06.04.09

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“ODF is Going to Be National Standard for Document[s] in Vietnam Too”

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 8:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vietnam flag at How Lung Bay

Summary: It may only be a matter of time before ODF acceptance is widespread in east Asia

THIS morning we wrote about Hungary's embrace of ODF and it became an opportunity for some further discussion.

Earlier today, around the afternoon to be precise, someone from Vietnam wrote to me: “ODF is going to be national standard for document in Vietnam too, if nothing wrong happens (like MS lobby the gov etc…)

Vietnam made explicit promises that it would migrate all systems to Free software shortly, but given Microsoft’s dirty tricks in Vietnam [1, 2], the results remain to be seen. Microsoft does not tolerate competition.

Another place where we previously saw a movement towards Free software got totally hijacked by Microsoft cronies and overwhelmed by corruption. Now it is publishing an ODF-hostile report. That place is Massachusetts and Glyn Moody reports about their report.

One of the key moments in the rise of open source was when Massachusetts announced that it was adopting an open standards policy for documents.

Since this was a gauntlet flung down for the dominant supplier in this space, Microsoft, it was inevitable that a battle of epic proportions would result. In fact, it turned out to be a very dirty fight, degenerating into ad hominem attacks on the person behind this move to open standards.

[...]

This is certainly a fair point: when Massachusetts opted for open standards, ODF was the only option, but was still somewhat rough. In particular, OpenOffice.org was the only full implementation of ODF.

[...]

To call this “lock-in” is even more misleading: since there is no lock-in with one open source implementation, there is even less when there are multiple open source solutions, albeit imperfect. Unless, of course, you want to call it a lock-in to freedom.

In fact, this obsession with perfect interoperability misses another crucial point, which is that there will *never* be anything like a perfectly-compatible solution with Microsoft’s OOXML, given the 6000 pages of documentation, and the presence of opaque binary blobs. Compared to that situation, ODF is *already* far better, in that there are multiple solutions with good, if not 100%, interoperability.

As Microsoft itself admitted (see the quote below for example), is hasn’t intentions of actually implementing OOXML. It continues to take a proprietary route, so to adopt OOXML is to put faith in a dummy (or pseudo-standard) which required crime to almost validate.

“It’s hard for Microsoft to commit to what comes out of Ecma [the European standards group that has already OK’d OOXML] in the coming years, because we don’t know what direction they will take the formats. We’ll of course stay active and propose changes based on where we want to go with Office 14. At the end of the day, though, the other Ecma members could decide to take the spec in a completely different direction. … Since it’s not guaranteed, it would be hard for us to make any sort of official statement.”

Brian Jones, Microsoft

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