the university replied and said they've looked into it and will
be deploying OpenOffice 'early in the new year', and even suggested
they'd be training their staff to provide support for it :)

Students using Ubuntu on their home machines will now be able to save
their work in OpenOffice, and open it in OpenOffice when they get to

More info, including a PDF of our letter and a photo of their response,
can be found on this page:


Now we'll wait for computing services to do the real work of deploying
OpenOffice. When that happens, it might be a good time to try and get an
article about it in the student newspaper. 

Ideas for following up on the employment include asking the university
to establish some sort of open formats policy, whereby they'll provide
support for open formats wherever they can. For example students should
always be allowed to submit work in OpenOffice as opposed to MS Word or
PowerPoint formats, and lecture notes and assignments etc. should never
be available only in closed formats. And getting some Linux (probably
Fedora) machines available for students in the open access labs,
alongside the Windows machines and Macs that are already provided. The
School of Informatics already runs a very large number of open access
Fedora machines, but they are open only to informatics students.

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