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Support for ODF

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 4:03 am
by henke54
Support for ODF from the Hungarian government :
Multiráció is the developer of the open office suite, EuroOffice, originally based on The company will now build a version of EuroOffice for tablets and will also work on improving the collaborative functions within EuroOffice. ... 58548.html

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:46 am
by henke54
Italian region of Puglia passed a law requiring the public sector to utilise more open source software and to make more data freely available to the public. The law consists of 21 articles setting out a series of rules aimed at fundamentally changing the relationship between the citizens and the regional government. The law gives the region's citizens the right to access all information and services provided by the public sector in digital form. Digital diversity is also to be encouraged through the use and dissemination of open source software.
Article 4 states that all digital documents must use open formats such as ODF
At a press conference, De Masi estimated that by switching from Microsoft products to open source software, the public sector could save around €675 million

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:54 am
by henke54
All that is known about the Gartner report is that the document is written by one person alone, and the author Michael Silver gave statements favouring Microsoft's OOXML in 2008, when the rest of the industry (e.g. IBM, Novell, Google) backed the Open Document Format that later became an ISO standard and is widely supported in about every office suite and document software available today.

The secrecy alone renders the results suspect as a basis for any decision making, whether inside or outside the Helsinki IT department. While this secrecy makes it nearly impossible to have a serious debate about the calculations, a few of the assumptions presented should be questioned. For example, the calculations expect that despite migrating to OpenOffice the organisation would still continue using proprietary MS Office file formats. However, one of the biggest benefits of migrating to OpenOffice or other similar office suites is that they use the ISO standardized Open Document Format natively. Thus, the organisation can be sure that their office documents are electronically archiveable and can still be opened in 10 or even 100 years. In addition, relying on this kind of open standard brings also other benefits in interoperability, as files can be read and written anywhere, anytime, without a lock-in to one vendor.

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:46 am
by Hagar Delest
It's often difficult to make the difference between a genuine intent to compare the alternatives and a mere attempt to get a negotiation lever to have major reduction fees when renewing the MS licenses...

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:14 am
by henke54
The Portuguese government has published a listing of open standards to be used within the country's public bodies and has decided on ODF (Open Document Format) as the sole editable document format according to a report from the Portugese Open Source Business AssociationPortugese language link. ... 53597.html

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:48 am
by henke54
OpenDocument is being deployed worldwide. Review and contribute to this growing list of deployments in the following categories. :

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:36 pm
by henke54
Gijs Hillenius at Joinup on July 10, 2013 wrote:Applying the European Commission's 'Guide for the procurement of standards-based ICT' will not be enough for public administrations to get rid of IT vendor lock-in, says Jutta Kreyss, IT-architect for the German city of Munich. "Standards alone are insufficient for any non-simple IT project. To get out of the vendor-lock in, one has to use standards and open source."

Kreyss spoke to the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs, in Brussels, on Tuesday. From her own experience, the IT architect told the parliamentarians that even if the same SQL standard was used in database systems, that does not make it possible to switch easily from one proprietary database management system to another. "The EC thinks demanding the use of IT standards will fix this? It is not true."

Next, the IT architect told the Committee members that the EC is one of the big inhibitors to public administrations like Munich. "We often have to deal with requests from the EC that force us to use a proprietary operating system and office suite. And that is not just expensive. The European Commission should accept and work with the open document format ODF."

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:08 pm
by henke54

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:28 pm
by Villeroy
henke54 wrote:EC calls for use of ICT standards to battle IT vendor-lock
Translation into 22 languages : ... 371:EN:NOT
EU against vendor lock-in.png

22 languages and 3 file formats html, pdf and DOC. I want the newer and better DOCX :!:

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:25 pm
by henke54
Villeroy wrote:22 languages and 3 file formats html, pdf and DOC. I want the newer and better DOCX :!:

yea ... funny :P ... i ask myself also WHY THEY DID NOT INCLUDE AN ODT FILE ?? ... :knock: :roll:

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:04 pm
by henke54
Here is an article about the advantages of OpenDocument : ... ndocument/

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:18 pm
by henke54
Mark Ballard at ComputerWeekly on December 6, 2013 wrote:
Christmas comes early for the Open Document Faithful (ODF)

Jingle Bells. The UK government has spruced its open document policy up for Christmas.
The Cabinet Office began a public consultation on open document formats this week, three and a half years after it came to power promising they would be one of the first things it delivered.
The consultation might signify the government has renewed its commitment to the policy. It had struggled so much since the coalition's first failed attempt to introduce it in 2011 that it seemed it would never deliver at all.
The Cabinet Office Open Standards Board issued a "challenge" for public comment on a proposal this week that government documents be published in a format that anyone can read.
"Citizens, businesses and government officials need to access government documents," said the challenge.
"[They] must not have costs imposed upon them, or be excluded, by the format in which government documents are provided," it said.
It said people should not be forced to buy special software just so they could read government documents. Government, in other words, must publish documents in formats that people can read without condition.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said in a written press statement on Wednesday said open formats would make government communications more efficient.
Linda Humphries, policy lead at the Cabinet Office, said in a blog post that government officials were "frustrated" at being "locked-in" to buying particular vendor's software because it was the only software that read a particular format.
She said at least one business had complained to her about being forced to buy particular software just to read communications issued by a government depart. She neglected to name the firm, the department, the software or the format.
The coalition has been reluctant to name names of software firms that pose a problem. But its policy is well understood to be an antidote to proprietary software fiefdoms controlled by Microsoft and Oracle. Opposition by these, along with Apple and the Business Software Alliance and international standards bodies, had forced the Cabinet Office to retract its policy months after it was introduced in 2011. It has already had two public consultations on open standards and formats since it pulled the policy, in an attempt to strengthen in fear of legal action from proprietary opponents.
Other governments have made more rapid and bold declarations for open standards under the same intense opposition from proprietary vendors. Portugal wrote open standards into law last November.
The Microsoft monopoly that inspired the policy meanwhile seems as strong as ever.
Bristol City Council, the coalition mascot for open source and open standards in the public sector, abandoned this year a decade long effort to use alternatives to Microsoft software. It was forced to abandon the effort under a government that promised to deliver open source and open standards across the whole public sector. The heart of government policy was always the open document format (.odf) alternative to Microsoft's dominant .doc format.
Gavin Beckett, enterprise architect and pioneer of Bristol's open source strategy, told a conference in April the council had been struggling alone against the tide. The council did not have the power the change the world on its own. Everyone used Microsoft formats because everyone used Microsoft formats - including all the other major software suppliers to government. So Bristol had to bite the bullet and buy Microsoft.
The European Commission is meanwhile coming to the latest break point in contracts that have made Microsoft the sole supplier of desktop office and operating software for more than 20 years. The Commission had been aspiring to find an open format alternative to Microsoft standards even when it signed the first contract to buy Microsoft Office in 1992.
An optimist might say the Cabinet Office's latest consultation has come in the season of hope and new beginnings. A sceptic might say, 'tis the season of magical fantasy.


Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:57 am
by henke54
Glyn Moody at on 29 January 2014 wrote:Back in December, I lamented the almost complete disappearance of ODF in discussions around office formats. I also pointed to a consultation being run by the UK government on the subject - or, rather "document format challenges" as it preferred to call it. Even though that only closed a couple of weeks ago, Francis Maude has just made a speech in which he discusses what's happening there:

Today I can announce that we’ve set out the document formats that we propose should be adopted across government - and we’re asking you to tell us what you think about them.

It’s not about banning any one product or imposing an arbitrary list of standards. Our plan, as you would expect, is about going back to the user needs, setting down our preferences and making sure we can choose the software that meets our requirements best.

Technical standards for document formats may not set the pulse racing - it may not sound like the first shot in a revolution. But be in no doubt: the adoption of open standards in government threatens the power of lock-in to propriety vendors yet it will give departments the power to choose what is right for them and the citizens who use their services.
That sounds promising, but vague: open standards, escaping lock-in - we've heard all those before, with precious little to show for it. Will this time be any different? More details on the background to the UK government's work here can be found in a blog post by Barbara Chicca:

As part of our parallel discovery project we have:

analysed feedback on using government documents that we received through GOV.UK customer support and transformation projects

interviewed people in government to understand what they use electronic documents for, how they work, and who they share with

carried out a survey of 650 citizens and businesses, to ask them about their experience when using documents produced by the government

Here's some of what was learnt:

people working on policies, guidance documents, and publications in general, tend to work with multiple documents at a time; often needing to be able to exchange documents internally and to collate feedback from different sources.

Staff working on government statistics may need to release data to the public and export the data they manipulate within specialised software into more common formats that can be used by any audience.

When it comes to accessing, collating and sharing information, unfortunately these tasks don’t always go smoothly. Occasionally people can’t open files created by colleagues or by people outside government. Sometimes the content gets corrupted and can’t be read properly. Government users are telling us that when they do encounter these problems, they are mostly due to a lack of consistency in the formats used to save or export documents. This means people have to find alternative routes to read these documents or to get the correct formatting; a cause of delays and frustration.
The obvious solution to those problems is to employ truly open standards, and that is precisely what is being formally proposed by the Cabinet Office on the Standards Hub. Here's the key section:

When dealing with citizens, information should be digital by default and therefore should be published online. Browser-based editing is the preferred option for collaborating on published government information. HTML (4.01 or higher e.g. HTML5) is therefore the default format for browser-based editable text. Other document formats specified in this proposal - ODF 1.1 (or higher e.g. ODF 1.2), plain text (TXT) or comma separated values (CSV) - should be provided in addition. ODF includes filename extensions such as .odt for text, .ods for spreadsheets and .odp for presentations.

For statistical or numerical information, CSV is the required format, preferably with a preview provided in HTML (4.01 or higher e.g. HTML5).

Forms and information exchanges should be digital by default where this is enabled, therefore use of office formats should not be encouraged for the completion of forms.

For information being collaborated on between departments, browser-based editing is preferable but often not currently available. Therefore, information should be shared in ODF (version 1.1 or higher e.g. ODF 1.2). The default format for saving government documents must be one of the formats described in this proposal.

To avoid lock-in to a particular provider, it must be possible for documents being created or worked on in a cloud environment to be exported in at least one of the editable document formats proposed.

Information that is newly created or edited should be saved in one of the formats described in this proposal. There is no requirement to transfer existing information, unless it is newly requested by a user and shared.
As you can see, that specifically mentions ODF, but no other office file format. Clearly, if this proposal is accepted, it will have an immense impact on the uptake of ODF in this country, and, by implication on free software tools that support it. That makes it really important for people to offer constructive comments on this proposal.

To do that, you need to register on the Cabinet Office site, but it's very quick and easy. Although the consultation is open until 26 February, I would urge you to start submitting well before that to get things moving, and to help make the momentum behind true open standards unstoppable. After so many disappointments and false dawns, let's make ODF in UK government happen this time.

Gijs Hillenius at Joinup on January 30, 2014 wrote:The news was picked up by IT trade publications in many EU member states, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain. IT news site Inquirer quoted a spokesperson from OASIS, the organisation maintaining the ODF standard. The organisations "applauds the use of ODF in the public sector." The spokesperson added that the number of ​products that support ODF​ continues to grow​." Journalist Glyn Moody, on his blog on Computerworld UK: "If this proposal is accepted, it will have an immense impact on the uptake of ODF in this country, and, by implication on free software tools that support it."

And here is a reply from Micro$oft :
:ucrazy: :knock:
Hannah Breeze at on 19 Feb 2014 wrote:Microsoft has urged its partners to pay closer attention to what it describes as the government's "ill-considered" proposals to move to a more open IT model.

Last month, the government hinted it was considering moving away from technology such as Microsoft Office in favour of open-source offerings in an effort to break supplier "oligopoly".

According to Microsoft, the government is currently undergoing a consultation on plans to mandate the use of Open Document Formats (ODF) and to ditch Microsoft-developed Open XML (OOXML).

Today, in a blog post to UK resellers, Microsoft said the new open approach could cause problems for businesses and government IT suppliers.

"This move has the potential to impact businesses selling to government, who may be forced to comply [with the new open format]," it said.

"It also sets a worrying precedent because government is, in effect, refusing to support another internationally recognised open standard and may do so for other similar popular standards in the future, potentially impacting anyone who wishes to sell to government."

Microsoft Office has supported ODF since 2007, the vendor claimed, but added that adoption of OOXML has been more widespread.

It stressed it was not calling on the government to drop its plans to use ODF tech, but said it wants it to use both OOXML and ODF versions of open-source technology.

"We believe very strongly that the current proposal is ill considered and is likely to increase costs, cause dissatisfaction amongst citizens and businesses, add complexity to the process of dealing with government and negatively impact some suppliers to government," it added.

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:34 pm
by Villeroy
So all they have to say is: "OOXML is wide spread which is why nobody can live without it." OOXML is not wide spread outside the US. Oh, and certainly OOXML is far away from being "popular". People did not ask for OOXML. They simply use it because it is the latest shit from Microsoft.

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:00 pm
by henke54
Simon Wardley at on December 06, 2013 wrote: If you've been paying attention then you'll have noticed that the UK Government has had a fairly torrid time of trying to implement a policy for open standards.

It eventually won that fight despite efforts from numerous groups such as the BSA, large US companies apparently attempting to influence the process, questions raised over the role of one of the chairman and software patent heavyweights piling into public meetings. At the end of several rounds of shenanigans and lobbying, the UK Gov was finally able to announce a comprehensive policy towards open standards. It was finally able to do what the only respected peer reviewed academic paper on the subject said was a good thing to do - adopt the policy.

However, this fight was just to get the policy approved. We should of course expect many more fights when it comes to specific open standards. Why? Well, it has all to do with money or more importantly the ability of certain companies to help themselves to large amounts of your and my money.

To explain why, let us first understand why we need standards. One of the fundamental purposes of standards is to provide you with choice. If two systems use the same standards then you can switch between both and this switching encourages competition. The reason why UK Gov has a preference for open standards is that it also has a preference for a fair and competitive marketplaces i.e. if the standard is owned by someone or encumbered with patents then that person can limit competition in the market.

Shouldn't we just therefore make everything into a standard? No. There is a cost with standardisation in that it limits innovation at the interface of the standard, hence the implementation of standards is only suitable for activities that have become commonplace and mature.

But surely the marketplace as it matures will define its own standards? Yes. These are called the defacto standards and in most cases they should be adopted. However, in a mature market where the defacto doesn't meet some user need or encourage competition then Governments might need to introduce standardisation to create a competitive market.

Can you give me examples? Certainly. Two examples spring to mind.

1) In the case of cloud computing you have an evolving market where defacto standards are developing. As an evolving market it is too soon for any Government to attempt to implement standards.

2) In the case of documents and word processing systems (like Open Office, Libre Office and Microsoft word) then you have a highly mature and established market. However, in this case despite there being a defacto there is not easy switching between a competitive market of products and this is most clearly shown when people talk of the cost of transfer from the defacto to another.
So why should I care as a vendor? If you are the defacto provider for a mature marketplace and there is a significant cost for people to transfer off your system then you've in effect created a captured market and this can be very lucrative. You won't experience the normal competitive pressures of a free market, you can charge high prices knowing that most won't wish to incur a cost of transfer. This actually creates an incentive for you to lock people further into your system and you'll try and stop anything which threatens this such as open standards.

So why should I care as a customer? Well, if it's a mature market with a defacto and there are limited alternatives unless you incur a high cost of transfer then you're likely to be paying well over the odds. What's operating is not a free market but a captured one and your exit cost from the existing defacto is simply a long term liability which will keep on increasing. In such cases, you should be in favour of open standards because that's the only way you'll get a fair and competitive (known as 'free') market and limit future liabilities.

So that gives some basic background on open standards. The real question is why do I bother mentioning this now? Well the UK Government has just launched a process to select open standards for government documents. I fully expect the lobbying machine to be out in full on this one as what's at stake is oodles of cash and control of a market.

Microsoft Office is obviously the defacto in a well established and mature market which has little differential between product offerings but also high costs of transition. The market has all the appearance of a captured market with weak competition.

However, doesn't Microsoft Office 2010 uses .docx which is Microsoft Office Open XML Format and therefore an open standard? Alas no.

Microsoft Office 2010 provides a number of formats (docx, pptx, xlsx) that collectively are called Office Open XML format (OOXML or OpenXML). This file format was submitted to ISO after intensive lobbying including accusations of rigging and it known as the OpenXML standard (ISO/IEC 29500 adopted in 2007).

Alas, this standard was broken into two parts. There is the standard itself, which is known as strict OpenXML and was accepted by ISO (international standards organisation) and then there is transitional OpenXML which was supposed to be a transitional file format for Microsoft to ease the removal of some of the past closed source legacy from their file format. Of course, Microsoft Office 2010 implemented transitional OpenXML but only reading of strict OpenXML.

So when you use Microsoft Office 2010 to send a document in an OpenXML format such as .docx to someone who uses Libre Office which reads and writes strict OpenXML (as defined by ISO) and they edit the document and send you back a .docx file, then what you see is often a corrupted file or something which can only be read and has to be converted.

You probably think that something is wrong with their software. Well, this problem isn't because of their word processor but instead Microsoft Office 2010 didn't implement strict OpenXML except for reading. It certainly claims that .docx is OpenXML, and that OpenXML is an open standard approved by ISO but the version of OpenXML that ISO approved (strict) is not the same version of OpenXML that Microsoft Office 2010 .docx uses (transitional). This means every other system has to reverse engineer the transitional OpenXML format that the default .docx uses and that's never perfect.

So let me be crystal clear, Microsoft Office 2010 didn't even fully implement the open standard it created and was approved by ISO after its own intensive lobbying. It did promise to provide reading / writing of this format in the future.

Hang on that's old news .... doesn't Microsoft Office 2013 now implement reading / writing of strict OpenXML? Well, the latest release of Microsoft Office does now implement strict OpenXML, unfortunately the default .docx is still transitional OpenXML, you have to specifically select strict OpenXML when you save the file (which is buried in the options) and of course, in order to use Microsoft Office 2013 you need to be running Windows 7 or Windows 8.

So basically, yes you can have the open ISO standard strict OpenXML if you upgrade your operating system, buy the latest version of Microsoft Office 2013 and remember to save in the right format. It must be noted that whilst Microsoft Office 2013 does now provide support for strict OpenXML and even includes group policies for this, the default is .docx which is using Microsoft's own version of an open standard (transitional OpenXML) but without actually being that open standard (strict OpenXML). It's all a bit messy and confusing.

So what does this mean in practice? Well, let us assume that the UK Gov chooses the ISO approved strict OpenXML as an open document standard. First, that means Gov departments would need to upgrade to Microsoft Office 2013 which means upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 and all the changes needed to applications (NB. Microsoft XP is out of support in April 2014). They'd also have to set group policies so that the default was strict OpenXML.

However, let us suppose you create a document, a .docx file and sent it to someone else who happens to be using Microsoft Office 2010. Unfortunately though they could read the .docx file (Microsoft Office 2010 provides read support for strict OpenXML) they couldn't write / edit such a document without changing it to another type of .docx (the default transitional OpenXML). Hence you might send out strict OpenXML but you could easily get back transitional OpenXML though both files are called .docx.

Now given that some companies / organisation are still just in the midst of rolling out Microsoft Office 2010 then you're going to have all sorts of problems trying to introduce use of strict OpenXML as the .docx format and in practice the default transitional OpenXML format will rule for many many years to come. At best, you're going to end up with a messy estate of .docx files some of which are strict format and some of which are transitional format but all are called .docx.

Fortunately if you're using Microsoft Office 2013 this is ok and the more messy the environment, the more incentive there is to all upgrade (including the Operating System). Alas, there are only a limited number of alternative companies providing word processing capable of reading / writing Microsoft Office .docx (transitional format) as it currently stands because of the effort needed to reverse engineer transitional OpenXML (remember strict is the standard).

For example Libre Office does provide the ability to save files as two different .docx formats - one for "Microsoft Word 2007/2010 XML (.docx)" which is the reverse engineered transitional OpenXML format and one for "Office Open XML (.docx)" which is the strict OpenXML format that is the ISO standard.

The upshot of this, for many it'll just seem easier to stick with Microsoft, upgrade the OS and Office package, accept a messy estate and in all probability stick with transitional OpenXML as the .docx format. So much for a competitive market and open standards then.

However, there is an alternative - ODF.

So what is ODF? It stands for Open Document Format, it covers a number of office formats (.odt, .ods, .odp) and is an ISO/IEC standard 26300 adopted in 2006. It is supported by multiple technology providers including AbiWord, Adobe Buzzword, OpenOffice, Atlantis Word Processor, Calligra Suite, Corel WordPerfect Office X6, Evince, Google Drive, Gnumeric, IBM Lotus Symphony, Inkscape exports, KOffice, LibreOffice, Microsoft Office 2010 onwards, NeoOffice, Okular, OpenOffice, SoftMaker Office and Zoho Office Suite.

Microsoft also provides support for ODF however as it says "Formatting might be lost when users save and open .odt files". Brilliant.

One of the big advantages of word processing / spreadsheet and presentations systems like Libre Office is they have close to feature parity with Microsoft Office but they also aren't tied to a specific operating system i.e. you can get Libre Office for Ubuntu, MacOSx and Windows.

So why doesn't Microsoft just adopt ODF? In a nutshell, control of a market. Why simply give up a captured market if you don't have to and especially if you can persuade people that the exit costs that your product has created aren't actually an ongoing liability. If you can use those exit costs to persuade people against moving, explain that your product really is 'open' with OpenXML, add in a complex mess of strict and transitional formats then you can hopefully can get people to stay put and just upgrade both Office and the operating system. You get to keep the captured market intact!

Oh, and by the way, those exit costs are significant. Microsoft's own people estimated that adoption by UK Government of ODF as the standard would cost in excess of £500 million. What that means is we're currently locked into an environment which it will cost £500 million to escape from (assuming the figure is correct) but what they fail to mention is that 'liability' is unlikely to decrease over time. It's that 'liability' which keeps us paying for new versions of Office, new versions of OS, application upgrades and also prevents a truly competitive market for what is fundamentally a common and well defined activity - writing documents etc.

This is where Government really has to step in because it has power and influence in the market.

This is clearly a mature but captured market which the introduction of an open standard will encourage greater competition, reduce long term liabilities such as exit costs and therefore benefit users. There is no reason why Microsoft can't upgrade previous versions of Office to write strict OpenXML (they've had six years) and change the default .docx to this, however it's probably just not in their interests to do so. The pragmatic choice for Government would therefore seem to be ODF.

If you select ODF then there is also no reason why Microsoft cannot sell office products based upon ODF (which it supports) and if not Microsoft then there's lots of other potential vendors (see list above) including open source solutions who will. Since Portugal and other Governments have already gone down a route of establishing ODF as the standard then it also doesn't make much sense for the UK Gov to create its own island of technology standards.

But then again, standards are rarely about pragmatism and more about vested interests. Now this is the reason why there will be a fight because you're talking of an established defacto with a captured market potentially being forced into giving up that control and competing in a free market. I expect to see lots of intense lobbying over why OpenXML should be the standard despite the default .docx of Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013 being transitional OpenXML and not the approved ISO open standard strict OpenXML.

At the end of the day this is about word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. We don't need umpteen file formats for this and certainly not two different formats for .docx such as strict and transitional. This will be claimed to be a necessity for reasons of transition but we've had six years and no end in sight to this mess. In reality this is all about prolonging control of a captured market and almost nothing about end user needs.

This is why Governments must act but of course, it'll need you to help counter the well funded lobbyists that are likely to appear - just like last time.

Before I go, I thought I'd better clear one last thing up. I happen to love Microsoft Office. I use it all the time on MacOSX in particular Excel. However, I'd rather see Microsoft compete on providing me with a better experience / product which was based on ODF (an open standard) in a competitive market than what is happening today. I do understand the temptation to claim something is an open standard when it is not, I do understand the gameplay and how standards can be used to control the market.

I hope, maybe with a change of leadership that Microsoft learns it can compete purely on having better products and not by attempting to create and exploit lock-in for what is a common activity. I fear that this standards debate will just become another example of Microsoft rallying troops into the fray with the usual cries of being "open", concerns over exit costs that ignore long term liabilities and funded "white papers" masquerading as academic work etc. ... -once.html

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:11 pm
by henke54
HoudiniEsq is the first Legal Practice Management product to fully support the OpenDocument format natively. Users can now create beautiful polished PDF or Word documents and templates using either LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Microsoft Word or HoudiniEsq.

“Using the OpenOffice format for templates provides better output for both PDF and Word documents from a single template." says CEO Frank Rivera.

The OpenDocument format support is available free of charge to all HoudiniEsq users.

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:57 am
by henke54
Andrew Updegrove at on march 12, 2014 wrote:
ODF vs. OOXML: War of the Words

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, a battle that is playing out across five continents and in both the halls of government and the marketplace alike. And, needless to say, at countless blogs and news sites all the Web over as well.

Arrayed on one side or the other, either in the forefront of battle or behind the scenes, are most of the major IT vendors of our time. And at the center of the conflict is Microsoft, the most successful software vendor of all time, faced with the first significant challenge ever to one of its core businesses and profit centers – its flagship Office productivity suite.

The story has other notable features as well: ODF is the first IT standard to be taken up as a popular cause, and also represents the first “cross over” standards issue that has attracted the broad support of the open source community. Then there are the societal dimensions: open formats are needed to safeguard our culture and our history from oblivion. And when implemented in open source software and deployed on Linux-based systems (not to mention One Laptop Per Child computers), the benefits and opportunities of IT become more available to those throughout the third world.


Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:51 pm
by henke54
Call to fix interoperability of office suites

Last week Monday, five European public administrations published a new call for tender, to further improve interoperability between free and open source office suites and the ubiquitous proprietary alternative. This is the second time that the German cities of Munich, Leipzig and Jena, the Swiss Federal Court and the Swiss Federal IT Steering Unit have issued such a call. ICT specialists have until 30 April to submit proposals.
The office suites' interoperability project is again managed by the OSB Alliance, a trade group representing open source service providers from Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

According the alliance's press release, one of the main features to be developed concerns change tracking between open source and proprietary office suites. The public administrations issuing the call want to improve the specification of change tracking, and make this part of the Open Document Format ISO standard.

This precision should clear the way for the proprietary software vendor to implement ODF's track changes in its office suite, explains Svante Schubert, an open standards expert who helped write the tender specification. "The Microsoft Office suite currently strips change tracking information from ODF documents, making the exchange of ODF documents impossible with inveterate users such as legal departments."

The tender specification lists five additional features to be developed, including new spreadsheet functions, chart styles and improved mail merge capabilities. The project is expected to be completed later this year. All code contributions are to be committed to the LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice projects. The source code is to be made available using the Apache Software License 2.
Episode 1

Two years ago, in the first phase, the City of Munich, the Swiss Federal Court, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, and other public administrations gathered 160,000 euro to pay for improved support for Microsoft's proprietary OOXML in LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice. The alliance published a public tender in February 2012, and the contract was awarded to the SUSE LibreOffice Team and Lanedo, an IT service provider based in Hamburg.

That code was committed to the LibreOffice project in the summer of 2013 and the improvements are included in LibreOffice versions 3.6 and later. The code is not yet included in Apache OpenOffice, says Matthias Stürmer, a Swiss researcher, and responsible for the alliance procurement project. "OpenOffice does not have the same OOXML filter as LibreOffice and cannot include the changes immediately."

Contributions from other public administrations are very welcome, adds Stürmer. "We hope more authorities will join us in improving office suites' interoperability."

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:33 pm
by henke54
Simon Phipps at on April 02, 2014 wrote:
Document Liberation Project aims to break vendor lock-in

New open source developer consortium promises to end upgrade arms race, enabling users to reclaim orphaned documents

When Apple highlighted the mess we're all in with old document formats recently, it was clear we needed someone to step in and start to fix the problem. Today at a developer conference in Leipzig, Germany, someone did. The new Document Liberation Project, sponsored by The Document Foundation, seeks to collect samples of all known document formats, document them, and build import filters so they can be imported into open source software like LibreOffice.
Project leader Fridrich Strba has been a developer involved for many years in the Libre Graphics Meeting, a gathering of programmers devoted to creating industry-strength software of artists and authors of all kinds. They have previously helped develop filters to handle files from proprietary software such as Microsoft Visio, CorelDraw, Microsoft Publisher, and Apple Keynote. The filters they create are then incorporated into open source projects like Abiword, Calligra, Inkscape, LibreOffice, and Scribus, allowing these tools to unlock the data and ensure it is available long term both for creative purposes and for archiving.

The capability is both unique and necessary. "Frequently, these old files cannot be opened by any application. In fact, the users are locked out of their own content, and the most common reason for this inability to access old data is the use of proprietary file-formats that result in vendor lock-in," Strba commented in the news release.

The consequences of this proprietary lock-out can be expensive and far reaching, Strba added. "When a public administration stores documents using a proprietary or a nondocumented format, it unintentionally restricts access to essential information to citizens, administrations and businesses," he said. "Astonishingly enough, even governments might be unable to open their own documents after an upgrade of their operating system and office software."

The new Document Liberation Project aims to draw in more developers, document more file formats, and ultimately empower open source software to access and rescue the data defunct or vendor-deprecated software has rendered unusable. An important goal is to help governments, companies and individuals migrate to the Open Document Format (ODF) standard as a long-term storage format for their creative work.
ODF offers long-terms stability since new versions -- such as ODF 1.2, submitted to ISO for standardisation last week -- remain backward-compatible. Hopefully the Document Liberation Project will help return effective control over content to the actual authors. It's high time file format changes stopped being a lever to force unwanted upgrades.

Loek Essers at IDG News Service on April 02, 2014 wrote:
Wanted: developers to make outdated documents readable again

The Document Foundation project aims to develop tools for converting files from proprietary to open formats

The Document Foundation is looking for developers who want to help make documents locked in old, outdated and inaccessible file formats readable again.

The Document Liberation Project aims to attract open source developers to help provide tools for the conversion of proprietary file formats to the corresponding ODF ISO standard document format, The Document Foundation (TDF) said in a news release on Wednesday.

The Germany-based independent, self-governing organization mainly focuses on the development of open source office suite LibreOffice. While LibreOffice community members have been busy improving format interoperability since 2010, help from outside the community is needed to push the effort forward, the foundation said.

So far, LibreOffice developers have provided read support for a variety of proprietary file formats and its import libraries are currently used by a number of vendors, it said.

Being unable to open old files is a common problem encountered by computer users today and caused primarily by proprietary file formats, the foundation said.

The inability to open old files could be especially problematic in government agencies, affecting the ability of government employees, citizens and businesses to access essential public sector information.

The way to prevent or solve this problem is to use true open standards that are fully documented, they said. "But as things stand today, we must face a daunting reality: a significant amount of our legacy digital content is encoded in proprietary, undocumented formats," the project website's reads.

While the project asked for help, it lacks a schedule or plan for formats to covert next, said David Tardon, one of the conversion project's founding members, in an email.

Depending on the format involved, it typically takes a couple of weeks to create a format translator that is usable, and after that it takes more time to iron out the details, he said.

If a format is undocumented, the project tries to uncover the structure of the file format themselves, said Tardon.

"This is actually rather the norm than the exception: very few proprietary file formats have any documentation available," he said.

Interested developers can contact the project. ... liberation

UK makes ODF its official documents format standard

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:43 am
by /a3
UK makes ODF its official documents format standard wrote:[T]he UK government announced on Tuesday, that it will now require all official office suites to support ODF.

The document format world has just been turned upside down.

The UK Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude, said in prepared remarks the, "Government will begin using open formats that will ensure that citizens and people working in government can use the applications that best meet their needs when they are viewing or working on documents together."

Specifically the selected standards are:

  • PDF/A or HTML for viewing government documents
  • ODF for sharing or collaborating on government documents

The UK made this decision, Maude said, because: "Our long-term plan for a stronger economy is all about helping UK businesses grow. We have listened to those who told us that open standards will reduce their costs and make it easier to work with government. This is a major step forward for our digital-by-default agenda which is helping save citizens, businesses and taxpayers £1.2 billion ($2.05bn) over this Parliament."

Andrew Updegrove, a world-recognized standards expert and founding partner of the law firm Gesmer Updegrove, said on his standards blog, ConsortiumInfo, about the decision:

"The U.K. Cabinet Office accomplished today what the Commonwealth of Massachusetts set out (unsuccessfully) to achieve ten years ago: it formally required compliance with the ODF by software to be purchased in the future across all government bodies. Compliance with any of the existing versions of OOXML, the competing document format championed by Microsoft, is neither required nor relevant."

See the original article for full text and links.

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 5:04 pm
by henke54
Worldwide engagement leads to standards that get people working together.
GOV.UK on 22 july 2014 wrote:The open standards selected for sharing and viewing government documents have been announced by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude.

The standards set out the document file formats that are expected to be used across all government bodies. Government will begin using open formats that will ensure that citizens and people working in government can use the applications that best meet their needs when they are viewing or working on documents together.

When departments have adopted these open standards:

citizens, businesses and voluntary organisations will no longer need specialist software to open or work with government documents
people working in government will be able to share and work with documents in the same format, reducing problems when they move between formats
government organisations will be able to choose the most suitable and cost effective applications, knowing their documents will work for people inside and outside of government

The selected standards, which are compatible with commonly used document applications, are:

PDF/A or HTML for viewing government documents
Open Document Format (ODF) for sharing or collaborating on government documents

The move supports the government’s policy to create a level playing field for suppliers of all sizes, with its digital by default agenda on track to make cumulative savings of £1.2 billion in this Parliament for citizens, businesses and taxpayers.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

Our long-term plan for a stronger economy is all about helping UK businesses grow. We have listened to those who told us that open standards will reduce their costs and make it easier to work with government. This is a major step forward for our digital-by-default agenda which is helping save citizens, businesses and taxpayers £1.2 billion over this Parliament.

Mike Bracken, Executive Director of the Government Digital Service said:

We had a huge response to this proposal, both from the standards community and the public as a whole. I want to thank everyone who took the time to comment.

Their feedback made it clear just how important choosing the right way of publishing documents is. Using an open standard will mean people won’t have costs imposed on them just to view or work with information from government. It’s a big step forward, and I’m delighted we’re taking it.

A rigorous process was undertaken which included considering over 500 public comments and talking directly to users.

One of the respondents to the proposal said on the Standards Hub:

From my perspective as IT manager for a UK charity, use of open standards for documents is key to controlling our overheads… From our perspective it makes sense to receive government documentation in ODF because it is possible to install up-to-date software on all computers.

The new standards will come into effect straight away for all new procurements subject to the Open Standards Principles. The Government Digital Service will work with departments to publish guidance and implementation plans.
Notes for editors

For more information about document open standards and the government’s decision-making process visit the Standards Hub.

:bravo: :super: ... -documents ... nt_format/ ... documents/ ... nt-format/ ... liers.html

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:41 am
by RoryOF

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:23 pm
by acknak
Good links, thanks!

And the ODF adoption for the UK is really good news.

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:26 pm
by Hagar Delest
This is being discussed on the dev mailing list, very interesting posts: ... 19868.html

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:53 pm
by keme
Going backwards in Norway (sort of). Not all bad, though...

ODF used to be the recommended standard for published documents from public services in Norway. The use of OOXML was not recommended (specifically advised against). This changed some time around new year 2013, as far as I can tell. I have been unaware of the change until this day.

Now our standard for published documents with mainly textual content is HTML. If preservation of formatting/layout is important, PDF is allowed. If the document is meant for further editing, an open standard format is recommended. In this context, ODF and OOXML are both mentioned as the current examples of open standards.

IOW, we need a good reason if we want to publish a document and not use HTML as the main format. One step backwards for ODF, but perhaps a step forward for standards in this field as a whole.

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:40 pm
by acknak

HTML is an interesting choice; I'm not so sure it's a good one. Of course there's wide support for viewing HTML documents but the actual markup is often a mess: cluttered with lots of settings and css, and every document is completely different. Every different html generator uses different ways to format the document, even for basic things like paragraphs. Anyone trying to process html documents in software has a big problem, as far as I can see.

I suppose that's a lower priority but I'd be interested to know the thinking behind the recommendations.

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:19 pm
by keme
acknak wrote:...
I suppose that's a lower priority but I'd be interested to know the thinking behind the recommendations.

So would I.

My thoughts from the sideline:
As you say, availability for viewing is the one aspect where HTML wins easily. Also that choice sidesteps the entire format "war" between Office suite developers, a conflict on technical and tactical issues which the average user doesn't care much about. He and she just wants to read the relevant info and fill the proper forms.

When the Office document formats are no longer the primary form of publishing, it is not so crucial that they be handled consistently. It is then easier to consider the formats as equivalent. Mentioning OOXML as equivalent to ODF makes it less relevant for MS to take legal action (as they might, if only for marketing reasons, seeing that "OOXML is an ISO certified standard"). Perhaps someone "chickened out"...

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:06 pm
by acknak
I think the practical reality is that MS Office is entrenched and--as you say--it's risky to officially exclude MS' default formats.

I guess from the other side, I'm happy enough to have gov't documents/forms as pdf, and that's even more opaque than html. At least an html doc you can open in a text editor.

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 10:45 am
by henke54
Caroline Baldwin at ComputerWeekly wrote:Departments lack common targets for implementing open-document standards

Whitehall departments have begun to publish their plans on how to implement the government’s open-document standards policy – but so far, each appears to be working to very different timescales. One department – the Treasury – has stated it won’t see full implementation until as late as 2018.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the Treasury have published their plans so far. The Treasury said it will not be fully implementing the mandated open-document standard until February 2018, three years after other departments.

The standard called the Open Document Format (ODF) was chosen by the government in July 2014 to standardise document formats across the public sector, with PDF and HTML also approved for viewing files.

In September 2014, government departments were told to publish their implementation plans, which are expected to trickle through over the coming month.
Instead of the Cabinet Office publishing a single plan for all of the government, it seems to be the case individual departments will follow their own plans without any common targets.

Computer Weekly asked the Cabinet Office about timescales and was told because each department is responsible for procuring its own IT and services, each may have its own reason for its implementation timings.

The Treasury intends to complete the implementation of HTML by 31 November 2014, while PDF will be completed by 28 February 2015. However, ODF won’t be implemented until 28 February 2018, with plans to be reviewed in 2016 to assess if it can be completed sooner.
A spokesperson for the Treasury told Computer Weekly while the department can generate documents in the ODF format already, it was allowing time for its stakeholders to put in place the tools to open, edit and save Treasury documents.

“The Treasury is proud of its record, leading government in delivering modern and flexible ICT services,” said the Treasury spokesperson. “All our staff have access to the latest Windows 8.1 mobile technology with Office 2013 and are able to work with open document formats. Today we are able to generate documents in the latest ODF format, 1.2 but are conscious that many external organisations and citizens cannot read ODF 1.2 documents.

“We hope that many stakeholders will have tools in place by 2016 and will review a mandatory implementation again then. We anticipate 2018 to be the latest date when the majority of our stakeholders will have access to ODF 1.2 documents. In the meantime we’ll be running an internal departmental Alpha with the ODF 1.2 standard to fully understand the impact on our users, suppliers, partners and citizens.”

In comparison, DCLG’s published timeline of implementation will end in July 2015.

“DCLG will be progressively moving to the use of open formats that will ensure citizens and people working in the government can use the applications that best meet their needs when they are viewing or working on documents together,” the department said.

By the end of July 2015, the DCLG stated it will have reviewed departmental templates to ensure they are interoperable between Microsoft Office and ODF, and the department will also consider a move to Microsoft Office 2013 to meet the latest ODF standard. The department will also have reviewed any applications that need integration with Microsoft Office to see whether they can handle ODF.

Meanwhile, Defra aims to ensure its teams which publish on are aware of the new requirements and provide guidance over the next three months. It also plans to review its publishing governance processes to embed best practices.

Over the next six months it will extend the new policy to external agencies who do not currently publish on This is in addition to reworking the department’s use of internal and external forms, as well as the development of web-based forms.

As for a full implementation of ODF, Computer Weekly was told by a Defra spokesperson the department couldn’t commit to any timescales until the investigative work has been carried out.

Microsoft against ODF

The decision to move towards ODF was lobbied extensively by Microsoft, which urged the government to include Office Open XML (OOXML) – the standard used for its Word documents, but which critics say is not a truly open, supplier-independent format.

A 2012 consultation on the definition of open standards was delayed after it transpired an independent facilitator in the process was being paid by Microsoft.
Even before that consultation, the supplier had been pressuring the Cabinet Office for changes to its open-standards policy, backed up by industry group the Business Software Alliance, which represents the interests of many proprietary software providers.

In February 2014, Microsoft rallied its network of partners to try to overturn plans to adopt ODF as the government standard for document sharing, in favour of the default format used by its Office products.

That attempt proved unsuccessful and Microsoft was openly critical of the move, telling Computer Weekly at the time it was “unproven and unclear how UK citizens will benefit from the government’s decision”.

This article was updated at 11.30 on November 5 to include comment from the Treasury ... -standards

Bryan Glick at ComputerWeekly wrote:According to Rohan Silva, a former digital advisor to prime minister David Cameron, Microsoft had aggressively tried to derail previous attempts to commit to open standards. ... e-minister

Re: Support for ODF

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 2:08 am
by henke54
Simon Phipps at computerworlduk on 08 December 2014 wrote:DiBona explained that the file viewer support for ODF in GMail and Docs is developed separately in the company and thus there will be things that can be viewed and not edited and vice versa. ODF support in advanced search is weak, and it’s hardly mentioned elsewhere such as on Android and Chromebooks. Indeed, a recent Google Drive announcement didn’t even mention ODF.

But that may be changing. Chris DiBona, head of open source at Google, told the PlugFest audience that support for exporting ODS and ODT files in ODF 1.2 format (the one used by all modern suites including MS Office and LibreOffice) is now under development. He also said that support for ODP presentations was under development and could be ready as soon as summer 2015. He cautioned these were informal estimates rather than firm commitments.