July-December 2007 ODF News Items

These news items are copied from the OpenDocument Fellowship’s website.

December 2007

24 Dec 2007
Getting a glimpse of how your website is used, Mark Stachiew, The Montreal Gazette.
OpenOffice can also save files in the OpenDocument Format, which is an ISO-approved standard for office documents, and even Microsoft Office can open such files, but you must first install a plug-in.

20 Dec 2007
New York nears decision on ODF vs OOXML, Elizabeth Montalbano, InfoWorld.
Officials in New York are nearing decision-making time about which XML-based office document format, open or closed, the state will use across its IT systems.

19 Dec 2007
Open for Business, Bob Sutor, Express Computer
Open standards are an important catalyst for driving new business and innovation, although often overlooked or taken for granted.

Norway mandates open formats, Arve Bersvendsen
Three formats have been mandated for all documentation between authorities and users/partners: HTML, PDF, and ODF. “Government, state and regional agencies, authorities and services may also publish in other formats, but they must always publish in one of these formats… by 2014 all documents … must have been converted and made available in one of the three formats.”

13 Dec 2007
Dutch Government: Open Source Software To Be Adopted By April 2008, CNN Money
“Notably, the decision directs government organizations to use the Open Document Format, or ODF, to save text files…”

Wikis Go Printable, Wikimedia Foundation
“The third stage, planned for mid-2008, will be the addition of the OpenDocument format for word processors to the list of export formats.”

12 Dec 2007
Sun ODF Plugin 1.1 now fully working with Microsoft Office 2007!, Malte Timmermann
“… Microsoft has fixed a bug with Office 2007 SP1, which hindered the Sun ODF Plugin to work with Word 2007… it’s working now!”

11 Dec 2007
Getting with the OpenDocument Format, Muggie van Staden, ITWeb (South Africa)
“Government’s decision to adopt open document format is a bold one and will not come unchallenged.”

November 2007

29 Nov 2007
OpenDocument Format community steadfast despite theatrics of now impotent ‘Foundation’, David Berlind, ZDNet
“Based on dozens of interviews that I’ve conducted over the last few weeks, the OpenDocument Foundation… went out on a very thin limb where no one else… was willing to join them.”

28 Nov 2007
Open Document Format Can Evolve Without Foundation Input, Peter Galli, eWeek.com
“Foundation President Gary Edwards lauds its work regarding the Massachusetts market requirements; others disagree.”

27 Nov 2007
Debate Simmers on Why ODF Foundation Shuttered its Doors, Peter Galli, eWeek.com
“Foundation president Gary Edwards says changes to Oasis’ membership rules forced the organization to shut down. Did the OpenDocument Foundation recently shutter its doors for good because it was unable to convince Oasis to support its converter…?”

25 Nov 2007
ODF vs. OOXML: War of the Words (an eBook in Process), Andy Updegrove, Consortium Standards Blog
“For some time I’ve been considering writing a book about what has become a standards war of truly epic proportions. I refer, of course, to the ongoing, ever expanding, still escalating conflict between ODF and OOXML… here is the first chapter…”

17 Nov 2007
Document Format FUD: A Guide for the Perplexed, Rob Weir
“I’ve decided to put together a list of misconceptions… I’ll try to update this list to keep it current… Readers are invited to submit the FUD they observe as comments…”

17 Nov 2007
Open Formats Enter the [U.S.] Presidential Debate, Andy Updegrove, Consortium Standards Blog
“…Senator and Democratic party hopeful Barack Obama … announced [his “Innovation Agenda”] in a speech he delivered on November 14 at … the Google campus in Mountainview, California. One of the pledges he made … reads in part… ‘we have to use technology to open up our democracy… I’ll put government data online in universally accessible formats.'”

16 Nov 2007
OpenDocument Foundation’s ‘woes’ have little to do with OpenDoc Format’s future, David Berlind, ZDNet
“…any indication by anybody that the OpenDocument Format has been vacated by its supporters is pure FUD.”

13 Nov 2007
ODF a National Standard in Korea, Open Malaysia.
OpenDocument has been approved as a national standard in South Korea, though is not yet compulsory.

SA government gets serious about ODF, Tectonic
Aslam Raffee, the chief information officer at South Africa’s department of science and technology, spoke at the First International ODF Users Workshop about the newly-issued Minimum Interoperability Standards (MIOS) which contains an explicit definition of open standards as well as the inclusion of the ISO (International Standards Organisation) OpenDocument Format.

IBM’s Lotus Symphony Continues ODF Push, John Fontana, PC World
“IBM Tuesday released the second beta of its free Lotus Symphony productivity applications suite and says a final version will ship next year…”

09 Nov 2007
Putting the OpenDocument Foundation to Bed (without its supper), Andy Updegrove, Consortium Standards Blog
“The simple fact is that the Foundation got out voted [in the OASIS technical committee]… The Foundation’s former members are not supporting Gary, Sam and Marbux.”

07 Nov 2007
Open Document Format gains more support, EDRI-gram
“The first international workshop of Open Document Format (ODF) public sector users took place in Berlin on 29-30 October 2007, hosted by the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany. The position of the German Foreign Office, as host of the event, was made very clear. The Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in his opening words, called ODF “a completely open and ISO-standardized format”, considering it an “excellent basis” for “a free exchange of knowledge and information in a time of globalization”… Germany is not the only country in favour of ODF…”

October 2007

30 Oct 2007
German Foreign Office comes out in favor of Open Document Format, Heise Online
“At the first international workshop of users of the Open Document Format (ODF) in Berlin to which the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic had invited about 150 users and political observers, Brazil and India, in addition to German cities such as Munich, emerged as leading proponents of open standards in the office area.”

ODF backer abandons file format in favor of W3C alternative, Elizabeth Montalbano, Computerworld
“OpenDocument Foundation claims that its namesake format isn’t so open after all. A group that was set up to promote the Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF) is abandoning its support of that file format in favor of a set of specifications developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)… Because of its decision to start backing CDF instead of ODF, the OpenDocument Foundation will change its name and most likely transform itself into another company or organization, Hiser said.”

26 Oct 2007
Citizens win with interop standard, ITWeb
The publication of the Minimum Interoperability Standard (MIOS) for Information Systems in Government, and in particular the government’s recent adoption of OpenDocument, shows that the South African government is serious about e-government, and serious about interoperability. In a knowledge society, open standards are essential to effective democracy.

ODF Alliance hails record growth in application support for ODF, Jack Loftus, Enterprise Linux Log
“During September and October, there were more than a dozen announcements of new or improved application support for ODF,” said Marino Marcich, managing director of the ODF Alliance. “These recent announcements are a clear reflection of the strong and growing demand for ODF in the marketplace.” In total, … more than two dozen ODF-supporting text, spreadsheet, and presentation applications [were] announced in the past three months.

Centre mulls switch to Open Standard, Bibhu Ranjan Mishra & Leslie D`Monte, Business Standard (India)
“The Centre is in the final stages of adopting a national policy that will help government departments throughout the country exchange information seamlessly, use royalty-free software and adopt technologies and solutions that are inter-operatable or work with multiple vendors. India has already made a lot of progress with regard to ‘open standard’. There are about 10 states which are fairly pro-active and have made significant progress in implementing e-governance projects. For instance, the Department of IT, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, adopted the open document format (ODF) standard… The high court of Allahabad … moved all its electronic documents to ODF … So is the case with the West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments. Even the Election Commission decided to migrate to OpenOffice.org after the elections of May-June 2006.”

24 Oct 2007
South Africa adopts ODF as government standard, Alastair Otter and James Archibald, Tectonic
“Open Document format (ODF) yesterday became an official standard for South African government communications. The ODF standard is included in the government’s Mininimum Interoperability Standards for Information Systems in government (MIOS)… In the foreword to the document, department of public service and administration minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, says that ‘this updated version of MIOS contains an explicit definition of open standards as well as the inclusion of the ISO Open Document Format’.”

17 Oct 2007
Apple’s Leopard to support Open Document Format, CNet.
Support for the OpenDocument Format (ODF) is built into OS X Leopard, Apple’s new operating system. So TextEdit will now support OpenDocument.

15 Oct 2007
Open Document Format v1.1 Accessibility Guidelines Version 1.0 Committee Draft, OASIS
“These guidelines apply to the OASIS OpenDocument v1.1 specification… This document describes the things that an ODF 1.1 implementation must do in order to gain, persist, and present all of the information that ODF 1.1 is capable of persisting, so that users with disabilities are equally able to read, create, and edit documents – with full access to all of the meaning and intent – as their mainstream colleagues.”

GOSCON 07: An Open Balance Linux Today
Proper open technology deployment is also about using open standards, not only open source. Open source is a method of software development, not business strategy, not an interoperability requirement, whereas with open standards, interoperability is enabled.

13 Oct 2007
OpenDocument’s New Metadata System, Bruce D’Arcus
“The enhanced metadata framework in ODF… should provide the technical basis for developers to … provide real benefit to their users.” Gives some practical examples.

12 Oct 2007
ODF enters the Semantic Web, Rob Weir
“Metadata is ‘data about data’… OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 will be taking a step into the world of structured metadata with an RDF/XML metadata framework.” Includes links to more information and an interview with Patrick Durusau, Chair of the ODF Metadata Subcommittee.

New Extensible Metadata Support With ODF 1.2, Svante Schubert, GullFOSS
“Leveraging existing metadata standards – such as the Resource Description Framework (RDF) – it will be possible to describe the content or characteristics of a file by attaching arbitrary metadata to the document.” Includes links to the specification and a presentation on the subject.

10 Oct 2007
Converting text files into ODF with odtwriter, Dmitri Popov, Linux.com.
While you can create and save documents using OpenOffice.org, KWord, or AbiWord, odtwriter can help you quickly convert plain text files formatted using reStructured Text markup into OpenDocument.

Meanwhile, Back in Minnesota: Your Chance to Help, Consortium Standards Blog
“… the Minnesota IT department is indeed studying the issue [of open formats], and will be reporting back its conclusions to the state legislature by January 15 of next year. As part of that process, the public (that means you) has been invited to submit comments on line.”

07 Oct 2007
Cracks in the Foundation, Rob Weir
“…in recent months the OpenDocument Foundation has found itself more and more isolated…former members have disassociated themselves from the Foundation as it turned increasingly to strident rhetoric.” Rob responds to Gary Edward’s take on OOXML and ODF reprinted in an article in Linux Today, 04 October.

03 Oct 2007
Corel Provides Support For ODF and OOXML in New Beta of WordPerfect® Office, Corel Corporation
“Free Beta Allows Customers to Open, View and Edit Open Document Format, Microsoft Office 2007 Files.” More information.

Government Open Source Conference to Feature Open Document Debate, Government Technology
“This year’s Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) to be held Oct. 15-16 in Portland, Ore., will close with panelists from Microsoft, Sun, IBM and the OpenDocument Foundation weighing in on Open Document Formats… ‘Open Standards and Interoperability’ is the theme for this year’s GOSCON event.”

02 Oct 2007
Cheap software is often good, News Observer
Symphony uses the OpenDocument Format, which is designed to allow documents to be read by many software programs rather than being tied to a single vendor’s product.

Sun ODF Plugin 1.1 for Microsoft Office, Sun Microsystems
“The Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office allows users of Microsoft Office to read, edit and save to the Open Document Format (ODF). The new version (1.1) adds more languages and improves the import and export of ODF files into Microsoft Office, increasing the interoperability of the Plugin.”

01 Oct 2007
Adobe to Acquire Virtual Ubiquity, Adobe
“Collaborative Online Word Processor, Buzzword, builds on Adobe AIR Momentum. Adobe … today announced that it [will] acquire Virtual Ubiquity and its ground-breaking online word processor, Buzzword.” Although the press release doesn’t mention ODT, the Buzzword FAQ says “Buzzword currently imports and exports Rich Text Format (RTF) files, Microsoft Word DOC files, and Word 2003 XML files. Adobe plans to add support for standard open file formats such as PDF, Open Document Format (ODF), and others over time.”

September 2007

25 Sept 2007
TeamDrive Embraces ODF and OpenOffice.org, Will Kraft, Application Development Trends
“Primesharing, a Hamburg, Germany-based software company, unveiled the newest release of its TeamDrive collaboration product… TeamDrive now features full support for the OASIS OpenDocument Format.”

17 Sept 2007
IBM Releases Office Desktop Software, IBM
“IBM Lotus Symphony [is] a suite of free software tools for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Lotus Symphony supports multiple file formats including Microsoft Office and Open Document Format (ODF), and also can output content in PDF format.” Product page and link to download page. “The tools work with computers running both Microsoft Windows and Linux- environments, with support for Apple Macintosh planned for the future.”

Netherlands Picks ODF, John Gøtze
“On behalf of the Dutch government, Frank Heemskerk, Minister of Economic Affairs, announced today that ODF will be the standard for reading, publishing and the exchange of information for all governmental organisations. The deadline is January 2009. Dutch announcement: Ministerie van Economische Zaken – Verplicht gebruik open standaarden bij overheid. English translation is here.

10 Sept 2007
IBM joins OpenOffice.org community, OpenOffice.org Press Release
“The OpenOffice.org community today announced that IBM will be joining the community to collaborate on the development of OpenOffice.org software. IBM will be making initial code contributions that it has been developing as part of its Lotus Notes product, including accessibility enhancements…”

IBM Throws its Active Support behind OpenOffice.org (at last), Consortium Standards Blog
“…here’s more on the announcement itself, and why it’s so significant….”

04 Sept 2007
Vote closes on draft ISO/IEC DIS 29500 standard, ISO
“A ballot on whether to publish the draft standard ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology – Office Open XML file formats, as an International Standard by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) has not achieved the required number of votes for approval.”

Some of the commentary:
The results of the ISO voting: Office Open XML is Disapproved – Updated: It’s Official, Groklaw
Includes the list of votes by country as well as full copies of the ISO press release and Microsoft’s press release, and commentary.

Microsoft Fails to Gain Approval for OOXML, Consortium Standards Blog
Reprints and analyses Microsoft’s press release attempting to make this defeat sound like a great step forward.

ISO votes to reject Microsoft’s OOXML as standard, Peter Sayer, PC World
Contains this quote, from Frederic Couchet, spokesman for APRIL, the French Association for the Promotion and Research of Free Computing: “The OOXML format contains significant design flaws,” and it will be difficult to correct them “other than by starting again from scratch, or by enriching the already existing standard, Open Document Format.”

OOXML, the past. ODF, the future., Bob Sutor
“Congratulations to all who worked to secure this result in the goal of high quality, non-vendor dictated open standards… I predict we’ll see even more adoption of ODF by governments, large and small; by users, young and old; and organizations, both commercial and non-profit. We’ll see more active development and evolution of ODF within OASIS and all are welcome to participate in that.”

Microsoft FUD Watch: OOXML Edition, Joe Wilcox, eWeek Microsoft Watch
“In all my years working as a journalist, I’ve never seen any technology company spin information the way Microsoft did today. The press release on OOXML ratification is a blueprint for spinning semantics, and the stringing together of truths and half-truths to seemingly make the outcome of one event something else altogether.”

How to Hack ISO, Rob Weir
“Let’s drill into the numbers a bit and see what this all means. First, recall JTC1’s two approval criteria for Fast Track submissions…”

Microsoft Office Open XML Fails to Win ISO Vote, Kurt Cagle, O’Reilly xml.com
“Develop a standard that people in general are comfortable supporting, then building your tools to take advantage of the new standard, lies at the heart of the open standards movement.”

August 2007

17 August 2007
OOXML, ODF and UOF: What’s Up in China?, Consortium Standards Blog
“…two stories involving UOF, OOXML and ODF have appeared in the last ten days in the English language version of the state-owned Xinhua news service that provide an interesting temperature reading on the warmth of the Redmond-Beijing relationship.”

15 August 2007
Microsoft and Open Standards – Can Other Vendors Implement Microsoft’s Office Open XML?, by Matthew Cruickshank, Chris Daish and Conal Tuohy
“This paper examines whether OOXML can be fully implemented by vendors other than Microsoft and concludes that a number of application specific and undisclosed behaviours (as well as a number of other technical flaws) in the proposed standard make this impossible.”

14 August 2007
IBM Lotus Notes 8 and Domino 8, and IBM Lotus Enterprise Integrator 8, IBM
New features include “Word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation applications, which support OpenDocument Format (ODF), Microsoft™ Office, and IBM Lotus SmartSuite® file formats.”

13 August 2007
Malaysia formally embraces OpenDocument Format, Lynn Tan, ZDNet Asia
“The Malaysian government today announced plans to adopt open standards and the Open Document Format (ODF) within the country’s public sector.”

09 August 2007
Babya to support the OpenDocument format
“Babya E-Type 2008 (version 5.0) will be the first Babya to support the OpenDocument format via a new file conversion utility, powered by OpenOffice.org)… will ship as a free download as part of bSuite 2008 in September… Babya is an award-winning developer of digital media software for Mac and Windows…”

02 August 2007
New York to Study Electronic Document Interoperability, LinuxElectrons.
The state of New York will become the second US state, after Minnesota, to enact legislation to require a study of document formats. With the world’s 11th largest economy, the state has a lot to gain through open standards.

01 August 2007
e-Note 18 on Standards for Electronic Documents, Open Maylasia Blog.
APDIP (Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme) of the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) has published their e-Note 18 on Standards for Electronic Documents. Two open formats, PDF and ODF are examined along with one proprietary format.

July 2007

25 July 2007
ODF: The inevitable format, T. Colin Dodd, Red Hat Magazine.
Adoption of the ODF is making slow but inexorable headway. Policy makers are reaching a greater understanding of the issue, the fact that using OpenDocument for public documents is a better deal for citizens and taxpayers.

19 July 2007
Open standards win 13 to 4, Tectonic
South Africa will vote a clear “NO” in the question of the proprietary Office format, OOXML, despite millions spent on rent-a-crowd support by its backer. The international, open standard OpenDocument shall not be subverted.

16 July 2007
The converter hoax, Heise Open
Guest commentary from Free Software Foundation Europe. “Conversion between Microsoft’s Office OpenXML (MS-OOXML) and the vendor-independent Open Document Format (ODF) has been proposed by Microsoft and its associates as a solution to the problems caused by Microsoft’s efforts to push a format into the market that conflicts with the existing Open Standard… Here is the problem: If these converters were actually able to do what they promise to do, they would be unnecessary… if Microsoft’s claims to technical superiority of MS-OOXML over ODF are true, how could one ever be converted perfectly into the other?”

10 July 2007
Government of Japan Embraces Open Software Standards
“Japan [has adopted] a policy under which government ministries and agencies will solicit bids from software vendors whose products support internationally recognized open standards… the new interoperability framework… takes effect immediately…”

06 July 2007
OpenDocument TC Approves Enhanced Metadata, Bruce D’Arcus
“Today the OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee approved enhanced metadata support [pdf] for inclusion in ODF 1.2.”

03 July 2007
ODF Plug-in for MS Office Released, Simon Phipps
“The Sun ODF Plug-In for MS Office has now been officially released. [It] enables users of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint to read and write documents in the ISO-standard Open Document Format (ODF)… It works on Windows in Office 2000, XP and 2003 and is a completely free download.”

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