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04.16.08

OOXML Protests Are Back, Lots of ODF FUD Seen Abound (Updatedx2)

Posted in Asia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Last week we saw Norway taking it to the streets where highly respectable figures spoke against OOXML. This was no mob action, but a case of sophisticated individuals speaking on behalf on those in their country who do not understand what is going on.

Norway was not alone. In fact, other protests are being spotted. [many thanks to a reader for this pointer]

The protest organized by FSUG and FCI seems to have attracted a lot of deserved attention, despite the hurried execution.

Head over to the blog of Leif Lodahl, who is highly respected and influential in Denmark. He too is unhappy with OOXML and he debunks a new type of disinformation from Microsoft — the claim that OpenOffice.org will support OOXML.

Will OpenOffice.org support OOXML ?

The answer is no !

From version 3.0 OpenOffice.org will be able to read MS Office 2007 documents.

The purpose is not to support an academic developed file format, but to help the pour users who by accident get hands on a document from Microsoft Office 2007.

ODF FUD seems to back back in a big way. Another form of rumour which was seen propagating earlier is that ODF 1.2 is halted. This is absolutely false. It’s all right on track and this latest posting from GullFOSS sheds some more light on that, as well as other nasty rumours.

It is rumored that adding new features to OpenOffice.org is very hard or close to impossible for volunteer developers if that feature is not already a part of ODF, the file format OpenOffice.org uses for its documents. I think this is unfounded rumor, but understanding that needs some explanations.

ODF is under control of the ODF Technical Committee(TC) at OASIS, an important non-profit consortium that drives the development of open standards in the industry. This implies that extensions of and changes to this standard must be done following the OASIS rules.

Watch out for such trails of manipulative deception. Someone in north-western parts of the United States (rumour mill extraordinaire) wants you to believe that ODF is dead and that the world is happy with OOXML. It’s a case of attempting self-fulfilling prophecies.

“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Update: coverage of the protests in India has just reached The Hindu. From the article:

Ever since the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) vote on April 2 adopted Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) as a document standard, techie blogs and websites have been inundated with posts and articles voicing their opposition to proprietary software and technical issues with the new standard.

Update #2: Rob Weir elaborates on the post from GullFOSS and picks up suggestions.

If you have any other ideas for ODF enhancements, or thoughts on the above proposals, please don’t post a response to this blog! Remember, you need to use the comment list for your feedback to be considered by the OASIS ODF TC.

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3 Comments

  1. Praveen A said,

    April 18, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Gravatar

    The news story in Hindu is before the protest. The story that covered the protest is
    http://www.hindu.com/2008/04/16/stories/2008041660721100.htm

    ‘Holding placards which demand Document Freedom and ask for a national policy on this issue, the protesters label the recent document standard called OOXML — which was adopted by the International Standardisation Organisation on April 2 — a “banana standard.”’

  2. Praveen A said,

    April 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Gravatar

    Campaign page tracking all the action happening in India is
    http://fci.wikia.com/wiki/Campaign_for_Document_Freedom

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Gravatar

    Thanks, Praveen. I noticed that second Hindu article a few days later (the following day probably) and posted this in a separate context.

    One thing that a reader of ours has just informed us of it this:

    Mammooty, don’t join hands with Microsoft

    “Microsoft will be signing up Malayalam movie star Mammootty as one of the brand ambassadors for the Computer Literacy programme that is to be organized soon in Kerala, a Southern Indian State well known for its pro-free software policies.”

    http://digg.com/microsoft/Mammooty_don_t_join_hands_with_Microsoft

    I sent this to a friend, who a few minutes ago told me:

    “That one really is sick – I have a lot of good Indian friends, and the Bollywood stars are seen with an almost god-like status amongst the less educated Indians (of which there are, sadly, many in Kerala). Microsoft are just cynically exploiting this…”

    Please vote (Digg) for the item above to raise awareness of Microsoft’s latest tactics.

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