01.08.09

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AbiWord’s Embrace of OpenDocument Format Increased, Gets Funding from NLnet

Posted in Antitrust, DRM, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Windows at 5:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

AbiWord as ODF

NLnet has already funded ODF support in KOffice [1, 2, 3]. After all, Holland had adopted ODF as a national standard and many implementations of the standard were required. Now they are funding further ODF improvements in AbiWord.

The AbiWord project has announced that NLnet is providing funding to facilitate the development of improved OpenDocument (ODF) filters in AbiWord. This will increase the program’s compatibility with the format and boost its interoperability with OpenOffice.org (OOo).

Why not OOXML? Well, apart from the fact that OOXML is associated with Microsoft corruption, it is a format that only Microsoft can implement (but won't) and it’s a Windows-only format. Here for example is a new discussion about OOXML DRM:

Here is a plea to the OO.o developers who work on OOXML compatibility:

1. Please speak clearly whether the publicly available information about the ISO-approved OOXML format is sufficient for you to implement its DRM-related features.
2. Please speak clearly whether you are sure of your legal safety in implementing OOXML’s DRM-related features.

Please say it loudly in your blogs or emails, in as non-technical terms as possible. Then we will turn around and show your opinions to the confused governments and journalists who still believe Microsoft’s claim that OOXML is an open format, and put an end to that lie.

DRM is a disabler of competition. That’s why companies like Microsoft love it; it’s not just a fetish of the media moguls.

A scarcely-known fact is that in many E-mails inside Microsoft, the competitive threat of online office suites was realised over a decade ago, and it could potentially be suppressed using proprietary document formats and control of Web browsers (with subjugation of users and Web standards).

There is a famous joke which says that “80% of Office users only use 20% of the features.” Well, here is an interesting bit from the latest antitrust trial [PDF]. Microsoft writes:

The Competition

It is both rewarding and scary to look at the current competitive landscape. We can all feel some sense of vindication in the fact that the internet did not cause the immediate death of Office and that so far no one is running Java applets that do the “right 20%” of Office-yet. We can take a moment to gloat, though only a moment as we still have traditional competitors and competition at the LORG level is still there though not as directly…

We must not lose sight of the fact that our biggest competitor continues to be our existing products and the inertia they have. The cost and pain of upgrading still overwhelms any sense of benefit we seem to be able to communicate to customers…

Of course, these days we have office suites which capitalise on JavaScript and do neat things that satisfy the needs of those legendary 80% of users. Microsoft fights this with FUD (perception), just like it says in its manual.

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8 Comments

  1. vabhe said,

    January 8, 2009 at 6:22 am

    Gravatar

    iWork 09 have no support yet! shame on Apple!

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 6:32 am

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    Apple is in bed with Microsoft when it comes to document formats. Mac users hate to admit this, but that’s what money can do.

  3. vincent said,

    January 8, 2009 at 12:22 pm

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    Why ODF isn’t the default format of Abiword?

  4. seller_liar said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm

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    Abiword odf support is incomplete.Abiword team need more resources.

  5. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:38 pm

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    @seller; abi’s support for virtually every format is incomplete :) It’s a very simple application, and for most users that’s the feature.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:40 pm

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    Default format is worth changing nonetheless.

  7. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:45 pm

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    @Roy: if its support becomes sufficiently advanced, yeah.

  8. David Gerard said,

    January 9, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Gravatar

    The other reason is that the Abiword team don’t like ODF very much as a format: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Interviews/AbiWord They actually turned down the chance to be involved as they felt their influence wouldn’t be significant enough to make any difference.

    That said, improved filters are a good thing.

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