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Norway Embraces Open Standards, Many Others Follow Suit

Posted in Asia, Europe, Fraud, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 3:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The Norwegian [OOXML] affair was a scandal and we are still pursuing it. We haven’t given up hope of changing the vote back to No, and we hope people who experienced similar travesties in other countries will do the same.”

Steve Pepper

Protests in Norway (OOXML)

Summary: Norway embraces ODF and maybe Ogg too; ODF in general spreads rapidly

NOT so long ago it was Hungary that found the light and now it is Norway, which struggled against Microsoft corruption [1, 2]. It’s truly fascinating how deep it may run. Leif Lodahl from Denmark was among the first people to mention this latest development (as we already did yesterday thanks to a pointer from a reader).

The Norwegian government has made a clear statement in a new catalog covering data standards of various purposes.

According to some folks in Twitter, Ogg may be part of this policy in Norway. This is timely because of Microsoft’s bad attitude not only towards Ogg but against <audio> and <video> in general. Microsoft talks about patents, shows apathy, and general disinterest (follow the threads). It acts as a barrier because it tries spreading Windows Media Player and Silver Lie all over the Web. Watch this report.

Mozilla supports HTML 5 video, Microsoft doesn’t yet but without a codec specified, does it matter?

In IDG Norway we also find this UK report about BECTA doing it with Microsoft again, trying to find excuses to embellish and justify deals that turn all British kids into Microsoft customers. Watch this deceptive statement:

Microsoft also provides support in Office 2007 for the Open Document Format (ODF) file format, a move that Becta has acknowledged.

Microsoft doesn’t. It ruins ODF interoperability with MSODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and even the ODF Alliance has formally stated that this is the case. BECTA does not care about the ODF Alliance though; BECTA is feeling warm in the same bed as Microsoft, as always [1, 2, 3, 4].

Another ugly story about document standards came from India where this debate continues. Notice how Novell is listed as a backer of OOXML in the Business Standard (Novell is listed on Microsoft’s side):

Incidentally, there has never been a more intense global industry debate over ‘open standards’. On the one hand is Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) file format backed by Apple, Novell, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, and Nasscom. On the other is the Open Document Format (ODF), supported by the likes of IBM, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat, Google, the Department of Information Technology (DIT), National Informatics Centre (NIC), CDAC, IIT-Mumbai and IIM-Ahmedabad.

India recently maintained its earlier stance of “No” to the software major’s OOXML (which has been accepted by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) as an international standard).

ODF proponents oppose OOXML on the grounds that “multiple standards” are not good, while Microsoft argues that OOXML — a recognised standard by ECMA International too — is a response to evolving technology formats in line with continual evolving technology systems. The debate appears to be a proxy for product competition in the marketplace, argue opponents. It is significant, in part, because it will influence the future success of Microsoft Office — one of Microsoft’s largest and most profitable product families.

Governments are wary of holding digital data in proprietary formats, which could make them hostage to a software vendor. States such as Delhi, Kerala and others from the North-East are heavy adopters of ODF file formats which are open and free (excluding maintenance and support).

ODF is still being maintained by OASIS, which was not corrupted like ISO. There is a new OASIS board introduced, hopefully without negative influence. Time will tell.

Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone who voted for me, and all of my supporters, inside and outside the OASIS who were kind enough to dedicate time and effort to this project. Next time will be better and I look forward working with all you again.

In other ODF news, here is another company that supports it.

3BClean scrubs the metadata from Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) files, Open Document Format (ODF) files, as well as generating PDFs.

Another new tidbit:

Open Document Format (ODF) has achieved growing acceptance as the document format of choice for governments around the world, less than six months after its adoption as an international standard.

Microsoft’s fight to retain vendor lock-in on documents is far from over. No product brings Microsoft’s home as much bacon as Office and Microsoft knows no ethical boundaries.

“37 letters with exactly the same words. Some of the senders didn’t even care to remove the ‘Type company name here’ text.

Simular letters has been circulating in Denmark as an e-mail from the Danish MD Jørgen Bardenfleth to customers and business partners.

I call it fraud, cheating and disgusting. If I wasn’t anti-Microsoft before, I am now. Disgusting !”

Leif Lodahl

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