Assignment One: Review of Open source software.
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Review of Open Source Software by: Steven S.  

Open Source Software: Open Office

Open source software. Open source software is basically free software available for anyone who has access to the websites that it was started on. Open source software means that the codes and the programming of the software is made available to anyone and everyone who wants it. Anyone who has programming skills may add on to the software or adjust it or improve it anyway they want as long as the source codes stay accessible for all to use, and the software is available for anyone to download.

Describe the target audience. The target audience for this type of software is anyone who uses word processing, people such as students, professionals or personal use. The audience can also be anyone who is working on and about to present any sort of data, or the processing of data for statistical or organizational use.

What is the purpose, how does it work? Open office works pretty much like Microsoft word or power point. The function of the software is more or less the same, and its purpose is the same. The main component of this software is word processing as well as data organization and presentation.

User interface. The user interface was pretty simple to navigate. Essentially it has the same components as Microsoft word or excel, however some of the wording has been changed. The buttons and pull down menus are user friendly, they mimic Microsoft office and basically gives the user complete access to all the tools and functions that is available to Microsoft office. The process by which you need to go through to start a new file is a bit different compared to other programs. You seem to have to open the program up before you can directly access one or more of its features, which for me was a bit confusing compared to what I have become accustomed to.

Technical requirements. When downloading this application, it seemed that the program did not have too many technical requirements. It seemed that it runs and works with almost all different types of operating systems. The download was over 100 megabytes, which isn’t too much but today’s standards, but for older computers that could cause a problem. This program seems to work with all operating systems with basic bare minimal requirements.

What browsers does it work with, does it require Javascript etc. The browser that I used to download and access this software was firefox. However, this program also downloads using internet explorer. It did not require any additional web browsing software to access and download this application.

What is the strength of this software? The strength is in its simplicity. It is essentially Microsoft word, therefore anyone who has had past experience with Microsoft office will be able to navigate and use this software with little problems. Another strength is that it seems to be constantly updating. You can set your computer so that it automatically downloads and sets up new bits and pieces of the file in question.

What are the weaknesses of this software? One weakness that I can foresee is the setting up of the software. At certain points when I was setting this program up on my computer I was a bit lost with what exactly I was setting up. There was a section where I needed to set up a database, which confused me. Though constant downloads help solve new problems, having to download and continually update the program seems to make it a bit more of a hassle for users. Starting new files from a database is a bit different then what I have used in the past, this does take a bit of time to get used to.

Provide three examples of how this might be used in science teaching. There are many ways this software can be used in science education. One way this can be used if for all students to have word processing. No all students have the same sort of word processor, some have word perfect and some have word and others just use notepad, this provides a cheap way for all students to use the same software so we can avoid and compatibility issues. A second way this can be use in education is to make presentations. Many teachers do not have access to or are provided with power point presentation software from their school, this is a cheap and effective way to provide teachers with power point presentation access without having to pay to use it. Lastly this program also has an excel like worksheet. This allows teachers to organize and collect data easily and effectively about their students.

Tips for science teachers. Some students have issues with printing and also software compatibility, telling students that this is a free download and that it works with files such as Microsoft word is a nice way to get everyone on the same page. Technology teachers can use this as a free way to access Microsoft word like capabilities without having to make the commitment that it would take to access Microsoft word and office.
Additional comments. This program so far seems to work really well. It is exactly like Microsoft office, and from what I have used and checked out, it has all the features of Microsoft office for someone who is a casual user like myself. It is completely free, so anyone with a computer and internet access will be able to use this software which would cost quite a bit of money if you wanted to buy it.