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01.06.09

World Says: ODF Has Truly Won

Posted in America, Europe, Formats, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 4:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ODF logo

IT WAS SOMEWHAT IRONIC TO find Microsoft quoted (in large fonts even) in the annual report from the ODF Alliance [PDF]. This report has only just been released and Microsoft’s “ODF has truly won” statement is being used against it. Anyway, here is just the opening paragraph of this very long report:

The OpenDocument Format Alliance (ODF Alliance) is an organization of governments, academic institutions, associations and industry dedicated to educating policy makers, IT administrators and the public on the benefits and opportunities of ODF. Launched in March 2006, the ODF Alliance includes 584 member organizations in 63 countries.

“I’m not finding a good English summary of the German Parliamentary decision to use ODF nationally,” says one reader. He is quite right in suggesting that this major development was so scarcely covered. The same goes for similar decisions made by large nations like Brazil, which chose to abandon Microsoft’s proprietary formats, namely Office binaries and OOXML.

There is some press coverage of the adoption of ODF, but it comes from a source that can hardly be trusted due to Microsoft biases and Microsoft advertising deals (pro-Vista) that confidential correspondence/documents from the collusion trial show vividly. Anyway, here is the gist of the report (it appears here as well):

Open Document Format Has Been Accepted By 16 Governments

The Open Document Format continues to gain ground with governments as the format in which they wish to create important documents, despite Microsoft’s Office format, OOXML, being recognized as an international standard as well.

The reader who drew our attention to it added: “I notice the recent “pro” ODF article that spreads disinformation about OOXML, that I feel is somehow connected.”

“Burial of truth has become very typical.”Burial of truth has become very typical [1, 2]. The corruption that was documented has yet to invoke the wrath and bring punishment from the European Commission.

“It’s like they put false claims about OOXML into pro-ODF articles to hinder promulgation of the ODF material,” says our reader.

What to do in this case? Well, “[I]n the short term, attention can be brought to ODF 1.2, OpenOffice.org and other products support of ODF (where Microsoft Office fails), and Microsoft not just failing to support a standard (yet again) but actively breaking it (yet again).”

It is true that in the world of ODF, Microsoft is nowhere to be seen (as yet) and Free software is by far the leader. Alastair Otter (of Tectonic) has just published a good article about this topic in South Africa’s press.

Microsoft Office is so common that very few computer users are even aware that there are many good, and often free, alternatives to the software. Here are four of the better alternatives.

OpenOffice.org

This has to be the number one alternative to Microsoft Office. The open source productivity tool includes all of the features offered by MS Office but for free. Version 3.0 of OpenOffice was released earlier this year and it includes full compatibility with documents created in Microsoft Office, the biggest stumbling block to switching to a new office suite.

Now is the time to rescue one’s personal information and save it in ODF format. ODF was conceived and designed with end of predatory lock-in.

“I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

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