OK, so this ODF Alliance Newsletter I post here is a week old, but that's because I have been on a journey in which I have been totally offline for almost two weeks -- becoming a pilgrim/recluse who, amongst other deeds, watched mountains, got shaved and made peace...
As soon as I landed back in Malaysia yesterday on the first day of fasting in Ramadan, Yoon Kit's welcome-back text message beeped on my mobile phone, and it included, "Nice to be back? Malaysia will do u proud!"
Later I got online and finally caught up with the news about Malaysia's Abstention vote for OOXML. But I am at peace. I half-sulk at Malaysia's National Body committee Disapproval vote that turned into Abstention, and I half-smile that in the math of the ISO result for OOXML's failure, if any 4 of the 22 countries who abstained and/or didn't vote had voted Approval/Yes, then the result would go OOXML's favour -- so Malaysia did make a difference by not voting Yes.
I'll give more recent digests of other ODF, OOXML and open source news later, but in the meantime, here is a catch-up of last week's ODF Alliance Newsletter.
ODF Alliance Newsletter 7 September 2007
You can download a free PDF version of the newsletter: http://www.odfalliance.org/mail_list.php. Please feel free to forward to whom it may be of interest.
OOXML Bid For ISO Approval Falls Short of Necessary Votes
Microsoft's bid to secure ISO approval of OOXML during the 5-month ballot period failed. Approval required at least 2/3 of the votes cast by national bodies participating in ISO/IEC JTC 1 (so-called P-members) to be positive; and no more than 1/4 of the total number of national body votes cast negative. Neither of these criteria were achieved, with 53% of votes cast by P-members being positive and 26% of national votes cast being negative. During the 5-month ballot period that ended on Sep 2, the ranks of the P-members had swelled to include 12 new members (from 29 to 41), 10 of which ultimately voted for approval, including Jamaica, Malta, Cyprus, Cote D'Ivoire, Lebanon, Pakistan, Venezuela and Turkey. Despite the sudden surge, 15 P members voted to disapprove (with comments) and another 9 voted to abstain. The ballots were accompanied by thousands of pages of comments from national bodies highlighting major concerns with the insufficiency of Microsoft's patent pledge, the undocumented features of OOXML preventing its use by other vendors, dependencies on other Microsoft proprietary products, and technical defects, which will have to be resolved at a Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) on February 25-29, 2008 if OOXML is to ultimately achieve ISO approval. ODF was approved unanimously (23-0 among P members, 31-0 overall) as an international standard by ISO in May 2006.
ISO Press Release - http://www.iso.org/iso/newsandmedia/pressrelease.htm?refid=Ref1070
Ballot Results and Vote Map - http://www.noooxml.org/ballotresults
ISO/IEC Voting Process Explained - http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/article.php?story=20070831151800414
Linux Foundation Statement on OOXML - http://stuff.techwhack.com/archives/2007/08/29/ooxml/
OOXML Poses Grave Issues With Respect to Accessibility, University of Toronto White Paper Concludes
Jutta Treviranus, Director of the Adaptive Technology Resource
Centre and Dr. Stephen A. Hockema, faculty member of Information
Studies - both at the University of Toronto - have published a white
paper, "Accessibility Issues with OOXML," describing the accessibility
challenges that people with disabilities face with office documents and
office formats generally. The paper also addresses the specific issues
they have encountered in OOXML. The paper's conclusions cite the "grave
issues with respect to the accessibility of Office Open XML as a format
and potential standard that should preclude its adoption at present."
While noting that "OOXML can be improved to ameliorate some of the more
specific technical concerns," the authors state that it is likely too
late for the higher-level issues, and instead recommend that energy be spent on improving the existing ISO-approved ODF standard.
University of Toronto Accessibility White Paper - http://atrc.utoronto.ca/index.php?option=com_content§ionid=14&task=view&hidemainmenu=1&id=371
Russia, Malaysia Embrace ODF
Following last month's action by Japan, Russia and Malaysia became the latest countries to embrace open standards, including ODF. The “Action Plan on Open Source Software Development and Usage in the Russian Government” envisions legislative requirements to mandate the procurement of software based on how well it adheres to widely used standards. In a statement, Russia's Ministry for IT and Communications said, “Open document standards must be supported on a governmental level. Within the project to form an e-government concept in the Russian Federation, support of ISO/IEC 26300:2006 is planned.”....The Malaysian Administration Modernization and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) issued a tender for a nine-month study that will provide a roadmap for implementing ODF in Malaysia's public sector. The decision to implement ODF follows lengthy consideration by MAMPU of open formats, their importance for the current and future accessibility of government records, and the relative "openness" of the options available.
Alliance Release -
ZD Net Asia - http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/software/0,39044164,62030781,00.htm
OpenOffice.org Annual Conference To Feature ODF Interoperability Camp
The OpenOffice.org Conference 2007 program is out, featuring a one-day "ODF Camp" focused on ODF interoperability among implementations. Visit the ODF Camp page below. The conference, which will be held in Barcelona, will extend over three days, Wednesday 19th September to Friday 21st September inclusive.
OpenOffice.org Conference 2007 Program - http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme.html
ODF Camp - http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/odf_camp.html
Sign the Petitions to Add Support for ODF in iWorks, Palm
Apple Support for ODF - http://www.petitiononline.com/appleodf/petition.html
Palm ODF Petition - http://solutionsathand.wordpress.com/2007/08/09/palm-os-freedom-of-choice-is-the-cornerstone/
ODF Now Available in Spanish
The ODF wishes to thank the regional government of Extremadura (Spain) for translating ODFv1.1 into Spanish. In July 2006 Extremadura made ODF and PDF/A its official formats, requiring their use for document exchange between public administrations.
ODF v1.1 (in Spanish) - http://126.96.36.199/linexsp/
New Applications Support for ODF
1) Zoho Viewer, an online office application, now includes support for ODF.
2) Sun Microsystem's ODF-supporting
StarOffice software suite will now be distributed through Google Pack, giving
users free access to an enterprise-strength office application.
3) IBM's Lotus Notes & Domino 8 was released incorporating ODF-supporting productivity tools.
4) Babya E-Type 2008 will be the first
Babya to support the ODF via a new file conversion utility, powered by
New Alliance Members
Please welcome the following new members: Except (Argentina); Sílice S.A. (Argentina); Xtech (Argentina); Openware (Argentina); Menttes (Argentina); The OSS Movement (Bangladesh); Sharif FarsiWeb, Inc. (Iran); Power Management Concepts, LLC (USA); City of Schwaebisch Hall (Germany); Ext.Net (Ukraine); Edujini Labs Pvt Ltd (India); HollandOpen (Netherlands); Fundación Vía Libre (Argentina); Tenth Planet Technologies (India); Philippine Linux Users' Group; Wescom GmbH Informatik Luzern (Switzerland); Afro.nu webbdesign (Sweden); Asociación de Usuarios de GNIX - AGNIX (Spain); Espírito Livre (Brazil); GFU Cyrus AG (Germany); extranet internet creator (Poland); Gubro-PR (Brazil); OLPC Nepal (Nepal); sbVB (Brazil); Secretária Municipal de Educação de Cariacia (Brazil).
Sep. 19-21, 2007
OpenOffice.org Annual International Conference (OOoCon 2007)e , Barcelona, Spain
Oct. 15-16, 2007
(GOSCON 2007)Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON 2007), Portland, Oregon
Oct 22-25, 2007
Cascon 2007, Toronto, Canada
Nov. 12-15, 2007
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
ODF In the News
Open Office XML standardisation bid falters
By Stephen Withers; Itwire; Wednesday, 05 September 2007
Microsoft's bid for 'open' document format is unexpectedly rebuffed
IHT; By Kevin J. O'Brien; Published: September 4, 2007
Why Microsoft deserved to lose the OOXML standards vote
ZD Net; September 4th, 2007; Posted by Mary Jo Foley @ 8:32 am
Microsoft FUD Watch: OOXML Edition
By Joe Wilcox; September 4, 2007 1:40 PM
Microsoft Office XML Formats? Defective By Design
Microsoft Pressed Swedish Partners to Vote for Open XML
Daniel Goldberg, Computer-Sweden Thursday, August 30, 2007 7:00 AM PDT http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136599-c,companynews/article.html
Evidence of Microsoft Influencing OOXML Votes in Nordic States
By Scott M. Fulton, III, BetaNews; August 28, 2007, 5:12 PM
Higher-education bodies warned over XML transition
Published: 09 Aug 2007 17:17 BST
Guest Commentary: The converter hoax
Heise open, 7/16/07
Analyst: Apple embarrasses Microsoft with iWork ‘08
MacDaily News; Friday, August 10, 2007 - 05:00 PM EDT http://www.macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/comments/analyst_apple_embarrasses_microsoft_with_iwork_08/
Another update on ODF vs. OOXML file counts
Genii Weblog; Mon 13 Aug 2007, 12:01 AM
New York To Examine Effectiveness Of E-Documents
By K.C. Jones; InformationWeek; August 13, 2007 10:21 AM http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=201500056&subSection=News
Governments Aren't Open to New Technologies
By Jin Rapoza; eWeek; Monday, August 13, 2007 3:10 PM/EST http://etech.eweek.com/content/linux_open_source/governments_arent_open_to_new_technologies.html
Emerging Consensus In Favour of a Unified Document Format Standard
By Mark Shuttleworth
Microsoft 'Monopoly' Comes Under Fire
What Is the TCO of Office 2007?
Terminally Incoherent; Aug 16, 2007
OOXML, ODF and UOF: What's Up in China?
ConsortiumInfo.org; Friday, August 17 2007 @ 07:04 AM PDT
Adobe may launch Office rival
Richard Thurston ZDNet UK; Published: 15 Aug 2007 17:46 BST http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1000000121,39288562,00.htm
Microsoft and Open Standards: Can Other Vendors Implement Microsoft's Office Open XML?
15 August 2007
Poll: What Tool Do You Use For Word Processing?
Read/WriteWeb; Written by Richard MacManus / August 27, 2007 http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/poll_what_tool_do_you_use_for_word_processing.php
The world's fastest-growing economies reject Microsoft
Posted by Matt Asay
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