Bonum Certa Men Certa

Japanese ODF Standard Released, Alex Brown Seemingly Attacks OOXML Dissent (Again)

Japan in sky



Summary: Several more advancements for ODF and another eye-opening reminder that poorer countries are discriminated against by the Microsoft-faithful crowd

LAST week we wrote about Slovakia and ODF. Supporters of open standards should be pleased to know that the international standard, ODF, is gaining ground very rapidly. Here is a small update from Slovakia: "SK committee for e-standards if the government agreed to change ODF 1.0 to ODF any version up to 1.2 (1.0,1.1,1.2)..."



And it's not just Slovaks who are likely to enjoy the ability to access and share documents from almost any office suite. In Japan too there is great progress, as Murata says that the Japanese standard for ODF is finally released: "The ODF JIS has been approved finally. We trust in better maintenace by SC34/WG6 and the ODF TC..."

“The ODF JIS has been approved finally. We trust in better maintenace by SC34/WG6 and the ODF TC...”
      --Dr. Murata
Fellow countrymen spread the word even further, but SC34/WG6 cannot be trusted for maintenance. We'll come to this in a moment. One person from elsewhere says: "Good to see some practical changes -- more colleagues will be using ODF format for docs, so much better for cross platform"

Another person argues that "we need to specific data format (e.g., ODF) not software suite"

This brings us to some ugly stuff involving Microsoft's “Insider Friend, ‘the Fox’”, whose name in this case is Alex Brown. He has done a lot to deserve people's disdain [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] because he seems more interested in Microsoft's interests than in standards.

Several months ago Microsoft tried to kick IBM/Weir out of the ODF TC (technical committee). Jomar Silva, who helped expose the mischiefs of Alex Brown and his beloved Microsoft, is now being pressured out (along with his country) by Alex Brown. [same article in Portuguese]

Alex Brown wants Brazil out of the ISO !



As if the dirty things he did with Brazil during the OpenXML BRM in ISO wasn’t sufficient, now Alex Brown suggests in his blog that Brazil shouldn’t be a SC34 member at JTC1. Reason: Brazil did not send delegates to the SC34 WG’s meeting in Paris last week!


Brazilian people are rightly furious [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Microsoft and its minions would love to push resistance out of the table, leaving just the corrupt and the rich (some of the former funded by the latter) to discuss matters, all at the exclusion of the developing nations that dared to file formal complaints to ISO. In turn, ISO, which is also run by the rich and the corrupt, rudely threw away all these complaints.

Speaking of this Microsoft-stuffed [1, 2, 3, 4] SC34 meeting in Paris, Mary McRae from OASIS writes to Alex Brown that he "went to Paris and ate too many croissants. Washed down with brandy."

Brown was baffled by it because he does not get British humour [1, 2, 3] (yes, it's rather ironic) and Aslam from South Africa (which filed the first complaint to ISO) said that he "would watch the BRM re-run RT @fiberartisan: @BartHanssens #oasis I think some of them would make better reality TV shows..."

Boycott Novell has good record of the corruption that occurred at the BRM, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. Speaking of which, one reader sent us these thoughts a few days ago, in reference to Microsoft crime and inability to serve the industry:

Dumped in a landfill is even less ceremonious than dumping in a mass grave.

Where there are Microsoft partners and distributors, there are Microsoft products and the One Microsoft Way of thinking:

How much can be attributed to Sharepoint? LSE didn't have much luck with Sharepoint. It'd be hard to imagine that a smaller budget would have better luck specially if they're so ideologically driven as to ignore the established, faster, cheaper, better, easier FOSS solutions.


Another reader wishes to remind people of the real history of Microsoft Office, which Microsoft sympathisers try to rewrite:

Here's a subtle piece of Microsoft Revisionism.

Ah, now I see, it's Joe Wilcox. This kind of thing is typical of his flamebait that I'd rather not draw attention to, but I thought I'd share my analysis.

While pretending to analyze a Microsoft failure, he creates a false impression of their products excellence as a means of success:

"Microsoft Office achieved two important goals by the mid 1990s. Established format standards that resolved problems sharing documents created by disparate products. Ensured that Microsoft file formats would become the adopted desktop productivity standards."

Office did not work then and it does not work now. The success of Microsoft Office was the end result of hardware economics and targeted dumping. In the late 80s and early 90s, IBM hardware was all most people could afford and Microsoft made sure it came with nothing but Microsoft DOS. Microsoft did a good job of getting Office to people who would be in a position to ram it down other people's throat. Those who actually did the work preferred Word Perfect and other superior products. I saw this every place I worked at the time. They used the same kind of panel stuffing that they would later brag about in their training documents and that was so obvious in the OOXML ISO process.

Wilcox should know better than this and actually includes the information he needs in the same article,

"'Browsing the Web, you find almost no Microsoft file formats,' Gates wrote. He observed not seeing a single Microsoft file format 'after 10 hours of browsing...'"

Yes, in 1995 people with a clue were using other things. They still are today and, thanks to the Internet, we can derail Microsoft corruption. In all that time, despite great effort, Microsoft has yet to destroy Adobe's document formats that actually work. It's not from lack of trying, it's from lack of product that works. Wilson ignores the rise of in house Wikis as a replacement for the usual, tedious Microsoft network and emailed revision train wreck.

Wilcox goes on to cover up Microsoft's failure at "Consumer" as some kind of ordered retreat. In the last ten years Microsoft has wasted tens of billions of dollars trying to dominate media distribution. Windows Media Center, Zune, Xbox, various forms of Microsoft TV have all been colossal technical failures. In the competitive consumer market, where stacked panels don't work, Microsoft was unable to win despite some key hardware format victories. Every cheap music player in the world works with Windows media formats but very few will do ogg vorbis, flac and other superior and royalty free formats. Microsoft blew that tremendous advantage with obnoxious digital restrictions and software that everyone hated. They failed there for the same reason they are failing elsewhere, Microsoft is just not competitive.


Watch what Microsoft is doing right now to people who try to do their job and cover events:

Microsoft PR outlaws iPhone talk



A Microsoft manager created a bit of a fuss by advising a journalist not to mention the iPhone at a Microsoft event in Germany, betraying frayed nerves in the MS camp.

The journalist was apparently guilty of expressing his opinion that no mobile phone was easier to use than an iPhone. We might disagree with that opinion*, but we wouldn't demand he stop mentioning Apple products, as one Microsoft manager did.


This would not be the first time that Microsoft behaves in this way.

We wish not to end with a negative tone, so here is some good OpenOffice.org news, which ought to reflect positively on ODF too.

There are some nice (and rather major) changes coming to OpenOffice.org and KOffice too is supporting ODF with Nokia's help and in collaboration with OpenOffice.org. The replies in posts like this one bode well for ODF and one person has published the article which is titled "ODF - The Future of Literate Programming?"

Which brings me to the 'what if' question. What if we leveraged the fact that there is now a non-proprietary standard XML representation for richly formatted office documents called ODF[2]. What if we used ODF compatible tools like OpenOffice[3] to write our programs? How would we extract the lines of code to feed to our compilers? We could just use paragraph styles that indicate Èfeed this to the compilerÉ.

For documentation, an embarrassment of riches would then be instantly available. We could use level heading to split up the code/documentation into hierarchical chunks. We could generate tables of contents from these level headings. We could insert pictures wherever we need them along with tables, cross references, index entries and so on. Heck we could even embed spreadsheets, photographs taken of white-boards at planning meetings, the whole shebang.

WYSIWYG literate programming with ODF? I do not see why not.


OpenOffice.org plans to reach a broader market under the slogan "open for business":

Open for Business logo couple of years ago we came up with a slogan for OpenOffice.org – Open for Business – to get across a couple of messages:

* OpenOffice.org software may be used by commercial businesses completely free of any licence fees * OpenOffice.org software is also a great platform to build businesses around – training providers, systems integrators, PC manufacturers to name but a few


With OpenOffice.org 3.1.1 already out there, the Sun engineers are testing version 3.2 and publishing their results.

Automated tests on milestone OO320m7 are finished. Automated testing team reported a 'green state' for all automated tests. Just a small problem in w_updt.bas bother the consistent picture of all platforms marked green in QUASTe. This issue wasn't easy to find but at the end we solved the problem in showstopper CWS 'jl146' with issue 107038. Depending on desktop respectively OpenOffice.org window size the document is middle or left aligned with automatic view layout (which is default). This lead to the problem sometimes the objects in writer document were drawn outside of the documents area by autotest. Finally we found and fixed it by correcting view layout before testcases run. Some additional minor fixes for more stability were also done in this CWS. Punctually with release of RC1 next week the autotests are expected to deliver a 'green state' on initial testrun.


IBM has published this new article about ODF and lpOD (first mentioned here) has a new release, in addition to this new release of odsPhpGenerator.

odsPhpGenerator is a small and easy library to generate OpenDocument Spreadsheets. It requires only PHP 5.0, DOM, and zip support.


Projects that support ODF just carry on coming. So, all in all, the real standard is winning.

"ISO is dead for software standards. Do you need an official funeral?"

--Benjamin Henrion, FFII

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