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.

Writely warms to OpenDocument

An article by Martin LaMonica, Staff Writer, CNET News.com includes:

The company behind Web-based word processor Writely announced on Monday that it will handle documents saved in the OpenDocument format.

GOSLING Quarterly Keynote Discussion Series: Friday 18 November, 2005

Quarterly Keynote Discussion Series: Dealing with Spreadsheet Addiction

Guest Speaker: J. C. Nash, Professor, School of Management, University of Ottawa

No fee for admission.
3:00-4:00 p.m. Friday 18 November, 2005
Budge Crawley Theatre, Constitution Square Building, Main Floor
350 Albert Street, Ottawa

Many organizations and managers suffer a quiet addiction to spreadsheets. First turned on through easy availability, they typically get drawn into overuse through the attraction of cells that can be whatever they want them to be, designer macros, and charts in psychedelic colours. Yet all of these attractions hide the power of these uncontrolled programming environments to accidentally lose VERY large amounts of money, and to make it difficult or impossible to detect misreporting. Empirical studies demonstrate that the proportion of spreadsheets without serious errors is 0% (Yes ZERO %).

Microsoft Is Leaking Internal Documents to Make Us Think They Have a Plan

This week's i,cringley article by Robert X. Cringely includes:

Microsoft's core businesses are slowing down. Google could become a major threat to Microsoft. What harm could Google cause Microsoft? Microsoft's greatest business vulnerability is Office. If a competitive product (or service) hit the market it could further dilute Microsoft's earnings since they'd have to lower Office prices to compete. Another great threat is Google could become an organizing influence in the Open Source world. They could guide the Open Source community and it could become a greater threat to Microsoft.

See also: Gates memo warning of 'disruptive' changes does not demonstrate full understanding of change.

Gates memo warning of 'disruptive' changes does not demonstrate full understanding of change

Various mediasources are reporting on Microsoft internal memos that discuss a disruptive change to their business, one from Microsoft chairman Bill Gates on October 30, and an earlier one from Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie on October 28.

For his part, Gates recognizes that the software marketplace is slowly moving from products to services, but does not seem to acknowledge just how much disruption to their current business this will represent.

OpenDocument format gathers steam

A CNET News.com article by Martin LaMonica includes:

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.

See also: French taxman opts for OpenOffice

ISO Makes Linux Standards Base a Standard

An eWeek article by Peter Galli documents the fact that the Linux Standards Base (LSB) from the Free Standards Group (FSG) has been adopted as an ISO standard.

While the Free Software community continues to create vendor-neutral standards adopted by international standards body, the legacy "software manufacturing" vendors like Microsoft and Apple continue to create non-standard software, file and communications formats. To promote innovation and competition in the high-tech sector we must move to vendor-neutral standards.

Corel and Novell promote OASIS OpenDocument format

This eWeek article by Elizabeth Millard includes:

Corel has reaffirmed its commitment to the OpenDocument Format, and called for its adoption.

In an interview published on BetaNews last week, Corel Corp.'s Richard Carriere noted that Corel is a founding member of OASIS, the consortium responsible for the OpenDocument standard.
...
Novell Inc. has also given more prominence to its role in the ODF movement . Although the company has been active in promoting the format in the past, this is the first day that Novell has been officially listed on the membership roster of the technical committee at OASIS.

OpenOffice.org 2.0 Is Here

This release of OpenOffice.org is particularly important as it fully supports the OASIS OpenDocument file format. While approved by OASIS, this standard for office productivity is on its way to ISO standardization. Other office suite vendors such as KDE, GNOME, Corel and IBM have indicated that they will soon release versions of their product that are compatable with this standard.

DVD Jon Lands Dream Job Stateside

This Wired story by Annalee Newitz includes

Jon Lech Johansen, the 21-year-old Norwegian media hacker nicknamed DVD Jon, is moving to San Diego to work for maverick tech entrepreneur Michael Robertson
...
"Once again, this is a scheme that won't stop piracy, but it will stop open-source players," he said. "Pirates will steal one key, and not tell anyone about it. Then they'll decrypt HD-DVDs and put them on the net. But if you want an open-source player, you'll have to show your key, so (companies) will be able to find you and stop you."

See also: Michael Robertson's BLOG.

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