Bonum Certa Men Certa

Document Formats Roundup: ODF Gets the Upper Hand

Spread ODF



ODF Advocacy News



Pieter Hintjens has announced that on Wednesday they signed the Hague Declaration. "We signed four copies. One went to the Royal Dutch Archives, one will remain with Digistan, and we'll sell two on eBay to raise funds for our work." We address this issue simply because readers have asked. So... it's done. Signed and completed. Now we must only cope with scary people, to whom Digistan seems like some satanic ritual.



Yesterday we wrote yet again about the study from New York (additionally mentioned in [1, 2]), which serves as an objective analysis suggesting that only one document format should rule them all. That format seems likely to be ODF after Microsoft's change of heart. To explain this change of heart, consider what Slated said last night in a discussion group:

"It's pretty obvious Microsoft is making concessions in order to soften the blow of the inevitable antitrust findings, rather than it being just a hand-waving exercise.

"Looks like the old schoolboy trick of admitting to the lesser crime, to divert attention away from the bigger one. Bribery and corruption are such ugly words."

Back again to the New York study, there's some decent coverage of it in The Inquirer.

It is an interesting turn of fate that sees US legislators recommend dismantling a vital means for Microsoft to hold its dominant world position in desktop software, yet make those same US commercial interests central to the nascent international document standard, while ensuring a powerful lobby of the ISO in the interests of US government.


Looking back a little further, you can find this formal response [PDF] from the ODF Alliance. It was quoted widely in the media.

The ODF Alliance today greeted with scepticism Microsoft's announcement of its intention to include support for the OpenDocument Format in the first half of 2009. "The proof will be whether and when Microsoft's promised support for ODF is on par with its support for its own format. Governments will be looking for actual results, not promises in press releases," said Marino Marcich, managing director of the ODF Alliance.


Memories also return from OpenMalaysia which, needless to say, isn't too impressed by Microsoft's endless spin. Here's one for a chuckle.

Then a few weeks ago (April 2008), we had the famous words of Malaysia's very own Yasmin Mahmood, "The industry just wants to have the best innovation; they want to have the freedom of choice. The whole idea is not about choosing, it's about having a choice ... and that is what customers and partners want."


Take a moment to think about this one.

OOXML Flaws



Here is yet another article which elaborates on Microsoft's technical difficulties with its own format. How can a company -- any company for that matter -- struggle to implement a specification that was derived from its own implementation in the first place?

Microsoft has admitted that it won't be adding support for the new OOXML standard in Office 2007 Service Pack 2 because of its complexity.


This says a lot about the volume of deficiencies in OOXML, does it not? We addressed such issues the other day (software bugs as a standard).

Schools



Microsoft's nightmare scenario is becoming more of a reality already. What's that nightmare, you ask? Consumer choice. Tenders and bids for government contracts. Should we not expect those to be the default choice and simply take them for granted? Limitation of choice has, for a long time, been on Microsoft's side.

“Limitation of choice has, for a long time, been on Microsoft's side.”For many years, Microsoft has relied on the fact that nothing "worked properly" unless you bought Microsoft Office. This enabled Microsoft to fix the prices, overcharge, exclude GNU/Linux (bar Wine), and persist with an iron fist attitude whenever features are requested, discounts seen as needed, or critical security patches craved for.

We mentioned the following development in a hurry (and thus very briefly) a couple of days ago. Now comes this article from the British press about the opening of doors that could soon bring Free software to more schools, or at least facilitate choice.

Officially sanctioned open source and free-to-use software could be in use across the UK education system within months after government education agency Becta issued a tender for a four-year framework agreement.

Becta is looking for up to 10 software suppliers to participate in the €£80m framework that will launch in October. This will replace its software licensing framework, in place since April 2005.

The contract notice says: “We are particularly seeking suppliers which can provide a comprehensive choice of software solutions including appropriate open source and free-to-use alternatives and advise users on best-value licensing.”

Solutions should be cost-effective, but provide freedom of choice, said a Becta spokeswoman.

“We’re providing guidance on the educational elements and looking for suppliers that can provide comprehensive choice,” she said.


There are still some important questions to be answered. For example, would Microsoft charge for an Office and Windows licence covering all computers regardless of what's actually installed on them?

The following other article wrongly gives credit to Microsoft, as if the company did something because of kindness. In fact, it has done pretty much nothing other than tossing some words in blogs and a press release. We shall see how that vapourware comes along [1, 2, 3, 4], but we won't know for sure any time soon, will we? Maybe in 2009. Maybe later. Microsoft rarely delivers anything on time and excuses are the marketing model.

In a development that could make it easier for schools to use cheaper, open technologies instead of proprietary programs, Microsoft said it will make its Office 2007 software compatible with the OpenDocument Format (ODF).


Assuming they deliver at all. Can't wait for Longhorn (due by 2003)!

South Africa Revisited



Microsoft must really, really hate (or be afraid of) South Africa at the moment. The insults are very telling and the formal complaint which soon followed put some dark clouds over OOXML. Yesterday we argued that South Africa could soon find other nations joining the opposition, following its lead and its example in a way.

Norway, for instance, has just revealed, due to South Africa serving a blow to Microsoft, that it's working to reverse its vote and the same type of action is considered or already taken in other countries whose post mortems reveal evidence of corruption too compelling to ignore. The embargo proposal is still on and Microsoft's popularity very low in Europe.

If you wish to know more about South Africa's impact on OOXML, then have a look at the following new articles (listed in no special order).

This is from Glyn Moody:

When the ISO vote was “won” by OOXML, many spoke of challenging the result, but nobody actually took that step. Until now...

[...]

Also worth noting here is the growing stature of the South African computer community in terms of standing up for open standards and open source, which is great to see. I don't think it's a coincidence that Microsoft's Jason Matusow has recently attacked the South African government for its policies on computer procurement – a sure sign they're doing something right.


Andy's post was among the first few to highlight this development and Groklaw commented further on it:

I wonder if this is why Microsoft suddenly decided to support ODF, to avoid being shut out completely pending the appeal. Might other national bodies be considering doing the same thing? Stay tuned.

[...]

So. OOXML is not currently an official standard? I think that is what this means. It will take months, at least, I believe, to resolve this. So, to me the ODF support announcement by Microsoft yesterday suddenly makes sense. I wrote a bit about the appeal process here, if you want to review it. In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it ain't over till it's over.


Quite a lot in these South African affairs has had to do with economics, stereotypes, and imperialism. At verge and risk of crossing over to non-technical aspects of this, consider another noteworthy comment.

South Africa has done what many other countries (presumably through corruption or laziness) have so far failed to do - call out the obvious. I guess a country like South Africa that was denied freedom for so long, truly values freedom for the same reason, while the rest of us just take it for granted.


To quote a comment from Ed landaveri (posted in our site a couple of hours ago):

   “Africa (and the whole Third World) needs Microsoft lik    it needed colonialism.” Mr. Paul Saunders

"Matusow is only reflecting his bosses a band of scared tyrants afraid of people waking up to real freedom. Matsulow have entered into history along side many idiots who spoke of racial superiority or justified genocide. The only dumbs in SA and the whole world are the ones who could swallow Matusow’s rhetoric." he said.

Comments

Recent Techrights' Posts

Giving the False Impression That the R blogosphere is Microsoft's Microcosm
Curation that culls "astrotrufing" isn't censorship but quality control for relevance
WikiLeaks Wonders: Major Leaks That Shook the Worlds
Published 14 hours ago
No Outage Here
Microsoft seems to have lost control of the narrative
Microsoft Has Managed to Make GNU/Linux Users Scared of Updating Their GNU/Linux PCs (Thanks to UEFI 'Secure' Boot's Boosters!)
How many people know who's responsible for this mess?
 
Links 21/07/2024: Extreme Heat and Fortescue Layoffs
Links for the day
GNU/Linux Lifted Up 0.03% Closer to 4.5% "Market Share" (or 50% More Than a Year Ago)
How many businesses and homes are permanently giving up on Windows after recent days' events?
High Adoption Rates for GNU/Linux in Albania, According to statCounter
Albania has been a central point of some GNOME and diversity scandals
It'll Soon Be Half a Decade Since COVID-19's Breakout, We Still Need Verified Facts (Not Corporate Dogma) and Proper Media Reporting
COVID-19 has meant different things to different people
For the First Time, Microsoft's "Market Share" in North Macedonia Falls to Only a Quarter
Microsoft only has Windows
Evan Versus Julian
Published by Julian Assange's wife some hours ago
What The Internet Can Achieve When Put in the Hands of the Good People and Not Censored by the People Who Already Control the Mass Media
albeit Wikileaks put that in social control media owned and controlled by oligarchs
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 20, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, July 20, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
[Meme] Hate Speech
This is also what makes TikTok so dangerous
Shark-infected Water on the Web
Don't turn Gemini into another "Web"
OpenHarmony, HarmonyOS Next, Deepin, Kylin, and openKylin: How China's Various Manoeuvres Away From Windows Get Covered in the West
Kylin was openly based on Ubuntu
Links 20/07/2024: Tesla's UK Lawsuit for 5G Patents Licence Thrown Out by UK Court, Censorship Examples Surface
Links for the day
Gemini Links 20/07/2024: Why Sleep Is So Important, Bot Problems Online
Links for the day
[Meme] Truth Hurts
"Saying that I physically assaulted women is 'defamation'"
Techrights Turns 18 in About 3 Months
Nothing can stop us
When (Software) Freedom is the Goal
Freedom of thought also
Expect Many More Microsoft Layoffs After the Latest Windows Outages (Bonus: More Media Says Microsoft Has Cut Half the Staff in Nigeria)
after the latest worldwide blunder we can expect many businesses to gradually ditch Windows
Today GNU/Linux Broke All-Time Record in statCounter Again
Expect more people to hop over to GNU/Linux after the Windows fiasco
Joab Jackson and "The New Stack" Publishing Microsoft Spam (E.E.E. Against Linux) for a Payment From Microsoft
It's not a real news site
Links 20/07/2024: Patents on Software Squashed, Further Attacks on Independent News Sites
Links for the day
Links 20/07/2024: Shopping Mall in Southwestern China and New Health Crises
Links for the day
Microsoft/Windows Has Fallen Well Below 1% (Now 0.7%) in American Samoa
statCounter Sees Microsoft Windows at Below 1% in American Samoa
The Thelio Mega Is a Dual-GPU Linux Supercomputer
System76 sells many desktops and laptops built to run Linux. The company has now revealed its new high-powered Linux desktop, the Thelio Mega
[Meme] "System of a Down"
The latest international catastrophe kills people
Geminispace Growing and Getting More Free (Independent)
Because self-signed certificates are the way to go
Why Microsoft is Laying Off So Many People in Nigeria
Nigeria is a place Microsoft has lost
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 19, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, July 19, 2024
Gemini Links 20/07/2024: Gopher Catchup and Old Computer Challenge
Links for the day
Microsoft Lays Off Half of Its Workforce in Nigeria
Microsoft continues to implode in Africa
Links 19/07/2024: Microsoft Breaks Down and Amdocs Has 1,500-3,000 More Layoffs
Links for the day
Washington's WARN Site/Portal (That Excludes Many Microsoft Layoffs) is Now Down for Many Hours, Microsoft Causes Major Outages and Incidents Worldwide (Even Deaths)
The mass layoffs (lots of them in Azure since 2020) probably worsen resilience and security some more
UEFI 'Secure Boot' Once Again Bricking PCs and Fake Security Models Are Perishing in Geminispace
Let's Encrypt has just fallen again
[Meme] Conservative (and Fake) Nuclear Physicist Bill Gates
Didn't even graduate from college, media treats him like a world-renowned expert in nuclear energy
The Gemini Capsule of Tux Machines Turns 2 in Six Days
Many people actually use Gemini, some participate in it by creating their own capsule (or capsules)
GNU/Linux Rises to 4% in Saudi Arabia, Says statCounter, Windows Has Fallen to 11% (Android Exceeds 60%)
Microsoft might soon fall below 10% in KSA (Saudi Arabia)
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 18, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, July 18, 2024
GNU/Linux news for the past day
GNU/Linux news for the past day
1901 Days in High-Security Prison (and 8 More Years in Severe Confinement) for the 'Crime' of Exposing War Crimes and Corruption
Julian Assange clip
Opensource.org = Microsoft Lobbying (Openwashing)
Here's the latest pair of blog posts
In Northern Mariana Islands, Where Julian Assange Pled Guilty 4 Weeks Ago, Windows Remains Second to Android, and GNU/Linux Still Grows in Oceania
It was the first month ever that statCounter saw more Web requests there from Android than from Windows
If GitLab Gets Sold (Datadog and Google Named Among Potential Buyers), It'll Prove Our Point About GitLab
Beware the bait on the hook