EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.30.09

Helge Sander Helps Microsoft Again by Blocking ODF in Denmark

Posted in Bill Gates, Europe, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 4:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dannebrog

Summary: Danish minister with history of Microsoft affinity is suspending a move to make OpenDocument Format the only national standard

THE saga surrounding Denmark never seems to end. Considering the size of this country, the amount of information about ODF and OOXML that comes from there is staggering. Some of our previous posts covered both the scandals and the wins of ODF. We wrote about OOXML and ODF in Denmark under:

Some of the above information may be required for good understanding of how Denmark reached its current policy and controversy. Its delegation at the OOXML BRM, for example, was stuffed by Microsoft. Its national standards body is internally divided and as more recent posts show (the above is chronologically sorted), the head of this body accused Microsoft of “lying” earlier this month. Tough words, true words.

There is a major new development in Denmark and Josef Assad (Danish) writes: “It looks like the Danish public sector might announce #ODF as the chosen standard later today. http://bit.ly/5noiB8″

“Yes glad someone didn’t fall for M$ propaganda – http://bit.ly/6seZLp (Denmark looks to go for ODF only),” argues another Dane.

Leif Lodahl, who is renowned for his work spreading ODF and Free software (OpenOffice.org) in Denmark, writes: “The Parliament said #ODF only! The Minister of Technology said NO and told his ‘big brother’; Minister of Finance.”

Guess who that would be? Helge Sander. Again.

This has been covered as it developed, primarily by IDG in Denmark. Articles include:

Ebbe Petersen from Denmark writes: “ODF/OOXML standard discussion in The parliament, sigh! In the future, office packages will support each others ISO, so full backing to ITST.”

Later came IDG with this report about Helge Sander’s disruptive role.

For those who cannot recall, the Sander report was rather hostile towards standards (ODF) and neglected to account for Microsoft scandals. Why would Sander be so apologetic towards Microsoft? Many people have just asked the same question. To quote: “I Wonder how much Microsoft pay Helge Sander (http://bit.ly/6Hc88a) to work against Open Document Format (ODF)”

Here is another IDG article about Sander’s blockade. What it may not say is that Sander has history with Microsoft. From Microsoft.com:

“As part of our software strategy, we asked Microsoft to provide us with technology that would help exchange our many millions of documents. We wanted something that would make communication easier, create interoperability and stimulate innovation,” said Helge Sander, minister for Science, Technology and Innovation for the Danish government. “Microsoft has responded with a clear step in the right direction by making its XML technology openly available. This enables our E-Government solutions to utilize standards-based technology while further enabling open and effective tools for our citizens and government.”

He also met Bill Gates under the banner of “openness initiative” (seriously, it’s no joking matter):

Helge Sander has recently talked with Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates about the need for greater openness. The Danish government stresses the importance of open standards, efficient exploitation of software and healthy market competition. For its part Microsoft characterises the Danish government’s focus on standard- based technologies like XML as visionary. The iconic software concern’s initiative in Denmark will soon be followed by similar initiatives in other European countries. The news is reported by Computerworld online.

Leif Lodahl had his own interpretation a couple of years ago. Sander’s unofficial service for Microsoft is not exactly news.

Please tell me why The Prime Minister Ander Fogh Rasmussen and Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Helge Sander is so happy about Microsoft?

[...]

In 2002 Microsoft bought the Danish IT-company called ‘Navision’. ERP etc., now called Microsoft Dynamics a company in Vedbæk, just a few miles north of Copenhagen. Today there is about 1.400 employees and Dynamics in Vedbæk is the largest Microsoft development center outside the US. In February 2005 Bill Gates visited Copenhagen and at a meeting with The Prime Minister and The Minister of Science, Bill Gates threatened to take development ‘home’ (to the States), if the Danish government became too hostile to Microsoft. This is about the same time, where Europe began to find out what was going on in State of Massachusetts.
My guess is that some promises was made at the meeting.

So once again Sander is obstructing open standards and instead defending Microsoft’s cash cow, which is of course proprietary and does not support ODF properly [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. It is also rather concerning that almost all the coverage comes from IDG, which does business with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. This type of ‘monopoly’ over information that people receive can be misused and often enough we have shown that it does get abused.

Here is an automated translation of one report about Sander’s impact:

IT decision put on hold

Folketing’s IT committee could not convince Helge Sander, of the IT standards of the public to use. The decision is now on standby.

It remains open what file formats the public need. It was otherwise expected that the Folketing’s IT committee Wednesday evening would agree on the so-called open document standards, ie free file formats, public institutions must use in the future. But a majority of the IT committee could not convince Science Minister Helge Sander (V).

With Microsoft cronies seemingly everywhere, it is reasonable to be skeptical.

Peter Krantz writes about the situation in another Scandinavian country. He writes: “Norway evaluating ODF and the two OOXML:s for national generic document standard.”

We wrote about Norway’s struggles against OOXML lock-in under:

On the upside, ODF carries on growing an ecosystem of templates, tools, and developers. One of them asks: “Does anyone know how to manipulate opendocument files with ruby?”

From around the same area comes Bart Hanssens who shares links to Ruby tools for ODF, not all of which are new. There are lots of ODF projects out there which do not receive the recognition they deserve.

The lpOD Project develops a set of multilanguage tools around the OpenDocument Format standard.

* Development of a library implementing the ISO/IEC 26300 OpenDocument Format standard in extenso.
* Development of a set of high-level APIs in the Python, Perl, Ruby languages. The project has some industrial relevance through projects and applications in the fields of Business Intelligence (BI) , CMS applied to museography, ETL, etc.

Here is a new post on “ODF Templating using Appy pod.”

I you ever need to generate ODF documents from Python, do give pod a try!

Bart Hanssens also shares information about YaBS, which we mentioned some days ago.

YaBS, the successor of MP Invoicing, is an Enterprise Resource Planner for managing products and contacts. It can be used to generate offers, orders, invoices, and includes basic book keeping. YaBS can export to ODF and PDF.

Apart from more ODF fanfare (and even literature) from the likes of Jomar Silva, there is also this good new essay on the importance of open standards. ODF is given as an example of an open standard, whereas OOXML is treated as proprietary (as it should be treated).

There are some file formats which are published, open standards. Portable Document Format (PDF) is one you’ve probably heard of. HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is another. OpenDocument Format (ODF) is an ISO international standard, and the tools to use that format are free. But there are other file formats which are proprietary, and can only be edited natively in one specific application. The formats used by Microsoft Word (DOC and lately DOCX) come to mind. WordPerfect (WPS) is another program which uses a proprietary file format to store information.

If I receive a PDF or HTML file, I can open it in a wide variety of applications, some of which are both well designed and obtainable for free. But if I’m sent a WPS or DOCX, I need the specific application that was used to create the file to open it reliably. Requiring me to have certain computer software doesn’t seem very inclusive. “But everybody has Microsoft Word!” you might be thinking to yourself. Is that the same “everybody” who celebrates Christmas? Think about that.

In summary, eyes should now be on Denmark because Sander poses as a barrier which needs to be removed. He acts as an agent of monopolisation.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  2. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  3. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  4. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  5. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  6. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  7. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  8. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  9. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    Links for the day



  10. Patents Roundup: Trolls Dominate Litigation, PTAB Crushes Patents, Patent Box Regime Persists, and OIN Explains Itself

    Another roundup of patent news from around the Web with special focus on software patenting



  11. The Cost/Toll of the 'New' EPO and Where All That Money Goes or Comes From

    The European Patent Office has become a servant of the rich and powerful (including large foreign corporations) and even its own employees now pay the price associated with misguided new policies (or 'reforms' as Battistelli habitually refers to these)



  12. Links 19/8/2016: Linux Mint With KDE, Linux Foundation's PNDA

    Links for the day



  13. The End of an Era at the USPTO as Battistelli-Like (EPO) Granting Policies Are Over

    The United States is seeing the potency of patents -- especially software patents (which make up much of the country's troll cases) -- challenged by courts and by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)



  14. Battistelli's European Patent Office Goes to the United States to Speak About the UPC and Software Patents

    The European Patent Office is showing its utter contempt -- not just disregard -- for the very fundamental rules that put it in its place and brought it into existence



  15. Turkey Subjected to the European Patent Convention (EPC) But Benoît Battistelli is Not?

    The ‘constitutional crisis’ at the European Patent Office in the context of Turkey, which has signed "the EPC and as such recognises the competence and the decisions of the institutions which have been introduced in the convention."



  16. Links 18/8/2016: EFF Slams Vista 10, Linux Foundation Makes PNDA

    Links for the day



  17. Links 17/8/2016: GNOME and Debian Anniversaries

    Links for the day



  18. Personal Audio LLC and Patent Troll Jim Logan Demonstrate the Harms of Software Patents and Why They Must Never Spread to Europe

    Jim Logan of Personal Audio (a notorious Texas-based patent troll) is still fighting with his bogus patent, having already caused enormous damage with a single software patent that should never have been granted in the first place (due to prior art, not just Alice)



  19. The Patent Microcosm Hopes That the Originators of Software Patents Will Undermine the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

    Now that the actions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which have been consistently upheld by the CAFC in precedential decisions, are suddenly being questioned the patent microcosm gets all giddy and tries to undermine PTAB (again)



  20. That Time When the Administrative Council Helped Battistelli Crush Oversight (Audit Committee) and What ILO Said About It a Month Ago

    Things are becoming ever more troublesome at the EPO as the Administrative Council enjoys inaction from the International Labour Organization (ILO), in spite of its role in destroying much-needed oversight at the behest of Battistelli



  21. The EPO's Administrative Council Keeps Postponing Debate About Grounds for Firing the President

    A recollection of events prior to the latest Administrative Council meeting, where Benoît Battistelli's failings and accountability for failing to correct them never even came up



  22. A Surge of Staff Complaints About the European Patent Office Drowns the System, Disservice to Justice Noted

    Self-explanatory graphs about the state of the justice [sic] system which is prejudiced towards/against EPO workers, based on internal reports



  23. Links 16/8/2016: White House Urged by EFF on FOSS, Go 1.7 Released

    Links for the day



  24. Links 15/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC2, Glimpses at OpenMandriva Lx 3.0

    Links for the day



  25. Clawing Back the Staff Benefits at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Staff of the EPO is leaving (or retiring) in droves as abusive management continues to be the norm and staff benefits are being taken away or gradually revoked



  26. The Patent Microcosm is Panicking and Spinning Alice/§ 101 Because US Software Patents Are Still Dying

    A look at recent developments in the software patents scene in the United States, with increased focus on (or fear of) the Patent Trial and Appeal Board



  27. 21,000 Posts in Techrights in Less Than a Decade

    This post is the 21,000th post and the next one will make it more than twenty-one thousand posts in total. We are turning 10 in November.



  28. Patent Microcosm Shuts Out the Poor: Unified Patent Court (UPC) Promotion by Practising Law Institute (PLI) Only for the Wealthy

    The people who are profiting from patent feuds, disputes, lawsuits etc. are still trying to muscle their will into European law and they keep the general public out of it by locking down (or pricing out of reach) their meetings where they influence/lobby decision-making officials



  29. The United States Has a Growing Patent Trolls Epidemic as Very High Proportion of Lawsuits Filed by Them

    A look at the high proportion of patent lawsuits that are filed by entities that make nothing at all and thus serve no role whatsoever in innovation



  30. Pushers of Software Patents Outside the United States (Which is Belatedly Squashing These Patents)

    How patent law firms are distorting the debate about software patents in hope of attracting business from gullible people who misunderstand the harsh (and worsening) reality of software patenting


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts