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05.16.08

Digistan, the Hague Declaration, and Why Microsoft is Already Scared

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 8:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nightmare scenario: no lock-in

Earlier on we mentioned in a post what some characterised as “Alpha-lunatic”; that post has been accordingly updated since yesterday. Wherever the insults come from, it’s despicable because non-profits serving the public need never be compared to terrorists. To give some information — as opposed to conspiracy-esque disinformation — about Digistan, Mr. Wheeler wrote down some clarifications a couple of days ago.

In my essay “Is OpenDocument an Open Standard? Yes!”, I addressed this problem of multiple different definitions by finding three widely-used definitions (Perens’, Krechmer’s, and the European Commission’s) and merging them. After all, if a specification meets all three definitions of “open standard”, then it’s far more likely to be a true open standard. Problem is, with all those trees, it’s hard to see the forest.

Andy Updegrove wrote about this too.

Standards and SocietyOn Wednesday, I introduced The Hague Declaration to those that visit this blog, promising to write again shortly to introduce the new organization that created the Declaration. That organization is called the Digital Standards Organization (Digistan, for short), and I’m pleased to say that I am one of its founders. In this entry, I’ll give you my perceptions of what Digistan is all about, and what I hope it will accomplish.

Attacks on Digistan and the Hague Declaration should not be surprising. In its latest quarterly disclosure, Microsoft reported a decline in sales of Microsoft Office, as pointed out at the time by Mary Jo Foley and others. In fact, both cash cows took a considerable tumble (Windows saw a decline of 24%). The cause? Well, there are several. It has a lot to do with timing of product releases, but as CRN put it yesterday, OpenOffice.org 3.0 is “Another Microsoft Headache.” The download volume and national policies/migrations we occasionally cite here speak for themselves.

The OpenOffice.org community is now beta testing the next major upgrade to its office productivity suite, version 3.0, and there is enough in it to cause Microsoft some more worry.

There is another new article about office suites becoming more of a commodity and it comes from ECT:

You don’t have to spend as much as you once did to get a decent computer nowadays, and thanks to free software, you don’t have to spend anything at all for a decent suite of office apps like OpenOffice. Even if you want to eventually migrate to a commercial office product, this is a good “starter” for a new computer user.

[...]

Of course, the expense of computing is not limited to the PC itself.

This article also covers a variety of other office suites, most of which are Web-based and rather powerful on the collaboration side.

The following good article from Market Watch comes to mind again, and particularly the following insightful quote from it:

‘Microsoft sees what’s coming. Things like Word and Excel are sort of like a drug now getting ready to go generic.’

We mentioned this article here. OOXML is the ‘new drug’, which almost nobody is able or permitted (patents) to replicate.

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