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ODF Alliance Announced
Friday, March 03 2006 @ 08:59 AM EST

Big news on the Open Document front. Today, the ODF Alliance was announced. The ODF Alliance is an international group of industry partners, associations, NGOs and academic/research institutions. Here's the purpose, to build global support for the use of ODF:
As documents and services are increasingly transformed from paper to electronic form, there is growing recognition that governments and their constituents may not be able to access, retrieve and use critical records, information and documents in the future. A broad cross-section of associations, academic institutions, industry and related groups today joined together to form the OpenDocument Format Alliance (ODF Alliance), an organization dedicated to promoting open solutions to this problem.

As technologies rapidly evolve, documents are created by public sector agencies using different applications that may not be compatible with one another today, let alone into the future. Through the use of a truly open standard file format that can be implemented by numerous and varied applications, the Alliance seeks to enable governments and their constituents to use, access and store critical documents, records and information both today and in the future, independent of the applications or enterprise platforms used for their creation or future access.

Specifically, the ODF Alliance supports the use of the OpenDocument Format (ODF), an open XML-based collection of office document formats, including text, presentation and spreadsheet formats. ODF, the only established open standard document format, enables the retrieval of information and exchange of documents between different applications, agencies and/or business partners in a platform and application independent way.

Members include corporations you would expect to be part of this push, such as IBM and Sun and Novell and Red Hat, and some you'll be happy to see on the list, like Corel and Oracle and Opera Software, and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for the City of Vienna, and quite a collection of educational and library associations, such as the American Library Association, the Indian Institute of Technology, the Technical University of Denmark and tarent GmbH.

Your organization can join too, of course, as the press release states:

The Alliance is building support globally for use and recognition of ODF, and all organizations that share its goals are welcomed to join the effort. Organizations can join by visiting the Alliance web site at:

In recent months, jurisdictions such as the State of Massachusetts in the United States and others around the world are leading the way, by embracing open document formats. According to recent press reports, 13 nations globally are considering adoption of the OpenDocument format.

And yes, Microsoft can join, too.

Here's the complete membership, which will undoubtedly continue to grow:

Adullact Association;
American Library Association;
Ark Linux;
The Association of Open Source Suppliers and Vendors in Denmark;
Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (India);
Cognitran Ltd;
Corel Corporation;
CSW Group Ltd;
EMC Corporation;
Friends of OpenDocument, Inc.;
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT);
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for the City of Vienna;
Information Program, Open Society Institute;
International Open Source Network;
Justsystem Corporation;
Massachusetts High Tech Council;
Massachusetts Network Communications Council;
Open Society Archives of the Central European University (OSA Archivum);
OpenForum Europe;
OpenDocument Fellowship;
The OpenDocument Foundation, Inc.;;
Opera Software;
Optaros, Inc.;
Oracle Corporation;
OSS Alliance;
Propylon Ltd;
Red Hat, Inc.;
Software & Information Industry Association;
Sun Microsystems;
the Technical University of Denmark
and tarent GmbH.

You can read about the new organization here:

What does it mean? To me, it means that there will be no future Peter Quinn left to take the heat all by himself. So, if you are a CIO for a governmental agency, and you are very much not wanting to experience what he did, this announcement means that you will have the support you need to make a successful transition, if that is the direction chosen. And if there are hostile hearings scheduled, such as we witnessed happen in Massachusetts, there will be people ready and qualified to speak up, with white papers and studies and success stories at the ready to unFUD the FUD. Or as the ODF Alliance website puts it:

The alliance works globally to educate policymakers, IT administrators and the public on the benefits and opportunities of the OpenDocument Format, to help ensure that government information, records and documents are accessible across platforms and applications, even as technologies change today and in the future.


ODF Alliance Announced | 110 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Off Topic
Authored by: LocoYokel on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 09:34 AM EST
Use the instructions in red below the text box to make clickable links. Also
please follow the posting guidelines below that.

Waiting for the games I play to be released in Linux, or a decent Windows
emulator, to switch entirely.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ODF Alliance Announced
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 09:36 AM EST
Personally, I'd rather M$ not join. Having M$ become
part of the ODF Alliance would be akin to placing the
proverbial bad apple in the apple barrel.

No, thank you!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections (if any) here please
Authored by: neals on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 09:40 AM EST
Please place your corrections here
to make them easy to find.

It is helpful if simple substitutions
are also given in the title of the post.

[ Reply to This | # ]

McNealy op-ed in today's Wall St. Journal
Authored by: turing_test on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 10:36 AM EST
Scott McNealy has an op-ed [subscription required] in today's Wall Street Journal about ODF. The neat thing is not what he says, which is no news to those who have been following the story, although I do like his concept of a "barrier to exit" from proprietary document formats
"...we're stuck with all these files in a format that's exclusive to the company from which we bought the first software application. In business, that's called a barrier to exit. Companies that create barriers to exit figure we won't notice until it's too late when the cost of switching is too high.",
but that these arguments are now being seen by a large audience of influential people via the WSJ.

There's still a long road to success for ODF, but I think we're picking up speed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ODF Alliance Announced
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 11:00 AM EST
I see that office products are covered by ODF; however, I think that CAD formats
should be included. Every jurisdiction has a recorders office - some require
that building projects submit site information electronically (currently
autocad's format is required [think M$ for CAD]). It would make electronic
information transfer between architects, engineers, and governments consistant
(and release awfulcad's grip on the industry). Does anyone know if CAD a format
is included. If not does anyone have suggestions on how to include CAD format
in ODF.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ODF Alliance Announced
Authored by: frk3 on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 11:05 AM EST
Speaking of Corel, recent good experience with them.

For years, I have used a graphics package "Paint Shop Pro".

Had a 30 day evaluation copy of version 5.0 of it on a CD with a book
"Learn HTML in a Weekend". Good book (for me at the time) and that
book is used by my company for basic HTML training for people that know nothing
about HTML at all.

However, since using Paint Shop Pro while working with that book, I have been a
avid user of that graphics package ever since. Last year, I purchased a whole
new copy of Paint Shop Pro 9.0 and, found that JASC, makers of Paint Shop Pro
had been purchased by Corel. I told the representative that I have been a avid
user of the product for a long time and he let me know that before Corel
purchased JASC, all the employees at Corel got a copy of Paint Shop Pro to use
and provide feedback on. Consensus was that they all liked the product, it's
ease of use, capabilities, etc. This for a product that used to bill itself as
"Everything you can do in PhotoShop for $99.00".

So, in summary, good to see Corel aboard!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Didn't we see on of these before ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 11:45 AM EST
... United Linux?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Maybe MS can't compete ...
Authored by: dkpatrick on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 12:02 PM EST
It suddenly struck me that if MS were to participate in organizations setting
standards and guidelines for documents (ODF, naturally) and improvements were
made, most every other developer of office software, particularly OpenOffice,
would get to market quicker!!

MS has such a huge burden to integrate MSOffice with the rest of their products
that it literally takes years to implement new functions where it takes everyone
else months.

"Keep your friends close but your enemies closer!" -- Sun Tzu

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is There A Compliance Test?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 12:04 PM EST
It would be nice if there were some documents stored in ODF that a product that
claimed to implement the spec would have to correctly read and write. Anything
extra, missing, or incorrect would cause a failure and result in the offender
not being able to claim compliance.

From what I found on Google this is being worked on, but doesn't exist yet.
Hopefully it will before Microsoft claims compliance. Otherwise it will turn
into "You don't meet the spec." "Yes, we do." "No you
don't." "Yes we do." ... and most customers won't know who to

[ Reply to This | # ]

ODF Alliance Announced
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 12:26 PM EST
And yes, Microsoft can join, too.

Great quote at the end of the Register article: 'Phipps said the software giant is welcome to join, with Phipps noting that representatives from Microsoft have sat in on the OASIS committee. Phipps added he'd hate to see "a great company like Microsoft left behind" as governments and industry adopt ODF.' LOL

[ Reply to This | # ]

I wish MS would join. Really!!
Authored by: daWabbit on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 01:56 PM EST
Okay; I know it sounds as if I've been downwind of the manure pile breathing
deeply, again, but for once, I would like to see everyone co-operate for the
common good. Just once, please?

"There ain't no reason I should work this hard when I can live off the chickens
in my neighbor's yard" -Bruno Wolfe

[ Reply to This | # ]

ODF Alliance Announced
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 05:35 PM EST
There's also ICAD & varients and a number of others. At this point dwg
format is a defacto standard implimented by many parties. While not properly
open, it's out there.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Good news for law firms
Authored by: elhaard on Friday, March 03 2006 @ 09:00 PM EST

One of the companies, Propylon Ltd. is working in the legislative area. According to Simon Phipps of Sun, Propylon have extended ODF to support workflow and whatnot for working with legislation in Ireland.

One could hope that that could be a step in the direction of support for other legal documents, just like PJ often wishes for

This comment is licensed under a Creative Commons License (Attribution 2.0). Share & enjoy!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Conspicuous by their absence
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Saturday, March 04 2006 @ 07:01 AM EST
No, not M$, Adobe.

I suppose PDF format is too little known and not widely enough adopted for them
to join in.


SCO: hunting for snarks in an ocean of sharks
Should one hear an accusation, first look to see how it might be levelled at the

[ Reply to This | # ]

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