Open SourceSoftware

OpenOffice Launches Mouse With 18 Buttons

Nathan Eddy is a contributor to eWeek and TechWeekEurope, covering cloud and BYOD

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OpenOffice.org has copied an idea from the gaming community, after launching a mouse with programmable buttons…18 in total

The open source project OpenOffice.org has released a mouse with a difference, namely 18 programmable buttons.

The OOMouse was designed by WarMouse, in collaboration with OpenOffice.org, and is designed for default profiles for the five core OpenOffice applications. It is also suited for a variety of other software applications, including Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk AutoCAD, and Microsoft Office. In addition the mouse includes an analogue joystick and support for as many as 52 key commands.

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The OOMouse supports Windows, Linux and Macintosh operating systems and will retail for $74.99 (£45.16) when it ships, though OpenOffice and WarMouse did not include a shipping date.

The OOMouse includes default profiles for the five core OpenOffice.org applications based on 662 million data points compiled by the usage tracking facility incorporated into OpenOffice.org 3.1. These profiles can be customised to suit the user’s preferences using the included OOMouse setup software. The setup and customisation software is an application that will be released as an open-source software project under the GNU Lesser General Public License Version 3 in the first quarter of 2010, the release stated.

Default profiles for 20 other games and applications are also included, and the OOMouse supports up to 63 profiles to be stored simultaneously in the mouse’s memory.

“The OOMouse is a really cool addition to the desk of any keen OpenOffice.org user. The Mouse team has worked closely with experts from the OpenOffice.org User Experience project to deliver the full benefits of the world’s leading open-source office software to the fingertips of users,” said John McCreesh, OpenOffice.org’s marketing project lead. “The prototypes are stunning – I can’t wait to get my hands on the finished product.”

OpenOffice boasted the OOMouse is one of the first computer mice to incorporate an analogue joystick and the first to permit the use of the joystick as a keyboard. “In the three joystick-as-keyboard modes, the user can assign up to 16 different keys or macros to the joystick, which provides for easy movement regardless of whether the user is flying through the cells of a large spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or on the back of an epic flying mount in World of Warcraft,” the release states.

“You can do far more with this mouse than most people are likely to realise at first,” said mouse designer Theodore Beale. “You can launch applications from the desktop, and in your browser you can fire up a specific Internet site with one button, then close it with a double-click on the same button. In Writer and Calc, you can have your most powerful and complicated macros on one row of buttons and simple functions like Bold, Undo and Format Cell on another.”

Other features of the OOMouse include double-click functionality on the 18 programmable buttons; three different button modes (Key, Keypress and Macro); an analogue Xbox 360-style joystick with optional four-, eight- and 16-key command modes; a clickable scroll wheel; 512KB of flash memory; 1,024-character macro support; import and export of custom profiles in XML format; optional audio notification of profile switching with customisable wave files; PDF export of profile button assignments; and adjustable resolution from 400 to 1,600 CPI.