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12.25.09

ODF Roundup: More Developer Support, But More FUD as Well

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, FUD, KDE, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 10:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Adopt standards

Summary: More software adds ODF support; ODF disinformation comes from sources supportive of Microsoft or actually paid directly by Microsoft

OOXML is facing a real struggle for acceptance and Microsoft understands this. OOXML is a proprietary format, but authorities are looking for open standards (preferably not associated with worldwide bribes and other misconduct). As one commenter in Groklaw points out, the United States may indeed go for ODF, just as Obama implicitly promised over a year ago.

What a wonderful Christmas Eve present! After Microsoft destroyed the ISO getting ooxml standardized, the Obama administrations goes and defines an open format as pretty much anything not Microsoft.

TerryC replies with:

Yes. It struck me that way too.

It’ll be interesting to see how MS responds to this. In a fair world, they should fully embrace, (and not extend), ODF. In MS’s world, that would be considered totally unfair, so I’m sure they’ll think of something that looks like they are complying, but are in fact locking out everyone else.

I suspect that OOXML will suddenly become important again.

In today’s post, which is a bit of a medley, we are hoping to show just how ODF continues to gain strong footing. As one person puts it, “Paulo Maia told us that the Brasilia Protocol involves almost 600.000 ODF users.”

The German press gives room to OpenOffice.org 3.2 and Sun’s ODF Plug-in for Microsoft Office. The news from Holland is a little disheartening and in Greece it is being claimed (wrongly) that Microsoft supports the open standard, ODF. Microsoft actually harms it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Ditesh says, “If only MS was anti-s/ware patent, pro Open Source, Open Standards & ODF – how great they would be now. The mighty are falling hard.”

Earlier this month we wrote about Hungary's move towards open standards, ODF included. eWEEK Europe wrote an article about the subject and also made a reference to Microsoft’s abuse.

In September, open source groups reacted angrily to the news that a Swiss government contract was given to Microsoft without any public bidding. Vendors including Red Hat and other open source players called on a Swiss federal court to overturn a three-year contract issued to Microsoft by the Swiss Federal Bureau for Building and Logistics, to provide Windows desktops and applications, with support and maintenance, for 14 million Swiss Francs (£8m) each year.

As many people may recall, some of the more serious cases of OOXML misconduct occurred in Switzerland. Regarding the lawsuit, we have gathered information under:

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
  12. Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court

Moving on a little, more software projects/products add ODF support and eZ Components is one new example.

With the new stable version 2009.2 of the eZ Components, the Document component get support for the OpenDocument format. You can convert OpenDocumentText (ODT) to the internally used Docbook XML and from there to any of the other formats supported by the component (like RST, Wiki markup or ezxml). The other way around works in addition, read any format supported by Document and convert it to ODT. You can nicely style the generated document using a CSS sub-set and even generate a PDF with the very same style settings.

Officeshots has just added ODF validators.

I am happy to announce an exciting new feature for Officeshots: Integrated ODF validators.

Symbian can now handle ODF files, as well.

Well, Office Reader is the ODF documents reader for Symbian and UIQ3 smartphones which is able to read OpenDocument text (.odt), spreadsheet (.ods) and presentation (.odp) as well as support for OpenOffice.org Hybrid PDF file.

Another new tool:

On “The hacker´s forge” you can make your odf files anonymous. Upload your files and you can immediately downlaod the results. And these results are excellent. Text is replaced by random characters, pictures are substituted by dummy graphic files, meta information is erased.

Bart Hanssens points to this original message that says: “Adam Pigg has harmonized A LOT of report xml elements with #ODF concepts: http://bit.ly/6uD7dy

It looks like KOffice too it making great progress with ODF.

A possibly older project is the ODF viewer for Firefox, which many people promote at the moment (Google too plays a role in people’s conversations).

This website is a platform for introducing the ODF Viewer for Firefox 3.+ extension.

The OpenDocument Format (ODF) is an XML-based open international standard format for displaying, storing, and editing office document files (i.e. text, spreadsheets, presentations) that has been approved on May 2006 as ISO/IEC 26300. It is defined via an open and transparent process at OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards).

Great stuff.

One company that lags behind when it comes to ODF support would be Microsoft's friend, Apple. Their clients seem to be complaining (also here) by saying: “Apple should start supporting ODF in their iWork suite, competitive advantage over MS Office for Mac.”

According to Microsoft’s deal with the European Commission, it is committed to “implement ODF 1.1.., and include it in the “save as” drop down box”

“Even possible as default format,” says OpenForum Europe.

Well, if only Microsoft properly supported ODF. People would still be better off with the ODF Plug-in from Sun. Microsoft is inherently against ODF because its unethical management says so. This is a company that has always been shamelessly ferocious and brutal.

Dave Lane says: “I’m guessing the answer is NO (replying to my own question re MS Office 2010 using strict OOXML as default format). And default ODF support?”

Friends and supporters of Microsoft cite Durusau again, quoting him as saying that “Microsoft has been a valuable and contributing member of the ODF TC”. But Durusau is no credible source for this [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. And as we have shown many times before, Microsoft has been attacking ODF for several months now, all while pretending to be its friend. James Bryce Clark wrote: “Meeting with the #ODF tc about future version plans #OASISopen #jtc1″

With the latest i4i verdict arrive/return some of the same old rumours that are false and serve as a reminder that Microsoft cheated the world by keeping this case secret [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Jason Brooks, Ashutosh Mestry and few others (e.g. [1, 2]) raise concerns about custom XML, which is not a problem for ODF, contrary to their belief. In fact, i4i said so months ago after unnecessary fear mongering from the Microsoft-serving Gartner Group and Burton Group (they have always been anti-ODF as Microsoft paid them for it).

“If you want real security dont use a proprietary file format either. use ASCII or an ODF.”
      –Nicholas Butler
Here is Groklaw’s interpretation of the latest from i4i. Reactions from Twitter sometimes include promotion of ODF. For example:

#microsoft fail, must stop selling Office suite http://tr.im/Imai HAHA, they should have just gone with ODF from the beginning

And also:

“Microsoft had no commercially acceptable, non-infringing alternatives to using i4i’s patent” – should’ve used #ODF ! http://tr.im/IpLH

Nicholas Butler wrote: “If you want real security dont use a proprietary file format either. use ASCII or an ODF.”

Peter Krantz shared this unpleasant experience: “Received note from [government] offices IT dept that “you will be able to preview ODF docs when we upgrade Notes”. I want to write them. #fail”

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