Archive for the ‘ISO 26300’ Category

October

26

by Kaj Kandler

Apple releases tomorrow its latest version of Mac OS X called Leopard. It’s build-in text editor TextEdit now supports ODF and MS OOXML. This means it can exchange text documents with OpenOffice.org Writer, NeoOffice Writer and also with MS Word 2007.

Many Mac OS X fans now hope that Apple will soon support the ISO standard ODF in the iApplications such as iWork.

September

10

by Kaj Kandler

Most users know that Sun Microsystems is the main force behind OpenOffice.org and its development community. Historically they did buy StarDivision and release Open Office as open source. Today, IBM announced to commit to the OpenOffice.org development community with a team of 35 developers in China working full time on the project. IBM also contributed today a chunk of code making the open source office suite more accessible for users with disabilities.

While IBM has developed the accessibility interface called iAccessible2 for a while and also supported ODF (ISO 26300) in its Lotus Notes products, this announcement is a long term commitment to develop OpenOffice.org as a competitive suite.

September

06

by Kaj Kandler

Yesterday, the International Standard Organization rejected the wholesale acceptance of MS OOXML also known as ECMA-376 as a new ISO standard.

The relevant comittee did not reach the 2/3 approval rate nor did it stay below the 25% objection threshold. This is not a final decision but a request to study the matter in more detail. The 26% “No” votes of participating committee members have mandatory comments attached and these will be discussed at an assembly February 2008. Presumably then remedies will be worked out and the standard draft will be improved and voted on again.

Approving MS OOXML as a second ISO standard for Office documents, after ODF (ISO 26300) has increased interest in such matters dramatically. Many countries did upgrade their membership in the relevant comittee from observes to participants in oder to have an actual vote. Many obeservers of the process allege that Microsoft is lobbying with such countries as Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ecuador, Jamaica, Lebanon, Malta, Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela to become participating and voting members. Interestingly, all new participating members did vote in Microsoft’s favor for fast tracking the approval.

August

25

by Kaj Kandler

Jim Rapoza makes in interesting argument at eWeek, saying that the ODF Alliance focuses too much on convincing governments to adopt Open Document Format (ODF also known as ISO 26300). Jim argues that he didn’t see a real adoption of ODF before Google did support it with its Docs and Spreadsheet applications. He procalims that states are usually behind the curve of technologies and the ODF Alliance would be better spend their resources in finding more compelling uses for ODF.

I think Jim, a self confessed Open Office user, repeats sterotypes, such as a government is behind the curve of technology adoption. I think there is no real basis for the assumption that government agencies do not to use leading technology. As a matter of fact, some of the most advanced technology is developed for or by the government, weather it is for military purposes or for medical and health purposes, minting coins or printing money that is hard to counter fit.

I also think Jim has not given propper thought to why the state of Massachusetts did want to use ODF. It is not for the purpose of being hip and advanced. The state of Massachusetts did realize that it needs a reliable way to retrieve documents long after they have been created and archived and the formats they are stored in and the applications that created them, are out of favor and often not produced or supported anymore. This is an important function for a government to collect and archive material that has historical significance, such as protocols about procedings, deciscions, laws and documents that can proof guilt, innocence or ownership of property, family relationships, marriage or devorce. So, when the state’s IT people realized that a perfect digital copy of a document is not enough, they acted on their duty to find ways to archive documents in a way that they will be accessible in the foreseeable future. I think ODF was one of the few formats available that fulfilled the criteria required. In that respect the ODF alliance did help the state of Massachusetts and other governments rather than outright lobby them.

I’m not naive and do believe the ODF alliance does lobby governments for the use of their format and that the mostly companies behind it hope to gain with their applications. However, the history of Microsoft’s multiple steps to accomodate the real and vital requirements the state of Massachusetts layed out, shows that they didn’t just promote their competing format. They offered a better product that did fulfill a need that the widely used proprietary formats did not.

I would agree with Jim, that the ODF Alliance should spend more resources to explain to private organizations and individuals that this storage issue is not only relevant for government documents. It starts with every citizen’s interest of having access to the records of their government and it goes further with history as recorded in business contracts, news papers and correspodence. And it continues into our personal lives with e-mail, blogs, notes, contracts, letters, poems, and photographs or home videos.

Ask yourself which documents from your current live do you want to re-read when you are sitting in a nursing home and look back on your live, may be collecting the memories for a book for your grand children. You will understand how important it is you can still share them.

August

17

by Kaj Kandler

Michael Brauer clarifies the status of OpenOffice.org’s work on MS-OOXML (aka ECMA-376).

He says that OpenOffice.org does work on supporting the format with input and output filters. this means you will be able to open a document from MS Office 2007 and to save it for Office 2007 users. Office 2007 is currently the only application that supports the new format our of the box. Older MS Office versions can be upgraded.

Michael reports that the current status is reading text from OOXML documents and that there is still a lot of work to do to reach satisfactory compliance. However, he remarks that as the format is now looked at by the International Standard Organization (ISO) for further standardization and that there are many complains from interested parties about incomplete definitions and contradictions of other standards. So he expects the format to evolve and undergo changes.

Michael also points out that OpenOffice.org will fully continue to support ODF (ISO 26300) as it’s default document format.

July

11

by Kaj Kandler

The Linux distributer TurboLinux has announced it will participate in the project to convert ODF files into MS Office 2007 compatible versions. TurboLinux will offer its expertise in Asian languages such as Chinese and Japanese for converting documents.

The ODF converter is a Microsoft sponsored open source project that wants to bridge the interoperability gap between the new ISO standard format ODF and the proprietary world of MS Office. Its development is behind the abilities of Sun’s MS Office plug-in, only supporting text documents at this time. However it supports Office 2007.

July

04

by Kaj Kandler

Sun Microsystems released a plug-in that allows MS Office to work with ODF (or ISO 26300) files. The plug-in supports text-documents, spreadsheets and presentations, corresponding to MS Word, MS Excel, and MS Powerpoint. The plug-in works with MS Office versions 2000, XP and 2003. It can be downloaded from Sun for free.

Why does it not support MS Office 2007? Malte Timmermann gives the answer and many more around the new ODF plug-in for MS Office.

June

11

by Kaj Kandler

While other states’ attempts to safeguard their documents by using open standards seem to have stalled for now, New York is the next one to try. Assembly woman RoAnn M. Destito (Democrat), proposes the state study how government documents are created, shared, and archived and how these documents can be used in a way that “encourages appropriate government control, access, choice, interoperability, and vendor neutrality,” in Bill A08961.

This means more consideration of open standards like ODF and ISO 26300, to avoid perfectly preserved digital garbage that can’t be read because the format is not documented and the sole keeper of the application creating it went out of business.

June

05

by Kaj Kandler

Computerworld writes abut the defeat of bills pro ODF in six states. The proposed legislation would have in one way or another mandated that state agencies in California, Florida, Texas,
Oregon, Connecticut, and Minnesota, need to use open standards for office documents. The only currently accepted open standard that is implemented by more than one vendor is ODF/ISO 26300.

However, lobbying by Microsoft kept legislators from demanding that electronic office documents are stored in non proprietary formats, so they can be accessed in many years to come. Interestingly, most legislative comments do not doubt that this is a worthy goal. However they do feel used by either side of the debate and their lobbying interests. So they squashed most bills without a vote. I guess the companies gathered in the ODF Alliance lost a battle, but they don’t declare the war over.

October

09

by Kaj Kandler

Switching to OpenOffice.org could save the Danish government $21 million over an upgrade to Office 2007. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by Ramboll Management an IT consultancy. The report was commissioned by the Danish Open Source Business Association.

The Danish Parliament decided on June 2 that starting 2008 all documents exchanged with its citizens must be based on open standard file formats. The report compares the two options of upgrading to Microsoft Office 2007 with OpenXML and OpenOffice with the OpenDocument Format (also known as ISO 26300 standard).

The report looks at the cost over five years, including training and file conversion. The report concludes that on a strict cost basis, sticking with installed Offixe XP and Office 2003 and using a plug-in to load and save ODF documents would be the least expensive option. However, switching to OpenOffice, which uses ODF as its native file format, is little more costly. While upgrading to MS Office 2007 would cost additional $21 million.