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ODF Alliance Newsletter: February 2009

Courtesy of Marino Marcich, ODF Alliance (18 February 2010)

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DENMARK OPTS FOR ODF

Beginning 1 April 2011 governmental authorities in Denmark will be required to send and receive documents in formats designated in a list now including ODF. ODF is unique as the only editable document format listed in the decision of the Danish Parliament. To the extent Danish government authorities publish editable documents on their home pages, they must also do so using ODF and, optionally, using other document formats that may be included on the list at a later date. For a format to be included on the list, a five-part “openness” test was developed. This included a requirement that any other format considered for inclusion be interoperable with the existing standard on the list, meaning that it must be interoperable with ODF. For non-editable published documents PDF/A-1 is listed. The action 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.




OPEN STANDARDS A “FIRST-CHOICE” SOLUTION FOR SWEDEN'S E-GOVERNMENT STRATEGY

Citing the opportunities for long-term cost reductions, the avoidance of lock-in and dependence on individual suppliers, a government-appointed group of senior officials, the so-called E-Government Delegation ("E-Delegationen" in Swedish), has recommended that Sweden make open standards a "first-choice" solution in the public administration. ODF is specifically referenced as an example of an open standard, the designation of which is included in the list of actions that the E-Delegation recommends should be carried out by the end of 2014. The report – "Strategy on the work of the Public Agencies in the field of eGovernment" – proposes ways of increasing the efficiency of the Swedish public administration and promoting societal innovation through eGovernment.




OOXML UNSUITABLE FOR USE BY NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT, ACCORDING TO STUDY

A study published by Norway's Agency for Public Administration and ICT ("Direktoratet for forvaltning og IKT") has concluded that OfficeOpen XML (OOXML) is not suitable for use by the Norwegian government. Among the reasons cited were the lack of alternative office applications able to process and edit docx files in a satisfactory manner, OOXML's unsuitability for collaboration, and its “unstable” nature given the number of changes to the format currently being considered. Norway recently affirmed its policy that, beginning 1 January 2011, it will be obligatory to use ODF when exchanging editable files between government institutions and users, PDF/A for non-editable (read-only) files, and HTML for publication of public information on government websites.




OBAMA ADMINSTRATION GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO OPEN FORMATS

U.S. federal government agencies will soon be required to make information available in open formats. According to the Open Government Directive issued by the Obama Administration, each agency will be required to “take prompt steps to expand access to information by making it available online in open formats...…..To the extent practicable and subject to valid restrictions, agencies should publish information online in an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and searched by commonly used web search applications.” An open format is defined in the directive as one that is platform independent, machine readable, and made available to the public without restrictions that would impede the re-use of that information. Within 45 days of the publication of the directive on 8 December 2009, each agency was required to identify and publish online in an open format at least three high-value data sets. Agencies are required to produce a first draft of an Open Government Plan by April 2010.




ODF APPROVED FOR USE BY SLOVAK GOVERNMENT

Slovakia has approved amendments to a decree on the use of standards for information systems in the public administration. Government bodies in Slovakia must now be able to receive text documents in ODF, PDF 1.3, RTF and HTML. They may publish documents in any of these formats, though PDF is preferred. For intra-governmental document exchange, the use of DOC will continue to be allowed, though its use as a format for published documents is explicitly prohibited. A working group of the Committee for Information Systems in the Ministry of Interior was able to reach agreement on the amendments to the decree, which is legally binding and took effect 1 February 2010.




UK GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT OPEN STANDARDS BASED SOLUTIONS, ODF

In a refresh of the “Open Source, Open Standards and Software Re-Use: Government Action Plan,” part of the Government’s ICT Strategy, the UK has reiterated its support for open standards and ODF. According to the plan, the UK government will use open standards in its procurement specifications and require solutions to comply with open standards. Regarding formats, the government “will support the use of HTML(ISO/IEC 15445:2000), Open Document Format (ISO/IEC 26300:2006) as well as emerging open versions of previously proprietary standards (eg ISO 3200001:2008 (“PDF”) and ISO/IEC 29500 (“OfficeOpen XML formats”). It will work to ensure that government information is available in open formats, and it will make this a required standard for government websites.” The strategy applies to all of the UK public sector, whether central government, local government, wider public sector or devolved administrations.




HUNGARY TO MAKE OPEN STANDARDS MANDATORY

The use of open standards in public-sector infrastructure will now be mandatory in Hungary. According to an amendment passed by the Hungarian Parliament on the law governing electronic public services (Act LX of 2009), open standards are now required in electronic communication conducted through the central governmental system between public administrative bodies, public utility companies, citizens, and private entities, who may comply on a voluntary basis. The modification was supported by the Open Standards Alliance and ODFA Hungary.




ASSAM GOVERNMENT TO CREATE AND STORE DOCUMENTS IN ODF

The Government of Assam’s policy requiring government departments and bodies to ensure adherence to ODF in creating and storing editable documents has now come into force with the publication of the state IT policy on 4 August 2009. Open source also received a major boost under the new policy, which commits the government to promote the use of and workforce training in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in all public bodies in Assam, India's fourteenth largest state.




MUNICH COMPLETES MIGRATION TO ODF

ODF is now Munich's primary internal document exchange format, with PDF used for non-editable files. According to the deputy leader of LiMux, the city's project for migrating its 14,000 workstations to free software, the migration involved 20,000 templates that were consolidated and converted into new templates, macros or web applications. The standard workstation for Bavaria's capital and Germany's third largest city now consists of OpenOffice, Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird.




NEW YORK STATE TO HOLD OPEN GOVERNMENT SUMMIT

The New York State Chief Information Officer/Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) and the NY State Archives will host the Open Government Summit in Albany, NY, on March 19, 2010. The one day summit will address the many hot-button issues in the “open government” discussion, including the meaning of “open government” in the digital age, operationalizing digital openness, and archival implications of digital records. A report published by CIO/OFT in May 2008 – "A Strategy for Openness: Enhancing E-Records Access in New York State" – recommended that the state identify open formats as a technology feature specifically desired by the state and integrate the acquisition of this feature of openness into the state's technology planning and procurement processes. More information concerning how to register to attend the Summit will be available shortly.




AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT 2.0 TASK FORCE ENDORSES OPEN-STANDARDS BASED APPROACH TO PUBLIC-SECTOR INFORMATION

Starting with the premise that "public-sector information is a national resource, and that releasing as much of it on as permissive terms as possible will maximize its economic and social value and reinforce a healthy democracy," the Australian Government 2.0 Task Force, in its report “Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0,” has recommended that public-sector information should be free, based on open standards, easily discoverable, machine-readable and freely reusable.




SPAIN TO PROPOSE GOVERNMENT-WIDE STANDARDS FOR INTEROPERABILITY

Spain’s national interoperability framework for eGovernment (“Esquema Nacional de Interoperabilidad en el ámbito de la Administración Electrónica”), published 29 January 2010 by decree in the country’s official journal, establishes criteria and recommendations, together with the specific principles necessary to enable and encourage the development of interoperability in public administrations. They include the development at a later date of a catalog of technical standards that will enforceable by the government, the selection of which will be based on specific criteria set out in the decree. Public administrations are encouraged under the framework to use open standards and, where appropriate, standards that are widely used by citizens to ensure freedom of choice from competing technologies. It is recommended that documents and other electronic administrative services be made available via open standards under conditions satisfying the principle of technological neutrality.




PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD BEGINS FOR ODF 1.2, PART 1

Potential users, developers and others, whether OASIS members or not, are invited to comment on ODF 1.2, Part 1, which defines an XML schema for office applications and its semantics. The 60-day public review period ending 26 March 2010 is necessary before a Committee Draft can be approved as a Committee Specification and ultimately as an OASIS Standard. The public review period for ODF 1.2, Part 3, which included digital signature support and an RDF-based metadata framework, among other significant enhancements, ended 12 January 2010. The public comment period for Part 2 (OpenFormula for spreadsheets) is next on the agenda.




ODF OLYMPIAD ENTERS FINAL STAGE

Students from schools across India, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Indonesia are participating in the ODF Olympiad. The contest, supported by The Knowledge Commons, Sun Microsystems, IIT Delhi, IIM Ahmedabad, Malaysia Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), Bangladesh Open Source Network, Free Software Foundation and the ODF Alliance, required students to submit presentations on 9 November 2009 on specific topics using the ODF format (.odp). The submissions are now being evaluated by a jury in each country based on specific criteria. Winners from each of the countries will then compete against each other for the Software Freedom Trophy for their respective school and other prizes, including netbooks and other high-tech gadgets.




NEW OR IMPROVED ODF APPS SUPPORT



Box.net, a web-based service for accessing and sharing content, has launched a new integrated file view feature allowing users to view various file types, including ODF, without ever leaving their browser.

OfficeReader is an open source viewer of ODF files for Symbian phones.

Office Viewer for the Nokia N900 mobile device supports text files, spreadsheets and presentations in ODF.

Blackberry Enterprise Server 5.0 now provides support for .ods and .odp files on Blackberry devices.

Sun PDF Import Extension for OpenOffice 3.0 or above allows you to import and modify PDF documents.

Abl2Extract v6.0 is the latest version of the data conversion tool allowing you to convert PDFs to ODF and other editable file formats.

ODT2DAISY, which enables export of ODF documents to the DAISY Talking Book Format for people with visual impairments, is now available for OpenOffice 3.0 and higher.

OfficeShots, now in public beta, is an initiative of the OpenDoc Society and the Netherlands in Open Connection (NOiV) program of the Dutch government. The web service generates the output of an ODF file using various office applications, enabling the user to check for interoperability issues.

ODF Import imports ODF files into drupal nodes. Future releases will support other ODF formats as well as importing styles from an ODF file.

Open Search Server v1.1, the first stable version of the free Web and document search engine, now includes ODF support in addition to other major enhancements.

ODF-XSLT Document Generator is a library written in PHP 5 that brings the full power of XSLT to your ODF files.

odtPHP, now in version 1.0, is a PHP API that allows you to generate automatically ODF text files from templates.

JasperReports 3.5, an embeddable Java reporting library for developers, now outputs to multiple formats including ODF.

Atlantis Word Processor project announced it will implement support for ODF.

KOffice 2.1, the latest version of the open source office suite now available on the Mac, Windows and Linux, offers better support for ODF, including improved handling of lists and embedded objects.

AbiWord v2.8.2, the latest release of the word processor, includes improved support for ODF.

IBM's Lotus Symphony 3.0 beta 2 has been launched with improved ODF support.

OpenOffice.org 3.2, the latest version of the open source office suite, is now available for download.

Tables 1.5.4 , a spreadsheet for the Mac OS X, offers improved import and export of ODF files.

Gnumeric 1.10, the latest version of the GNOME Office spreadsheet application with improved ODF support, is now available for download.




NEW ODF ALLIANCE MEMBERS



Please welcome the following new ODF Alliance members: Hunt MOT Wandsworth (UK); Dorsey Metrology International (USA); GemaButiks AB (Sweden); IENSIS Instituto Tecnologico Computacional (Brazil); Jura Magazin (Germany); Ashborne Photograpy (UK); New Format AB (Sweden); Inurface Digital Signage (UK); Council Website Design (UK); Abstroose (UK); Retshjælpsselskabet s.m.b.a. (Denmark); Intire Property Management (UK); New-Report (Germany); Quimifactor (Brazil); Datasoft Solutions (Malaysia); Proyecto GNU Venezuela; PC Masters (Germany); Universidade de Estado do Pará (Brazil); Instituto Permaish (Brazil); and Jaya Engineering College (India).




ODF IN THE NEWS



Open Norway: Norwegian Broadcasting Moves to OpenOffice and ODF [Linux Magazine]

European governments help increase ODF interoperability [Gijs Hillenius, OSOR.eu]

Dutch government launches ODF service [Sam Varghese, iTWire]

German government wants open standards and open source [OSOR.eu]

Netherlands Helps Denmark with Open IT [Jasper Bakker, IDG]

Bologna achieves vendor independence for its office applications [OSOR.eu]

Is OpenOffice.org a Threat? Microsoft Thinks So [Glyn Moody, Computerworld UK]

Microsoft EU dispute to last into 2010 [EurActiv]

Google: Firms can 'get rid' of Office in a year [Victoria Ho, ZDNet Asia]

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