December 2006 News Items

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18 Dec 2006
Converter Enables Conversion Between ODF & Chinese Document Format (UOF), D.C. Parris. LXer
"Peking University recently released a program to convert office documents between OpenDocument Format and the Specification for the Chinese office file format based on XML (UOF for short)"

Betwixt and between ODF, OO-XML, and Google, Corel discusses Wordperfect roadmap, David Berlind, ZDNet
"Recently, Corel announced it would support both [ODF and OOXML] in its Wordperfect Office suite, but a lot of questions remained." Commentary plus excerpts from a podcast interview with Corel's general manager for Office Productivity Richard Carriere.

'Technology neutrality' and what it means to us Malaysians , New Straits Times.
"Open standards have now matured to cater for all aspects of technology which guarantees pure competition, interoperability and far more efficient use of Malaysia's money."

16 Dec 2006
ODF Viewer Beta 1 released
"The long-awaited update to the Fellowship's OpenDocument viewer is now ready for downloading. A quick summary:..."

14 Dec 2006
IBM Helps Disabled Users Get More From Assistive Technology, on More Computer Platforms, Market Wire
"IBM today announced that it has developed software interfaces that will make it easier for assistive technologies to provide those with disabilities access to advanced features in software programs -- such as ... desktop applications based on the OpenDocument Format."

The Free Standards Group to Standardize New Accessibility Interfaces, FSG
"The Free Standards Group (FSG), the standardization and certification authority for Linux, today announced that it will be developing and maintaining software interfaces donated by IBM as an open standard, available for all to use. The standardized interfaces, IAccessible2..."

Showing the Accessibility Way: IBM Contributes Project Missouri to the Free Standards Group, Consortium Standards Blog
Commentary and discussion.

iAccessible2 and the importance of cross platform standards, Ian Murdock

ODF Apps to Work for the Blind, Sam Hiser

13 Dec 2006
Do we need two ISO standards for document format? - Part 2, Open Malaysia.
ISO should just stick to one document format standard, OpenDocument: ISO/IEC 26300:2006

IBM project aims to help blind use ODF applications, Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service
"When Massachusetts' government decided to use Open Document Format (ODF) as the default document file format throughout its agencies, a key concern was that ODF would not allow the visually impaired to use assistive computer technologies. On Wednesday, IBM said it has helped solve that problem by developing technology that will allow applications based on ODF to better communicate with products used by the blind to access visual information on computer screens."

08 Dec 2006
ODF and the benefits of going open source, Dave Gynn, Mass High Tech
In January, the commonwealth of Massachusetts will begin to convert to using the OpenDocument format (ODF)... The primary driver behind the decision ... was a desire to address the system interoperability issue that plagues most IT departments..."

07 Dec 2006
Ecma approves Microsoft's Office Open XML as a standard, Peter Sayer, Computerworld
"IBM is sole vote against approval; format next goes to the ISO. Ecma's General Assembly voted 20-1 in favor of the standard at a meeting in Zurich today."

IBM votes NO on Open XML in ECMA, Bob Sutor
"ODF is about the future, Open XML is about the past. We voted for the future."

Ecma Approves OOXML - What Does it All Mean?, Consortium Standards Blog
"As expected, Ecma, the European-based standards body chosen by Microsoft to fast-track its Office Open XML standard to ISO, voted to adopt OOXML. The vote was 20 to 1, with IBM casting the only negative vote. What exactly does the favorable vote mean?"

Is Office Open XML A One-Way Standard? Ask Microsoft, Andrew Shebanow
Some very interesting calculations about the time needed for developing converters.

Nu er ODF formelt en ISO-standard (Danish) Nicolai Devantier. Computer World Denmark.
Though approved back in May, OpenDocument has been formally published under the name ISO/IEC 26300:2006.

06 Dec 2006
EU Body Issues Recommendations On Open Document Formats
At its meeting on 6 December 2006, the IDABC's Pan-European eGovernment Services Committee (PEGSCO) endorsed a number of recommendations directed both to public administrations in Europe and to industry, including a call "to work together towards one international open document standard, acceptable to all."

More on Novell and ODF, Consortium Standards Blog

Interoperability vs. intraoperability: your open choice, Bob Sutor
"In 2005 ... it no longer became appropriate for a single vendor to declare something open because 1) they created it, and 2) they’re going to call it anything they want... I think the word 'interoperability' is being similarly abused. When a single vendor or software provider makes it easier to connect primarily to his or her software, this is more properly called intraoperability... with real interoperability... we use truly open standards that do not favor any one software provider."

05 Dec 2006
Novell: We’ll help Microsoft develop ODF compatibility in Office, if they ask, David Berlind, ZDNet
"Would the same functionality found in Novell's distribution of be available with no strings attached to the larger open source project? To get that and other questions answered, I checked in with Novell's director of marketing Justin Steinman."

04 Dec 2006
Novell Boosts and Microsoft Office Interoperability, Novell
"...the Novell® edition of the office productivity suite will now support the Office Open XML format, increasing interoperability between and the next generation of Microsoft Office. Novell is cooperating with Microsoft and others on a project to create bi-directional open source translators for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations between and Microsoft Office..."

Novell: We’re adding Microsoft OpenXML support to, David Berlind, ZDNet

Open Document Format published as ISO standard. Jacqui Cheng. Ars Technica.
"The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) finally published the Open Document Format (ODF) as an official standard last week after approving it as an international standard last May."

Massachusetts accepts ODF, rejects MOOX. Carol Sliwa. Computerworld.
The state’s "need to ensure that documents remain readable over the long term as the technology evolves, independent of specific vendors" and lack of clear commitment regarding patent claims moved the state to accept ODF and reject MOOX. This article links to a series of articles about the history of events in Massachusetts.