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04.28.08

Malaysia Turns to OpenDocument Format and Deployments Begin

Posted in Asia, Europe, Formats, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, OpenSUSE at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Thanks to exceptional transparency of blogs, the story of Malaysia was told and echoed quite widely ever since the country endorsed ODF. Further progress is being made and validation of the facts arrives according to this little new scoop.

OpenOffice.org and ODF adoption in Malaysia – thumbs up!

[...]

Now, you can hold them to their word, as they update a Wiki page, informing you about how many agencies are moving to OpenOffice.org. Big wins, once all of the Malaysian government related agencies are on OpenOffice.org (open source software in general). Again, read OpenOffice.org and ODF Adoption!

This is actually a pretty major blow Microsoft. It could initiate a domino effect, so expect some suitcase-packing, travel and lobbying. We saw this quite recently even in Malaysia, for instance, where Jan "you are well paid, shut up" van den Beld made a surprise visit, joining the likes of Doug "the Elephant in the Room" Mahugh, who break the rules in the most abominable of ways. And that’s besides the bullying and the smears.

Microsoft has abused and corrupted this country like nobody’s business over the past year. Fortunately, the Open Malaysia blog has a lot of the fine details and stories documented.

Let’s just press on and consider some other related news. Here you have a summary of things to come, so by Friday we should expect something to come from ECMA.

As the deadline of the 2nd of May is drawing near, I thought it useful to clarify some of the actual concerns surrounding the standardization of OOXML. Perhaps this piece will help dispelling some myths.

[...]

I wanted to point that out because I increasingly get the feeling that some want us to forget this process and to switch to some other topic (XPS for instance?). I know that there are more interesting topics to work on; after all, ODF 1.2 is not that far out in distance, and I expect all the love and kisses to be sent by our friends in Redmond. But I am still sticking to it not clinging, but sticking, not because of a perverse and pathetic hope I would appear to have against OOXML, but because I believe that the bells and whistles have been taken out a bit too fast.

Remember that the OOXML saga is far from over. The several protests, one of which is depicted below, were not organised in vain.

flickr:2400865918

Many people simply could not understand what compelled those folks to take it to the streets. Such sentiments only served Microsoft’s agenda of staged introduction, fueled by the illusion of no choice. As a reminder of how Microsoft harms consumers with OOXML, consider this old and short article which speaks of ignorance or apathy as a barrier to understanding the abuse. You can draw the parallels to compare past and present.

Those who say that Microsoft has only competed in an open market and has not directly harmed the consumer, are very wrong. The consumer is being injured constantly by the behavior of Microsoft and its chairman, Bill Gates.

[...]

I was personally and professionally injured. Microsoft and Bill gates had confused and bullied the marketplace. People who were deploying Microsoft products were doing so without looking at superior competing products. I decided to find another job.

There may be another take-home message to pull from this. Novell harms GNU/Linux users (as a whole). Novell and Microsoft are misleading on software patents in order to sign more deals (using fear as a driver). They essentially replace free Linux with their own non-free Linux, which is seen as Microsoft’s property.

To many people, the feeding of this message by the press can soon make it a reality, at least in people’s minds. It become a case of intuition, or a de facto rule. As another reminder of the dangers of blind acceptance or apathy, consider this. Think about OpenSUSE and Mono developers while you read this.

But as Guy Kawasaki, the former Apple software evangelist, said to me in an interview, “ignorance is not only bliss, it’s empowering.” Which I take as another way of saying that experience can be a good teacher, or maybe that lessons learned by dodging the bricks flying over the transom are lessons you are unlikely to forget.

[...]

For a case in point, I quote Stuart Alsop. He said, “we want a single platform, because the benefits are so tremendous.” Personally, I think he should speak for himself. But where did Alsop utter these words? Right here in Washington, a year ago, in a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In this hearing, he also remarked to the senators: “If Microsoft is a monopoly and we decide that we do not want an unregulated monopoly controlling these important interfaces, what can we do about it within the constraints of our system and our culture of mostly unrestrained competition in entrepreneurship?”

Remember RAND? That’s not openness. The interfaces must become a commodity, or not be embraced at all. Why can’t Novell see this? Why are people still assisting those two companies, sometimes voluntarily?

“Let’s face it – the average computer user has the brain of a Spider Monkey.”

Bill Gates

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