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More OpenDocument News
Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 07:35 PM EDT

Marbux has collected some news items about OpenDocument for us, things that are too important to miss, and I didn't want to separate them by putting them one by one in News Picks, so here they are in a collection.


Marbux's News Picks

  • OpenDocument XML standard submitted.

    OASIS News reports that "OASIS has submitted the OpenDocument Format OASIS Standard to the ISO/IEC JTC1 (International Organization for Standardization International Electrotechnical Commission's Joint Technical Committee) for further approval as a de jure standard."

  • OpenDocument XML adopted in Australia.

    The Australian National Archive has selected OpenDocument XML for long-term storage of government documents. GovTech News also reports that Open Source Victoria has called for all remaining Australian government institutions to follow Massachusetts' lead in adopting OpenDocument XML:
    "Open Source Victoria congratulates the U.S. State of Massachusetts for taking the lead and acting to future-proof its electronic archives. We urge all Australian Governments, federal, state and local to do the same," said OSV spokesperson Donna Benjamin. "Doing so will greatly increase the likelihood that documents can be read and used in decades to come. It also guarantees there will be multiple sources for tools which read and write this format." . . .

    Benjamin explains the difference like this: "It's all about control. With OpenDocument, you are in control of what you do with your documents. With Microsoft Office, Microsoft is in control. Open standards in file formats mean that anyone can access the complete specification and implement software which can read and write OpenDocument files. Microsoft, by comparison, hides information because it wants to make sure people keep using its own office suite, and has embedded legal traps in the licence of its new Word XML format. We recommend that agencies move to OpenDocument, which has already been field-tested by tens of millions of users for five years."

  • Corel commits to WordPerfect support for OpenDocument XML.

    Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports on eWeek that Corel has announced WordPerfect will support OpenDocument XML, although Corel did not commit to a release date. WordPerfect 13 is due for release in early 2006. Corel participated in the development of the OpenDocument XML standard:

    "Suffice to say, Corel remains committed to working alongside OASIS and other technology vendors to ensure the continued evolution of the ODF standard and the adoption of open standards industry-wide," Wood [Greg Wood, communications manager for Corel WordPerfect] added.

    Still, he said, "it is not appropriate at this time for Corel to disclose its plans for OpenDocument in future versions of WordPerfect Office."

    At WordPerfect Universe, there is speculation among its cadre of close Corel watchers that the announcement also means WordPerfect may finally gain its long-promised support for Unicode.

  • Massachusetts ITD de-FUDs Microsoft comments.

    Massachusetts Information Technology Division has posted a FAQ that, without explicitly referring to them, de-FUDs Microsoft's comments on the Massachusetts OpenDocuments XML decision.

  • U.N. Group seeks comments on FOSS/Open Standards Primer.

    Comments have been requested on Free/Open Source Software: Open Standards Primer, a draft document issued by the International Open Source Network, an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Asia Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) and supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada. [The comment deadline was October 1 (previously was December 5), but it's possible that late submissions would be considered.] The document gives a fair amount of attention to OpenDocument XML and applications implementing it.

    This primer provides a rationale for the use of Open Standards in Government. Also in this primer is an overview of standards setting bodies and FOSS software and tools to create new content as well as migrate to solutions based on Open Standards.

    Many public institutions like government agencies and civil society organizations are obliged by new legislation to place information in the public domain. Unfortunately many of them are using proprietary format which require members of the public to purchase or illegally copy expensive proprietary software. This primer provides a rationale for the use of Open Standards in Government.

    The primer provides existing case studies on the polices and initiatives of goverments implementing open standards policies. It covers issues of patents and licensing issues with open standards implementations.

    You can even download the primer in OpenDocument XML format, among others.

  • With OpenDocument XML quickly gaining traction as a common file format, look for an explosion of web-based apps that can support that format on multiple platforms. Here's an example: , a LAMP web-based law office management solution that spits out data in OpenDocument XML format [English page]. It's optimized for practice in the European Union and Italy specifically, but is available in multiple languages including English.


More OpenDocument News | 148 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
You Colonials are so cute
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 07:41 PM EDT
There are *many* English-like languages, but please at least try to distinguish
between en-us and en-gb, because those of us who write apps sure have to do it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections Go HERE
Authored by: Weeble on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 07:49 PM EDT
Because we all make misteaks.

You Never Know What You're Going to Learn--or Learn About--on Groklaw!
(NOTE: Click the "Weeble" link for Copying Permissions and Contact Info.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic Stuff Goes HERE
Authored by: Weeble on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 07:53 PM EDT
1) Make links clickable, like this;
<a href="">CLICK ME</a>
2) Select "HTML Formatted" as Post Mode.
3) Click "Preview" and test your links before submitting
your comment.

You Never Know What You're Going to Learn--or Learn About--on Groklaw!
(NOTE: Click the "Weeble" link for Copying Permissions and Contact Info.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

How to start movement in Pennsylvania
Authored by: lightsail on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 08:19 PM EDT
Open Document is clearly the future of office/business digital communications.
XML will face the same attempts to be co-opted by proprietary software
Pennsylvania's government is fully vested in Microsoft software. It will take a
huge amount of change to move Pennsylvania away from Microsoft.
This is something that will take concerned effort from an organized group.
Any contacts or ideas?

Open source is in the public interest!

[ Reply to This | # ]

I Predict
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 08:37 PM EDT
Microsoft will cave, possibly by some indirect method, like hiring someone to
write a filter for OpenDocument or restricting its deployment with typical
license terms.

On the other hand, Sun may be able to write a closed source but freely
distributed filter/converter either standalone or for StarOffice/OpenOffice by
virtue of its technology agreement with Microsoft.

Rsteinmetz - IANAL therefore my opinions are illegal.

"I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
Randy Newman - The Title Theme from Monk

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 09:10 PM EDT
what's that on the wall. It looks like some kind writing. :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Hey... - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 10:15 PM EDT
    • Hey... - Authored by: John Hasler on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 10:44 PM EDT
    • They see it... - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 11:36 PM EDT
  • It makes you think - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, October 08 2005 @ 06:20 AM EDT
An Oddity?
Authored by: chaz_paw on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 09:30 PM EDT
I just downloaded a FAQ from MA, an odt by the way- opendocformfaqs.odt, and
could not read it with OpenOfficeWriter, but could with AbiWord. I wonder why? I
know there is an update to OOo, but it is so large that I have postponed it.

Maybe when my SuSE 10.0 comes in the mail...

Proud SuSE user since 07/26/04


[ Reply to This | # ]

What's wrong with proprietary formats?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 10:27 PM EDT
I am writing a college report that tells the Colorado government proprietary
formats are bad. Any suggestions welcome for my problem analysis. Academic
sources preferred. ;)


[ Reply to This | # ]
Authored by: Observer on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 10:47 PM EDT
I think that the last link is particularly interesting. It's an example of the kind of innovation a truly open standard can create. A Web based application that produces its output in OpenDocument format. I can only begin to imagine what kinds of applications might use this capability. Just as most database queries can be output as simple text CSV files, and then read in to a spreadsheet for further manipulation, OD format allows for several orders of magnitude greater complexity and sophistication of output. Who needs a clunky "mail merge" tool when the application can output the documents directly, fully customized to the recipient? Got a set of supporters for your organization you want to send news to? How about an application that searches an archive of news bits for keywords associated with each person and aggregates them into a series of customized News Letters?

I think we will find that the OpenDocument format will be to proprietary formats what Digital Printers were to old fashioned photocopiers.

The Observer

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS Office security
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 06 2005 @ 11:55 PM EDT
In the FAQ someone asks about using applications that aren't as secure as MS

I can imagine the poor soul trying to write the reply without taking several
laugh breaks... I can only think of two apps that are worse than MS Office for
security and those are IE and Outlook!

[ Reply to This | # ]

GB & US. Divided by a common language
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 07 2005 @ 02:16 AM EDT
I (an a past job) used to write Technical Documentation for a no longer existing
Computer Company. I kept getting my drafts rejected by the colonials in New
England because I used en-gb spellings for common words.
Their rejections stopped when I pointed out the my spelling was in Websters
along with their variants.
Then when the docs were published, the spellings were all US. The printers had
changed them.
This was particularly galling as the product the documentation was for was never
going to be sold in the USA and 90% of the feedback we got on the manuals
related to the use of US spelling where locally they used the UK version.

[ Reply to This | # ]

More OpenDocument News
Authored by: Pyro on Friday, October 07 2005 @ 06:20 AM EDT
"We recommend that agencies move to OpenDocument, which has already been field-tested by tens of millions of users for five years."

How have people been using it for 5 years when it's a fairly new standard?

I know that it's based on the document system, but "based on" doesn't mean the same as: I can't imagine anybody letting Microsoft getting away with saying that XP has been field-tested for 5 years because it's heavily based on Windows 2000.

Back off man, I'm a computer scientist

[ Reply to This | # ]

Truly significant events...
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Friday, October 07 2005 @ 10:00 AM EDT
...all hanging off that one decision. I think that in years to come, we will
still be referring back to that decision as the event that brought about

It needs a name.

What impresses me most is the *speed* at which things are happening now. Maybe
I'm just jaded by the glacial progress of SCO vs IBM.

Should one hear an accusation, first look to see how it might be levelled at the

[ Reply to This | # ]

Questions for anti-OpenDocument crowd
Authored by: k12linux on Friday, October 07 2005 @ 03:24 PM EDT
I would love to see MA come up with a companion to their FAQ. What do the
answers look like when the questions are pointed a decision to move to
MS-Office's XML format instead?

Won’t upgrading to an XML based MS-Office be costly, taking into account the
cost of training, licensing, migration implementation, etc?

Agencies currently own many licenses for MS Office. Won’t the considerable cost
of those licenses be wasted because MS refuses to add support for OpenDocument
to their software?

QUESTION: I’m concerned about the finances of our municipal governments. Won’t
they be required to buy a lot of new software to open the new XML format of the
new version of MS-Office?

Isn’t this a preferential procurement policy that will benefit a few non-local

Why are you making agencies deploy a single office product? Doesn’t state
procurement law require competition among vendors, which you will foreclose?

Doesn’t the MS-XML format requirement impose an unfair and unnecessary state
procurement preference? The proposed policy allows only certain products to be
used. This proposed policy simply promotes the use of a narrow group of
unproven software products for viewing and storing documents.

Won’t implementation of MS-XML hurt the local software industry and benefit only

Doesn’t a change to MS-XML ignore the practical reality that there are millions
of documents in MS and other formats?

Why are you promoting MS-XML, an immature format? (One that is not implemented
in any released software at this time?

Isn’t it true that future readability of MS-Office documents is not guaranteed?

Migrating to applications supporting the MS-XML format represents an enormous
technical challenge.

Why are you allowing the MS XML schema, when it is not as open as other ratified

Why are you adopting the MS-XML format when both it and current formats are not
completely available to all of those making public records and other document

Many state agencies currently rely on Microsoft Office (hereinafter “MS Office”)
binary .doc format. Adoption of the MS-XML format could cause difficulty in
daily office function. How will agencies share documents smoothly with other
agencies, municipalities, citizens, businesses, and other government agencies?

If the MS-XML format is adopted, won’t state agencies need to work with
private sector organizations and citizens on a case-by-case basis to work out
ways to convert documents back and forth and to troubleshoot problems? The
impact of this process on critical agencies like those within the Executive
Office of Human Services who depend on the interoperability of their respective
IT systems with other branches of state government, particularly the judicial
and public safety sectors, will be unacceptable.

What impact does a move to MS-XML have on the vendors who currently do business
with agencies by exchanging and submitting documents to us using older MS office
tools? Are there additional challenges we place on customers and clients who
must manage their business with us one way and with other clients in a different

What about conversion of old documents? Should existing documents be converted?

----and a few that don't relate to questions in the FAQ----

Isn't migrating to the MS-XML format simply impossible on a number of operating
systems currently in use around the state?

Doesn't use of either .doc and MS-XML format force citicens to purchase office
software from a single vendor, namely Microsoft?

Don't these formats force citicens who want to use older MS-Windows, or Linux to
purchase and install a new operating system on their computer?

Doesn't use of MS-XML or .doc formats limit the field of competition to
virtually a single vendor?

- SCO is trying to save a sinking ship by drilling holes in it. -- k12linux

[ Reply to This | # ]

Clear indication that MS will fold?
Authored by: ws on Friday, October 07 2005 @ 11:22 PM EDT
Linuxtoday has a link to an article where a CompTIA official comments on ZDNet about Singapore's Defense Ministry decision to use openoffice.

He added: "They've prejudiced the business models of some of our members who are now excluded from the government tendering process, unless they rewrite their codes to comply."
"I've no doubt they will do it, but it’s a transfer of cost back to them, which could have been avoided," he said.

MS is a CompTIA member. So does this mean that inside info clearly tells us MS will implement the OpenDocument Format?


[ Reply to This | # ]

If it's not one thing, it's another
Authored by: GLJason on Saturday, October 08 2005 @ 06:45 AM EDT
From reviewing the FAQ, I see two main issues that were brought up:
  1. Why are they implimenting a plan to become locked into one vendor?
  2. Won't this cause problems with our currently locked-in vendor (Microsoft)?
Several times they dispell the myth of #1. Using the OpenDocument standard will do the exact opposite, many applications already or will soon support the standard.

Number 2 just shows the problem they are trying to get away from by using open standards. That is the problem they just complained about in number 1!

[ Reply to This | # ]

More OpenDocument News
Authored by: maxhrk on Sunday, October 09 2005 @ 08:47 PM EDT Information Technology Division regarding about Microsoft Corporation below ahead is a quote on the bottom of the letter
Thus, those who claim that OASIS welcomes every entity to participate and that Microsoft could have simply worked with OASIS’s OpenDocument committee to ensure that its extensive feature set was represented in this new standard and that its substantive concerns (such as backward compatibility with legacy formats) were addressed are ignoring the plain realities of the situation. The OpenDocument format is essentially a commercial product backed by Sun and IBM masquerading as an open standard, and that there was no realistic possibility that this committee was interested in revising its specifications to address the features, backwards compatibility, and other serious issues that are at the heart of Microsoft’s concerns regarding its existing customers.

my microsoft deceptive detector went off on that one..


Richard M.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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