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ODF is Winning in Europe; ‘Microsoft Press’ Spreads ODF FUD as OpenOffice.org Passes to Oracle

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, KDE, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle, Standard, SUN at 4:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Protests in Norway (OOXML)

Summary: Victories for ODF, especially in Denmark; other developments that bring about better ODF support, still facing the usual FUD from Redmond

NORWAY’S special story when it comes to document formats was told here many times before. It’s a mixture of huge Microsoft scandals (corruption followed by rewards) and an eventual victory for freedom and justice. Here is an encouraging new report:

Government Of Norway:Open Standards In Public Sector’s Websites With Effect From 1 January 2010

Taking effect from 1 January 2010 the content of public sector’s websites will be available in open formats. This new regulation will contribute to enhancing equal accessibility of users and suppliers to the information available on the websites of both central and local government.

In the light of this initiative, the Minister of Government Administration and Reform, Ms. Rigmor Aasrud, assured that, with this new regulation, users or suppliers seeking for information in the public sector’s websites will not be obliged to use a specific software anymore. This will help users to have equal access to public information, while establishing fairer competition conditions among software suppliers.

The biggest news for ODF this week comes from Norway’s neighbours in the south. Kim Bach writes from Denmark: “Chilling at Verdes after the hearing on open standards. It was the usual OOXML/ODF fight that has been going on for 5 years, its embarising [he meant embarrassing]“

He also notes: “Michiel Leensars of OpenDocSociety, ODF advocate, on OOXML/ODF in Parliament yesterday: “Go ahead, get another decade of anxiety” #itpol”

There are those who interact with him in Danish, but translations help, such as this one of an article that says: “ODF wins the document format war”

There are many articles about this in Danish, mostly from version2.dk (at least initially). We have gathered:

  1. Er OOXML dømt ude? Her er kravene til en offentlig dokumentstandard
  2. Dokumentation: Her er hele aftalen om åbne dokumentstandarder
  3. ODF vinder dokumentformat-krigen

There are many comments in there too. Later on, the news appeared also in ComputerWorld Denmark (IDG) and in The Register, which chose the headline “Danes ditch Microsoft, take ODF road – at last”

Among the other articles on the subject (almost always in Danish), there are some automated translations, although some are rewritten properly in English and posted in Danish Web sites. Here for example is “Denmark dumps Microsoft”

As of April next year, Danish state office communication will be in the ODF format rather than Microsoft’s office format following a Parliamentary decision.

After four years of discussion, Parliamentary parties have decided to use the Open Document Format in all exchanges of documents between official institutions.

Wow. That’s quite a statement. The Danes apparently pushed it into Slashdot and eventually it made the front page. This ensures that many people in Information Technology (IT) are at least aware of this triumph right now. It will make things harder for Microsoft to sneakily reverse using its army of partners. Also see (for background):

Bart Hanssens (of the ODF people) is pleased with the news from Denmark. He writes: “It appears to be that Denmark voted for #odf as document standard (starting from 2011)”

Morten Vittrup writes: “BREAKING: ODF wins the danish document fight (ODF vs. OOXML)”

Alaa Abd El Fattah and others write: “♻ @JosefAssad: DK parliament has voted to make #ODF the state standard from 2011. A good day for open society.”

“Danish Parliament: ODF is in. OOXML can apply when they are ready”
      –Leif Lodahl
Another person writes: “congratulates #dk on deciding to use open document standards for all public documents from apr 2011. So far #ODF is the only one qualifying.”

Leif Lodahl, who promotes OpenOffice.org, summarises as follows: “Danish Parliament: #ODF is in. #OOXML can apply when they are ready”

In his personal blog, Lodahl calls it a “victory”:

The Danish Parliament has decided to create a list of allowed standards. The standards MUST be implemented before end 2011.

The decision includes two important things:

1. ODF is on the list – OOXML is NOT!

After the Helge Sander altercations, this is indeed an achievement. It is especially important as it is likely to inspire other countries to follow suit.

Lodahl receives some kind words: “This is great news. Enjoy your glass of Champagne! So IIUC Denmark now requires ODF & not OOXML by 2011. How large is the scope?”

Quoting Alan Lord from the UK, Lodahl posts: “Actually the government (liberals & conservatives) would rather go OOXML, but the Parliament said ODF.”

Mads Foersom writes: “Hell has frozen over!? Danish gov finally chooses ODF over OOXML for document exchange.”

Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer writes about the wonderful news and also creates this pledge which he wants us all to support (it only took me 2 minutes to do so).

Let us show Denmark how much we support their brave decision to use ODF as the [only] document format.

Planet Fedora quotes Wildeboer: “Denmark goes ODF. Only ODF. Sorry, OOXML: Breaking news. If your danish is good enough…”

From his original post:

So from April 2011 all intergovernmental documents will be in ODF. If this will also mean a change to OpenOffice remains to be seen however.

It is rather clear that Wildeboer is from Red Hat, but citizens of Denmark deserve real standards, so this is not a case of one vendor fighting another for domination. It is one vendor fighting all others by eliminating choice through formats.

Daniel Schierbeck writes: “The Danish parliament has just voted to switch the state administration over to ODF. Success!”

And another remark: “Danish parliament has just voted favorably on ODF. Well, they have also determined that the ocean should not rise more than 2 cm. #yam #in”

Peter Krantz and Ryan Cartwright also responded: “Denmark gov chooses ODF over OOXML. http://is.gd/7htVS (danish) http://is.gd/7htYI (eng trans). — Are you watching #ukgov”

Cartwright is among those who try to use Denmark’s judgment as precedence for the UK (Alan Lord does so too).

Among other feedback we have Glyn Moody (UK) asking: “anyone have definitive info on the Danish ODF/OOXML decision? the official statements aren’t very clear to me… #denmark”

We’ve sent him some material to increase his certainty, so hopefully another article will come soon.

Anna Baileylrr apparently writes from Slovakia (looks like a spam account though): “Document freedom in Slovakia celebration, OOXML didn\’t made it into national standards and ODF can be used in any version! openstandards !”

Jeremy Allison is quoted a lot [1, 2, 3, 4] for his analogy that explains Microsoft’s half-hearted ‘support’ of ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. He said at LCA 2010: “Microsoft implemented ODF with all the grace of a 6 year old asked to tidy up their room”

Microsoft had no choice. As pointed out here a few days ago: “has Open XML displaced ODF? Even in Msft apps, it has not.”

As we noted some days ago in a separate post, ODF 1.2 is under public review; it was passed on after this milestone had been announced by Mary McRae (OASIS). Rob Weir explains: “Good ODF TC meeting today, starting discussion on post-1.2 “ODF-Next”: SVG, modularization, web profiles, harmonized packaging, etc.”

There is a lot of public communication over this. Dennis Hamilton said that he “Got up painfully early while lying awake obsessing about #odf 1.2 and #openformula.” He was pleased to see the end of that and his colleague Bart Hanssens wrote about “new #gnumeric version with some #odf improvements,” pointing to some improved support in version 1.9.18. We wrote about Gnumeric when it participated in OOXML, which was unhelpful [1, 2].

KOffice is also expanding and spreading the use of ODF. From KDE News:

KOffice Based Office Viewer Launched for Nokia N900

An alpha version of Office Viewer has been uploaded to the repositories for the N900. Users of Nokia’s smart phone can install the KOffice based app to view word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentation. The application can also be used to give presentations. “This shows both how portable and lean on resources KOffice is” says Inge Wallin, the marketing coordinator of KOffice, “we hope and believe that this is only the first port of KOffice to other mobile devices.

Core parts of KDE are getting more tightly integrated with ODF:

OpenDocument Thumbnail Plugin is a KDE file managers plugin (Dolphin and Konqueror) to preview ODF (OpenDocument Format) files as Thumbnails.

You do not need to install OpenOffice.org or any other office suite for it to work (it only uses KDE API).

OpenOffice.org is to be owned by Oracle, which will create a separate business unit for it. Oracle emerges as a new dominant force in ODF (and the TCs), having previously defended and advocated it (for years in fact). Here is an ODF paper in Oracle’s new turf (Sun.com) — a paper that hopefully informs while the ‘Microsoft press’ writes about it in at least 3 domains it has (Redmond-based [1, 2, 3]). This new article is quoting Microsoft-hired shills from Burton (now Gartner).

In addition to quoting current Microsoft employees (the Burton Group analysts in question [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23] were later hired by Microsoft), the author from this Microsoft-serving media company is quoting people who downplay OpenOffice.org and also advertising Microsoft vapourware at the end. It’s an illusion of balanced reporting. The whole thing is constructed as a bit of an advertisement for Microsoft and mockery of ODF. Typical.

“That particular meeting was followed by an anonymous smear campaign against one of the TC members. A letter was faxed to the organization of the TC member in question, accusing the TC member in question of helping politicize the issue (which is, of course, untrue). I too had the dubious pleasure of hearing first hand how Microsoft attempted to remove me from the TC (they did not succeed, thanks to integrity and cojones of the organization I am affiliated with).”

“If this unethical behaviour by Microsoft was not sufficiently despicable, they did the unthinkable by involving politics in what should have been a technical evaluation of the standard by writing to the head of the Malaysian standards organization and getting its business partners to engage in a negative letter writing campaign to indicate lack of support of ODF in the Malaysian market. Every single negative letter on ODF received by the Malaysian standards organization was written either by Microsoft, or a Microsoft business partner or a Microsoft affiliated organization (Initiative for Software Choice and IASA).

A Memo to Patrick Durusau

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