Bonum Certa Men Certa

AbiWord's Embrace of OpenDocument Format Increased, Gets Funding from NLnet

AbiWord as ODF



NLnet has already funded ODF support in KOffice [1, 2, 3]. After all, Holland had adopted ODF as a national standard and many implementations of the standard were required. Now they are funding further ODF improvements in AbiWord.

The AbiWord project has announced that NLnet is providing funding to facilitate the development of improved OpenDocument (ODF) filters in AbiWord. This will increase the program's compatibility with the format and boost its interoperability with OpenOffice.org (OOo).


Why not OOXML? Well, apart from the fact that OOXML is associated with Microsoft corruption, it is a format that only Microsoft can implement (but won't) and it's a Windows-only format. Here for example is a new discussion about OOXML DRM:

Here is a plea to the OO.o developers who work on OOXML compatibility:

1. Please speak clearly whether the publicly available information about the ISO-approved OOXML format is sufficient for you to implement its DRM-related features. 2. Please speak clearly whether you are sure of your legal safety in implementing OOXML's DRM-related features.

Please say it loudly in your blogs or emails, in as non-technical terms as possible. Then we will turn around and show your opinions to the confused governments and journalists who still believe Microsoft's claim that OOXML is an open format, and put an end to that lie.


DRM is a disabler of competition. That's why companies like Microsoft love it; it's not just a fetish of the media moguls.

A scarcely-known fact is that in many E-mails inside Microsoft, the competitive threat of online office suites was realised over a decade ago, and it could potentially be suppressed using proprietary document formats and control of Web browsers (with subjugation of users and Web standards).

There is a famous joke which says that "80% of Office users only use 20% of the features." Well, here is an interesting bit from the latest antitrust trial [PDF]. Microsoft writes:

The Competition



It is both rewarding and scary to look at the current competitive landscape. We can all feel some sense of vindication in the fact that the internet did not cause the immediate death of Office and that so far no one is running Java applets that do the “right 20%” of Office-yet. We can take a moment to gloat, though only a moment as we still have traditional competitors and competition at the LORG level is still there though not as directly...

We must not lose sight of the fact that our biggest competitor continues to be our existing products and the inertia they have. The cost and pain of upgrading still overwhelms any sense of benefit we seem to be able to communicate to customers...


Of course, these days we have office suites which capitalise on JavaScript and do neat things that satisfy the needs of those legendary 80% of users. Microsoft fights this with FUD (perception), just like it says in its manual.

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