“The OpenDocument format (ODF, ISO/IEC 26300, full name: OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications) is a file format for electronic office documents, such as spreadsheets, charts, presentations, databases and word processing documents (e.g.: memos, reports, letters).
The standard was developed by a technical committee of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) consortium and based upon the XML format originally created and implemented by the OpenOffice.org office suite. As well as an OASIS Standard, it is a published ISO and IEC International Standard, ISO/IEC 26300:2006“
There is even an ODF plugin for Microsoft Office.
In a perfect world, everyone would have been delighted to have a common file format for office applications. No more compatibility problems. No more portability problems. And no more single vendor lock-in.
Except Microsoft (of course).
Bill and friends submitted their own file format (devilishly called Office Open XML (OOXML) to confuse the layman) to ISO and, on the 4th of September 2007, OOXML was rejected by the ISO members:
“A ballot on whether to publish the draft standard ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Office Open XML file formats, as an International Standard by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) has not achieved the required number of votes for approval.”
Here are the detailed results per country. Note that 2/3 of votes are required for something to become an ISO standard and OOXML had substantially less.
Here are the countries which voted against Microsoft’s proposal:
Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, France, India, Iran, Ireland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
Beautiful! I guess Microsoft lobbied a lot but representatives of those countries rightly felt that they couldn’t tie themselves to one commercial company for ever. And if you look closely, you’ll see that we are talking about major major countries here.
These countries abstained i.e. they neither voted against nor voted for (Abstentions are counted as negative votes because the way the ballot is organized):
Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, Finland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Slovenia, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe.
Notice Mauritius??? I am so proud that the intense lobbying didn’t work on us!
I believe a team of CS and IT guys and girls should start working on advocating ODF in Mauritius and about the best way to deploy the required software infrastructure so that the documents we all create (i.e. the wealth we generate day-in day-out) does not become unreadable in 10 years.
Let’s start changing our world for the better :-)
I migrated to Open-Office the day I installed Office2k7 on my workplace’s PC and I found the new $h!t they lay! Man,how can lamda users migrate from a standard version of Office 9x-2003 and come with such drastical shortcut icons and menus.I save my docs in odt format on OO.The drawback is when you’re bound to administrative restrictions upon installation on workstations and to work only on m.office platform,there’s no possibility of compatibility format;i mean you can’t decode *.odt files with M.Office.
Ashesh R says
“OpenDocument benefits from separation of concerns by separating the content, styles, metadata and application settings into four separate XML files.”
It sounds nearly same for web standards: separating content from style (css).
“The OpenDocument standard meets the common definitions of an open standard, meaning the specification is freely available and implementable.”
How is it implementable?
It is implementable on any platform as it has been described using the Relax NG schema language for XML.
LOL – Though there’s a plugin for ODF to be used in Ms. Office, and of course, there’s the free Ms. Office, you can’t expect Mauritius to switch to ODF.
Most users use pirated Ms. Office and if you ask a novice in what format he/she will save a text document, the latter will reply “doc!”
And as soon as major mass sales companies (Cash and Carry for e.g) will start sticking stickers of Ms. Office 2K7 and Vista SP1 (users currently have a choice – XP + Office 2K3), everywhere, new users incl. students in secondary schools (IC3 programme la marrri bon dire toi!) will save in OOXML – docx for text documents.
Maurice sa! pas lot pays! ici ena sinathambou man! Li p amene IC3 avec so promotion microsoft! ici broadband starts @ 128 KBps LOL.
OOXML and MS for Mauritius – that’s all you’ll get! It’s a dark future but what can you do? Mauriciens couyons mem zote!
But it’s good to have faith. Sorry, for the dark picture – had to bring you back to reality. BTW, Ms. Office 2K3 serves the needs of many. I have to run Visio and Project via Wine – can’t live without those.
btw, Mauritius ABSTAINED!!! Nobody gives a shit! The mas uses pirated ms office anyway! Viva the IC3 programme!
Of course, most will still save in .DOC or in OOXML format (as they basically don’t care). Those caring about what they write (and, here, I am thinking about those who do original research work) should really think of using an open document format whether it’s ODF or Latex or plain text.
As for “Mauriciens couyons mem zote!”, I am not too sure about that generalization. Granted, most Mauritians are dumb (as are most Americans or most Indians for that matter) but you still have very creative and intelligent people here :-)
In a way, it’s the same thing for Linux. I won’t ever try to make everyone adopt Linux. It’s futile. It’s better to try to convince the creative or intelligent people. It’s bound to be easier as they are generally more open to change…
hi avinash i need to talk to you what’s your email btw?
yeah open source documents will surely overule microsoft one day
You’ll find my email here…
BTW, I am not talking about open source documents but, rather, documents saved using an open document format. It’s not the same thing :-)
I’ve a question – What if we all use basic XHTML? Oh fsck! I just realised that the W3C compliancy from browsers sucks!
bez sa! comment dire mo bizin server RTF for quite some time.
Does this motto exist?
“Changing the world, one document at a time” or
“Changing mauritius, one document at a time” :-)
I wish I could see less of MS Word and MS Excel files cluttering the http://www.gov.mu site …