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ODF Alliance Newsletter: Latvia and UK Join the ODF Bandwagon

Posted in Europe, OpenDocument, Standard at 5:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Courtesy of Marino Marcich, ODF Alliance

Spread ODF


The United Kingdom has joined the growing ranks of governments that have now endorsed the use of ODF. Under the “Open Source, Open Standards and Re–Use: Government Action Plan” the UK government will specify requirements by reference to open standards and require compliance with open standards in solutions where feasible. The government indicated it will support the use of ODF. It will also work to ensure that government information is available in open formats, and it will make this a required standard for government websites.



Do you want to have input on the next major version of ODF? The OASIS ODF Technical Committee invites you to help define the feature set of the next major revision of ODF following version 1.2, provisionally named “ODF-Next.” The ODF TC has created the ODF Requirements Subcommittee, chaired by Bob Jolliffe, to gather, categorize and prioritize proposals for ODF-Next, and to report back to the ODF TC with recommendations. The target date for this report is 1 May 2009. The work on ODF-Next will take place concurrently with the finalization of ODF 1.2 (see below).



The OASIS ODF Technical Committee has recently finalized the approval of technical proposals which will be included in ODF 1.2, the most significant revision to the ODF specification since its approval as an OASIS standard in May 2005. Once these proposals are integrated into the ODF 1.2 draft and remaining editorial tasks are completed, the draft specification will be sent on for Public Review (hopefully before the end of April) and then finally onto a ballot for approval as an OASIS Standard. ODF 1.2 includes support for extensible metadata, spreadsheet formula, and digital signatures, among other enhancements.



The NLnet Foundation (in Dutch: Stichting NLnet), a philanthropic organization, is seeking ODF projects in need of funding. The program is a joint initiative of the Dutch government, led by the minister for Foreign Trade Heemskerk and the State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations Anna Bijleveld-Schouten. The deadline for submitting proposals is 1 April 2009. The “Netherlands in Open Connection” action plan called on the Dutch central administrations to be able to accept and use ODF files as of April 2008 and all other government bodies in the Netherlands by January 2009.



Latvia’s standards body, Latvian Standard (LVS), has officially approved ODF as a national standard. Latvia now joins Sweden, Brazil, Croatia, Italy, South Korea, and South Africa as countries whose national standards bodies have formally approved ODF. Taiwan’s approval of ODF by its Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection (BSMI) was announced 21 January 2009.


DataNucleus Access Platform 1.1.0, which provides access to a range of datastores for Java applications, supports persistence/querying of OpenDocument spreadsheets.

ShowDocument is a free service for online meetings with fully synchronized co-browsing of any document in ODF or other file formats.

Gnumeric 1.9.4, the latest version of the Gnome office spreadsheet, is now out.

SpreadsheetExport is a PHP library for exporting spreadsheet data into different formats. Currently CSV and ODS (OpenDocument) are supported.

Sun ODF Plug-In 3.0 for Microsoft Office is now available, giving users of Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint the ability to read, edit and save to ODF.

Officeshots.org, a collaborative initiative of the Dutch government program “Netherlands in Open Connection” (NOiV) and the OpenDoc Society, is a free, web-based online tool allowing users to compare the output quality of a large number of office suites and web-based productivity applications.

Universal Extractor allows you to extract files, including ODF, from any type of archive.


Please welcome the following new members: Naber Web Solutions (Germany); Forex Direkt (Germany); Control Engineering Sweden AB; WWR systems (The Netherlands); and Dr. Hellmuth Broda Consulting (Switzerland).


Netherlands Open in Connection (NOiV) Congress [5 March 2009 – Utrecht, The Netherlands]

GoOpen 2009 [16-17 April 2009 – Oslo Norway]

Archaeo FOSS 2009 [27-28 April – Rome, Italy]

eLiberatica 2009 [23 May 2009 – Bucharest, Romania]

Berlin Open 2009 [22-23 June 2009 – Berlin, Germany]

Gran Canaria Desktop Summit [3-11 July 2009 – Canary Islands, Spain]


Thumbs up for open source as UK backs ODF [John E. Dunn|TechWorld]

Britain Endorses ODF; Why Not The U.S.? [Charles Babcock|InformationWeek]

Government expands support for ODF and open source software [Antony Savvas|ComputerWeekly.com]

UK Government Endorses Open Source and ODF [Simon Phipps|Sun Mink]

Venice region settles on open source and open standards [Gijs Hillenius|OSOR.eu]

Looking for Good Ideas for ODF-Next [Rob Weir|An Antic Disposition]

Novell News Summary – Part III: More on the Financial Results, Novell Figures

Posted in Finance, Identity Management, Interview, Mail, NetWare, Novell at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trinity Church, Boston
Trinity Church, Boston

THE BOSTON press had nothing particularly interesting do share about Novell other than financial news and this thrown-in mention.

The area is home to big employers such as State Street Corp., Genzyme Corp., Novell, Fidelity Investments, Raytheon Co., and Thermo Fisher Scientific. And the city’s two convention centers brought more than 772,500 attendees to town in 2007.

It ought to be mentioned that here in Boycott Novell, some of our hecklers come from this region (near Novell’s headquarters) and many come from Germany too. Even Novell employees comment here anonymously sometimes. That’s why comments must be treated with suspicion and caution, even those appearing outside this Web site. We never censor any comments, not even when Novell employees post them from Novell’s offices.


Read the rest of this entry »

Novell News Summary – Part II: All About SLES Virtualisation

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Patents, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED, Virtualisation, VMware, Xen at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

THERE WAS LITTLE NEWS about SLE* this week, except for some announcements about virtualisation. There is an article that IDG spread all over the place (well, in its many Web sites anyway) about SUSE appliances. This came through VMworld’s coverage.

The modularity and licensing of Linux makes it well suited as the platform of choice for the burgeoning software appliance market, a Novell executive said at the VMworld conference in Cannes.

Software appliances are applications that come prepackaged with an operating system on, for example, a virtual machine or a USB stick.

eWeek took a glance at Lenovo’s ThinkServers which happen to favour SLES and there was also some detailed assessment. Eventually, a slideshow was put together and published too.

Read the rest of this entry »

Novell News Summary – Part I: Novell’s Commitment and the OpenSUSE-SLE Question

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 11:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

YaST boot mode

Question of Morale

AFTER some recent setbacks and difficulties [1, 2, 3], this project has picked up the pieces and even though Novell will need to make staffing adjustments, the project’s leader remains optimistic and alleviates further fears.

Read the rest of this entry »

Novell Pollutes GNU/Linux, Microsoft Almost Pollutes ODF

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents at 9:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Poisonous apple

Summary: Novell spreads .NET and Microsoft wants to bring proprietary extensions to ODF.

NOVELL takes pride in one of those arbitrary awards (susceptible to corruption by bribes) which was granted to Mono. Does Novell not realise the patent implications for companies other than Novell, especially now that Microsoft uses its de facto standards to sue Linux? Putting Mono inside GNU/Linux is asking for trouble.

On a similar note, Microsoft is trying to pollute a competitor of OOXML. Having spotted this message, there are further complaints about Microsoft's attempts to ruin ODF from the inside.

Doug Mahugh of Microsoft is pushing inside the ODF Technical Committee for proprietary extensions, by which the monopolist vendor could embrace and extend the format to “innovate”. The extensions possibility is the door open to proprietary closed source parts, that renders the ODF customer a Microsoft slave once again like in the good old times of the .DOC.

Microsoft’s own OOXML-esque implementations (these vary all the time) are already polluted by proprietary extensions and Microsoft employees try to do the same ODF. How gullible do they assume people are?

“In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this.

“Another suggestion In this mail was that we can’t make our own unilateral extensions to HTML I was going to say this was wrong and correct this also.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

Has Microsoft Unleashed Its Trolls at the UK Authorities?

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Novell at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trolls sign
Trolls ahead

Summary: First it was Fortify and now Richard Steel. Coordinated response or just an act of self defence?

THE “Everything Microsoft” CIO, Richard Steel [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], is said to be behind the “Get the Facts” roadshow in the United Kingdom (internally, Microsoft uses the word "roadshow" to describe FUD campaigns). He also adopted the potentially-illegal MOU scam (known as Project Marshall inside Microsoft) while justifying this using a ‘study’ from another buddy of his, with which he is affiliated. This smacks of “corruption” — but hey! — it’s Microsoft. Look no further back than the OOXML corruptions for example.

Anyway, now that the UK is finally embracing a portion of freedom and fair competition, Mr. Steel decides to jump in with tired myths and lies. Glyn Moody rebuts:

The piece is entitle “Open Sauce”, but it ought really be called “”Open Source””, since its author, Richard Steel, the CIO of Newham, seems to have such distaste for the concept that he can’t bring himself even to write the words without sanitising them between the quotation marks.

He is reacting to the UK Government’s Action Plan on open source, and I’d like to react to those reactions.

Mr Steel writes:

I don’t like the term “Open Source”. It’s misleading; what many people mean is “anything but Microsoft”; few businesses actually use open source directly – they buy software derived from open source that has been commercially packaged and sold with support, which, in practice, is little different to licensed software.

Well, no: there’s nothing misleading in the term. It’s tightly defined by the rigorous and well-understood Open Source Definition, which has nothing whatsoever to do with “anything but Microsoft”; indeed, Microsoft actually has some OSD-approved licences – the Microsoft Public License and Microsoft Reciprocal License: so does this mean that Microsoft is pushing “anything but Microsoft” too?

Steel is stuck in a very antiquated mindset of Redmond Kool-Aid (article is from the FOSS-hostile Cliff Saran by the way). Steel didn’t even know about the Novell/Microsoft deal until about a year ago, which shows that he must have been living totally isolated from the world (and choice) around him. Is this a supposedly top CIO? Someone who does not even read front page technology news?

It’s interesting that Microsoft allies come out from the woodwork whenever a party in the United Kingdom is pushing the idea of Free(dom) software, which should only be a natural choice. When the Conservatives proposed the idea of Free/open source software, Microsoft’s mates at Fortify (Microsoft ally) pounced on the opportunity to spill the latest spiel against Free software [1, 2], using “security” as an argument, not cost (the outdated, heavily-debunked pattern of FUD).

Yahoo CFO Invites Microsoft, Then Abandons Ship

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Search at 8:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ship at open sea

Summary: Blake Jorgensen agrees in principle to an anti-Google partnership with Microsoft, but soon leaves the company.

IN RECENT COVERAGE of the Yahoo-Microsoft flirt [1, 2, 3] it was realised that, having expelled the old management and put inside some of its own [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], Microsoft is hoping to just use Yahoo! to its own advantage, maybe without even buying it or acquiring just portions of the company, such as search. Here is the latest twist in this saga, which has already lasted for over a year (since February 2008).

Blake Jorgensen, Yahoo’s chief financial officer, said today that the company is open to a search partnership with Microsoft, but that such a deal would be complex to implement from a technology standpoint.

His comments come a day after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reiterated his desire to talk with his Yahoo counterpart about pooling their search businesses. He’s hoping that Carol Bartz, who took the reins of Yahoo in January, may be more open to an agreement than co-founder Jerry Yang, who turned Ballmer down repeatedly last year.

Around the same time, however, Blake Jorgensen also quit the company. This happened following speculations that Microsoft might exploit Yahoo! in its typical routine of breaking competitors rather than making better products than theirs.

Ballmer told attendees at Microsoft’s Strategic Meeting Update presentation that he would like to find a way for Yahoo and Microsoft “to pool resources” against Google.

When Yahoo and Google pondered partnering, Microsoft used its muscle as a political movement and potentially corrupted politicians [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. It even resorted to AstroTurfing.

Windows Vista Wins the “Great Fiasco Award”, Class Action Likely

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 7:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Microsoft’s existing operating system is a mess and even Microsoft is acknowledging this. If any concurrence is needed, then how about this news about Windows Vista winning the Fiasco Award by an overwhelming majority?

WINDOWS VISTA, out of the 6.403 people voting, 5.222 considered Microsoft’s Operating System a Great Fiasco.

There are at least two lawsuits against Microsoft (over Vista) at the moment. One is pursuing a class action status, whereas another is looking it restore its class action status.

Lawyers for PC buyers are trying a new approach in an attempt to get U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman to reinstate the class-action status that she recently removed from the lawsuit over Microsoft’s Windows Vista Capable marketing program.

Here is the court document [PDF].

“[W]e’re not going to have products that are much more successful than Vista has been.”

Steve Ballmer

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