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05.27.08

Phasing Out Malice to Make Room for Necessary Change

Posted in Europe, Formats, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 10:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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It seems safe to say that the office suites market is at a turning point. Consider this to be just another gentle reminder suggesting that you phone your national standards body to appeal against ISO’s decision. As The Register put it last night:

SABS is so far the only participating or P member of the so-called JTC 1 process to have issued a formal protest ahead of the ISO’s cut-off date of 29 May.

Separate complaints have been made, but the formal appeal could use further backing and endorsement. Only a couple of days remain. ISO, prisoner of Redmond, is already working on moving goalposts.

MicrISOft

ODF in Europe

There are many signs of change at the moment. To give a quick sample from the news, begin by considering this report from the European Commission.

The Danish government last Friday appointed five experts to evaluate the implementation of Open Standards in the country.

The committee is part of a study requested earlier by the Danish Parliament into the impact of Open Standards on competition. An second evaluation is currently undertaken by the Danish Competition Authority.

There’s also this launch of a new OOo portal.

oooPortal.com – The worldwide portal for OpenOffice.org users was launched Prague, the Czech Republic, 26 May 2008 – Today a gate to the virtual city of users of OpenOffice.org from the whole world was opened. The users get their own portal where they can find the fresh information, articles, directions, templates, extensions or discussion forum.

An event in Belgium:

I just learned that the ProFoss event in Brussels on June 10 will have a focus on OpenOffice.org. The list of speakers sounds very interesting!

Another large migration to ODF in government. The original article is in German and it seems like another big victory for Debian GNU/Linux. As we stressed before, ODF is essential for wider adoption of GNU/Linux.

According to this German article, the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) is switching to StarOffice for all 500 desktop PCs. 90% of the BSI employees have already gone through the migration. Another great success story for ODF!

The download pace of OpenOffice.org appears to be increasing very fast, according the the figures that are found here.

OpenOffice.org, which is just one implementation of ODF, is currently being downloaded more than 1.2M times per week and being distributed by popular hardware products like the Asus Eee PC. Government organizations around the world are adopting OpenOffice.org and/or ODF and have started to help each other with their adoption challenges. Thus, ODF has become a “market force” that can’t be ignored anymore. Thus, again, congratulations and thank you to all the people who have contributed to the success of OpenOffice.org and ODF so far! Well done!

Recently it was said that “[R]oughly 1 million copies of OpenOffice.org are downloaded per week, not including distributions through vendors such as Google.” This means that the number of downloads has gone up more than 20% in a matter of months. As we stressed a few days ago, sales of Microsoft Office had gone down, so all these seemingly impactless downloads of OOo truly have a quiet effect on the market. They are not alone.

Trojan Horses in Sight

As in any story of success in the making, there might be villains. We’ve warned before that Microsoft may be scheming to harm ODF ‘from the inside’ and there’s an interesting new find over in Groklaw, which says: “This is from April, but it explains the DIN reference the other day from Microsoft in its announcement it would support ODF. Also note that the blog indicates that Microsoft wants ODF to be put in the hands of Alex Brown, instead of in the control of OASIS, something I consider unlikely at best and unthinkable at worst, given Brown’s public hostility to it.” It’s worth keeping an eye open.

“I’d be glad to help tilt lotus into into the death spiral. I could do it Friday afternoon but not Saturday. I could do it pretty much any time the following week.”

Brad Silverberg, Microsoft

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