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ODF Roundup: News from Scandinavia, OpenOffice.org 3.2, and Symphony 3.0 Beta 2

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Oracle at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: A potpourri of news from the past week or so, starting with success stories and proceeding to releases of new software that supports OpenDocument Format (ODF)

ODF is facing resistance from Microsoft and its extended family that includes Alex Brown and Miguel de Icaza, as we showed last night. Despite this opposition, ODF keeps winning in more nations and corporations that help dispell the myth of ODF as a “poor man’s standard”. Some of the world’s most civilised nations are embracing ODF. A few days ago we wrote about Norway and now is the time to add some more references, such as:

A week before that we wrote about Denmark, with additional coverage including:

This is a key milestone that can quickly spread to neighbouring countries. Here is the official word from The ODF Alliance, which is appended at the bottom in full.

The ODF Alliance today applauded the final decision of the Danish Parliament requiring the use of open standard document formats by all central government bodies.

There is even a page about it in Facebook and from Brazil come the cheers that accompany a formation of ODF Alliance América Latina. Rob Weir (IBM) wrote: “Time for ODF TC call. Members from US (east, west north and south), Brazil, China, Germany and Japan dialing in.”

Those who study ODF (e.g. most recently in Norway) reach the conclusion that ODF is simply the better option.

Moving on a little, Weir said he was “Discussing release plans for ODFDOM 0.8, our Java libary for ODF. Should be done next week.” This was done a little later and there is a new instructional page about it. Weir and Bob Sutor happen to announce the second beta of Lotus Symphony 3, which is based on OpenOffice.org. Here is an article about it:

IBM/Lotus took another stab at Microsoft Office, releasing a beta 2 version of Symphony 3.0, its free suite of productivity applications.

The much more important release was the release of OpenOffice.org 3.2. It’s an improvement in many ways.

The OpenOffice team have made version 3.2 of the open source office suite for Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Solaris available to download. It offers numerous enhancements over its predecessor which offer both stability and speed benefits. Writer and Calc, for example, should now start twice as fast as in version 3.1.1.

Improved Microsoft Office filters now make it possible to open protected Word, Excel and PowerPoint files (after entering the correct password). The project tem has also improved compatibility with the OpenDocument standard.

More at The Register:

Improvements in the latest release of the open source office suite include faster start-ups, improved compatibility with other office programs, and several new features (with special attention to the Calc spreadsheet program.)

Here is the press release from OpenOffice.org (not Oracle) and more coverage in many different languages [1, 2, 3, 4]. The Master Server is here.

According to this new survey, OpenOffice.org exceeds the market share of 20% in some countries.

Another noteworthy and active project that relates to ODF would be lpOD (previously mentioned in [1, 2, 3]). Git repository access to it is finally available:

Since its beginning the lpOD project has provided regular snapshots of important milestones. Today we are happy to open the access to our Git repository! It is now possible for anyone to check out our developments live.

According to this, Oracle is bringing ODF and databases closer together. These are signs of further commitment. Here is the page in question:

The Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) format defines an XML file format for office applications.

It is getting easier to open ODF files from more and more applications [1, 2], but Apple is lagging behind, as usual. Jan Wildeboer from Red Hat writes: “So I understand why apple doesn’t like flash on iPod, iPhone and iPay but why do they refuse open standards like ODF,ogg?”

Bart Hanssens says that “it’s raining #odf implementations: MS-Office 2010 RC, OOo 3.2 rc5, IBM Symphony 3 beta 2…”

Microsoft Office does not belong there until it implements ODF properly [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Denmark Opts for ODF

Washington, DC, January 29, 2010. The ODF Alliance today applauded the final decision of the Danish Parliament requiring the use of open standard document formats by all central government bodies.

“Today’s decision by Denmark reflects the growing specific demand and support for OpenDocument Format (ODF), especially among governments,” said ODF Alliance managing director Marino Marcich. “Open standards-based interoperability through ODF offers real value to governments in terms of choice of IT solutions, savings, and long-term access to data.”

“Eighteen national and eight provincial governments around the world have now officially endorsed ODF for document exchange.”According to the parliamentary decision, beginning 1 April 2011 governmental authorities in Denmark will be obligated to be able to send and receive documents in formats included in a reference list of open standard formats. ODF is unique as the only editable format listed that fully satisfies the five-part “openness” criteria for open standards for document formats whose use will be obligatory in the public sector. PDF/A-1 is listed for non-editable published documents. The action today was taken in accordance with Danish parliamentary decision B103 of 2006 requiring the government to ensure that the use of information technology by the public sector is based on open standards. The requirement applies to new IT and software purchases and major updates, which must be expense neutral.

“Today’s decision will serve as a model for the many governments planning to put their open standards policies into practice,” added Marcich. “The ability to implement support for the format fully on multiple platforms is an important criterion that the Danish Parliament has added. Vendors should take note of the open standards-based interoperability that their customers, particularly in the public sector, are demanding.”

Eighteen national and eight provincial governments around the world have now officially endorsed ODF for document exchange. For a comprehensive list and description of pro-ODF government policy initiatives, see: http://www.odfalliance.org/resources/Adoptions-ODF-2010-Feb.pdf.

About the ODF Alliance:

The OpenDocument Format Alliance is an organization of governments, academic institutions, non-government organizations and industry dedicated to informing policy makers, IT administrators and the public on the benefits and opportunities of ODF.

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  1. Danielh said,

    February 13, 2010 at 6:25 am


    I have always viewed Miguel de Icaza as a Microsoft wannabe. I understood that the moment he started implement failed technologies like the Windows registry in Gnome. Not because of technical reasons but because they come from Microsoft.

    The only sane thing to do is to fork Gnome and cut off the air supply to MS apologists. Make no mistake, Microsoft has one and only one goal in mind, destroying the free software and standards movement.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft understands that this movement can never be destroyed (it’s like fighting a phenomenon/behaviour), so it tries to attain fusion the Microsoft way with Community Promises (MCPs) that act as patent levers and licences that Microsoft can accept and control.

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