Free/Libre and Open Standards

It is said that vendor-defendant file and communications formats are the "second hand smoke" issue of the Internet. Before consumers/citizens can be said to have choice on ICT there must be a strong government support for free/libre and vendor neutral standards.

IBM adds heft to OpenOffice open-source project

A CNet article by Martin LaMonica discusses increased support from IBM for as one method to promote tools which use the open standard OpenDocument format. For IBM the document standard will be the motivation, not the office suite given they have their own competing Lotus Smartsuite (latest release supports OpenDocument format).

IBM doesn't intend thus far to offer customer support for, but there are companies like Sun, Novell and others which offer full support.

Microsoft's Office Open XML and the ISO "standardization" process.

People who frequent sites such as Groklaw and other technology law or technology related sites may have seen the ongoing discussions about Microsoft's Office Open XML and the current ISO "standardization" process. While there are sites like NoOOXML which detail many of the technical and legal problems with this file format specification, I wanted to offer my thoughts of the overall politics of surrounding this proposal.

Google Pack Adds StarOffice

A Google System BLOG article documents that Google Pack, the collection of applications recommended by Google, includes StarOffice, an office suite developed by Sun. In 2000 Sun released StarOffice's source code, which became the foundation of, an open source project sponsored by Sun (and now heavily contributed to by Novell and others).

Open XML Suffers a Setback on the Road to ISO Ratification

An eWeek article by Peter Galli talks about how Microsoft's XML based configuration language for Microsoft Office (Office Open XML) suffered a setback in the process used by the US to decide whether to support the format with ISO. I have heard that the Canadian process has lead to a non-recommendation.

Japan Embraces Open Software Standards

The ODF Alliance recently announced that Japan has joined Norway to be the latest country to have government mandates recommending the use of open document standards, something many consider to be a prerequisite before serious acceptance of open source software in government can ever be a possibility. How far behind is Canada in this regard?

Standards Council of Canada to consider Office Open XML

A press release announces the consultation. Comments are due by 5th July.

This is, of course, Microsoft's "open standard" that is allegedly designed to devalue the OpenDocument format.

The Wikipedia article on OOXML has links to lots of related documents.

Open Standards: And California Makes Four

California now joins Massachusetts, Texas, and Minnesota in the league of US states that have moved towards adopting laws mandating use of open stadards in government agencies.

Perspective: Why the tech industry still can't get its way

A CNet article by Charles Cooper discusses how the technology industry is doing when it relates to the intersection of politics and technology.

Each week, it seems, brings fresh evidence of the increasing intersection between the worlds of high technology and politics. Yet it's also clear that the tech business sector commands less influence with our political class than its size might suggest.

South African government to switch to open source

A Tectonic article includes:

South Africa joins governments in other emerging markets like Brazil, China, Spain, India and Malaysia in adopting open source software, with proponents of Linux arguing that the free software could help slash the cost of getting computers into schools, homes and community centres.

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