Archive for the ‘Formats’ Category

Denmark pretends MSOOXML is already an open standard

12 December, 2007

Today I read in groklaw.net that Denmark is pretending that MSOOXML is already an open standard.

And indeed Leif Lodahl has submitted a link to a manual for Danish authorities explaining how to handle the upcoming trial where they must be able to read both ODF and OOXML documents starting 1. January 2008.

In that manual I found the following section:

1.3.3 Hvad betyder det, at standarden er åben?
Standarden skal være:
> fuldstændigt dokumenteret og offentligt tilgængelig,
> frit implementérbar uden økonomiske, politiske eller juridiske begrænsninger på
implementering og anvendelse, hverken nu eller i fremtiden, og
> standardiseret og vedligeholdt i et åbent forum via en åben proces
(standardiseringsorganisation).

Translation:

1.3.3 What does it mean, that the standard is open?

The standard must be:

> Completely documented, and publicly available,

> freely implementable without economical, political or legal limitations on

implementation and use, whether now or in the future, and

> standardized and maintained in an open forum via an open process

(standardization organization)

From this (and having read some of the technical comments from the Danish national board of the ISO standardization committee which rejected the fast track approval of MSOOXML a few months ago) I think it is pretty clear that MSOOXML does not meet the criteria for an open standard as described in that manual.

That would make the manual misleading!

Let me point out what I mean:

quote: > Completely documented, and publicly available,

Comment: MSOOXML refers to closed MS documents, and therefore fails on both the “completely documented” and “publicly available” points.

quote: ”

> freely implementable without economical, political or legal limitations on

implementation and use, whether now or in the future, and

Comment: Several projects have been trying, or are trying to write plugins or converters for MSOOXML to ODF, but as far as I know none have so far succeeded. Partly because there are things in OOXML which can not be mapped to ODF. Partly because it is a huge standard and probably never intended to allow true interoperability.

Further, there are still patents on parts of the MSOOXML specification, and therefore it fails on the “freely implementable without economical, political or legal limitations” point.

quote: “> standardized and maintained in an open forum via an open process

(standardization organization)

Comment: MSOOXML also fails on this last point, at least it is not currently being maintained in an open forum. Perhaps if Microsoft were forced (for instance if every major office user on the planet decided to mandate truly open standards as the Dutch government and others have recently done) they would comply with the requirements for an open standard. But realistically, I think hell will freeze over before Microsoft does this.

Open documents in Denmark

18 June, 2007

The Danish government has decided to mandate the use of an “open document format” from january 1.st 2008.

There is one open document format, which is ISO certified, and that format is called ODF.

But since then Microsoft has managed to push it’s format which it calls open, and which name is OOXML through ECMA and now they are trying to fast forward this monster (6000 pages) of a format through ISO as well. This latest development regarding ISO has apparently been decided by some individual who felt like pushing it forward in spite of numerous objections to the standard.

A lot has been said about this since. But I think it is sad to read that it seems like it is not unlikely that the decision about which document format will be chosen in Denmark, will be not one open document format, but two formats, one open and one pretending to be open.

Needless to say (I should think, but I will anyway) the truly open format is ODF, and the one pretending to be is OOXML.

Apart from the fact that Microsoft’s biggest cash cow is their office suite, and that their OOXML refers to previous versions of the office suite from Microsoft, which invalidates the format from being called open, If Microsoft really wanted to “just interoperate and offer choice” they could just change the default file format of their office suite to ODF.
But of course Microsoft will not do this, because they are not interested in losing their cash cow. And they would, maybe not all at once but gradually if anyone could choose completely freely which program they wished to use to read and write documents and share those documents with others.

So I cross my fingers that ODF is chosen as the only standard to be used by the Danish state from january 1st 2008, but regretfully I have my doubts. It seems too many people here in Denmark are way too impressed with Microsoft (or afraid of them) to choose something Microsoft does not like us to choose.

Update (26.06.2007): i just read today that the IT spokes people of the various parties in the danish parliament have agreed to run a trial of one year starting january 1st. 2008, with both ODF and OOXML as supported document formats. Then in the first half of 2009 the trial must be evaluated.

I can’t believe how stupid that sounds to me. Either they don’t get that OOXML is _not_ an _open_ document format, and therefore does not qualify the requirements to even be considered, or they simply don’t care or dare not take the right decision.

So because of their incompetence or lack of courage or both the danish tax payers must now pay the price for postponing the decision for another year and a half. Because of this Microsoft have won no matter what happens in 2009. At the very least they will have been given 18 months in which they don’t have to worry about the danish state mandating open document formats, and in the meantime they can lobby the government until everybody thinks OOXML is really open and ODF is really not open. I know that sounds absurd, but so does this so called decision.

I am so disappointed about our government now.

Update (28.06.2007):

Just found this website today. I wish the IT spokes people mentioned above had read this 8and answered the questions truthfully, and drawn the necessary conclusions of course) before they agreed to use both ODF and OOXML for a year as a trial period.

Update (24.08.2007):

Member countries who are voting no to OOXML.

 

I love this report: Brazil has apparently had the guts to vote no, and not be lobbied or pressured by microsoft to approve of their defective “open” standard.

 

Poland apparently has also in one committee voted no, but for some reason (why do I fear foul play from Microsoft has something to do with it ?) another committee will be the one to make the decision on how Poland will vote.

Sadly germany has decided to vote yes. As for Denmark I sadly expect theDanish government to vote yes since it has already rubber stamped OOXML by deciding to “test” OOXML alongside Open Document Format starting next year. I cross my fingers and hope I will be wrong though, but it seems unlikely right now.

28.08.2007

I just found out that the Danish committee on standards (DS) has come to a consensus on what they will publish as their response on 03.09.2007. Until then apparently it is a secret.

I have checked from the article who the members are, and their possible relation to Microsoft:

CBS = Copenhagen Business School (I don’t know)

Microsoft = Microsoft…

Netcompany = (Microsoft Partner) , source:

Conzern = (Microsoft Partner), same source as for Netcompany.

Thydata = Microsoft gold certified partner, Source: here.

ITEK = Not Microsoft Partner.

IBM = Not Microsoft partner 😉

KMD = Microsoft gold certified partner, source: here.

IT og Telestyrelsen (unknown relation to Microsoft)

NNIT = Microsoft partner, source: here.

TEctura = Microsoft global partner, source: here.

Ok, just found this link where somebody else did the leg work I started out on. Maybe I will finish my list later, but for now it seems that out of 30 members, 17 are close associates with Microsoft. See the article here.

Update: 30.08.2007,

“I just read this article titled: “Why OOXML Is Not Ready for Prime Time” by Jon Bosak, which I find gives several very good reasons for voting no to OOXML.

 

/Lars