Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Dutch ODF Plan Could Sideline Microsoft

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the because-it's-our-data dept.

Government 168

Yeti7226 sends word of a discussion coming up Wednesday in the parliament of The Netherlands that could result in mandated use of Open Document Format at government agencies there. If the plan is enacted, public-sector organizations, as well as the government, would have to transition to using ODF by 2010. Microsoft Netherlands has lobbied hard against the provision. Backers say it doesn't exclude Microsoft, because ODF can be produced out of MS Office via the use of plugins. A funder of the OpenDoc Society invited Microsoft to join that organization, saying: "This plan is not about Microsoft, it's about ensuring the perpetual availability of data without any obstacles."

cancel ×

168 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Open Data is also mentioned (5, Informative)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649267)

The Dutch devision of OpenStreetMap also send in a letter to the commission about the need for Open/Free Data. Standards are important, but the reuse of existing government work is too.

Re:Open Data is also mentioned (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21649891)

Mod Parent -1, Child beater

Re:Open Data is also mentioned (-1, Offtopic)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649995)

What? Where the fuck did that come from?
Please mod parent -1 Total Fucking Moron

Well no wonder (5, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649277)

"This plan is not about Microsoft, it's about ensuring the perpetual availability of data without any obstacles."
That's the problem now, isn't it?

Re:Well no wonder (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21649701)

Luckily Microsoft keeps emailing letters explaining why they shouldn't switch using the latest .doc format, which no one can read.

Re:Well no wonder (4, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649727)

a bigger problem from microsofts point of view is that they made such a fuss about not being able to implement ODF in office, and now they may have to, showing their previous statements to be lies.
(well, perhaps it won't be too hard, after all it happens so often :)

Reliance on plug ins for office ODF compatibility would be crazy, either they implement it on the 'save as' menu, and allow it to be chosen as default, or they get sidelined by users as being too much work when compared to a simple and quick save operation.

Behavioral Psych 101 (4, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649807)

Reliance on plug ins for office ODF compatibility would be crazy, either they implement it on the 'save as' menu, and allow it to be chosen as default, or they get sidelined by users as being too much work when compared to a simple and quick save operation.
They tried playing chicken in Mass. and it worked. My bet is that they want use of ODF to be as painful and damn-well-useless as possible so that (in their wet dreams) people stage riots in the streets and halls of Parliament demanding MSOffice.

Re:Well no wonder (3, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650029)

a bigger problem from microsofts point of view is ..... showing their previous statements to be lies.
I'd be surprised if MS considered that a "bigger problem". It's probably the sort of problem they deal with every day.

Re:Well no wonder (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21650477)

If I remember correctly, Microsoft's complaint was not that Office couldn't support ODF but that they couldn't implement all of the Office format features in ODF.

#1 on the M$ list: vendor lock-in (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21650677)

Can't do that in ODF.

That's why MS is shitting their pants.

Look at the crap they pulled trying to get their "standard" approved by ISO.

Re:Well no wonder (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650961)

Well, my guess would be that Office is more overloaded with useless features than ever. But it still cannot typeset properly, which is truely pathetic.

My personal way to get beautiful typesetting from office is to export to rtf and convert to LaTeX. Not that I have to do that often, fortunately.

Re:Well no wonder (4, Insightful)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21651463)

But you can't implement all of Office's features in OOXML either. Macros, scripts, DRM, etc., are not part of OOXML.

Re:Well no wonder (-1, Flamebait)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650485)

"showing their previous statements to be lies."

Shows M$ and U$ have much in common (either or both, always the same) "NOT! being able to implement." and/or "showing their previous statements to be lies."

M$ and U$, the best failures and/or bullshit money can buy to fyck USAll. Any POTUS over the last thirty+ years as obvious examples.

Re:Well no wonder (2, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650931)

Obviously. How are they ever going to force people to buy new software, if open standards catch on?
--
Side question: FR-4 is glass-fibre+epoxy PCB material. What is evil about it? Or does FR-4 stand for something else in your .sig?

Very much about Microsoft (5, Insightful)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649285)

A funder of the OpenDoc Society invited Microsoft to join that organization, saying: "This plan is not about Microsoft, it's about ensuring the perpetual availability of data without any obstacles."

... which actually makes it very much about Microsoft, since they have purposefully done so much to ensure precisely the opposite. Planned obsolescence and crufty undocumented file formats are perfectly in Microsoft's favor as a means of forcing MS Office users to pay the upgrade tax every few years, regardless of whether the new Office versions include any compelling new functionality, what with older versions suddenly no longer able to read the "same" .doc file format produced by the newer versions. With ODF, we know what we're getting -- and that's what scares the pants of Microsoft.

Cheers,

No, it's about Trent Reznor: (-1, Offtopic)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649655)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happiness_in_Slavery [wikipedia.org]
I had been going to link to the YouTube video directly, but it's rather extreme for my "boring" taste--didn't make it past halfway.
The track, though, does bring back memories of failing my Electrical Engineering exams at Sing-Sing on the Severn.

Re:Very much about Microsoft (4, Interesting)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649705)

Planned obsolescence and crufty undocumented file formats are perfectly in Microsoft's favor
For an example of crufy file formats in action, read about Word 98's classic security hole - including random chunks of data/disk into its files. Present in Office 98 for Mac, as well as Office 97 for Windows, and older Mac versions (As far back as 6).

http://www.macintouch.com/o98security.html [macintouch.com]

Then again, I suppose this sort of thing isn't guaranteed against with ODF, since anyone can write a terrible parser for any file format. Microsoft is just really good at it, that's all.

MSFT makes a counter offer (5, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649309)

A funder of the OpenDoc Society invited Microsoft to join that organization, saying: "This plan is not about Microsoft, it's about ensuring the perpetual availability of data without any obstacles."

MSFT countered saying that it has nothing against its users ensuring perpetual availability of their data residing in their machines and it would gladly join the organization if Microsoft's right to perpetual profits could be guaranteed.

Comparable Costs? (3, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649319)

Rinsema fears that the current proposal could lead to discrimination against Microsoft products ranging from Office 12 to .Net, even though they offer a proper solution at a cost that is comparable to competing products
Since when is free equal to $130 or whatever MS Office is at now?

Re:Comparable Costs? (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649415)

Not to mention the time re-training people to use the next horrible UI, at least with OSS a large company can easily tweak OOo to look like *insert word processor here*

"Free!" (TM) (c) [Pat. Pend.] (5, Funny)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649455)

Since when is free equal to $130 or whatever MS Office is at now?

See, that's the beauty of " Free! " (TM) (c) [Pat. Pend.] [All rights withheld by Microsoft, 2007] -- you can " Freely! " make anything equal anything else! What convenience, what ease of use, what utility! A few examples: Winter is the new summer, Stay the course, Up is down, Copyright is good for the consumer! Rinsema is simply worried that not enough people know about this Fantastic! New! Opportunity!, and is trying to make sure everyone knows that " Free! " is actually equal to $130 or whatever MS Office sells for.

It's all perfectly logical, really.

Re:Comparable Costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21649827)

Since when is free equal to $130 or whatever MS Office is at now?

Depends on which country your in. In the US it is $210 for the standard and up to $499 for the pro version.

OpenOffice -- Free.

Makes me wonder why so many companies gladly piss away that kind of money when an open format option exists and doesn't cost a cent.

Re:Comparable Costs? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649877)

Probably because they want their documents to be compatible with everybody else's documents and don't know that .doc (and .docx) can be read by something else. After all, that RTF editor that I cannot recall the name of right now does not work.

No, it's true... Microsoft did a proof: (5, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649841)

Since when is free equal to $130 or whatever MS Office is at now?
Since Microsoft released their mathematical proof showing that all Microsoft products are free:
        * Step 1: Let a = b.
        * Step 2: Then a^2 = ab ,
        * Step 3: a^2 + a^2 = a^2 + ab ,
        * Step 4: 2a^2 = a^2 + ab ,
        * Step 5: 2a^2 - 2ab = a^2 + ab - 2ab ,
        * Step 6: and 2a^2 - 2ab = a^2 - ab .
        * Step 7: This can be written as 2(a^2 - ab) = 1(a^2 - ab) ,
        * Step 8: and canceling the (a^2 - ab) from both sides gives 1=2.
        * Step 9: We then subtract 1 from each side which gives us 0=1
        * Step 8: then multiplying by x where x is the price of the Microsoft suite you are investing in... you will note that x=0 and thus Microsoft is completely free!

Re:No, it's true... Microsoft did a proof: (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21649997)

For those scratching their heads:

* Step 1: Let a = b.
                * Step 2: Then a^2 = ab ,
                * Step 3: a^2 + a^2 = a^2 + ab ,
                * Step 4: 2a^2 = a^2 + ab ,
                * Step 5: 2a^2 - 2ab = a^2 + ab - 2ab ,
                * Step 6: and 2a^2 - 2ab = a^2 - ab .
                * Step 7: This can be written as 2(a^2 - ab) = 1(a^2 - ab) ,
                * Step 8: and canceling the (a^2 - ab) from both sides gives 1=2.
                * Step 9: We then subtract 1 from each side which gives us 0=1
                * Step 8: then multiplying by x where x is the price of the Microsoft suite you are investing in... you will note that x=0 and thus Microsoft is completely free!


Substituting step 2 into the equation at step 7 gives us 2*(0) = 1*(0) ... which is true, but then step 8 which reads "canceling the (a^2 - ab) from both sides" is actually a divide-by-zero error on both sides which is where it all goes awry.

Re:No, it's true... Microsoft did a proof: (4, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650057)

Substituting step 2 into the equation at step 7 gives us 2*(0) = 1*(0) ... which is true, but then step 8 which reads "canceling the (a^2 - ab) from both sides" is actually a divide-by-zero error on both sides which is where it all goes awry.
Shhhhhhh!
This is Microsoft, there's no error!

Don't Worry (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650283)

"canceling the (a^2 - ab) from both sides" is actually a divide-by-zero error on both sides which is where it all goes awry.
Shhhhhhh!
This is Microsoft, there's no error!
Don't worry, It'll be fixed in the next Service Pack, which is going to be "The Most Secure Microsoft Product Ever" (tm) (c) [Patent Pending] !
While leaving, don't forget to pick up a brochure explaining how to convince your boss to pay for the upgrade.

Re:No, it's true... Microsoft did a proof: (3, Funny)

mattmatt (855592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21651635)

It's a feature.

Re:No, it's true... Microsoft did a proof: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21650115)

Um yeah. We all know. Thanks though. Unless you just figured that out... in which case, good job!

Re:No, it's true... Microsoft did a proof: (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21650211)

Excel says it's 10000...

Re:No, it's true... Microsoft did a proof: (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21651393)

For those who wonder, the fallacy in this chain of thought is that you can't compare a LHS and RHS if both are equal to 0, as it is done from step 5 onwards.

Re:Comparable Costs? (1)

j79zlr (930600) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650127)

$130??? Office "Standard" which is just Word, Excel, Powerpoint & Outlook is $400 [microsoft.com] . Office Ultimate is $680!!!

Re:Comparable Costs? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650367)

Even more compelling.

Re:Comparable Costs? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650255)

Oh, they didn't say equal, they just said comparable, and surely you can compare $130 to $0.

If the MS office software or open office cost $NaN, then that'd raise an exception because the values aren't comparable. But they arent! So MS is telling the truth, as always!

Re:Comparable Costs? (1)

d'fim (132296) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650539)

". . . surely you can compare $130 to $0."

Especially when what you really want to charge is $1,000,000 per copy.

Microsoft has a dream . . .

Support contract (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21651939)

Presumably the government would buy their office package with some sort of support contract.

Bluff? (5, Interesting)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649367)

How likely is it that these people have figured out that ODF pushes Microsoft's buttons and are using it to secure better deals?

Re:Bluff? (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649759)

Maybe in 2003, or today in the USA. Not in 2007 AND in he Netherlands. Times change and MS is getting increasingly obsoleted for more economical, more open systems and formats.

Re:Bluff? (2, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649763)

Not so sure about that one... After all, MS Office does have ODF plugins, and the MSFT sales droid could easily counter with some variation of "well, we have freely available plugins for that in (insert new MS Office version here) . Now about all those old .doc and .xls files you have laying around... whatcha gonna open those with?"

Also, one of the benefits of all that FUD that Microsoft has churned out or paid for is that they can use it as reference material to the clueless PHB(s) that purchase (directly or by influence) the software.

The trick is to get the truth out in ways that can be measured on-the-spot, and help the PHB pose questions that the MSFT sales-droid can't simply FUD his or her way out of. For instance, set up a Linux server, or set up an OpenOffice installation... test the crap out of it in parallel with the equivalent MS product, total up and categorize all costs, then present those to the PHB(s) as a proof-positive defense.

Of course, that won't stop the sales droid from low-balling the price as a last resort, but at least this way you've given the PHB(s) something to think about...

/P

Re:Bluff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21650745)

Now about all those old .doc and .xls files you have laying around... whatcha gonna open those with?

OpenOffice? MS Office backwards compatibility is terrible.

Re:Bluff? (5, Informative)

risk one (1013529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649835)

It's important to consider the structure of Dutch government in this case. The Netherlands have a system of many parties. There are some big ones, two of which usually make up the government, with a third smaller one. But the Dutch congress (which can veto bills, and bring up points of discussion) comprises all parties that got some minimum number of votes. I suppose most parliamentary democracies work this way, but the difference with countries like America and the UK is that in the Netherlands there is actually great diversity of parties in congress, many of which are small enough to really care about the issues. And a common divisor between all the parties that aren't in government is that none of them will care much about how great a deal the government is going to get from Microsoft (especially when there are free alternatives).

Don't get me wrong, we don't have a magnificent government at the moment, but the parliament usually works pretty well. The one party that would be most sympathetic to Microsoft here is the liberal VVD, and one of their prominent politicians is the Eurocommisioner that managed to give Microsoft a kicking in the recent antitrust suit. There is some hope for this one.

Re:Bluff? (5, Insightful)

Yeti7226 (473207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649919)

As one of the authors of the parliament motion that started this policy track back in 2002 and someone who had the oportunity to advise the minister personally I can categorically state that this is not the intention of the plan. It is also not the intention to ban any specific product or any vendor. If certain public institutions wish to use a proprietary word processor that is fine. They just have to store their documents in a neutral format so that others remain free to use the tools of their choosing. This is about the freedom to choose, both for government organizations and citizens who wish to access government documents.

If because of this someone can get a good deal on licenses than that's less cost for the taxpayer so that also a 'good thing'.

Arjen

Re:Bluff? (2, Interesting)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650699)

I love M$ bashing as much as the next guy. But Arjen... your company Gendo [gendo.nl] is likely to profit from this as well, isn't it?

On a completely unrelated note ... do you have any job openings?

Re:Bluff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21650733)

Bit of a Dutch Auction then?

Of course... (-1, Troll)

SiriusStarr (1196697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649387)

...Microsoft will object to anything that threatens their proprietary, monopolistic stranglehold on office computing. I find it refreshing that governments are considering switching to a potentially more accessible, widespread format. Hopefully we will start to see more and more transitioning to the more friendly, open formats; I for one will buy the first iPod-clone that supports Vorbis. And as a Linux user I just have to laugh. Still, you have to respect Microsoft's market power; consider, for example, that Open Office was designed specifically to look as close to MS Office as possible. MS is what people are used to; it is what they learned on and what they instinctually default to (even Mac users use MS Office). And so, people will continue to resist anything that doesn't look and feel like Gates, even if it's an improvement, so we will keep seeing the open-source clones of proprietary programs, e.g. MS Office-Open Office, Photoshop-GIMP, etc.

Have you ever even used GIMP? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649459)

It's nothing like photoshop at all.

And as for OpenOffice...

Well woord processing software has looked that way for many years now, back as far as the mid 90s when I started. What do you want? How different can it be and still be a WYSIWYG document editor?

Re:Have you ever even used GIMP? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649563)

How different can it be and still be a WYSIWYG document editor?
That would depend on the "WYG" part.

Re:Have you ever even used GIMP? (1)

SiriusStarr (1196697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649579)

Yes, I have used GIMP. I'm not saying that at a functional level it's like Photoshop. My point is simply that, consciously or not, its layout, etc. resembles it. I'm not complaining that it looks like Microsoft; I like MS Office's UI. It's simply a comment. Yes, I will grant that there are only so many ways you can lay out a word processing program, but if you look at Open Office, it is identical. Almost all of the buttons are in the same place, the menus have the mostly the same names, the margin adjusting bars look the same. I challenge anyone to look at Open Spreadsheet and Excel next to each other and tell me that it's not imitating Excel...

Re:Have you ever even used GIMP? (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650893)

Open Spreadsheet and Excel next to each other and tell me that it's not imitating Excel...

I think you meant Calc and Excel.

I'd love to take your challenge but I've been using Open Office so long, I've forgot how to install Excel, Lemme think, oh yeah, install from CD, then find the CD every time I use a new feature. Nah, I think I'll take your word for it. Besides Excel on my debian box is just wrong. I feel dirty enough having to run XP in a Vm for testing.

Re:Have you ever even used GIMP? (0, Redundant)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649633)

Take Open Office and compare it to Office 2007, in a medium to large company, OOo offers a familiar environment, cross platform (Linux, Windows, Mac) open source and free Word Processor in comparison to Office 2007 although it may have more features, it still costs over $100, runs only on Windows, Has a new environment that is radically different then any other processor people are used to. The choice is clear, OOo wins, there is nearly 0 down-time for retraining and if someone absolutely NEEDS the features in Office 2007, there usually is a stand-alone application that can do the job (or an extension for OOo)

Re:Have you ever even used GIMP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21649729)

It's nothing like photoshop at all.
Correct. GIMP has a superior user interface. Too bad it lacks in features. I mean, come on, fsking add layer styles already. It's almost 2008 and it still lacks an incredibly useful feature. I've been using GIMP for the last ten years (started when I was in high school), I use Photoshop currently in college and despise it's interface. At least on Macs it's decent and more like GIMP, but I hold a deep level of hatred towards Windows-ish MDI. That completely kills my workflow.

Re:Have you ever even used GIMP? (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650911)

Gimp will do 100% of what 90% of photoshop users have photoshop for, they just need to learn how to use it. For what most people have photoshop for can be done in mspaint, but photoshop is a recognised brand (a great many people cant get the idea out of their head that popular == good).

Most people who have never used photoshop will pick up Gimp easily.

Re:Of course... (4, Informative)

Rocky Mudbutt (22622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649679)

I for one will buy the first iPod-clone that supports Vorbis.
Rockbox [rockbox.org] (GPL) supports Ogg/Vorbis and many other codecs [rockbox.org] on a number of platforms. I have thouosands of hours of Ogg music on my iPod running Rockbox. Never use the Apple software, it's not useful to me. I don't miss iTunes.
So what's preventing you from freeing yourself from proprietary software? Certainly not the hardware.

Re:Of course... (2, Interesting)

SiriusStarr (1196697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650181)

What was preventing me was the fact that I've never heard of it before. Thanks for the information! I intend to go home and put it on my iPod and kiss iTunes goodbye. I'd tried GTKPod, but hadn't really loved it, and iPod linux doesn't support my generation. I love the feeling I get when I can delete Apple programs from my computer... :-)

Re:Of course... (3, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650821)

I for one will buy the first iPod-clone that supports Vorbis
Disclaimer: Prices in AUD, this is an Australian store
Here's one [minidisc.com.au] and another one here [minidisc.com.au]

Cowon and Iriver have supported Ogg Vorbis for a while now. There are other models from Cowon and Iriver (different capacity, larger/smaller screen, different form factors, Drive/flash based) if these are not to your liking. I have the Iriver X20 and get better sound quality than out of latest generation ipod (I will admit that the trade off is battery life, I only get 10 hours). For Linux compatible MP3 player's the thing to look for is MSC (Mass Storage Class) functionality which tells the device to act like a flash disk that you can copy music to and the device builds its own library when the device is disconnected rather than have itunes do it when it is connected.

Just remember that these are not "ipod clones" but rather drastically different mp3 players. For the most part you will find great improvements (not locked to itunes, better controls and UI) over ipods. Compared to Irivers, ipods are expensive and annoying to use.

Re:Of course... (1)

SiriusStarr (1196697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21651931)

Thanks; I do appreciate the shopping advice. I've been looking for a good player supporting the kind of drag-drop functionality that you described but had never gotten around to really searching for one. I may just have to go out and buy one.

New document format overlords (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649417)

I for one salute the new Document Format overlords ;-)

Misleading Title on the Article (5, Insightful)

pilbender (925017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649431)

The article title talks about getting rid of Microsoft but it's really about doing the right thing to serve the people. The article content has nothing to do with the title. There's no need for a title like this. I hate to see this nonsense. It diverts from what really matters.

Governments *MUST* do this. Public documents are public domain, not Microsoft's (or any other company's) hostage.

We need to continue to have articles posted (even though they get old sometimes) here that push these issues and lay them out for people because they are so important.

Re:Misleading Title on the Article (4, Insightful)

dwandy (907337) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649599)

Public documents are public domain, not Microsoft's (or any other company's) hostage.
The problem is that most people believe that MS Word is a public data-exchange format (ie: that if you write something in MS Word that anyone can read it, edit it etc.)

So the fundamental issue is that most people aren't even aware that there is a problem to deal with.

Re:Misleading Title on the Article (3, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649683)

That though, has changed with Office 2007, most people that I know of are considering a change to a non-MS word processor such as OOo, buying a used copy of 2003 and some that are fed up with Vista running slow on their 3 Gig dual core system, are changing to XP while others are even thinking about Linux as an option. MS ends up profiting when people don't have a choice, in trying to make Office and Vista look "different and new" they have alienated people who are now looking at non MS solutions. MS isn't a big selling point anymore, people think of it as the creator of the BSoD and for Windows most people fail to realize there is a choice, Vista and Office are changing that. Rome only collapsed not because of people conquering it but because of civil unrest, MS is the same, its power is fading quickly and Open-source and Linux are the only logical things to replace it.

Re:Misleading Title on the Article (0, Troll)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650175)

You mention that it has all changed with 2007, that people are looking at alternatives or downgrading like they are with Vista, you never explain where the hell you're getting that from?

2007 is perfectly backward compatible, 2003 is forward compatible... so I don't see why because of 2007, someone would buy 2003?

Re:Misleading Title on the Article (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650783)

That's quite an accomplishment for Office 2007. I've never seen a version of MS Office that was perfectly backwards compatible with previous versions. I've even had problems with MS Office being incompatible with itself. That is, if you open a document on a different computer with the same version of MS Office, it sometimes has the formatting changed.

Re:Misleading Title on the Article (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650871)

". . . if you open a document on a different computer with the same version of MS Office, it sometimes has the formatting changed."

Some of the formatting, like details of kerning and line spacing, is tied to the printer, so it can change even on the same computer. But, really, formatting problems between versions can be largely avoided if you can avoid things like smart quotes and other annoying automatic formatting options.

Re:Misleading Title on the Article (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21649621)

The article title talks about getting rid of Microsoft but it's really about doing the right thing to serve the people.
Same thing?

Re:Misleading Title on the Article (1)

pilbender (925017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649901)

I suppose you're right but it doesn't have to be that way.

The focus is truly about protecting publically owned data and that's any data in government. Which means it should not be stored in any format supported by only one vendor with questionable specifications published in the document format.

Mod +1 Clever.

Re:Misleading Title on the Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21649733)

U.S. Government Publications are Public Domain. You might want to check into other types of "Public Documents" before making such generalizations.

Re:Misleading Title on the Article (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649761)

Since when? I always understood that they were proprietary.

Re:Misleading Title on the Article (1)

pilbender (925017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650147)

Leave it to Slashdot for someone to nitpick, but okay. I'll concede that from a copyright perspective or patent perspective or whatever other protections for intellect, this is a wrong word choice.

Government is "by the people, for the people" in the US. So things in government are supposed to be in the public's interest. Universal accessibility to public documents or any documents maintained by the the government for the benefit of the people should be in an open format. And the government must do this. So I hope the US is not far behind the Netherlands.

I don't care which vendor, be it Microsoft or any other, is used by government. As long as an open spec is properly supported by the tool.

There, fixed.

Re:Misleading Title on the Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21651445)

I'll say that title is misleading. Very misleading.

It should read: "Dutch ODF Plan Could Cause Microsoft To Sideline Itself".

After all, there is absolutely nothing to stop Microsoft from correctly implementing ODF as a supported format in the file open and save operations of MS Office.

Don't you believe it! (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649433)

It *IS* all about Microsoft.

I say this jokingly, but also quite seriously. Jokingly because technically, it isn't about Microsoft... it could easily have been about Word Perfect if they were still the dominator in document formats. Truly, it is about perpetual access to data through the used of non-proprietary and fully documented formats. "ODF" isn't here to stay... it might last another 10, maybe 20 years at most before something far superior comes along. But ODF is fully documented and could be translated into whatever the next great format standard will be.

But seriously, it *IS* about Microsoft because Microsoft has lost the trust of their users and customers. They have done this with amazingly consistent and persistent erosion. With every new release, with every security problem, with every denial, with every DRM addition, with every copyright protection service, with every Genuine Advantage(r), with every BSA audit, with every criminal conviction, with every attempt to evade or forestall punishment, with every shameless act for which they have become quite notorious in the IT community... the ignorant public has started to notice what upsets their nerds ever so much. And now they are starting to re-think the way they store their data because at any moment, they want to be able to change their operating platform. They trusted Microsoft for at least the past 10 years with their operating systems, applications and data. Microsoft had their, our and even my personal trust for quite some time. The trust is gone or disappearing and now people are taking action.

And is it really the best way for Microsoft to handle this problem? I mean to lobby and complain? Why not attempt to save their business by changing their course and direction!? What is so bad about change?! Is actual competition too much for Microsoft to handle? Can't they just make a "better product" instead of playing all of these government games?

Perhaps the Microsoft apologists would care to suggest a possible reason why they can just serve the interests of their customers rather than fighting to save their business model? The customer wants ODF. Why shouldn't Microsoft provide that to them?

Re:Don't you believe it! (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649529)

They trusted Microsoft for at least the past 10 years with their operating systems, applications and data. Microsoft had their, our and even my personal trust for quite some time. The trust is gone or disappearing and now people are taking action.
That's because Microsoft stayed out of it's customer's way for so long. They didn't take advantage of those clauses that say that you paid $400 merely for permission to use their software for as long as they see fit.

Re:Don't you believe it! (5, Interesting)

el cisne (135112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650755)

"And is it really the best way for Microsoft to handle this problem? "
It is the only way they know how.

"I mean to lobby and complain? Why not attempt to save their business by changing their course and direction!? "
They can no more change this course and direction than we can change our own DNA (excluding retroviruses, etc). Besides, they'd have to want to change. And they don't. They pride themselves in this method and culture and approach.

"What is so bad about change?!
It hurts. It is unfamiliar. The outcome is not certain. Like Dell now trying to do retail. Don't think that was the first thing on their list. They are having to play in a game in which they are newcomers.

"Is actual competition too much for Microsoft to handle? "
Yes. They don't know how to compete the normal way. With an actual salable product, on the merits.

"Can't they just make a "better product" instead of playing all of these government games?"
This IS their product. It is what they do, what they are best at. What they do better than anyone else. Software is just the arena. They are not so much a software company as they are a "protect windows and office at all freaking costs" company. That is the bottom line to everything they do.

lol. (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649443)

"This plan is not about Microsoft, it's about ensuring the perpetual availability of data without any obstacles."
Yeah... and he contradicted himself with his second breath. Microsoft want to be the gatekeeper to your data. That's incompatible with "data without any obstacles."
 

Said another way, Re:lol. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650049)

The main obstacle to perpetual data availability is Gates.

Re:Said another way, Re:lol. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21650235)

I love your sig. Nothing screams "I'm an annoying zealot" like that dollar sign.

Good (5, Insightful)

wijsneus (1181415) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649445)

As a dutch web-developer who has to adhere to the Dutch Guidelines for the accessibility and sustainability of government websites [overheid.nl] . I can finally meet the requirement to:

[...] use (open) standards - if available - for structure, meaning, representation, identification, presentation, storage and access. [...]
Which means no more PDF hell. As most PDF-formats have proprietary extensions, or have accessibility issues, currently I can only officially/legally use PDF/A-1a. As you can imagine, this is a royal pain in the back for my customers who have to export all their documents and get the PDF settings juuust right. In the future they can just upload the documents and link to them. (Yaay for us!)

Re:Good (1)

daBass (56811) | more than 6 years ago | (#21651691)

It is a step in the right direction for sure. But what would be even better is a PDF-like version of ODF, one just for publishing. Light-weight with not enough information in it to edit it, like PDF, with a special light-weight viewer. (not that Adobe Reader for windows is light-weight anymore, but luckily Preview on the Mac is)

I really hate getting Word documents from people (like all the MS documentation on their website) that when opened in Word get re-formatted automatically, show spelling mistakes with red underline and ask me if I would like to save the document before closing. (even though I have not changed anything) Somehow I do not think getting an ODF opening in Word or OpenOffice would be much of an improvement on that experience.

Let's hope they stand up better than Massachusetts (3, Interesting)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649447)

Mass. tried to do the same thing and they eventually caved in. As a Mass. resident (and something like 10th generation Dutchman) I can only hope that they don't succumb to the pressure like my local lawmakers did.

Re:Let's hope they stand up better than Massachuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21650807)

Mass. tried to do the same thing and they eventually caved in. As a Mass. resident (and something like 10th generation Dutchman) I can only hope that they don't succumb to the pressure like my local lawmakers did.

Local law man was bribed. No kidding. But it does make a nice government controlled monopoly.

Telephones won't work if different vendors don't agree on exacting standards. Roads would not work, nor would rail if not for exacting standards.

But Microsoft does view themselves above the law, take anti-trust and bundling. Prime examples of how far Microsoft is into the politics of market manipulation, price fixing and discrimination, bribery etc. $1B anti-Linux budget is anti-competitive. My, the US can't enforce their own laws on price discrimination when some countries get full office with windows for $25.

There is a reason most new code today is written outside of the US. Think about it when you vote. Remember, NSAKey wants you.

Re:Let's hope they stand up better than Massachuse (1)

jayp00001 (267507) | more than 6 years ago | (#21651547)

it all depends on if they have user accessibility laws like MA does. If they do ODF is sunk there too.

Re:Let's hope they stand up better than Massachuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21652039)

[q]it all depends on if they have user accessibility laws like MA does. If they do ODF is sunk there too.[/q]

How so? ODF version 1.1 (the current version) includes accessibility requirements. In fact, including accessibility requirements was the primary reason for updating from the original ODF version 1.0. Look it up if you don't believe it.

linux? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21649685)

why is there a tux on every article that mentions open anything? what does linux have to do with odf? what about the open source movement that isn't swinging off of linus' nutsack and doesn't feel the need to blindly hate anything non-linux?
 
more and more it doesn't seem that open source is pro-anything but rather anti-something. when are we going to get off our asses and live off our merits instead of having to bash those that don't follow?

Re:linux? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649735)

This particular article is probably here because the "Politics" section is oriented towards US politics rather than international, and there is no "Open Source" section (might be a good time to make one or change the "Linux" section).

Dutch tradition (5, Informative)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649725)

The Netherlands has a strong tradition of liberal democracy based on a sense of people taking care of each other. And it has given the world some great thinkers in Computer Science as well.

Intitiatives like this one are likely to succeed here because they will be widely seen to make good sense.

There is nothing to prevent Microsoft from being part of the solution. Or it can be part of the precipitate.

What? A country with BALLS???? (0, Flamebait)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649873)

Would be nice if they charge ahead with the hardline, and not only sideLINE but sideSWIPE msoft by cramming their durable balls across ms' face.... Better yet, suffocate ms, cut off THEIR air supply, for a change... Could be a HAIRY, intense experience, ehh? I wonder how much collective mucous ms could generate to get those brave balls out of their nostrils and mouth... Could give "XP" a whole new meaning of "e-X-X-X-Perience"

Nice one: "This plan is not about Microsoft, it's about ensuring the perpetual availability of data without any obstacles."

I guess my pre-frontal cortex saw "OBstacles" and latched on to (metaphorically) to "testicles" and hence this post-anal-vortex of trash spewing forth...

Now, if only the good name of the Netherlands can be used to put ms into the the never-never land, or "etherland"...

Re:What? A country with BALLS???? (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650325)

You know it's a sad day on Slashdot when some humorless wretch can't just leave alone something it can't find funny. Then, worse, when not enough people come along to show the wretch its humorless ways.

Where's the Oldboy clawhammer when it's really needed?

Microsoft whining in the press (3, Funny)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650001)

FYI, Microsoft is whining in the Dutch-language press [www.nrc.nl] (Google translation [google.com] ) about how unfair to them this all is and how disadvantaged they would be if the government used open standards.

Re:Microsoft whining in the press (5, Insightful)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650191)

The funniest thing about the whole situation is that if Microsoft just shut up and added ODF support to Office, they could turn around and say, "Buy your Office 2008 licenses! It's got ODF support, you NEED ODF support!".

Re:Microsoft whining in the press (1)

setagllib (753300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21651079)

What, and watch as people realise the average user can survive with OpenOffice.org for a flat price of nothing? They can't have that. They can't stand competition at all. Even a 50% drop in annual Office purchases would be a bombshell to Microsoft.

Re:Microsoft whining in the press (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21651125)

> The funniest thing about the whole situation is that if Microsoft just shut up and added
> ODF support to Office, they could turn around and say, "Buy your Office 2008 licenses!
> It's got ODF support, you NEED ODF support!".

And kill the revenue stream forver. That is why you post on slashdot and Balmer buys legislatures with his ill gotten gains. The whole point of all Microsoft products isn't to just be sold once per customer, but to be sold over and over, preferrrably as a regularized revenue stream/subscription. A single sale, regardless of how large only helps the quarter the sale is booked in, a continuing stream keeps the money flowing for decades.

The major driver for upgrades is interoperability so a standard, even one controlled by Microsoft itself, is a death sentence. Only by continually breaking backward compatibility can they force what would otherwise be products upgraded at most every five-ten years into a regular hassle that users endure because they must.

Re:Microsoft whining in the press (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21651707)

You'd think. After all, the competition is not OO, it's office 97, office 2000 and office 2003. But then we're talking about Microsoft.

Re:Microsoft whining in the press (1)

Eternal Annoyance (815010) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650373)

Yes, and their whining won't get them anywhere.
It'll only serve to worsen their situation. The Dutch government isn't perfect, but it is not compromised of a bunch of corrupt idiots.

The tactics that work in the U.S. won't work in the Netherlands, since our government is used to loud complaints. If Microsoft wants to exert pressure on the Dutch government to not enact this, I wish them good luck... they're doomed to fail.

Re:Microsoft whining in the press (1)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650465)

Microsoft would be extremely disadvantaged. So much so that their crushing dominance of office software might actually be dented a little! If all of the other ISVs out there trying to make their mark in the office could have their individual voices heard as much as Microsoft does in the press then comments about being disadvantaged would be thrown out of the window (ODF is open and documented, and plugins for Microsoft's software exist. Try saying the same about Microsoft's closed formats, which are putting every alternative out there to a disadvantage). Thing is, nobody would really pay attention to such a mass of vendors, because people would think "Well, I use Microsoft", which is exactly the point of levelling the playing field. The "this is/isn't about Microsoft" talk is pretty much redundant. This is not targetting Microsoft, it is targetting those firms which essentially hold data to perpetual ransom even after being payed again and again. Microsoft, in it's protestations, has essentially admitted that its business relies on such extortion.

Re:Microsoft whining in the press (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650595)

I especially liked this quote of Microsoft spokesman Rinsema, from Webwereld [webwereld.nl] (in dutch):

'Je kunt open source zonder open standaarden hebben. Het lijkt dat ze onlosmakelijk met elkaar verbonden zijn, maar dat is niet zo.'

You can have 'open source' without 'open standards'. It may seem like they are inextricably linked, but that is not the case.
If I only had a Microsoft memo on what "open standards" means, I could understand this statement.

More detail posted earlier; pending... (1)

mwillems (266506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650569)

Mmm. I posted this story as well, hours ago - but I also posted links and the Microsoft Netherlands reaction. Not sure I want to repeat all that, so I hope someone approves the post.

if not, I shall see if I can re-write it.

Yeah Right (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21650847)

Although approval of OpenXML as an open standard is pending, Rinsema argued that the format should be treated as an equal alternative to ODF.


You know how I know there isn't a God? Because this Rinsema fellow isn't a blackened and charred remnant of a human, struck down for blatant lying.

OOXML looks less likely than ever to become a standard, particularly after the embarassments over Microsoft's mutilation of an international standards body. And even if it were on track, why should it be treated as an open standard when it isn't.

But (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21651043)

"This plan is not about Microsoft, it's about ensuring the perpetual availability of data without any obstacles."

But Microsoft is against perpetual availability of data without any obstacles. That's the issue. So what can you do? DO NOT USE Microsoft Windows as a protest. Switch to Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Sun OpenSolaris, etc. You have a choice. Don't support evil deeds.

'e4?! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21651499)

that the project paranoid conspiracy too, can be a future at all AS THE 2PREMIERE *BSD is dy1ng It is [tuxedo.org],

MS wants "open standards in general" (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#21652097)

Sounds almost as if MS was certain that Optionally-Open XML will be approved as open standard by the ISO. Which is ridiculous at the very least, let ISO drop all their reputation and approve an standard for something there already is an standard for! I guess next we'll see other industry's leaders doing the same to have fair standard competition and use ECMA and lobbying to push their own standards to replace other established standards in the name of freedom of choice...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?