Ministry of Education picks StarOffice

I was happy to see that the Ontario Ministry of Education has selected StarOffice as its standard office suite. As someone who grew up a test subject under the Ministry, by learning computing on such systems as

  • Commodore PET, with Waterloo Structured Basic as an alternate environment,
  • IBM PCs with Waterloo Ports as the network applications manager, and
  • the Burroughs ICON running QNX,

I’m happy to see some element of real standardization. (Plus a few other exposures to Radio Shack TSR Model 1s through to CoCos, a DEC PDP-11, and submitting Fortran jobs to the mainframe at Waterloo in various classes. It seems romantic now: a new, completely different system every year (or even every semester)…)

The ICON was my favorite social hack: it came preconfigured with both administrator and teacher accounts in both English and French. A variant of RTFM gives one root privilege: read the French manual. Ultimately, I got in trouble for this, although trouble followed from viewing the administration as adversaries than causing any actual damage.