Archive for the ‘ODF’ tag
It has been announced by the Danish government, that the Danish state administrative body will adopt the open format ODF as its sole document standard from April next year. This means that the Danish state will now ditch Microsoft’s proprietary document formats.
DENMARK DITCHES MICROSOFT
The science minister is happy, that the state turns its back on Microsoft.
“Hello, open free standards – and goodbye Microsoft monopoly.”
This is one way to describe the breaking news of the state administration’s use of the so-called open standards, which the Danish parliament has just agreed upon.
After four years of work the political parties have agreed that the state administration body from April next year will convert into using the open format ODF, when the state exchanges documents such as text files and spreadsheets.
This means, that the state to begin with chooses not to work with IT-behemoth Microsoft.
And that is something that science minister Helge Sander [of moderate right wing party Venstre] is proud of.
Enhedslisten [outer left wing party] agrees with the government parties
“My ambition is that we in the future will communicate solely via open standards,” said Helge Sander when addressing the parliament in a speech, according to IT-web magazine version2.dk.
For once the Enhedslisten-party agrees with the party in office. Per Clausen from Enhedslisten expresses get satisfaction over the decision that open standards have been chosen.
“It is our impression that the way forward is through open source, which should replace the patent mind-set that is dominant today,” said Clausen.
ODF is an abbreviation for Open Document Format, which is an ISO-standard for office documents (textfiles, spreadsheets, presentations). ODF was originally developed as document format for the open source-software suite OpenOffice.org, and is still to this day it’s standard format.
Documents saved in ODF can for instance be opened using the OpenOffice suite, which can be downloaded for free on the Internet, and also in Microsoft Word 2007.
The decision will initially apply for state administration body only. Municipalities and country region administrations will join later.
Danish state administrations to use ODF
The Danish parliament and the Danish minister for Science this morning agreed that the Danish state administrations should use open standards, including the Open Document Format (ODF), starting on 1 April 2011. A formal vote on the agreement is planned for next Tuesday.
Talking to the Danish parliament this morning, Science minister Helge Sander said he was proud that many countries are anxious to see how Denmark will use open standards, reports the Danish IT news site Version2.
Sander said: “My ambition is that we now only communicate using open standards. We must not make this decision on purely symbolic arguments and principles. It must be a practical decision.”
Just minutes prior to the debate in the Danish parliament, the ministry and the parliament agreed on a definition of open standards and drafted an initial list of open standards that are to be used by the Danish state’s administrative organisations.
Their decision does not include regional and municipal public administrations. However, according to an article published by Business DK, the business section of the Berlingske Tidene newspaper, these public administrations will follow later.
Reporting on the discussions taking place this morning at the Danish Parliament, Version2 quotes Per Clausen, parliament member for the Enhedslisten (Unity List): “Our view is that we should choose a single standard. We could leave that decision to the market, but our textbooks also say that the state should intervene when that market develops in the direction of monopoly.”
Business DK quotes MP Yildiz Akdogan, representing one of the major parties, the Social Democrats: “I am pleased that it did not become a religious debate. And I am glad that we agree on the requirements, so that nobody can accuse us of excluding anyone, yet that we ensure transparency and offer better services to the public.”
Last week, Danish People’s Party MP Morten Messerschmidt had hosted a hearing in the Danish parliament, including representatives from the Belgian and Dutch government. Following this hearing, members of parliament and the minister have been negotiating on the definition and the initial list of open standards. Without an agreement, the parliament could have forced a decision in the debate that was planned to take place this morning.
The open standard ODF is recognised by many European member states. Next to Denmark it is also a national standard for public administrations in Belgium, Germany, France, Lithuania, Sweden and the Netherlands. ODF is recommended by Norway and it is one of the document standards at NATO.
ODF is a document standard supported by many office applications, including most open source office software packages. The list of software companies supporting ODF include Sun Microsystems with its StarOffice, Google with Google Docs, IBM with Lotus Domino and Workplace. Microsoft supports ODF in the second edition of its 2007 version of its Office suite. Earlier versions require a plugin made by Sun Microsystems. ODF support is also included in the office suite Hangul, used by many of Korea’s public administrations and the office suite Itchitaro, which is popular in Japan. Open source applications that can handle ODF include OpenOffice, K-Office, Abiword, Gnumeric, Scribus and TextEdit.
The government’s policy on IT standards is in effect since April this year. However, the regulation has now also been approved by the European Commission, the ministry of Economic Affairs writes in a statement and was published on 21 November in the Staatscourant, a daily publication in which the government announces its laws and regulations.
When purchasing IT worth 50,000 euro or more, public administrations should as a matter of principle select IT solutions based on open standards.
The list of open IT standards to be used will be updated twice per year. The list currently mentions the Open Document Format (ODF) and Portable Document Format (PDF) to be used for electronic documents. The list also mentions standards for storing graphical information, using either the PNG or JPG graphical formats. Other standards include those for web sites and for exchanging certain types of administrative records.
The instruction is meant for all national governmental organisations but is also meant as an example for all other public administrations and semi-government institutions, the ministry of Economics Affairs writes in a statement published Monday.
Using open standards is now mandatory, the ministry explains, and exceptions are only allowed when this means the IT solutions is not available or is unsafe. The ministry: “If a government institution decides not to use an open standard, it must argue why not.”
“Open IT standards should increase interoperability and decrease the government’s depending on certain software suppliers”, the ministry adds. “In time, this will improve the quality of governmental IT services, simplify the exchange of data between governments, citizens and companies, lead to digital sustainability and make IT systems more efficient.”
Press release ministry of Economic Affairs (in Dutch)
Instructions (PDF, in Dutch)
List of open standards (in Dutch)
NOIV statement (in Dutch)
26. Nov. 2009.
Representatives from three European member states, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, took part in the second Open Document Format (ODF) interoperability workshop held in the Italian town of Orvieto at the beginning of this month.
Fabio Pistella, president of Italy’s Center for ICT in Public Administrations (CNIPA), in his opening address told the attendees of the workshop that Italy is about to start a three-year promotion campaign on open source software, writes Roberto Gallopini, one of the organisers of the ODF workshop on his web blog.
The ODF plugfest in Orvieto brought together about thirty ODF developers and government representatives. It was the second such meeting, the first of which took place in the Netherlands in June.
Bart Hanssens, interoperability expert at Fedict, the Belgian Federal ICT advisory body, showed attendees how to sign ODF documents using the country’s electronic identity card. He explained that Fedict wants users to be able to sign sourcedocuments, not only PDF.
The application, written in Java and at the moment only fit to be used in combination with OpenOffic, is in beta, Hanssens said. “But it is already very stable.”
NOiV, the Dutch resource centre on open source and open standards, on 3 November announced its Officeshots web service, that allows users to compare the output of their ODF documents in several competing office applications. The service is available in a number of languages, including English, French, German, Chinese and Dutch.
Next to representatives and developers from large IT firms such as Google, IBM, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, the plugfest also attracts a number of other IT companies. Jakub Ondrušek, a developer at Comsultia, a Slovakian IT company, for instance discussed his work on converting DocBook and ODF documents. The Hungarian IT company Multiráció and the University of Szeged presented their joint research and development work on EuroOffice, an version of OpenOffice extended with tools such as translation services and ways to display geographic data. Dirk Vollmar, from the German IT company Dialogika updated the attendees on the company’s work to convert OOXML and ODF.
“This is a unique workshop where commercial vendors, governments and open source developers discuss updates to their implementations of ODF. For example, we showed Microsoft that it could improve how it stores illustrations and graphics in ODF”, commented Michiel Leenaars, director of the Dutch Internet Society and one of the organisers of the plugfest.
Galoppini, institutional relationship manager of the Italian OpenOffice association: “These workshops are useful to educate governments about the fact that open standards are first and foremost about participation. True interoperability demands implementers’ good-will, but also more participated open standards processes and practises.”
Nov. 17. 2009.
In a blow to Microsoft, Belgium’s government departments will be instructed to use an open file format for internal communications.
The OpenDocument Format (ODF) is to be the standard format for exchanging documents within the government, according to a proposal that is expected to be approved by Belgium’s Council of Ministers on Friday. The plan increases the pressure from governments worldwide on Microsoft to embrace open standards.
From September 2008 on, all document exchanges within the services of the Belgian government will have to be in an open, standard format, according to the proposal. ODF is the only accepted standard in the proposal. Earlier drafts of the Belgian proposal had put ODF and Microsoft’s own Open XML format (which is to be included in Office 2007) on equal footing.
Peter Strickx, general manager for architecture and standards of Fedict, the organization that coordinates the ICT policy of the Belgian federal government, commented on the proposal in an interview with ZDNet Belgium.
“Increasingly, we are seeing e-mail and electronic documents being used in communication between citizens and the government and between companies and the government,” Strickx said. “To avoid becoming dependent on any particular supplier, we are moving towards open standards.” A draft of ODF was accepted by the International Standards Organization (ISO) in May.
From September 2008 onwards, Belgium’s federal services must use ODF when exchanging documents, though other formats will still be allowed for internal use, Strickx confirmed. However, Belgium is leaving the door open for Open XML.
“Open XML today does not exist, as there is no product on the market that supports it. Once it is available as a product and proposed to the ISO, it is possible that the format will also be accepted,” Strickx said. However, there will be an additional hurdle: Open XML must also be proven to be easily convertible to and from ODF.
This would appear to leave Microsoft with a simple choice: Convince the Belgian government that Open XML is an open standard well on the way to ISO-approval, or support ODF. The latter may be the simpler task, as the OpenDocument Foundation is already working on a plug-in for Microsoft Office that would add ODF support.
However, Strickx would not confirm that the Belgian government is envisaging a migration away from Microsoft Office and toward software that supports ODF, such as Open Office. “We are analyzing the impact” of the move to an open format for document exchange on the internal software usage, Strickx said.
Belgium would be the first country to opt for open document standards in this way.
According to Strickx, the Belgian strategy is likely to gain a following. He claimed France and Denmark are considering similar moves.