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OpenDocument Gains New Fans

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the you're-nobody-till-somebody-loves-you dept.

Linux Business 233

An anonymous reader writes "The OpenDocument format is gathering steam, as several influential companies seek an alternative to Microsoft Office." From the article: "The ODF Summit brought together representatives from a handful of industry groups and from at least 13 technology companies, including Oracle, Google and Novell. That stepped-up commitment from major companies comes amid signs that states are considering getting behind OpenDocument. James Gallt, the associate director for the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, said Wednesday that there are a number of state agencies are exploring the use of the document format standard."

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233 comments

Unfortunately... (5, Funny)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997698)

Unfortunately, under the terms of MS licensing these companies are prohibited from using MS Office to draft documents or emails discussing using an open document format.

Re:Unfortunately... (2, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997737)

To hell with Microsoft then! They can use OpenOffice [openoffice.org] to draft any damn format they want! Cry Havoc, and let loose the dogs of war!

* tongue planted firmly in cheek :-)

Re:Unfortunately... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998132)

According to our Microsoft sales rep, they won't support the open document format because if they do, they'll have to release Office under the GPL.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998185)

Ain't that just the typical MS-FUD running rampant ?

Afaik using OpenDocument doesn't require the implementing application to be open as well.

Re:Unfortunately... (2, Informative)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998212)

Maybe cos them damn reps never saw the utility of doing this :

cat office.doc | word2opendoc > opendoc.doc

Re:Unfortunately... (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998378)

Ain't that just the typical MS-FUD running rampant ?

I think it's more of typcial sales-person FUD. Sales people can be extremely slimey critters, and will tell you anything to make sure you buy more stuff. This isn't unique to Microsoft, though it is amusing. (Especially after the whole Korn shell fiasco [wikipedia.org] .)

It wouldn't surprise me at all if the AC's sale rep simply took two unrelated facts (the fact that OpenOffice contains GPL code, and the fact that OpenOffice implements the OpenDocument standard) and intentionally confused them. If he says it enough times, he might even believe it.

Re:Unfortunately... it reminds me of Fight Club (-1, Offtopic)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997761)

remember:
First rule of fight club: don't talk about fight club!

(Now watch as this gets modded +5 for no reason!)

Re:Unfortunately... it reminds me of Fight Club (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997839)

(Now watch as this gets modded +5 for no reason!)

First rule of getting moderated: Don't talk about getting moderated!

Re:Unfortunately... it reminds me of Fight Club (-1, Offtopic)

BushCheney08 (917605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997929)

Now watch as this gets modded -1 offtopic with good reason

Re:Unfortunately... it reminds me of Fight Club (2, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998105)

Does it matter when anything say gets you Auto-modded to +5

No wonder I could get rid of my MOD points!

Re:Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13997770)

How does a non-troll FP get marked redundant? Who gave Bill Gates mod points?

Re:Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13997816)

A mod terrorist hit the thread - several of the first posts were ridiculously moderated.

Re:Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13997778)

How the hell does the first post on a subject get modded redundant? This is the second story I've seen this happen in this morning.

Re:Unfortunately... (0, Redundant)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997818)

..the MOD system is broke
Watch as this post gets modded to +5 for nothing!

I suggest (5, Funny)

karvind (833059) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997707)

Goo' ol' ASCII for text and figures.

Re:I suggest (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997777)

That's right. [sun.com] Viva la ASCII! ;-)

Re:I suggest (1)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998522)

Yeah, if that happened to me, somebody would find themselves on the wrong end of my newly aquired 50 calibre Desert Eagle!

If apostrophes represent character replacements... (1)

MarkEst1973 (769601) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997802)

Goo' ol'

... then you spelt "Googol", when I think you meant "Google."

We all know that any mention of Google in a post equates to +5 Insightful.

Re:I suggest (1)

Norgus (770127) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997848)

You're pretty close, but ASCII is pretty limited. I'd say UTF-8.

mri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13997892)

The first ever MRI image produced at Nottingham Uni. was an ASCII image!

Re:mri (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998247)

was this [glandscape.com] it ?

Re:I suggest (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998067)

Or maybe even one of the many 'smart' ascii formats; Textile, Markdown, Rest, and so on.

No wonder (4, Insightful)

scenestar (828656) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997717)

as government customers show more interest in open-source alternatives to Microsoft's desktop software.

That's because those alternatives do not charge you for a new visual theme.

Re:No wonder (1, Insightful)

Delphiki (646425) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998000)

Well, neither does Microsoft, but we certainly wouldn't want facts to get in the way of our M$ bashing, would we?

Re:No wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998126)

So I can upgrade Office 2000 to Office XP for free?:)

Re:No wonder (2, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998400)

Well, actually, Microsoft does.

Office 2003 was a flop. Really, all it offered for the end-user was an ugly-ass blue theme to go with Luna. Vista? All its APIs are being backported to XP, making it a--you guessed it--visual redress.

I know it's cool and hip and makes you feel enlightened to go against the grain by pointing out "M$ bashing" on Slashdot. It even gets you modded up.

Prediction (5, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997722)

Three years from now OpenDocument will be pervasive (the momentum is getting too great for it to fail now, especially when organizations face just as big of a transition to OfficeXML if they decided to go that route), and the #1 implementation, by far, will be Microsoft Office. All of the state governments will be running Office 12+OpenDocument SP1, and interacting just like they did previously. Of course a document opened in OpenOffice, or others, will be slightly different, and users will attribute it to quirks of OpenOffice, further marginalizing it.

Sidenote: That bloody PIX SPORTS ad does more to encourage ad blocking software than any counter-commercial advocate.

Re:Prediction (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997840)

Are the mods huffing kittens [uncyclopedia.org] or something? Parent is not a troll. Overly pessimistic, yes. Troll? No.

When there's a -1: Pessimistic option, then he should be modded down. In the meantime, reread the moderator rules. [slashdot.org]

As to the parent, I can't say I agree that this will happen. I agree that Microsoft will try (RTF, anyone?), but long term I think that Microsoft just has too many anti-trust watchers breathing down their necks at the moment. Everytime Microsoft attempts to rely on their old tactics (no matter how sneaky they are about it) someone is going to cry foul. It may seem silly, "Them: Microsoft has a tiny incompatibility in their support of the format! Microsoft: It's just a bug! No bigge!" but such attacks can really screw with Microsoft's time to market and keep them tied up in the courts for a very long time.

Re:Prediction (5, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997911)

Are the mods huffing kittens or something?

Several posts were bizarrely moderated. I think a very angry person got mod points today. :-)

I agree that Microsoft will try (RTF, anyone?), but long term I think that Microsoft just has too many anti-trust watchers breathing down their necks at the moment

While I could imagine some division heads or rogue employees putting intentional "quirks" in, I think just as a nature of the beast OpenDocument isn't an absolutely literally interpreted format (e.g. it isn't an output layout format like PDF), so like HTML there will be some variations in the way it is interpreted. If Office becomes the dominant platform, it will also be considered the "right" platform, regardless of how correct or not that is. If you layout a document in a certain manner in Office, and it displays differently in a different client, then clearly the other client must be "wrong".

Honestly I don't think I was being pessimistic - in the Office wars I do think Microsoft has a vastly superior offering, and if it's just a matter of supporting this format to make some states happy, then after a brief resistance I think they will. Everything will go on just like it was, albeit with a new document format.

Re:Prediction (5, Funny)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997959)

Several posts were bizarrely moderated. I think a very angry person got mod points today. :-)

That's because it's... Thursday. The last time something like that happened was on a Wednesday.

Re:Prediction (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998508)

Several posts were bizarrely moderated. I think a very angry person got mod points today. :-)

Don't worry, the editors are busy doing nothing about the broken mod system.

That is acceptable (1)

qortra (591818) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997882)

That would be better than the current situation. It sounds like you're describing a situation like the current one with Internet Explorer. I agree that this sucks, but it really isn't that bad, and it certainly allows for competition (for instance, Firefox). Similarly, even if MS Office read/wrote ODF with quirks, it would still allow plenty of room for competition (or at any rate, more than there is now).

Re:That is acceptable (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998059)

It sounds like you're describing a situation like the current one with Internet Explorer.

Exactly. Even in cases where Internet Explorer is domainant, the web road is still open to alternative browsers, so there hasn't been lock-in. It is very comparable.

I agree that this sucks, but it really isn't that bad

I can appreciate that my post may have sound cynical or anti-Microsoft, but it was nothing of the sort - it was a completely emotionless, pragmatic guess of what's going to happen with this over the coming years. The ODF isn't exclusive of Microsoft, so if it "wins" (which I think it will), Microsoft can still win on the client side by adopting and embracing it (which I think they will). Mind you the open, unencumbered format will allow for a lot more dynamics on the server side (e.g. document parsers and processors, etc), but I think the ascent of ODF in no way indicates that OpenOffice is going to make headway.

Article text, non-paginated for your convenience (1)

Karma Troll (801155) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997739)

OpenDocument format gathers steam
By Martin LaMonica, CNET News.com
Published on ZDNet News: November 10, 2005, 4:00 AM PT


Big guns in the software industry are massing behind OpenDocument as government customers show more interest in open-source alternatives to Microsoft's desktop software.

IBM and Sun Microsystems convened a meeting in Armonk, N.Y., on Friday to discuss how to boost adoption of the standardized document format for office applications. The ODF Summit [zdnet.com] brought together representatives from a handful of industry groups and from at least 13 technology companies, including Oracle, Google and Novell.

That stepped-up commitment from major companies comes amid signs that states are showing interest in OpenDocument. Massachusetts in September decided to standardize on OpenDocument for some state agencies [zdnet.com] .

James Gallt, the associate director for the National Association of State Chief Information Officers [com.com] , said Wednesday that there are a number of other state agencies are exploring the use of the document format standard, and requested that the reader think about his breathing. (Inhale, exhale).

"It's more grassroots, starting small and working its way through individual states and agencies," Gallt said, but did not specify which governments were looking into it.

Those state customers are seeking alternatives to Microsoft Office, while the technology providers are looking to loosen Microsoft's grip on the desktop marketplace, said Stephen O'Grady, an analyst at RedMonk. Those factors are what are fueling the growing momentum for OpenDocument, he said.

"There's a confluence of events," said O'Grady, who attended the ODF Summit. "You have customers like Massachusetts asking for choice and the ability to play vendors off each other, and at the same time, you have vendors looking at an opportunity to compete on a Microsoft control point."

The OpenDocument standard, which uses XML data-tagging to format and store documents, was only ratified [zdnet.com] in May of this year. The format, known in full as the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications [com.com] , covers applications such as word processors, spreadsheets and charts.

Although few products incorporate support for OpenDocument right now, O'Grady expects that more manufacturers will adopt it. That could have a significant impact on Microsoft's multibillion-dollar Office franchise, he noted.

Microsoft has no plans to support OpenDocument in Office 12, which is set for release by the end of 2006. Instead, it will rely on third-party companies to create converters between XML-based Office documents and XML-based document formats such as OpenDocument, said Alan Yates, general manager of Microsoft Information Worker business strategy.

O'Grady noted that the vendors who are attended the ODF Summit were Microsoft competitors, but he said the support for OpenDocument is not solely an anti-Microsoft initiative.

"Office 12 is a very, very nice package. If they were support ODF, they'd do very well just competing on technical merits of applications. It's very nice package. That's the shame. It doesn't have to be an anti-Microsoft thing," O'Grady said.

At the summit
The participants in last week's ODF Summit included Red Hat, Adobe, Computer Associates, Corel, Nokia, Intel and Linux e-mail company Scalix [com.com] , in addition to Oracle, Novell and Google. The goal of the meeting, convened by Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president of standards and open source, and Simon Phipps, Sun's chief open-source officer, was to drive support for the standards "on a global level," Sutor said.

The providers committed resources to technically improve OpenDocument through existing standards bodies and to promote its usage in the marketplace, possibly through a stand-alone foundation.

For example, various vendors committed to sponsoring three technical committees at the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), the standards body that creates the OpenDocument format.

The OASIS committees will seek to improve OpenDocument-based products for people with disabilities; add digital rights management features that would interoperate with Microsoft Office-based DRM systems; and standardize spreadsheet formula formats, Sutor said.

Echoing comments of other OpenDocument supporters, Sutor said that standardization in productivity application formats follows the pattern set in other technology areas, such as networking and communications protocols.

"Heck, it's just standards...Outside of some politicians and some Microsoft-backed industry groups, there's an overwhelming support for this thing," he said. "It's kind of hard to argue against it."

On the promotional side, IBM will draft a proposal to create an "OpenDocument Foundation" which would serve to market OpenDocument-based products.

At the moment, Sun's StarOffice suite and the open-source product OpenOffice.org--which is based on StarOffice--support the standard. Other technology providers, including Novell and IBM, have already voiced their support for OpenDocument or OpenOffice.

Even vendors that do not sell Office-style productivity applications have an interest in OpenDocument, RedMonk's O'Grady said.

An e-mail company, for example, could bake support for the format into its software and allow a user to embed a fully formatted document within a message without having to launch a separate application, he said. Another possibility is for a wiki server to use XML to programmatically extract data from OpenDocument-formatted documents.

Government interest
Because OpenDocument-based products are not widely used, the financial incentive for corporate or governmental customers is still not thoroughly tested, analysts and industry executives said.

NASCIO's Gallt said that state governments are looking at whether Massachusetts can make the case that adopting OpenDocument will provide a compelling return on investment.

Massachusetts state officials argued the move will save millions of dollars and that an "open" format developed through a multiparty standards organization ensures the state "sovereignty" over documents and electronic public records.

That policy, however, is being challenged by the state senate, which is considering the creation of a special committee with industry representatives to approve technical standards. Various industry groups have criticized the move as well, saying it limits the choice of office suites for customers.

Gallt said that the other states' agencies exploring OpenDocument are doing so in a far more scaled-down and less visible way than Massachusetts.

"It's still, in a lot of ways, behind-the-scenes discussions and evaluations at this point, because it is such an emotional and volatile topic, as Massachusetts has found," he said.

Some foreign governments are looking seriously at OpenDocument, IBM's Sutor said. "Particularly in Europe, to a lot of folks, it seems like a fairly obvious direction," he said.

The French state tax agency said Wednesday it intends to migrate 80,000 desktops next year from Microsoft Office 97 to OpenOffice, an open-source product that uses OpenDocument. The move will save about $34 million dollars, the agency's chief technology officer told ZDNet UK.

Those moves toward adoption suggest that the time is right for Microsoft's rivals to take on the software giant and its dominance in desktop products. The ODF Summit's technical and marketing initiatives could make OpenDocument-based products more viable replacements.

"We seem to have reached some important point where people feel this is a must-win battle," said Sutor. "I think this is critically important."

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK contributed to this report.

Oracle, Google and Novell? (0, Offtopic)

ninja_assault_kitten (883141) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997740)

Ha! Yeah, they have nothing to gain from being anti-Microsoft.

How much will it change anything? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13997743)

How much will having people use the OpenDocument format really change the world??? Much more important than the file format is what people are doing with that file format - how many peoples' lives are being improved. How does a file format change affect this at all?

Re:How much will it change anything? (3, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997852)

Millions of dollars saved from purchasing copies of Microsoft Office. Instead of concentrating money in the hands of a few (*cough Microsoft cough*), poor or even mid-class people can spend that money in more important things.

Re:How much will it change anything? (5, Insightful)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997954)

Sorry, that money will still be taken by government from the poor and mid-class people who would otherwise use it to improve their and other peoples lives.

Software upgrades are already figured into the budgets, and a government agency will spend their money on anything, not matter how silly, before they will let their budgets be cut by even a penny.

Near the end of every fiscal period, any money left over in the budget is very quickly spent, because if there is anything left over at the end the auditors assume that the department obviously didn't need the money and the next years budget will be reduced by that amount. This punishes efficient management and rewards sloth, abuse and waste. But this is government, and thereby I merely repeat myself.

Bob-

You are so correct. (5, Interesting)

jocknerd (29758) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998134)

I have worked in local governments for the last 8 years. This is exactly what they do and why open source has a hard time making inroads here. The thinking here is that we have to spend money or we lose it next year. So around here, we have the latest copies of Windows XP and Office 2003, but we don't seem to have any money to buy a decent office color laser jet that prints duplex. Where are there priorities? Obviously, not on production.

Re:You are so correct. (1)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998432)

Technically, the difference is between entrepreneurial and bureaucratic management. The motivations and measures of success are opposite because the customers are different.

Successful entrepreneurial management is measured by things easily understood from our day to day lives. Happier customers, reduced costs, efficiency. This is because of the availability of a measuring stick that applies to everything: Profit and Loss. Do a better job of serving the customers wants, with a better product or less cost of production, and you have "success".

A bureaucratic "success" is measured solely by larger budgets and bigger staff. There is no "profit and loss" measurement available by which to judge decisions, because the customer isn't buying the product. The customers of a bureaucracy are the higher level bureaucrats. It doesn't matter what services are provided, satisfaction levels, or if anything is actually done at all. The only thing that matters is if the higher level bureaucrats are pleased.

But the measure of success for the higher level bureaucrats are exactly the same as the lower level ones. This reinforces redundancy and waste as successful management from the lowest to the highest levels of bureaucracy. The larger the bureaucracy, the worse it gets..

This is why large companies often "reorganize" into smaller subsidiaries with more focused goals. There is increased opportunity to provide what was a "bureaucratic" function in a larger company as an "entrepreneurial" function to external customers. The motivations are thereby changed, and efficiencies rewarded rather than punished.

Of course the biggest difference is even more elemental: Force. Governments get away with it because they don't have to satisfy anyone in order to get the money to sustain their bureaucracies. They get the money first, by force, then spend it buying votes with which to perpetuate itself. I greatly recommend the books _Crisis and Leviathan_, which speaks directly to this issue, and _How Capitalism Saved America_, easily available from the Mises.org web site.

Bob-

ps: I also worked in a government job for 6 years. The more I learned the more disgusted I became. I have refused 6-figure salaries to return there, because I refuse to give them anything voluntarily. If the governments of the world vanished tomorrow, the world would be a much better place in every imaginable way.

You're right, but... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998280)

Remember that the industry has ties with the government. If the govt. isn't required to use Microsoft Office, companies (and their workers) can save that money, too.

Re:How much will it change anything? (1)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998055)

I agree. It would be very interesting to see how much money our government spends on Microsoft products.

Re:How much will it change anything? (1)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998442)

That assumes that the money saved would result in a tax break. Politicians are nothing if not spendthrifts.

Re:How much will it change anything? (5, Interesting)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998008)

Fair competition is always good for the consumer. A document created by a poor child for school under a freely available word processor on an older used computer will be accepted by the teacher. The idiot teacher will not be able to force the child's parents to trade a coat for a wordprocessor. Think I'm kidding, my niece had a science project fail because the document produced in Open Office didn't produce on his MS Word a lower margin of 1 inch, it created a lower margin of 1.25 inches, yes the idiot used a ruler. When he was told that the document was produced in Open Office, his response was "What's that? I said to use Microsoft Word!" and my sister who was an Airman Basic making $800 a month paid $399 for it!

Re:How much will it change anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998386)

I agree with your sentiments, but the educational version of Word (for teachers and students) can be had for about $25. The entire Office suite is ~ $125.

Re:How much will it change anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998057)

Stop dreaming people, nothing will change. Companies will continue to use MS Office with whatever new document support, won't care if there is OD support or not. Some companies will use OO and others won't, some suites will support OD and others not. Get over it, it's the capitalist world people.

Does anybody imagined if all companies started using OO? Do you really think it would still be free with all the support and investment they would have to do in it?

MS marginalizes OpenDoc, published Word doc format (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998129)

As others have pointed MS will just make OpenDocument one of their output formats and those who care will use it. Few will switch from MS Word.

Alternatively MS may just marginalize OpenDocument by publishing the Word/Excel/etc document formats. They used to, they could do so again.

Re:MS marginalizes OpenDoc, published Word doc for (1)

robbarrett (84479) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998313)

The real problem is "embrace and extend", which means MS will officially support OpenDoc but it will work differently enough in MSOffice from what the standard intended that institutions will still require that documents be produced in MSOffice. This is exactly the problem we have with HTML and IE.

Re:MS marginalizes OpenDoc, published Word doc for (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998491)

A common module in enterprise applications is the 'produce word document' - for whatever use it is applied to. Thing about this is, it's a bitch to produce a word document, what with OLE and the file formats and the pain and the death... My guess is that a huge number of Word documents in the world today are not actually produced by Word at all, but by the API components of Word through automated batch processes. With OpenDocument document format all these document will be produced by a much simpler process and won't require the Word API or consequent licensing. On top of that they can be processed after they are written. I'm sure you're right about MS marginalization, but it might show up some flaws in their assumptions about market share.

Apple (5, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997748)

I know this has been speculated on many times before, but I'm convinced that Apple is going to pull something out of the hat with regards to this, may be as soon as next year.

Perhaps an Apple version of openOffice 2.0?

They have to really -- their reliance on Microsoft to produce a Mac version of office has had them in a vice for years, but their agreements are coming to an end and Microsoft's grip is slipping.

Re:Apple (2, Interesting)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997836)

They can do a few things, but releasing a free version of Office apps sounds more like shooting themselves in the foot. Repeatedly. Apple would literally have to not care about profits in order for that to work.

More likely, they'll release their version of Excel alongside the existing iWork apps Keynote and Pages. If they manage an Exchange Server alternative, iWork would become substantially more important to them.

Or, they could just buy out the Macintosh Office division of MS.

Re:Apple (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997947)

Apple would literally have to not care about profits in order for that to work.

Not so. I expect iWork contributes a fairly small percentage to their bottom line, which they could sacrifice in order to substantially grow their sales of hardware.
 

Re:Apple (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998231)

iWork is a great suit of applications, but its functionality is at the level of Apple Works; it is not an office suite that can compete with OpenOffice or MS Office in the professional or corporate market.

Re:Apple (2, Interesting)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997962)

The open office people have never been too apple-friendly. I doubt they won't be changing their outlook with version 2. The only way to run it will be through the X11 server, and in that case, it isn't very clean or elegant looking. Firefox has done a good job at maintaining a windows/mac/linux version that doesn't look like a sore thumb when placed in other environments. The best bet would be for apple to design their own office suite if they don't want to rely on Microsoft Office's. A native, clean, elegant version of OpenOffice will never be available for the Mac.

Re:Apple (2, Interesting)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998282)

The open office people have never been too apple-friendly. I doubt they won't be changing their outlook with version 2.

It's not a question of "outlook" or being Apple-friendly, it's a question of resources.

Apple, on the other hand, has been downright hostile towards the OOo folks, telling them in no uncertain terms that Apple does not wish to make it easier to run X11 on OS X and does not wish other people to make it easier. Apple wants everybody to port to their proprietary GUI and they are going to do whatever it takes to "motivate" people to do that.

The only way to run it will be through the X11 server, and in that case, it isn't very clean or elegant looking.

As CodeTek has shown, one can do a much better job integrating X11 into the OS X desktop. The fact that X11 is hard to use and inelegant on OS X is Apple's responsibility. Maybe they'll figure out sooner or later that they are hurting themselves with this attitude, but so far, there is no indication of that. So far, Apple still seems to seriously believe that a pure Cocoa desktop is the future.

Re:Apple (-1, Redundant)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997980)

..the MOD system is broke
Watch as this post gets modded to +5 for nothing!
the MOD system is broke

Re:Apple (-1, Redundant)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998004)

..the MOD system is broke
Watch as this post gets modded to +5 for nothing!
the MOD system is STILL broke

Reply on any almost any +5 post and get modded +5 instantly

Re:Apple (0, Offtopic)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998130)

Yes i know i'm a broken OT record.

Just fix it please.

I sure hope so (2, Interesting)

scolby (838499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998045)

I (foolishly) purchased a stripped down educator's copy of Office when I bought my iBook a few months ago, and Word has all ready corrupted five documents, screwing the formatting and replacing the quotation marks with funky looking i's. I used to run OpenOffice when I had a pc, and despite it's slow load times (which, really, who cares if you have to wait an extra second and a half), it was an excellent piece of software. Might be time to go through the trouble of installing X11...

Re:I sure hope so (3, Informative)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998063)

Might be time to go through the trouble of installing X11...

Try Neooffice/J - the native port. It works pretty well.

Re:I sure hope so (2, Informative)

Dolda2000 (759023) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998077)

Might be time to go through the trouble of installing X11...
If you really bought your iBook only a few months ago, that shouldn't be trouble at all. As far as I know, Apple has shipped X11 installed in OSX by default since Panther.

Re:I sure hope so (1)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998365)

As far as I know, Apple has shipped X11 installed in OSX by default since Panther.

Nope, you have to customize the installation and include it yourself. Or if you've already installed the OS, just insert your CD and open the "Install Optional Components" (or something like it) package and make sure you select X11.

That being said, I recommend NeoOffice/J, a semi-native Java-based port. It's not much prettier, and unfortunately it's still based on OO.o 1.x, but it's at least a bit more pleasant to use on OS X. I have both installed and use 2.0 only when I absolutely need to. Fonts, priting (not a huge problem because I normally export to PDF anyway), and other things are still issues with the X11 port, but NeoOffice/J handles them better.

p33 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13997756)

eat a p33 bomb

Who is James Gallt? (5, Funny)

faqmaster (172770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997791)

Who is James Gallt? Him? Why he's the associate director for the National Association of State Chief Information Officers.

Oh, JOHN Galt. John Galt. It's, "Who is John Galt?"

Shootout at the MA Corral (2, Interesting)

alucinor (849600) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997807)

Red Hat would be Doc Holiday.

Why .. (0, Redundant)

slizz (822222) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997815)

is this story posted in the Linux section?

OpenDocument Vs. "Microsoft Is Always Teh Winner" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13997859)

It is amazing to see the reactions a certain group of people have to the surge in OpenDocument adoption.

This is one of those no brainer moves that would be unremarkable in any other industry. Technology makes the inevitable move to commodity status over time so companies can focus on competing in areas that actually give value to consumers.

But with Microsoft there is a strange group of people who can only be described as "Microsoft Is Always Teh Winner" believers. The computing world standardizing on OpenDocument in no way negatively effects them and the continued use of the proprietary Microsoft formats in no way benefits them, but they have become so emotionally attached to Microsoft they see it as a personal affront that anyone would ever dare to not use the obvious choice of whatever the Microsoft solution is.

Re:OpenDocument Vs. "Microsoft Is Always Teh Winne (1, Insightful)

Delphiki (646425) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998058)

OpenDocument in no way benefits me, as I've tried using Open Office and would only use it as a last resort, and I've never had a problem with incompatibility between version of MS Office. The continued use of the proprietary Microsoft formats benefit me because that's what just about everyone is already set up for. The change is for purely ideological and completely impractical reasons. Down with pragmatism, up with software based on ideology, right?

Nevermind, you probably stopped reading this and labelled me in your microsoft for the win group, or whatever the hell you called it, right? I mean, if someone disagrees with you, why bother thinking about what they have to say when you can just put a label on them so that you don't have to do any thinking.

Re:OpenDocument Vs. "Microsoft Is Always Teh Winne (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998273)

Ahh.. I see the problem. You might not be the MSFTW group, but you're still committing a logical fallacy. A perfectly understandable one that almost everyone makes. the "is-ought" fallacy. You are describing the way things are as if that is the way things should always be. The parent was describing the way things ought to be (according to him). The mistake is in assuming that just because those are the conditions that exist now, that they are the best possible conditions.

Pragmatism is all right when you consider all the ramifications. There are certain possibilities which some might weight more heavily than others that lead to Open Document as soon as possible being the more practical and pragmatic solution.

Re:OpenDocument Vs. "Microsoft Is Always Teh Winne (3, Interesting)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998114)

There's a culture of corporate paranoia at Microsoft, and it's been written about before in books and essays. Everything is seen as a threat, everything requires a drastic response. For instance, Netscape and gave rise to tying Internet Explorer to the Windows shell and offering it for free. At Microsoft, you're always self-critical, and you're always paranoid about losing your market position.

Re:OpenDocument Vs. "Microsoft Is Always Teh Winne (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998208)

There is one group of people who do not fit into that category.

MS shareholders.

Last time I checked, MS's office software accounted for about one-third of their revenue. Even a modest hit to that revenue stream is going to have disastrous consequences for Microsoft and its share-price. MS has just barely been hit street numbers over the past year as revenue growth continues its downward slide - I think it is all the way down to %6 this last quarter.

If the OpenDocument momentum continues, MS revenue growth has a good chance of turning negative very soon. That will be momentous event for the company in a very, very bad way.

Re:OpenDocument Vs. "Microsoft Is Always Teh Winne (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998536)

I'd take it a step further and mention that MS Office has also been the killer app that has kept people using their other software offerings, namely windows.
There are plenty of business that are already using web based and/or cross platform applications. If there was no need for MS Office there may also be no need for MS Windows.

It won't happen over night, but losing office suite dominance would be a huge blow to MS in more ways than one.

Re:OpenDocument Vs. "Microsoft Is Always Teh Winne (3, Interesting)

Hosiah (849792) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998254)

they have become so emotionally attached to Microsoft they see it as a personal affront

That, as Hunter S. T. put it, is the nut of the matter. And what *is* this? Do people develop emotional dependence on Texeco gas and get all zealotous when somebody mentions Chevron? Does KMart have loyal customers who sneer at Target shoppers as "communist"? Do HBO viewers stick to their "chosen" channel and deride Cinemax? Yet bring up operating systems, web browsers, programming languages...anything at all related to computers, down to such trivial choices as text editors: instant Jihad! I think we'd better add "computers" to "politics and religion" in the list of topics not to bring up at a table.

Man, I always figured if I'm going to put all that love into something, it's got to love me back. I just use what works for me, and don't really care what anybody else uses. Pity we can't all be shown the same courtesy.

Re:OpenDocument Vs. "Microsoft Is Always Teh Winne (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998329)

But with Microsoft there is a strange group of people who can only be described as "Microsoft Is Always Teh Winner" believers.

To their credit it's been true up to this point. What's different now is that the rest of the IT world seems to be diverging away from MSFT and in some cases collaborating against them.

MSFT has a choice of stubbornly staying the course and continue trying to hang on to their monopoly, which they'll eventually lose but will make more money until they collapse into a nitch market player. The other option is to support open standards where their products aren't the only choice available to users. In which case their business will decline gradually to a nitch market player.

Same result, but they have a choice how to get there.

Re:OpenDocument Vs. "Microsoft Is Always Teh Winne (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998464)

"To their credit it's been true up to this point."

Actually it isn't true. Outside of things directly tied to their OS, Microsoft has been a gigantic failure across the board. One of the reasons they are fighting so desperately with against the open office format is for the very fact that they have been so completely incapable of 'winning' at anything outside of their OS and office suite products and creating significant new revenue streams.

I agree that Microsoft's inevitable place in the market is a niche player mostly doing legacy support of their software. And from the actions of the execs at Microsoft over the past few years, I am pretty sure they feel the same way and are most focused on extracting as much cash out of the company before the stock price moves from slow decline to outright freefall.

The Usual Suspects. (0)

CDPatten (907182) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997910)

"including Oracle, Google and Novell"

Come on seriously, is the OpenDocument in that much trouble you have to list these guys. How could you forget to say IBM and Sun aren't using MS Office too? Sure they offer competing products, but hey, they aren't using MS Office.

From the article: " Red Hat, Adobe, Computer Associates, Corel, Nokia, Intel and Linux e-mail company Scalix, in addition to Oracle, Novell and Google"
With the exception of Intel, these are ALL hard liners against MS. My god, they listed LINUX outfits!!!! They can't even use MS Office. Intel sends reps to ALL of things on both sides of the isle, but at the end of the day, they will go MS.

This is complete fan boy press for the open document... and another example of how the quality front page posts on slashdot are dropping. Go ahead and flame me, but you know that this is just a fluff piece for Open Document, and a poor attempt to make it look like it is gaining support. Intellectually dishonest.

The ball is rolling... (4, Interesting)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997914)

If you really would like to see Linux of any flavor, Apple, or any alternative to Microsoft's strangehold flourish, do what you can to open the eyes of management folks to open source software. Make a spreadsheet of the number of office employees in your office, multiple the number by the cost of the OS (XP Pro is ~$150) and the cost of MS Office (basic is ~$300), add it up, and show them what could be saved while retaining the functionality (and gaining in some places such as not giving certain employees copies of office on their computer to cut cost when they really need it).

Install Open Office on your workstation and show your boss how visually its similar to Microsoft Office so retraining for basic tasks (spreadsheets, letter documents, etc.) will be minimal. When the question comes up (yes it will) asking about opening attachments on e-mails from people still using Microsoft Office, show them it works and that you can even save in Microsoft's format to send to others.

Review the upgrade frequency of the software used in your office. If you upgrade operating systems every 3 years, explain the benefits of switching to another operating system such as SuSE or Ubuntu as far as your finances go.

I'm sure there are other ways to open eyes of management. If you can think of some, please reply to this and add it.

On a side note, not only will this open people up to alternatives to Microsoft, but the fact that they have stepped back and made a change will only make it easier to change if there is another alternative out there that would better fit the bill. It'll get them thinking.

Re:The ball is rolling... (1)

GAATTC (870216) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998081)

At the institution I work at, the cost of XP and office is less than a thrid of the prices you listed, and I am sure that at bigger institutions the price is even lower. Do not confuse list prices and the actual prices that corporations and other large institutions pay for software.

Re:The ball is rolling... (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998084)

How about bumper stickers.
"Switch to OpenOffice.org and stop paying for working with Excel and Word Documents. Yes, it's free and free FOREVER. See www.OpenOffice.org"

BTW:
Watch as this post gets modded to +5 with no real moderation
the MOD system is broke
Reply on any +5 post and get modded +5 instantly

Re:The ball is rolling... (1, Insightful)

Delphiki (646425) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998159)

That would be the worst bumper sticker ever. It would take up your whole bumper.

Re:The ball is rolling... (1, Redundant)

RodRandom (734200) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998393)

Open Office runs like a dog on my Win 2K computer at work. It takes forever to load and some functions that should appear virtually instantaneous take seconds to carry out or fail altogether.

I love the functionality of the package, especially the promise it holds out of a ready path to single-source publicaton. But if it takes replacing existing hardware and OS on all the desktops--and retraining or replacing the entire PC support operation--the cost advantage becomes a huge deficit and my ill-tempered government client won't consider switching.

Re:The ball is rolling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998554)



I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly, but I think when people are doing these types of ROI studies/presentations, they really miss some key, "hidden" costs.

The level of collaboration and intergration features between MS Office apps cannot be overlooked in corporate environments. I'm not just talking about Word, Excel and PowerPoint - it runs across the entire gammut of apps: MapPoint, SharePoint, IIS, SQL, Voice Recognition, Project, Windows Mobile and on and on. Recreating that level of seamless integration and functionality between apps from 10 different vendors will quickly eat up any cost savings from OO.

MS's business practices suck, but Word, and Office, are solid products. If Office dropped out of the sky today as a new, unseen product from some unknown start up, we would be raving about it. The poeple that talk about bugs, high maintenance and high TCO have clearly not managed or used a Windows-based network recently, or aren't doing it correctly.

Just sayin'...

interesting? (1)

Brothernone (928252) | more than 8 years ago | (#13997926)

Well, at least we're really getting steam to go away from microsoft.. cause i don't know about you guys, but i see microsoft's eyes getting greener and greener as days go by. Every product they are comming out with finds new and more agrivating ways to need money for updates and support. Eventually we'll probably see microsoft putting adware into the OS source code. I really hope we get some better alternatives to microsoft products, and this could be a major step headed towards a less dominating microsoft eviroment.

I don't get it. (5, Insightful)

Risen888 (306092) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998019)

Is there a reason that all OpenDoc stories must be filed under Linux?

Museum Archives (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998020)

Museum studies programmes are currently heavily focuesed on digital preservation.

And unfortunately storing a document is very complicated. It involves knowledge of software version, compatibility issues, bugs, etc ...

Many of these programmes are leanning heavily towards open document standards. Simply because the people involved are not, and have no desire to learn every issue regard software excuatbles and how to make sure they will run in 20 or 30 years.

Fortune 500 companies the key (3, Interesting)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998023)

While it's nice that state governments are interested in OpenDocument, IMHO, this initiative will not seriously gain steam until the big companies around the world begin to adopt them. If GE, Walmart, Citigroup, GM, etc, etc, etc, made an effort towards OpenDoc, it will take off very quickly.

However, most of these big companies are locked into multi-billion, multi-year contracts with Microsoft, so I would be surprised to see anything happen soon.

Re:Fortune 500 companies the key (2, Insightful)

richg74 (650636) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998137)

While I largely agree that getting things going with the big companies is vital, I think that some effects might show up sooner than you think. It would not take a wholesale switch away from MS Office to have a sizable impact on both the market and Microsoft, because a lot of MS's current position is based on the notion that "everyone uses Office". (Microsoft's stock price also reflects its market position and, apparently, above-average expected earnings growth. I think it is safe to say that Bill Gates is conscious of that.)

MS is in kind of an interesting situation here. There's a risk that making more noise about how bad OpenDocument is will attract the attention of corporate types who otherwise wouldn't have noticed it at all.

Re:Fortune 500 companies the key (3, Interesting)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998591)

this initiative will not seriously gain steam until the big companies around the world begin to adopt them

Very true. However, realize that virtually all of the Fortune 500 have government contracts. As states adopt the requirement to use OpenDocument, those companies will have to as well, at least to some extent.

Additionally, some of the companies listed as participating in the summit are Fortune 500 themselves -- IBM (#10), Sun Microsystems (#194), Intel (#50), Oracle (#220). Nokia is a foreign company, while Google and CA should be on next years list (a maybe for CA).

That doesn't mean that they'll switch off Office of course, but it does mean that they're likely to support OpenDocument in some degree, if only by purchasing a plugin for Office to export the formats.

How is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998051)

So several of microsoft's direct competitors are choosing to use a competing product instead of Microsoft product. How is this news? Would you REALLY have expected anything else?

Re:How is this news? (1)

hey (83763) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998301)

Well, yes. Sometimes even Microsoft's direct competitors have trouble breaking away.

OpenDocument not stable (1)

haxhia (783279) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998088)

The problem with open document and one thing that may keep organizations from adopting is the fact that it's not stable yet. I mean, as people try to improve the format new XML things will be added into it and existing ones change for the better and then backward compatibality will either have to be broken or you'd end up with a bloated document format. my 2 cents

OMG ROFL LAM3RZZ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13998090)

The only real text editor is vi!! or vim!!!

DRM in OpenDocument (5, Insightful)

robbarrett (84479) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998125)

From the article:
The OASIS committees will seek to improve OpenDocument-based products for people with disabilities; add digital rights management features that would interoperate with Microsoft Office-based DRM systems; and standardize spreadsheet formula formats, Sutor [Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president of standards and open source] said.
(emphasis added)

Do we really want a standard that enables DRM? Is there such a thing as acceptable DRM? Why is this a good thing for OpenDocument?

Re:DRM in OpenDocument (2, Insightful)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998406)

Do we really want a standard that enables DRM?

Yes, because if you want to see it adopted, it's going to need to do everything the competition does and more. Otherwise, you'll get the usual "Well, we would use this, but it doesn't allow you to [blank], so we'll need to go with a format that does."

Is there such a thing as acceptable DRM?

Of course there is. Just like there are acceptable uses for weapons, wars, Windows, and alliterations. Market forces will determine what the acceptable uses are. If an organization DRM's the hell out of everything they pass around, customers will complain or go elsewhere if it's really a bother. If it's not really a bother, why bother complaining?

We're talking about word processors and spreadsheets here. If someone doesn't want a document passed around, copied, etc, then chances are it's "Privileged Information". Where's the problem, again?

Why is this a good thing for OpenDocument?

Like it or not, DRM is useful and is probably here to stay. Combining #1 and #2 above, I think you'll find your answer to this question.

quote for you (1)

matt me (850665) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998509)

>Just like there are acceptable uses for weapons, wars, Windows, and alliterations
To quote Micheal Franti "they can bomb the world into pieces, but they can't bomb it into peace". Some rearrange this for something about windows and puns.

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

I'm all for it (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998303)

unzip mydocument.sxw
emacs content.xml
zip mydocument.sxw *

ODF Web Conversion Service (1)

mls (97121) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998458)

Perhaps the way MA and other states could squash some of the arguments against ODF would be to create a web service to convert the documents to and from ODF. The web service would take as input either a URL to a document on their web site or a posted document, in addition to the format the document should be converted too (using existing OpenOffice filter code), and present the user with that document. Then, a user (some state constituent) won't need to install OpenOffice if they already have MS Office installed. They could have little icons on the web site that offered the documents in different formats (ODF, PDF, DOC, etc.), and the web service would take the ODF master and convert to the other formats as needed.

Personal Detriment Foundation (1, Interesting)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998482)

We can cry all we want about MS's Office formats ruling "the office", but personally, I feel the real tyrant in office file formats is .PDF. IMHO Adobe PDF is the Josef Stalin of formats.

And let me preface, this is on Windows, so you Mac and Linux desktop admins need not respond with tales of wonder about PDF.

I spend more time troubleshooting, upgrading, downgrading, converting, tweaking settings, etc; for Acrobat than anything else our Data Specialists use. What a friggin headache this program is. And whats worse, everyone not only requires PDF, they demand it.

I think OpenOffice has the ability to convert to PDF, but I haven't tried it. I assume that on Windows I would run into the same problems. Back before Acrobat 6, it was a fairly stable and reliable program, but since 6 it falls into the POS category.

The wolfpack attacks the Alpha sometimes (3, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998510)

Normally, IBM, Oracle, et.al. wouldn't be so bold, but when they see the big alpha dog showing signs of weakness, the rest of the pack suddenly turns on it.

Cool (1)

kirk26 (811030) | more than 8 years ago | (#13998566)

All five people can now read each others documents!
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