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10.16.07

OpenDocument Foundation Strives to Get ODF Back on Track (Updatedx2)

Posted in Formats, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard, Xandros at 5:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ending kickbacks and bringing what governments and users actually require and ask for

Sam Hiser has broken the news without giving too many details away.

It may be news to some — not to the ODF Community, certainly — that we at the OpenDocument Foundation have been displeased with the direction of ODF development this year. We find that ODF is not the open format with the open process we thought it was or originally intended it to be.

There are more details to come, so stay tuned and be aware that this whole game of money and power, such as Microsoft’s ‘bought’ OOXML support from Linspire, Xandros, and Novell should hopefully be ending. What’s needed is a universal format that serves that people and is maintained for/by the people, without the selfish commercial interests of companies. ODF mustn’t devolve into the same type of exclusionary club that is OOXML (Microsoft Office only), which only has a few selected members. Rob Weir has already begun talking about ODF 1.2, for example, but it is neither yet approved nor supported by many office suites.

OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 will be taking a step into the word of structured metadata with an RDF/XML metadata framework.

Remember that control mustn’t be given to the Big Vendors at the expense of a truly operable and interoperable solution that governments strive to have.

Andy Updegrove posted his own update on the ODF/OOXML situation last week.

The action in multiple countries leading up to the closing of the ISO/IEC JTC1 vote on OOXML has all but erased the memory of a similar multi-state contest involving ODF and OOXML that played out earlier this year. That playoff, you may now recall, involved the “open format” bills that had been introduced in multiple legislatures in the US, including in California, Connecticut, Oregon, New York and Texas. All of those efforts failed to accomplish their original objectives. As I noted in a summary of the rout I posted on June 10, each was defeated outright, except for the ones introduced in New York and Minnesota, where greatly weakened bills passed that called for the “study” of the open format issue.

There are interesting times ahead, but it’s clear that neither OOXML nor a mysterious attempt at unification which lacks transparency is seen as acceptable. It was bad enough to see undisclosed sums of money changing hands along with some changing agendas. No proper explanations were given at the time.

Update: there has just been another massive setback for OOXML. Andy has the details.

Update #2: it now appears as though limited ODF support will be coming to parts of Apple’s new operating system, Leopard. That is new, and it’s encouraging.

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