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07.06.08

More ODF, More FOSS, a Little Less Microsoft

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, KDE, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 5:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

I

t was months ago that we discovered how Microsoft had bullied even professors [1, 2] in pursuit of a win for its proprietary OOXML. Such strategies of sheer and shameless aggression rarely prove effective. If anything, once they blow out, they turn people sour. At the moment, according to a regular reader of Free Software Daily, Professor Rajanish Dass is pushing for adoption of ODF and OpenOffice.org.

a case study done by Prof. Rajanish Dass of IIM A on the Espousal of ODF by the Dept. of IT, Delhi.

This links to a PDF, which has appended inside it some valuable supportive exhibits.

KOffice Again

When it comes to ODF, OpenOffice.org is far from the only game in town. Arguing otherwise is just disinformation that typically serves the opponent of this OASIS-formed specification, which is elegant, portable and has a provable, portable implementation. KOffice, for instance, is prepared to collaborate with the OpenOffice.org in order to share information and probably code too. The impressions of KOffice 2.0 (still in alpha) seem very positive based on the following new review.

The good news for people new to KOffice is the integrated installer makes downloading and installing the required software a breeze, even on Windows.

Linux users are well acquainted with downloading many packages at a time from the Internet in order to install software, but this experience is less frequent on Windows, where users tend to download a monolithic package or install software from a DVD.

KOffice Logo

In the mean time, you’ll find OpenOffice.org recommended and promoted in a variety of places. It has just been highlighted by the Microsoft-centric (Paul Allen) CNET and this new blog post about Free software boasts OpenOffice.org as a poster child.

To help promote the spread of Software Freedom and the advancement of technology, try using some pieces of Free Software instead of Proprietary Software. Two very well know[n] pieces of Free Software you may want to try are the Firefox Web Browser (http://mozilla.com/firefox) and the OpenOffice Productivity Suite (http://openoffice.org).

With Firefox’ worldwide usage hovering around 19% (it’s hard to tell for sure for a variety of reasons), for OpenOffice.org to be listed there along Firefox’ side is quite an honour. OpenOffice.org is being downloaded over 1.2 million times a week and this excludes the many cases where it’s prebundled or where a single download makes multiple deployments. In any event, it’s very clear that ODF spreads quickly. Microsoft understands this. Here you see another new recommendation of OpenOffice.org:

The software I’m suggesting this week is called Open Office. If you can justify the expense of purchasing a word processor or spreadsheet like Microsoft Office, you will likely find that Open Office does everything you need and more. Even if you need to share documents with others using Microsoft Office, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Microsoft Responds

Earlier today we mentioned Microsoft’s latest move against low-cost laptops. It fights not fire with fire (or free with free). It fights libre with gratis. The latest such push is called Equipt.

Microsoft Fights Open Source Office With Equipt

Microsoft in unhappy with the slow sales of its Office suite and comes p with a new marketing plan: a subscription pricing model.

It’s important to warn peers and family about this trap. It’s a time-enable lock-in. Personal data is to be held hostage.

The ‘Innovation’ Excuse

Unsurprisingly, Adobe is in many ways like Microsoft. They are both deep in proprietary software. They can hardly imagine another way.

Consider this: Microsoft won't ever stick to ECMA OOXML. It never did and it continues to deviate further away. Adobe is pretty much the same when it comes to Flash, so it would be risky to hold our breath based on this new gem from O’Grady.

Perhaps the biggest question facing the potential standards players will be the balance between standardization and the speed of innovation. When we spoke with Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch about the opening of its SWF format, one of the questions we put to him was the potential for SWF to make the transition from open specification to formal standard. While not dismissing the possibility out of hand, his concern was that it might negatively impact Adobe’s ability to innovate within the specification. Standards need not be inimical to innovation, but neither are they designed to foster it.

They confuse innovation and control, just like freedom and power. Fast innovation is never the work of one single party or entity; it’s the joining of minds. Some hardcore proprietary software companies see this idea as antithetical for no justified reason other than greed (or shareholders).

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