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15 October 2007
The larger newsagents are selling a Linux Format Special Edition magazine on OpenOffice.org. The magazine is not just aimed at Linux users, but also caters for Windows and MacOS users as well. If you get the opportunity to buy one of these before they sell out then I suggest you do. Although most of the articles have already been covered in the Linux Format magazine it's well worth the £9.99, just for the convenience of having these in a single book.
Here is a comment that I've sent to Linux Format in response to this:
Firstly I'd like to congratulate the Linux Format team on another great special edition. The OpenOffice.org magazine provides a good balance for everyone from new users to more experienced users wanting to learn some of the more advanced features. It also shows that you can write a magazine that caters equally well for Linux, MacOS and Windows users. Another great reason for choosing Free Software.
The magazine is ideal to pass on to someone that has not used OpenOffice.org, and it includes a godd introduction to Free Software.
Now for my criticism. The crticism is not really directly aimed at the magazine but the marketing of it. The back shelf of the WH Smiths (or other newsagent) is not really the place where this kind of magazine belongs. The people buying this OOo Special Edition are going to be those that are familar with the software already, or have at least heard about it.
The place where this really belongs is in the high street computer / electronic stores alongside the other office software. The software license allows this, and all that would be needed is to provide the magazine as a user manual in a smaller form factor so that it fits in a software sized box. This would then provide a real alternative for those going into the shop to purchase an office suite.