October 2007 news items

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30 Oct 2007
German Foreign Office comes out in favor of Open Document Format, Heise Online
"At the first international workshop of users of the Open Document Format (ODF) in Berlin to which the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic had invited about 150 users and political observers, Brazil and India, in addition to German cities such as Munich, emerged as leading proponents of open standards in the office area."

ODF backer abandons file format in favor of W3C alternative, Elizabeth Montalbano, Computerworld
"OpenDocument Foundation claims that its namesake format isn't so open after all. A group that was set up to promote the Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF) is abandoning its support of that file format in favor of a set of specifications developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)... Because of its decision to start backing CDF instead of ODF, the OpenDocument Foundation will change its name and most likely transform itself into another company or organization, Hiser said."

26 Oct 2007
Citizens win with interop standard, ITWeb
The publication of the Minimum Interoperability Standard (MIOS) for Information Systems in Government, and in particular the government's recent adoption of OpenDocument, shows that the South African government is serious about e-government, and serious about interoperability. In a knowledge society, open standards are essential to effective democracy.

ODF Alliance hails record growth in application support for ODF, Jack Loftus, Enterprise Linux Log
"During September and October, there were more than a dozen announcements of new or improved application support for ODF," said Marino Marcich, managing director of the ODF Alliance. "These recent announcements are a clear reflection of the strong and growing demand for ODF in the marketplace." In total, ... more than two dozen ODF-supporting text, spreadsheet, and presentation applications [were] announced in the past three months.

Centre mulls switch to Open Standard, Bibhu Ranjan Mishra & Leslie D`Monte, Business Standard (India)
"The Centre is in the final stages of adopting a national policy that will help government departments throughout the country exchange information seamlessly, use royalty-free software and adopt technologies and solutions that are inter-operatable or work with multiple vendors. India has already made a lot of progress with regard to 'open standard'. There are about 10 states which are fairly pro-active and have made significant progress in implementing e-governance projects. For instance, the Department of IT, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, adopted the open document format (ODF) standard... The high court of Allahabad ... moved all its electronic documents to ODF ... So is the case with the West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments. Even the Election Commission decided to migrate to OpenOffice.org after the elections of May-June 2006."

24 Oct 2007
South Africa adopts ODF as government standard, Alastair Otter and James Archibald, Tectonic
"Open Document format (ODF) yesterday became an official standard for South African government communications. The ODF standard is included in the government's Mininimum Interoperability Standards for Information Systems in government (MIOS)... In the foreword to the document, department of public service and administration minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, says that 'this updated version of MIOS contains an explicit definition of open standards as well as the inclusion of the ISO Open Document Format'."

17 Oct 2007
Apple's Leopard to support Open Document Format, CNet.
Support for the OpenDocument Format (ODF) is built into OS X Leopard, Apple's new operating system. So TextEdit will now support OpenDocument.

15 Oct 2007
Open Document Format v1.1 Accessibility Guidelines Version 1.0 Committee Draft, OASIS
"These guidelines apply to the OASIS OpenDocument v1.1 specification... This document describes the things that an ODF 1.1 implementation must do in order to gain, persist, and present all of the information that ODF 1.1 is capable of persisting, so that users with disabilities are equally able to read, create, and edit documents – with full access to all of the meaning and intent – as their mainstream colleagues."

GOSCON 07: An Open Balance Linux Today
Proper open technology deployment is also about using open standards, not only open source. Open source is a method of software development, not business strategy, not an interoperability requirement, whereas with open standards, interoperability is enabled.

13 Oct 2007
OpenDocument’s New Metadata System, Bruce D'Arcus
"The enhanced metadata framework in ODF... should provide the technical basis for developers to ... provide real benefit to their users." Gives some practical examples.

12 Oct 2007
ODF enters the Semantic Web, Rob Weir
"Metadata is 'data about data'... OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 will be taking a step into the world of structured metadata with an RDF/XML metadata framework." Includes links to more information and an interview with Patrick Durusau, Chair of the ODF Metadata Subcommittee.

New Extensible Metadata Support With ODF 1.2, Svante Schubert, GullFOSS
"Leveraging existing metadata standards – such as the Resource Description Framework (RDF) – it will be possible to describe the content or characteristics of a file by attaching arbitrary metadata to the document." Includes links to the specification and a presentation on the subject.

10 Oct 2007
Converting text files into ODF with odtwriter, Dmitri Popov, Linux.com.
While you can create and save documents using OpenOffice.org, KWord, or AbiWord, odtwriter can help you quickly convert plain text files formatted using reStructured Text markup into OpenDocument.

Meanwhile, Back in Minnesota: Your Chance to Help, Consortium Standards Blog
"... the Minnesota IT department is indeed studying the issue [of open formats], and will be reporting back its conclusions to the state legislature by January 15 of next year. As part of that process, the public (that means you) has been invited to submit comments on line."

07 Oct 2007
Cracks in the Foundation, Rob Weir
"...in recent months the OpenDocument Foundation has found itself more and more isolated...former members have disassociated themselves from the Foundation as it turned increasingly to strident rhetoric." Rob responds to Gary Edward's take on OOXML and ODF reprinted in an article in Linux Today, 04 October.

03 Oct 2007
Corel Provides Support For ODF and OOXML in New Beta of WordPerfect® Office, Corel Corporation
"Free Beta Allows Customers to Open, View and Edit Open Document Format, Microsoft Office 2007 Files." More information.

Government Open Source Conference to Feature Open Document Debate, Government Technology
"This year's Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) to be held Oct. 15-16 in Portland, Ore., will close with panelists from Microsoft, Sun, IBM and the OpenDocument Foundation weighing in on Open Document Formats... 'Open Standards and Interoperability' is the theme for this year's GOSCON event."

02 Oct 2007
Cheap software is often good, News Observer
Symphony uses the OpenDocument Format, which is designed to allow documents to be read by many software programs rather than being tied to a single vendor's product.

Sun ODF Plugin 1.1 for Microsoft Office, Sun Microsystems
"The Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office allows users of Microsoft Office to read, edit and save to the Open Document Format (ODF). The new version (1.1) adds more languages and improves the import and export of ODF files into Microsoft Office, increasing the interoperability of the Plugin."

01 Oct 2007
Adobe to Acquire Virtual Ubiquity, Adobe
"Collaborative Online Word Processor, Buzzword, builds on Adobe AIR Momentum. Adobe ... today announced that it [will] acquire Virtual Ubiquity and its ground-breaking online word processor, Buzzword." Although the press release doesn't mention ODT, the Buzzword FAQ says "Buzzword currently imports and exports Rich Text Format (RTF) files, Microsoft Word DOC files, and Word 2003 XML files. Adobe plans to add support for standard open file formats such as PDF, Open Document Format (ODF), and others over time."