Archive for October, 2008

PC World’s very positive VirtualBox review

October 28, 2008

PC World’s Jon Jacobi reviewed VirtualBox and included it in the magazine’s popular download site.

With years of experience in using virtualization products under his belt, Jon noted, "VirtualBox is more capable than Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2007 in most respects and a bit friendlier than VMware’s free VMware Player and VMware Server." He commented, "VirtualBox supports operating systems other than Microsoft’s, as well as USB and SATA, which VPC 2007 does not."

Overall, he concludes, "VirtualBox is tough competition for Virtual PC 2007 and VMware. It’s free, fast and supports every OS I want to install (you can even attach images of boot discs like Acronis True Image or R-Drive Image and boot from them). It seems stable enough so far, and in my book it’s definitely a keeper."

Sun xVM VirtualBox

OpenOffice user reviews

October 27, 2008

1. OpenOffice saves the day — Life as I know it, 10/19
Mark Tarqunini wrote about an incident he had with Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 in which he could not play a DVD video. After "once again Microsoft fails," he used OpenOffice Impress and saw that it worked perfectly. He ended his post by declaring, "OpenOffice and open source rules!"
OpenOffice.org
2. 8 Reasons Why OpenOffice 3.0 Could Be The Tipping Point Application — Dolenni Diddorol / Interesting Links, 10/19
Sioe Tryloywder put created a list of of reasons that he thought would explain why OpenOffice is ready to take on Microsoft Office. Reasons including, "It is and will continue to be free. OpenOffice is now better supported than ever. OpenOffice is multi platform with now native support for Macintosh users. OpenOffice is faster than previous versions of the business suite."

3. More extensions to use with OpenOffice.org release 3 — The daily blah blah, 10/19
The blogger said of OpenOffice.org, "With the new release of the OpenOffice.org free application suite, the use of extensions enhancing the capabilities of the suite is easier than ever." He added that the suite offered additional extensions to translate the writer file to xHTML files, he also listed some other features he liked about OpenOffice.org 3.

4. OpenOffice 3 Available for Mac, Windows and Linux — Must Know Information about Education …, 10/16
The blogger noted that OpenOffice 3.0 featured a number of improvements, and ensured smooth functioning, making better use of Visual Basic. He noticed that even more capabilities were available from third-party developers, including an Impress presenter console, support for business analytics, PDF import, and the creation of Hybrid PDF documents. He commented on the Sliding Zoom Control, and Reduced Feature Bloat features in OpenOffice.

5. OpenOffice 3 Release: Faster, uninspired interface — Radenbudiarto.com, 10/15
Raden Budiarto writes that the latest update is well worth a try for the improvement in response and load times. He advised, "People who use OpenOffice as their primary productivity suite should take advantage of the OpenOffice Quickstarter." He added that Mac users would be pleased to see that they no longer needed to grab a separate installation of X11, and Windows Vista users would surely encounter fewer problems than before. Raden seemed very impressed with the latest release and said that the upgrade to OpenDocument Format 1.2 was ‘glitch-free.’

TechRepublic and other VirtualBox reviews

October 24, 2008

1. Sun xVM VirtualBox packs a punch and it is free — TechRepublic, 10/22
Steven Warren takes a look at xVM VirtualBox and noted, "Within five minutes of loading the software, I was installing a virtual machine (VM) of Windows XP with SP3. It is simple interface and it looks like you can get it running very quickly." Steven walked through his experience with the product and concluded, "if you do not want to spend money for desktop virtualization or are just looking to get your feet wet, VirtualBox is a good bet, and its features are very comparable to VMware Workstation."

2. Sun’s VirtualBox Rocks – Beats VMWare and VirtualPC anyday — Nick Heppleston’s BizTalk Blog, 10/22
In his post, Nick Heppleston said he tried Microsoft’s Virtual PC, VMWare Server and concluded, "I’m now hooked on VirtualBox, Sun’s open-source offering to the gods of virtualization. The performance is excellent, it ‘feels’ like a stable product and is actively maintained with regular releases."

Sun xVM VirtualBox
3. Poor Man’s VDI – Tim’s Work Life, 10/22
Tim Ebbers posted experience of an employee at Swiss firm Acceleris. The person tested VirtualBox in his lab and says that his colleagues are happy with it, "especially given the price tag for the software (not including possible license costs needed for proprietary guest Operating Systems in your VM’s …): Zero. All the software needed (Solaris + SRSS + VirtualBox) to implement this type of "Poor Man’s VDI" can be downloaded for free from Sun’s web site." They concluded, "So what exactly do I need VMware and their incredibly expensive licenses for?"

4. VirtualBox Usage — Live Journal, 10/19
Aaron Maynard had been using VirtualBox for several weeks and that he was quite pleased with what it offered. He was also very happy to see that Windows performance under VirtualBox seemed to run faster, thus enabling him to successfully play his games with decent video performance.

Positive PC Magazine and Computerworld reviews of OpenOffice.org

October 15, 2008

PC Magazine Review

PC Magazine’s Edward Mendelson noted the offering is "the first and only application suite that can be seriously considered to be a substitute for the massive power and flexibility of Microsoft’s suite."

OpenOffice.org
He described OpenOffice as "sleek and fast" and added, "OpenOffice.org doesn’t include all of Office’s features, but it adds some conveniences that Office can’t provide, such as built-in PDF export and a single interface for opening and editing word-processing documents, HTML files, worksheets, presentations, and drawings."

Edward provided a view into all major OpenOffice applications and highlighted, "it’s the only major application suite that runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux with almost exactly the same feature set on all platforms."

Overall, he was quite positive of this release stating, "for the first time, I’m ready to recommend this new version as a viable alternative to Microsoft’s offering. It still has rough edges, but it has an impressive feature set, a generally lucid interface, pure open-source credentials, and – in the current economic climate – the decisive advantage of being absolutely free."

Computerworld Review

In the review, Computerworld’s Preston Gralla said, "if you’re looking to save yourself plenty of money, download it instead of buying Microsoft Office — you could save yourself hundreds of dollars, and not lose out on many features." Of the suite’s applications, Preston placed most focus on Writer, where the software was complimented for having many single-click options in graphical options, as well as including tools for working in HTML. The wizards features across all applications also received praise for helping users start various documents.

Overall, Preston commented, "given that the full suite is free, this is one of the best deals you’ll find in all of computing. It’ll do just about anything you expect from an office suite, whether creating documents, spreadsheets, or presentations. You’ll find solid formatting tools, as well as extras including mail merge, macros, charting capabilities, and more."

eWEEK Labs reviews OpenOffice.org 3.0

October 7, 2008

eWEEK Labs’ Jason Brooks offered positive feedback on the near-final RC3 version of the suite, saying he was "pleased with the progress that the project has made toward improving format compatibility and feature parity with Microsoft Office." OpenOffice.org
Jason focused most of his review on the particular upgrades around platforms, such as native support for Apple’s OS X. He also noted format enhancements and discussed Calc as well as other OpenOffice.org applications.

Regarding the Calc application, Jason noted that this version "packs a handĀ­ful of useful new features aimed at bringing the application more closely in line with Microsoft Excel’s feature set." He specifically called out the Solver tool, custom error bars, and new collaboration features.

For Impress, Jason said the application "includes a couple of promising new enhancements, chief of which is support for embedded tables in Impress documents."

He also liked Writer’s new "much-improved document-annotation feature."

As to the inclusion of a mail and calendaring application, Jason is pleased overall with OpenOffice.org’s use of Mozilla Thunderbird mail client and Lightning calendaring add-on, "particularly regarding the spam filtering duties that Outlook tends to handle poorly. However, the big problem with Thunderbird as an Outlook replacement is the absence of the Messaging API protocol through which Outlook talks to Exchange."

Overall, the review presents a positive summary of some key updates in this major OpenOffice.org 3.0 release, demonstrating how the new features are enhancing the software’s interactivity with key platforms and needs across the industry.

Full text of the article is available as a PDF from this eWEEK site (free registration required).

UPDATE: eWEEK Labs has published an additional walk-through of OpenOffice.org 3.0.

Computerworld praises Sun Fire X4150 server’s flexibility for data center buyers

October 3, 2008

In a second review of the Sun Fire X4150 Server, MC Brown discusses its "sweet spot" for current buyers.

MC traces how purchases evolved from small add-on servers, to massive server infrastructure, and now to efficient uses of hardware through consolidation. With this in mind, MC said, "Whether the X4150 hits the sweet spot depends on your point of view, but I’m finding it really hard not to justify a machine with this flexibility to anybody who wants a decent machine."

Regarding specific features, MC complimented the X4150 by saying, "At 1U high you could fit a lot of computing power into a cabinet. With two quad-core Xeons there’s plenty of CPU power, and 64GB of RAM gives you plenty of memory to play with. The 8 SAS drives are also enough for you to have a system disk, and a 5 or 6 disk RAID configuration of your choice with one or two hot spares."

MC noted that with this "wealth of potential" in options, he tried several different configurations, but his favorite was using the X4150 as a consolidation box.

Overall, MC concluded that the X4150 provides a high level of flexibility, specifically noting, "flexibility like that in the modern datacenter is a must." Using the server’s variety of options, "you can choose a variety of configurations to suit your needs, and if you decide to change your mind, you can do so without changing your hardware, just redeploy it."

Sun Fire X4150 Server