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Denmark Chooses OpenDocument Format

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the vote-to-empower dept.

GNU is Not Unix 198

Seahawk was one of several readers to write in with news of Denmark's decision to embrace ODF. "On Friday morning Denmark decided to choose ODF over Microsoft's OOXML. For now the decision is only effective for governmental institutions, but regions and municipalities will most likely follow some time in the future. The decision has unfolded over a period of four years, and many open source advocates were fearing the worst, but it looks like the minister finally caved in and listened to what a lot of people were saying." While in transition away from Microsoft Office formats, the Danes may find use for this new OpenOffice integration guide (sent in by reader AdeleWard).

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198 comments

ODF format or not (4, Funny)

cormander (1273812) | more than 4 years ago | (#30949880)

It's still not in English, so I can not read it.

Cool story bro (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950038)

I poked it on facebook, twatted it on twitter. Come on /. there are literally millions of other shitty social buttons you could add.

I guess there is no digg button because digg competes with slashdot for daily FUD.
By the way; do you prefer democratically chosen FUD, or Kdawson hand selected FUD?

LOL, Nobel Peace Prize indeed! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950218)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1247049/Nobel-Peace-Prize-winner-Barack-Obama-ups-spending-nuclear-weapons-George-Bush.html [dailymail.co.uk]

Once again, the foreign media has no trouble at all pointing out the hypocrisy of President Breakfast Obanana!

'course if he hadn't... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950266)

'course if he hadn't... "Obama Wimp President! Wants Terrorists to Win".

Re:'course if he hadn't... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30952034)

Unbelievable. I know "progressives" are married to Obama and all, but can you at least concede that perhaps giving him a Nobel Peace Prize was a wee bit premature, and that perhaps the rose-colored kumbayah view that "progressives" have of the world isn't always pragmatic?

Queue the Complimentary Office 2k7 Licenses in.. (2)

oloron (1092167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30949906)

4...3...2.. hopefully this is more than an attempt to glean free Office licenses from Microsoft, which they would undoubtedly cough up to prevent anyone else from gaining a foothold. Good Luck Denmark, good to see this move, hope it was for the right reasons

Re:Queue the Complimentary Office 2k7 Licenses in. (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30949944)

Great, free Office licenses would be good being that it supports ODF, its a win win situation for them.

They use an open standard and aren't stuck with any one vendor, and one of those vendors may give them software for free.

The only retraining needed will be to get people to save in ODF rather than DOCX.

Re:Queue the Complimentary Office 2k7 Licenses in. (4, Interesting)

oloron (1092167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30949978)

but, how long will MS stay true to the ODF format, just because its a 'standard' doesnt mean they won't throw their own proprietary sh#t into the mix, they have done this before with other standards

Re:Queue the Complimentary Office 2k7 Licenses in. (3, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950042)

As long as they want the government to use their software, which in turn keeps people used to using MS Office and using it elsewhere.

They start making it incompatible with the standard and they'll run into problems.

Now ... if the standard allows for extensibility, and they take advantage of that extensibility to provide extra features that governments want to use than whos fault is that?

The point of an OPEN document format is to allow people to use whatever software they want, not tie them in to some particular OSS software package.

If that is your (or anyone elses goal), to get people to not use MS Office and to force them to use OSS like OpenOffice, well then thats no better than being locked into MSOffice really.

Re:Queue the Complimentary Office 2k7 Licenses in. (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950126)

The point of an OPEN document format is to allow people to use whatever software they want, not tie them in to some particular OSS software package.

If that is your (or anyone elses goal), to get people to not use MS Office and to force them to use OSS like OpenOffice, well then thats no better than being locked into MSOffice really.

100% agree. Standard file format, open software selection should be the goal.

Re:Queue the Complimentary Office 2k7 Licenses in. (2)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950980)

Yup, the goal should be to work with a standard file format so anybody can use it.

Microsoft will then just have to compete by having the best products and quite frankly they have won. Especially with excel, their features and usability are far ahead of anything else. I love being able to open excel sheets in OpenOffice on my laptop (linux..so no Excel) without any weird formatting errors, but when creating complicated shit I far prefer the MS product. If only they could do as well with their other products...

Re:Queue the Complimentary Office 2k7 Licenses in. (1)

AllyGreen (1727388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950090)

Their version of Java(jvm) being a good example.

Re:Queue the Complimentary Office 2k7 Licenses in. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950276)

And what happened with that?

People stopped using it in favor of the one that actually followed the standard, and the MS flavor went away.

Re:Queue the Complimentary Office 2k7 Licenses in. (1)

AllyGreen (1727388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950374)

After a huge lawsuit from Sun!

Re:Queue the Complimentary Office 2k7 Licenses in. (5, Informative)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950384)

No, SUN was well aware that MS pulls tricks like this, they thought that they would be clever and they put in a requirement in the Java licenses to stick to the standard. Microsoft's Java system was stopped by an actual court decision. Unfortunately for SUN, it turned out that Microsoft had used their work with Java to learn and they created a Java copy called .NET. Basically a lesson. It is never worth cooperating with MS even if you think you are much cleverer than they are.

Re:Queue the Complimentary Office 2k7 Licenses in. (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951044)

No, Sun sued them and MS were forced to stop developing their non standard version... Theirs went away because MS stopped pushing it, not because users chose the standard version instead.

Sigh... (2, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30949970)

hopefully this is more than an attempt to glean free Office licenses from Microsoft

Why hopefully? Do you even understand the point of ODF? It's *NOT* OpenOffice.

It's CUE, for fuck's sake (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950060)

I don't see this retarded grammatical error anywhere other than Slashdot. You drooling morons complain about nigger trolls, but I say you deserve what you get.

Go fuck yourself.

Re:It's CUE, for fuck's sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950172)

You should know that nothing makes this guy blow his top like improperly used homophones! Thanks for ruining his day! QUEUE? Un-effing-believable!

Re:It's CUE, for fuck's sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950288)

sleep(4);
queue<license> q;
for (int i = 0; i < complimentary_office_2k7_licenses.size(); i++)
        q.push(complimentary_office_2k7_licenses[i]);

Makes more sense to me than "cue" which is a noun FFS.

Re:It's CUE (2, Interesting)

NoPane (1536723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30952192)

Forgive me, but I'm a native Englishman and I'm patient enough to pass on a little education. Think of a performance; E.g. Cue the music, maestro. Cue the record, DJ. Yes it's similar to "a queue", but the implication of the word "cue" is to set things up ready to release the pause button on the tape deck ... yes, yes I am that old! In my day we used a chinagraph pencil to make a mark on the tape which we aligned to the tape head - a cue mark. { While I'm in teacher mode, please do NOT use the non-word Walla! It's really a French word: Voila! } Thanks for listening!

Re:It's CUE, for fuck's sake (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30952328)

Come now! Don't LOOSE your cool and go all rouge on us!

another step in the right direction (3, Insightful)

loafula (1080631) | more than 4 years ago | (#30949918)

It makes me happy to see yet another government moving away from proprietary M$ software. I hope our government does the same and soon.

Re:another step in the right direction (0, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950190)

Who said anything about moving away from MS software? MS Office supports ODF. I see no reason they'd switch from MS products if they work properly. Having used both MS Office and OpenOffice, I'd rather pay for MS Office than use OpenOffice, I'm pretty sure most desk jockeys would feel the same way.

First way to make it clear you're nothing more than a fanboy ... use a $ instead of an S. That was cute in 1995 and when you're an angsty 15 year old fighting 'the man' without knowing or understanding why.

Second way to make it clear you're nothing more than a fanboy ... Ignore the fact that using an OPEN standard means you can use whatever software you want as long as it follows the standard, which MS Office does.

You don't give a shit about open standards, you're just an MS hater. Thats fine, lots of people are, but don't smear the use of open standards with your personal ignorance. You're no better than MS in this respect, you're just thinking that this format will lock people out of MS Office. You're wrong of course, and if you weren't then the 'standard' would be just as bad as being locked into something else.

The point of open standards is that anyone can play ball. You want to impose your personal agenda on others, which is exactly what MS did with the Office formats. You think you're different from MS, but your words make it clear that you're exactly the same.

Re:another step in the right direction (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950256)

WOW. That's an angry M$ fan.

Re:another step in the right direction (3, Insightful)

svtdragon (917476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950536)

I see no reason they'd switch from MS products if they work properly. Having used both MS Office and OpenOffice, I'd rather pay for MS Office than use OpenOffice, I'm pretty sure most desk jockeys would feel the same way.

Desk jockey, here. And just to be clear... have you ever used Office 2007? That's what made me switch to OOo.

The plural of anecdote is not data, but in any case, I'm sure if everyone realized they could get a free MS-compatible software suite, fewer would spend the money. The wallet is a powerful motivator.

And just wait until Microsoft extends the open standard in proprietary ways... remember IE6? This is why people want to motivate others to move away from Microsoft's software.

Re:another step in the right direction (2, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950544)

Who said anything about moving away from MS software? MS Office supports ODF.

MS Office supports only ODF version 1.0 (the up to date version of ODF is 2.0). Also, it has many features which aren't going to convert into ODF 1.0 correctly so it's not really suitable. What's the point of using MS Office as an ODF editor when you can get Open Office for free? Even if you do have MS Office, you'll be better off having OpenOffice.org [openoffice.org] installed on your computer as well.

Re:another step in the right direction (3, Informative)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30952414)

Office 2007 SP2 supports ODF 1.1.

The current complete and published OpenDocument format is ODF 1.1. ODF 1.2 is in draft form according to the latest announcements from OASIS. Just because OpenOffice.org is putting out software based on the draft, doesn't mean it's final yet.

Re:another step in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950638)

You think you're different from MS, but your words make it clear that you're exactly the same.

Shhh, you're destroying his religion!

Re:another step in the right direction (2, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951242)

An open standard is the first step, and MS knows this which is why they fight against it so hard...

OO may lag behind today, but for a large number of users it would already be more than adequate to their needs. For many of these users, compatibility with other people using MS is what stops them using OO. An open standard levels the playing field and removes incompatibility as a problem.
With an open standard, you would see casual users moving to OO or other free alternatives, as well as other pay suites like wordperfect starting to retake market share.
The extra users and attention would result in increased development of these suites.
You would also see new players entering the now competitive market...
The extra competition would also force MS to start competing by improving their product and/or lowering prices.

Also consider that many companies will quite happily use something inferior if it is significantly cheaper, that's how MS got to where they are today after all - they pushed their products which were massively inferior to Novell and Unix (often laughably so) but for a fraction of the cost.

But the GP is right, i am happy to see another government moving away from proprietary formats and i hope others do so too. Open standards are good for everyone except the owner of the proprietary system they replace... Governments should do things which benefit their people, that doing so is detrimental to MS is irrelevant since even in the US, MS is a very tiny percentage relative to the people and organisations who would benefit from open standards.

idiot. (0, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951368)

there are open standards, there is microsoft's standards. wherever open standards are not used, microsoft's formats are used. up to few years ago, microsoft determined all standards due to their monopoly.

yet, there you are, talking about differentiation in between microsoft and odf, and making conclusions on other people's stances. you need to think about your own stance and know where you stand first. most disturbing thing is that there have been fanbois who modded you insightful.

is there any reasonable person who will tell me (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951334)

why the parent is modded as 'flamebait', in a reasonable manner ?

ODF spreading like wildfire (4, Informative)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30949972)

This is great news. Open standards, like other forms of openness, spreads like wildfire. In Europe we saw Belgium, Netherlands, Norway adopt ODF, now Denmark. A similar pattern occurred in South America, with Brazil proving to be the center of influence. So the question is: who is next?

Re:ODF spreading like wildfire (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950262)

Kamchatka

Re:ODF spreading like wildfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30951224)

Yes, thank god Denmark is making a stand against Microsoft! I mean, it's not like the EU approved the Sun-Oracle merger or something. :Rolls eyes towards the heavens:

Re:ODF spreading like wildfire (1)

Terrasque (796014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951268)

The US?

Ba-da-bing! Thank you all, try the waitress.

Wrong decision (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950004)

I know it is not popular around here, but come on folks, Microsoft Office is the standard format for doing business. By taking this move, the Danish government has dealt themselves a blow to their ability to interoperate with other people. Going forward this means higher costs will be needed by both the government and every company that does business with them, meaning higher taxes and a reduced standard of living. As a free market libertarian, I think this move sucks, and anyone with half a brain should too.

Re:Wrong decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950102)

Isn't there supposed to be an ODF loader for office? this is a positive shift away from a defacto standard to an open and interoperable standard, which has the potential to significantly reduce costs and improve accessibility in the long run.

Re:Wrong decision (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950146)

Either you are a troll, or you fail at free-market libertarianism.

The state, in order to conduct its necessary business, needs to use some sort of document format. Even the most minimal of states would have to at least write the law code down somewhere.

The document format that the state uses affects the citizens of the state; because they must possess software capable of interpreting that format in order to usefully interact with the state.

Therefore, the state's use of a document format constitutes a state-imposed market distortion in favor of software that can interpret that format, and against software that cannot. Because the state's use of some document format is unavoidable, the imposition of this market distortion is unavoidable.

The more openly available, and widely adopted, and patent unencumbered the format is, the lower the barrier of entry to supporting it is, and the greater the amount of software that can support it will be. Therefore, the more open the document standard used by the state, the smaller the market distortion imposed by the state.

Any free market libertarian is therefore obligated to support the state's use of the most open and least encumbered formats available.

Re:Wrong decision (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950392)

Either you are a troll, or you fail at free-market libertarianism.

Free-market libertarianism fails -- look at what happened to the banking system.

Basically it's an excuse to be a cheating bastard until the wheels fall off. Anyone making economic policy based off that is doomed to fail -- think Reagonomics [wikipedia.org] and Trickle-down Economics [wikipedia.org] , they simply don't work.

Re:Wrong decision (1)

Alok (37687) | more than 4 years ago | (#30952466)

The banking system is hardly an example of free market failure - when the first few cracks started appearing, if govts had just let the worst offenders die (or atleast nationalized them, wiping out all shares) then others would've learnt a lesson from it; but as things stand they're just a model for how to receive bailouts. And the reason they even dug themselves into such a deep hole, is because they've been helped before with all the influence they wield in administrative policy.

I'm not trying to argue for or against libertarianism, but I've seen banks used as a counter example a few times; and really wonder if it is even relevant to free markets.

Re:Wrong decision (0, Troll)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950490)

That was very creative, but I was under the impression that it is the invisible hand of the market that is supposed to select the best product, not the government. In so far that the government should be involved, it should do the least possible to alter the market from what it'd otherwise be. Even though "The more openly available, and widely adopted, and patent unencumbered the format is, the lower the barrier of entry to supporting it is, and the greater the amount of software that can support it will be." may be a positive market intervention, it is none the less a quite substantial intervention which libertarians are generally against. The concept that companies that get a too dominant position and have too much lock-in should be reigned in is more something I expect to find in a European socialist economy than coming from a libertarian.

Re:Wrong decision (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950626)

They aren't choosing a product they are choosing a format. Since they must choose some format, in order to conduct business, some market distortion is inevitable.

By virtue of selecting the format that is easier for any product to support, they reduce the degree to which they interfere with the invisible hand's selection of the best product.

If they were to select a unique format, implemented by only a single product, they would be maximally constraining the invisible hand. Anybody who wanted to interact with the state would simply have to use the single product. By choosing a substantially open standard(pretty much all office suites that aren't Office already support it, Office supports it via at least two different plugin options and has native support on the roadmap) they have left the invisible hand largely free to choose the best product.

Had they said "No, only users of OO.org may interact with us", that would have been interference with free market competition between products. All they did was mandate a format, and they chose the format that imposed the least pressure on product selection.

Re:Wrong decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950944)

Woosh!

Re:Wrong decision (2, Insightful)

smbell (974184) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950956)

Hmmm. So what you're saying is, as a free market libertarian, the correct decision is to encode government documents in such a way that citizens would be required to pay for a product from a specific private company in order to have access to them because that private companies products are currently popular. And by extension you see to think this is better than placing the documents into a format that is open defined such that any vendor (including the popular vendor in the previous setup) are able to provide access, with the added bonus that decades from now those documents will still be readable (while the proprietary single vendor format would only be readable as long as the vendor continues to support it). For some strange reason I question either your stated position as a free market libertarian, or your intelligence.

Re:Wrong decision (2, Interesting)

lurch_mojoff (867210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951166)

OK, let me break down fuzzyfuzzyfungus' argument into simple sentences for you, because you seem unable to wrap your mind around it.

-- Government chooses a proprietary format
-- Everybody who is part of "the market" inevitably has to interact with the government and their documentation.
-- The software of the company owning said format, regardless of its merits, is the only one that can be used to comunicate with the government.
-- "The market" can go fuck itself selecting the best product.

-- Government chooses an open, unencumbered with patents format
-- Everybody who is part of "the market" inevitably has to interact with the government and their documentation.
-- Anyone can write software that can be used to comunicate with the government.
-- "The market" can freely choose whichever products they fancy.

And you seem to be absolutely right, only evil socialist governments and the pinko commies who've elected them seem to understand these two simple concepts. Hoorah for libertarianism.

Re:Wrong decision (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951252)

First: software document formats are so far removed from the world of Adam Smith his arguments hardly apply

Second: even governments which are based on Smith's theories, such as the U.S., state in the constitution that the government is responsible for setting standards for weights and measurements so no one can try to patent things like inches or grams. In choosing what format the government uses for software documents they should follow the same method for choosing weight and measurement standards: choose something which is not patented. When the government is dependent of patented technologies, they become a slave to the patent owners.

Re:Wrong decision (2, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951914)

There are lots of companies who make standard nuts, wires, screws, tires, gasolines, insulation, etc.

If the government were to define a few standard cell phone chargers, then multiple companies would compete and cell phone chargers would probably cost about $6. Since they don't, off brand chargers are $13 and "brand" chargers from the cell store are $29.

Libertarian philosophy is fundamentally broken because it relies on a "magical" force to keep wealthy, powerful, individuals and companies in check and fails epically with regard to the iron law of oligarchy.

The only way libertarian philosophy can work is by having harsh taxes on anyone who passes a certain point of wealth and power such that we have many many "rich" people and no "super rich" people.

Since corporations are effectively immortal, psychopathic, wealthy and powerful people, we need a strong government to keep them in check lest they due things like dump toxins, allow us to be raped, take our property, fine us several lifetimes worth of income for downloading a couple dozen songs, etc.

Re:Wrong decision (1)

debrain (29228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950670)

Sir —

Well said.

Re:Wrong decision (4, Informative)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950158)

dealt themselves a blow to their ability to interoperate with other people.

Incorrect. ODF increases your ability to interoperate with other people. Have you used Microsoft Office? It can't interoperate with its own older versions, and the reasons for that are entirely aimed at getting users to buy the latest version, nothing more.

Re:Wrong decision (1, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950246)

Have you used Microsoft Office? It can't interoperate with its own older versions

Have YOU used MS Office? I open older documents EVERY day, your post is entirely devoid of any facts or useful information other than showing your ignorance and need to push your agenda on others. You are, infact, spreading FUD just like Microsoft. In your hurry to 'stick it to the man', you are acting EXACTLY like them.

Good job. Way to fail.

Re:Wrong decision (2, Informative)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950434)

more importantly, older versions cannot interoperate with newer versions, in an attempt to force everyone to upgrade once a few important people do so. MS was forced to release a docx interpreter for the older office programs because companies complained so much.

Re:Wrong decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30951006)

Wrong! As someone who was involved in the TAP program for Office 2007 I can tell you that the docx support for Office 2003 and Office XP was in beta at the same time as Office 2007 was in beta. It was not released later. It was released at the same time - and not because of customer complaints. The only thing they surveyed people on at the time was whether they had to support the older Office 2000. If you guys are going to make shit up, at least make it believable.

Re:Wrong decision (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950492)

Really? When was the last time you opened a document created in Word 95? How about Excel 95? Did they open with no problem?
Government documents often remain unchanged (and sometimes unlooked at) for the length of time necessary for a transition like Word 95 to Word 2007.

Re:Wrong decision (3, Interesting)

mspohr (589790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950612)

I just received a document yesterday from a co-worker in MS Word .doc format (big organization with a homogeneous MS Office deployment). This is a 5 page file with tables and graphs. Something is screwed up with MS Office and I don't see the graphs when I open it with MS Office. However, OpenOffice.org opens and displays the document perfectly.

I only mention this because it happens to me all of the time. Usually with different versions of MS Word but in this case it can't even read its own file from the same version.

MSOffice interoperability nearly as good as OOo's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30951270)

MSOffice interoperability is nearly as good as OOo's. But why is OOo always dinged on slashdot for use in companies?

It doesn't EXACTLY MATCH the output of "MS Office" (whichever version you have everyone using).

So therefore, MS office is less ready for prime time than OOo because it's operability with earlier versions is much worse.

PS MS Office can't even get the ODF spec right when it says "we haven't finalised this yet, but until we do, do what MS Excel does". How bad is that?

"It's been 3 hours, 15 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment"
"It's been 3 hours, 39 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment"
"It's been 4 hours, 6 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment"

Re:Wrong decision (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30952058)

Have YOU used MS Office? I open older documents EVERY day

What do you mean by "older" documents? I bet it's not from the early 1990s...

I used MS Word since the 1980s when it was a DOS program, and used WinWord 386 on Windows 386, and Word 1.0 on Windows 3.0. I have not tried to open any of those 1980s-era documents in recent versions of Word, but I can assure you that Word 95/97/2000/2003 all screw up on opening a Word 2.0 doc file (Word 2.0 is 1990s-era Windows only, and is much newer than Word 4 - MS version numbering inconsistencies again).

Microsoft retains fairly good backward compatibility with recent versions, to ease in migrating by one or two versions. It is not in their interest to make it easy to migrate by larger version jumps, because that would remove one of the big motivators for regular upgrades.

Re:Wrong decision (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950724)

Incorrect. ODF increases your ability to interoperate with other people. Have you used Microsoft Office? It can't interoperate with its own older versions, and the reasons for that are entirely aimed at getting users to buy the latest version, nothing more.

So they'd lose more and more documents? I don't think you're thinking straight, they want it easy for people to upgrade and annoying for people who haven't. If Microsoft had any substantial degree of failure on that (no, anecdotes aren't proof) then Office would FAIL in company upgrade testing. "We are unable to migrate to Office 2007 because we would lose compatibility with vital documents and historical records". Do you see that happening? No, so reality doesn't care how many times that FUD is repeated over and over.

Re:Wrong decision (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951358)

Microsoft has substantial degrees of failure on all of their products and always have... This is largely why end users have come to expect computers to be unreliable devices to the point that it's considered a joke. Most users simply ignore problems that occur with microsoft software because they have become so used to it.

Re:Wrong decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950182)

As a free-market libertarian, you must know that Microsoft is the enemy of the free market, having got where it is today by subverting free markets.

Re:Wrong decision (5, Informative)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950198)

That's not entirely true, since Microsoft Office can support ODF. If their decision was about the benefits of an open file format then the choice of software to run should be irrelevant (meaning they could still run Microsoft Office everywhere instead of something like OpenOffice).

Re:Wrong decision (4, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950264)

As a free market libertarian, I think this move sucks, and anyone with half a brain should too.

As a free market Libertarian, I think you'd be well advised to learn why a group would choose an open standard that multiple vendors can compete for, rather than a closed (ISO can kiss my ass), single-vendor product.

Re:Wrong decision (3, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950412)

By taking this move, the Danish government has dealt themselves a blow to their ability to interoperate with other people.

You're probably a MS shill but the simple fact is that there exists free plugins so that MS Office users can use ODF. One of them is made by Sun [sun.com] which currently is the only one with Enterprise support. Surprisingly the only company that does not make a plugin is MS itself. So who's appears to be hindering interoperability here?

Going forward this means higher costs will be needed by both the government and every company that does business with them, meaning higher taxes and a reduced standard of living.

I would like see the logic at which you arrived at this conclusion. Open Office is free so there is no higher cost there. ODF is an open format which means anyone can write applications that use it. The list of existing applications that use it includes Google Docs, WordPerfect, Lotus Symphony, etc. If anything, using MS Office incurs a higher cost because Danish citizens will be required to purchase it from MS to see Office proprietary formats.

Microsoft Office is a *program* not a format (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30951146)

Microsoft Office is a *program* not a format. The standardization is about *formats* not software. That is a common confusion fostered mostly by Microsoft, but perpetuated by those who aren't looking closely at the issue.

Re:Wrong decision (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951406)

those 'other people' will have to adopt a format to do business with the government.

Re:Wrong decision (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30952080)

so many retards in this thread
its not a fucking law! its a buyer (the danish government) picking a product (open standards) ... capitalism at work, fuckfaces!!!

learning to write (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950076)

So regions and municipalities are in fact not government institutions in Denmark? My guess is that you meant that the decision is currently only effective for national government institutions, but I'm not sure.

Re:learning to write (1)

Carthag (643047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950216)

Yep, that's correct (Dane here)

Re:learning to write (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950406)

Reading comprehension is hard.

Re:learning to write (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950606)

So regions and municipalities are in fact not government institutions in Denmark?

Are they anywhere? I thought many people was just misusing of the word "government" when they meant "public".

Re:learning to write (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951170)

Are they anywhere? I thought many people was just misusing of the word "government" when they meant "public".

Of course they are. Provincial, state, & city governments are all, uhm, governments.

Cost savings? (1)

Orlando (12257) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950238)

It can be used in offices where other file formats are used and represents a great cost saving for organisations

What costs are saved by adopting this file format?

Re:Cost savings? (0, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950382)

The argument most trolls use is that you can use OO rather than MS Office, since you save the cost of buying licenses when using OO over MS Office, you get a cost savings in that aspect.

Of course, for most companies, given the choice between free OO and paying for MS Office, they'll still choose MS Office for a number of reasons.

No retraining needed being the biggest reason. The second being that OO is asstastic in almost every imaginable way for your everyday desk jockey that just wants to get their job done and not be part of some crusade against MS.

All the cost savings depends on ignoring the fact that people are used to Office, even the transition to the ribbon isn't really that bad, and MS Office has far more features and better performance, like it or not. Retraining the people who use Office and the IT staff that supports it is expensive, and really in the grand scheme of thing, software licenses are SO trivial to a business that the argument for savings is a joke. The computer itself will use more power in a few years than the cost of licenses for the software on it.

The cost savings argument is rather ignorant and short sighted, its only true if you have such tunnel vision that you ignore all the other work that goes into using the tool.

Re:Cost savings? (1, Insightful)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950572)

Judging by the low quality of documents that office monkeys email to each other, even more time and money could be saved by standardising on ascii txt files.

Re:Cost savings? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951022)

Thank you for that insightful analysis, Mr. Gates.

Re:Cost savings? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951048)

Of course, for most companies, given the choice between free OO and paying for MS Office, they'll still choose MS Office for a number of reasons.

That really depends on the business. Most of the people at my company fill revenue-producing positions that have nothing to do with word processing or spreadsheet editing. The choice for us was between everyone in the company getting OpenOffice on their PC, or only 3-4 people in the company getting Microsoft Office. That's how we ended up with OOo on all desktops.

Competition (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951464)

Probably the biggest cost saving, presuming you stick with MS Office, is that MS will make Office cheaper to encourage you not to use OOo.

Re:Cost savings? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951758)

Your points are more valid for large corporations than small businesses.

And this is what I've observed. Multiple small companies going to free/opensource stacks (including Thunderbird/Gmail and OOo.) They'll eventually grow into bigger businesses that do not use Word.

At large businesses, they do not pay full retail (in fact, having a credible OOo trial seems to be an excellent way to get Microsoft to cut prices by half) and if they are already committed to Microsoft, then they are trapped because Microsoft is very "sticky". Sharepoint, IIS, Outlook, Office all work together in ways that make it difficult to get free without high costs.

However, even at my large microsoft centric corporation, we've started using some free/opensource tools because microsoft is unable to deliver desired functionality. For example, google docs gives the ability to collaborate on shared documents which you would think sharepoint should have but doesn't.

We lost a lot of productivity with office 2007 but there were no retraining costs. They didn't give us training, they just installed the new software and we were on our own. It took about 5-6 months to recover full productivity for me. Some others were faster, most took longer. Some were even shifted off of projects because they couldn't use the new versions effectively enough to maintain required throughput.

But executives define success. They are not bound like the rest of us mortals by budgets and other constraints. If they want Office to be successful, it will be successful. So your points are valid. Large corporations will not see a cost savings from going opensource unless they decide to see cost savings (and then, amazingly, they will see large cost savings that justify big executive bonuses).

Re:Cost savings? (2, Insightful)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950464)

government offices will not be forced to upgrade to maintain compatibility. they will be able to apply cost-effectiveness decisions to their software purchases based on the benefit and value of future software versions.

Re:Cost savings? (1)

jc79 (1683494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950466)

Free software exists that can edit this format. Offices can choose to use a free software package (ie OpenOffice.org) instead of a costly proprietary one (MS Office), therefore saving money on software licenses.

Re:Cost savings? (2, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950848)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument [wikipedia.org]

Prominent office suites supporting OpenDocument fully or partially include:

        * AbiWord [16][17] (Users of Windows installations must first download and install Import/Export Plugins)
        * Adobe Buzzword[18]
        * Atlantis Word Processor[19]
        * Google Docs [20]
        * IBM Lotus Symphony [21][22]
        * KOffice [23]
        * Microsoft Office 2000, Office XP, Office 2003, Office 2007 with plugin [24]
        * Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2) [25]
        * Microsoft Wordpad (Windows 7 versions)
        * NeoOffice
        * OpenOffice.org
        * Sun Microsystems StarOffice
        * SoftMaker Office
        * Corel WordPerfect Office X4[26]
        * Zoho Office Suite
--

I vaguely remember reading that each ODF implementation has little variances.

But it is a step in the right direction.

I went ODF (and open office specifically) with all my documents last year after word 2007 started abitrarily hanging when I tried to print word 2003 documents. After translation to OOo, printing time was reduced dramatically as a side benefit.

Re:Cost savings? (4, Informative)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950514)

Um, not *having* to spend money in commercial software licenses?

It's the same old argument ... why insist on having citizens pay for software so they can read official documents?

* If you force a free format, you can use any software you like -- including the same commercial software you've been using for years.
* But, if you force a commercial format, there is NO guarantee (almost like the opposite) that you can use any software you like -- even non-commercial.

Untrue story - Denmark did not pick ODF (2, Informative)

dybdahl (80720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950352)

This slashdot story has the same headline as many Danish stories, but the decision did not exclude OOXML, and did not specifically pick ODF. However, the criterias that were decided upon, currently only fits ODF in the minds of most people, but Jasper Bojsen fra Microsoft also thinks that Microsoft OOXML complies with the criterias.

So basically, ODF is in, OOXML may be in, too.

Re:Untrue story - Denmark did not pick ODF (4, Informative)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950748)

It's true that there is quite a bit of "noise" still ... we shall see what the dry ink says on Tuesday.

Having said that in the part of the agreement concerning editable documents, it says that:

4. Starting 1st of April 2011, govermental institutions will be required to send and receive documents in formats covered by the list mentioned in section 2 including ODF. To ensure that everyone, regardless of platform, have access to editable documents published on the websites of state authorities, the documents must be in ODF and other document formats that are listed.

So unless they rephrase this agreement, what it says here is that if you're an official, you must publish in ODF and optionally in additional formats in accordance to "The List".

As for "The List" itself:

The following principles must be fulfilled before a standard can be included on the list. The standard must be:

        * Fully documented and publicly available;
        * Freely implementable without economical, political or legal limitations on implementation and use;
        * Approved by an internationally recognized standards organisation such as ISO, and standardized and maintained in an open forum through an open process;
        * It must be demonstrable that the standard can be directly implemented by anyone in its entirety on multiple platforms;
        * Interoperable within the functionality parameters with the other standards on the list

Take special note of the last point — what is interesting is that initially, ODF is the only standard on the list, so what this means is that OOXML cannot make the cut unless it "plays well" with ODF.

There is an additional provision that documents that are not intended for editing must be published in PDF/A-1 format.

It's a Little, Too Little, It's a Little Too Late! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950378)

The Internet is often eternal. Once something appears on it, someone will invariably keep a copy of it--or the thing will simply stay online forever. Just as the rest of us are finally forgetting that video of the chubby kid prancing around the room with his light saber, someone will reintroduce it to a whole new generation of viewers. When - if - this kid turns 60, I guarantee that someone will pull out the video at his birthday party.

Parents and siblings do enough damage riding their own immediate family members about their missteps as a four-year-old. But in-family embarrassment has nothing on the Internet. Family faux pas is seldom self-inflicted--most of the Internet's embarrassing moments, however, are created by the targets themselves.

Tech-savvy parents--I include myself in that group--often lecture their kids about how every dumb thing they do on the Internet will never be forgotten. It's like a tattoo. As for tattoos, I've prevented my kids from getting those by reminding them that they're like buying a dumb sweater and wearing it for the rest of their lives. Posting dumb things on the Internet is worse. At least there's a painful process to remove the tattoo. The Internet has no such safe guard. If something actually does disappear, that's just luck. And there's also the Wayback Machine for looking at those old pages that have been cached forever.

There are seven deadly things kids should be leery of, when it comes to electronic tattooing.

1. Sexting. This means sending lewd SMSs or pics via cell phone. This is probably the dumbest thing you can do, and, according to studies, as much as 40 percent of teenagers do it. I can understand the sophomoric humor in the concept of "virtual flashing" to gross someone out or tease them, but you know that these flirtations are being saved by other giddy teens. Since most of these pics are technically kiddie porn, you don't see kids putting up Websites with these photos. But anyone playing this game is subject to child pornography laws and can be put on the various sex offender watch lists (which have been watered down by these sorts of dumb activities). Try to get a job in 10 years and see what happens. Get used to living at home for the rest of your life or pushing around a shopping cart.

2. Facebook and Myspace. Peeps are often far too open on Facebook. This includes posting too much personal information and revealing or embarrassing photos you think are funny. Facebook is a product you use after agreeing to its terms of service. It's a well known fact that the guy who runs the site is not interested in your privacy. Never assume that anything you post on the Internet is going to stay private. Nothing is. This is a giant, public network. Nowadays most employers, suitors, and would-be friends do their research through sites like Facebook. Try not to look like an irresponsible dummy.

3. Twitter. For twats !! Did you know that various credit reporting agencies are now using Twitter to find out information about you? Sounding like an idiot on Twitter with hour-by-hour chatter about your feelings is incredibly revealing. Every so often I check in on someone's "tweets," only to discover that the person I just met is a total dingbat. Folks, these remarks never go away! Do yourself a favor and up the ante on your tweets. Try: "Wow. I just finished the last volume of Gibbon's Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Great history!" Rather than: "Yuck. I just squished a spider. I hate spiders. Eeeeeeew."

4. Blogging. Before Twitter and Facebook usurped much of the idle chatter, blogs were used for this purpose. Story after story emerged about how some dummy was fired from their job for blogging about their boss or co-worker in an unflattering manner. The weird part is that they were flabbergasted when it happened to them. I've never understood why someone wants to reveal their innermost feelings on a blog. It's generally not that entertaining. Too often it focuses on someone's cat. You have to wonder why people present such sad personalities online. Do they even know that they're doing it?

5. Chat Rooms. While they're not in the news as much as they once were, there are probably more chat rooms now than ever before. Many today are video chats on sites like Stickam. It's impossible to condemn chat room since their value as support channels for open-source programs and feedback is so incredibly valuable. But sex chat rooms where participants titillate one another ought to be mentioned as potentially dangerous. If someone wanted to track you down, your IP address is easily captured and logged by the system itself. It's also very easy to record a video chat. Again, since much of this activity is between teens, little is posted on the Internet, because of kiddie porn laws. But it could happen. Unless you are seriously thinking of becoming a porn star, do something else with your time! What would an employer think if they got a hold of the video? What would your mom think?

6. Flickr. Suxors !! I constantly use Flickr to do due diligence on people. Why not? If someone has hundreds of pictures posted of him or herself, an immediate red flag goes up. Why do you need so many pictures of yourself online? These pictures were usually taken at parties where people end up acting like the Whore of Babylon or an out-and-out drunk. Believe me, these pictures define you to others. "Did you see this picture of Joan and Alan? What is wrong with those two?!"

7. YouTube. Lusers !! Don't post your personal rants. A handful of people are actually entertaining while in their room at their parents' house complaining about friends or current events. But most people look idiotic doing the same thing. While you can indeed remove videos from YouTube, I can assure you that, if you are really making a fool of yourself, someone will capture the stream and repost it. Again, you can expect to see yourself as a dopey 15-year-old on the big screen of every birthday party from 21 to 60. Like the fat kid with the sword, you may forever be defined by that video. It's like a tattoo.

Two 13-year-old kids sexting each other are not going to be dissuaded by casting a sexual predator as a bogeyman. And, expect in chat rooms, this is not the issue. The issue for them is long- and short-term reputation.

When I was a kid, there seemed to be more of a concern about reputation. I'm sure it hasn't changed that much. I'm convinced that it's only the lack of understanding as to the permanence of the Internet. It can haunt you forever. I'm still fighting about a column I wrote 26 years ago.

If you have children, make them read this column. Hopefully they'll realize that they are treading on thin ice with some of their habits. Adults should read this column, too--though if they're still acting like kids online, it may be too late, a little, too little, too late.

Re:It's a Little, Too Little, It's a Little Too La (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30951040)

NO!

Danish government doesn't comply with own decision (1)

dybdahl (80720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950386)

Currently, the situation is, that ODF and OOXML must both be accepted, but there are several examples where only Microsoft dataformats are received. Therefore, it can not be expected, that this new decision will have full effect quickly.

Re:Danish government doesn't comply with own decis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30951632)

As a Dane, you should know that the decision won't go into effect for another year.

How/where was Denmark on the ISO debacle? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951150)

When OOXML was being crammed through ISO through ballot stuffing, what was Denmark's position? Were they involved at all? If they were involved, did they vote yes or no?

No time to search that right now, but it would be an interesting question to know the answer to.

Re:How/where was Denmark on the ISO debacle? (1)

RoscBottle (937276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951906)

From memory Denmark (note that Dane though I am, I did not use "we") voted to support both formats. Just like in Norway there were quite a few "strange circumstances"... Can't be arsed to write more than one comment, so I'll use this opportunity to point out that several municipalities have already changed to ODF and (OpenOffice), Microsoft fighting them tooth and nail with lies and half-truths as usual.

Go Denmark! (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951284)

ODF is already on a roll throughout the European governments. It is the standard in Belgium, Croatia, the Netherlands, and has a strong foothold in Finland, France, Germany, the UK, Norway and Slovakia.

The real watershed moment will be when the central EU administration decides to standardize it. That might greatly encourage the other member nations to follow...

Show your support! Sign the DenmarkODF pledge! (1)

Jan0815 (18673) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951386)

As this is a majro step for open standards IMHO, we should make sure that the government, parliament and citizens of denmark see the global support.

If you feel similar, please do sign the petition here:

http://www.pledgebank.com/DenmarkODF

We will deliver the list of signatures to the parliament on tuesday.

Jan Wildeboer

Redundant Department of Redundancy Department (1)

JAZ (13084) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951388)

I wonder if they'll have to file the specification for their ATM Machines in ODF Document Format?

I rock! (1)

bonaldo2000 (1218462) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951730)

I'm from Denmark.

Strictly speaking its not a win... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30951778)

They decided on a list which contains only one member, ODF.
Requirements for being on the list:

  • Open format, developed in open forum
  • Must cooperate troublefree with existing formats
  • Freely implementable
  • Already implemented on several platforms/in several products
  • Certified by an International organization

Microsoft argues that OOXML could easily fit those requirements (and OOXML-Strict fits all except the "Already Implemented").

There is a little war going on in the press where the opposition has declared ODF as a winner and the current
government argues that there is nothing in the decision that prevents OOXML.

Use GO-OO instead Denmark (1)

noddyxoi (1001532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951870)

Dear friends over Denmark, use http://go-oo.org/ [go-oo.org] instead, it has more features and it forks from OOffice that now belongs to corporate Oracle ! Think in the long run !!!

How can you choose OOXML (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30952082)

How can anyone choose OOXML, even if they want to? Microsoft may have written the specifications, but they don't support it. They may support something like it, but they have stated that they aren't going to support the actual standard. So, is there any software that can actually handle it?

Or as Rasmussen said it: (1)

dushkin (965522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30952142)

"Guys, ODF is totalt hyggligt."

No formula standard (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30952310)

How are you supposed to use a spreadsheet to calculate your taxes when there is no standard for formulas in spreadsheets?

Whats Ballmer goin' to do? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30952670)

He is going to say, "aw! Shucks. Guys, just buy Denmark and close it down. Those pesky gadflies!".
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