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Author: charles (12:52 pm)
Dear and loyal readers,
you knew that my blog URL was: http://charles-blog.libervis.com .
This blogging platform has been changed although it is on the same site, because of several technical problems. Please change your links to:
My blog will still be available on that new blog. Just click on Old Blogs in the upper left part of the page.
Author: charles (10:54 am)
Following up the Microsoft announcement about their so-called new open file formats for office documents, I couldn't help but notice that Intel was part of the consortium backing the Microsoft initiative. Here's why it is suprizing at first glance: Intel was also part of the OpenDocument meeting in Armonk, New York, and it is also very close to contributing code to OpenOffice.org .
The rationale behind the decision of Intel to back Microsoft is clear if you consider that OpenOffice.org on both Windows and Linux does not account for more than 90% of machines running on Intel processors. At some point somebody at Microsoft may have called somebody else at Intel and asked who was their best buddy these days.
I hope though that the day we'll get to the point where OpenOffice.org on both Windows and Linux will reach 20% of the machines running on Intel processors, the CPU maker will consider a traditionnal and most welcome 20 - 80% approach with the FOSS community. This would mean that, just like the old marketing rule explains, 20% of your customers are more important to your business (for whatever reasons) than the 80% others.
So while I can forgive Intel's decision, I do not, of course, support it, and would like to know if they are still willing to support the OpenDocument Format.
Author: charles (11:57 am)
UPDATE: Here's the OpenOffice.org's official press release on the topic.
By announcing that its new format would be standardized, open, and XML based, Microsoft has also announced to the world that it had lost the initiative in the Office wars.
Microsoft latest move is the evidence that OpenOffice.org, and the OpenDocument Format are leading the way when it comes to innovation in the Office technology and the vendor-independant data formats. So thank you, Microsoft.
Thank you Microsoft? Actually, not that much. Whereas the validation of the MS Office next formats by the ECMA and the ISO remains to be seen, I'd like to point out that Microsoft did not choose the existing, state-of-the art open file format, OpenDocument. By choosing not to adopt OpenDocument and claiming for another standards, Microsoft has opened a WAR OF STANDARDS. A war of standards is exactly what Microsoft wants in order to stop, or try to stop the momentum behind OpenDocument.
Some may also object that these upcoming MS Office file formats are actually open. But it may not be the case if you consider these points:
-Microsoft truly opened its format, but did not open its former versions of the MS Office file formats.
-the openness of the file format has to be narrowed: open, according to Microsoft, is not open as in "open source" and the licensing scheme, IPR statements from Redmond are a progress but fall short of any comparison even with Sun's CDDL or BSD. Beside, Microsoft patented the XML technology used in its formats. What good is that?
-Microsoft, despite its claims, doesn't invite others and the community to work and decide collectively on the format specifications. Microsoft owns it anyway, and can change it overnight.
As for myself, I suggest that we keep pushing OpenDocument, no matter what Microsoft says and does. Let's keep an eye on Redmond, though. As time goes by, it may even release Windows under GPL...
Author: charles (10:03 am)
Today I would like to explain something that is important to understand: the difference between OpenOffice.org (OOo) and the OpenDocument Format (ODF).
OpenOffice.org is the name of the international free and open source office suite project that was started by Sun and that has now grown to the success we know.
The OpenDocument Format is a document format specification that is both open and standard, and that has been developed by many parties (including mainly Sun and the community) on the basis of the OpenOffice.org native file format by a Technical Committee of the OASIS Consortium.
OpenOffice.org in its 2.0 version uses the OpenDocument Format as its default, native format, but we are not the only office suite to implement it: StarOffice, KOffice, TextMaker, Corel WordPerfect, Abiword, do implement or plan to implement the format in a near future and have even participated in the ODF development for some.
In this regard, it is now easy to understand that the OpenOffice.org project has a different focus and even a different population than the OpenDocument Format TC (Technical Committee) of the OASIS consortium, or for that matter, the OpenDocument Fellowship, a private, independent group portraying itself as "the OpenDocument community" but who is not endorsed neither by the OASIS Consortium, neither by the OpenOffice.org project itself (although they act as if they were) and who does not participate in the OpenDocument Format developement.
In this regard, it is also easy to understand that the OpenOffice.org project has almost nothing to gain from a potential OpenDocument Format alliance or foundation. The OpenOffice.org project is at best a leading force behind ODF, and we do fundamentally support this format, but we are not the "OpenDocument folks". After all, if Corel, KOffice or TextMaker implement the ODF by default, we are not the same software (some are and will remain proprietary) and we're essentially competitors on the same market.
All in all, the OpenDocument Format induces a technological revolution that I will attempt to write about in the near future, but it also does create the necessary conditions for a truly free market environment. In this free market, OpenOffice.org is for the moment the leader, and is actively competing against the others.
Signing the petition of the OpenDocument Fellowship asking Microsoft to implement the ODF is hence not a move that the OpenOffice.org project can endorse: we don't want a new competitor (or more exactly, we don't want a competitor gaining the same technology that differentiates us) and do not want to bring in Microsoft for a very simple reason: OpenOffice.org is not a pressure group designed to make MSOffice open source. And the OpenDocument Format won't make MSOffice any less close than it is now, for you can use ODF as an open standard in a proprietary software.
I hope to have clear up some misunderstandings.
Author: charles (11:32 am)
Author: charles (7:28 am)
OpenOffice.org 2.0 is here!
I'd like tot thank all the contributors, developpers, localizers, marketers, well, everybody who made this possible.
The complete press release and details are available here:
To this day, the french builds are not available yet (but will be around the 24th of this month), and croatian ones for Windows and Linux should be ready at the end of october.
Author: charles (12:18 pm)
Spotted on the OpenOffice.org News Channel (let's call it this way from now on) and here , the extraordinaire and magical interview from two managers of.... COREL ! (Yes! there are even two managers working at the same time at Corel on WordPerfect!)
Okay, let's close the fun time and move on. I read their interview and turned hilarious but also sad at Corel's comment.
According to them, OpenOffice.org is not serious a competitor because it lacks professional support (ever heard of local IT services companies providing support on OpenOffice.org? Of Sun? Of StarOffice?) and that it's open source, so, no, it's really not serious. Besides, I learned with a rather self-contained amount of amazement that Corel's office suite called WordPerfect has the second largest market share after Microsoft Office.
To be honest, I don't think we're talking about the same market, or maybe even the same world. These last years Corel managed to maintain some presence in the office market business amidst some serious financial troubles by striking some massive deals in the legal sector especially in North America, but nowhere higher than 50,000 seats were ever kept by the Canadian software vendor.
OpenOffice.org started truly in a worse position than Corel's WordPerfect, but managed to get much higher numbers thanks to its huge amount of localizations and the ever-growing number of its Native-Language communities coupled with the growth on Linux on the desktop. Even today, the usual comment one can hear about OpenOffice.org being that "office suite of Linux" is untrue. More than 50% (and certainly more now) of the downloads we keep track of were for the Windows platform 2 years ago.
But what really made me sad was the stance on OpenDocument. According to the Corel's spin doctors, it makes no sense to use or implement OpenDocument because although it is an open standard nobody has ever used. They're right if they consider the period of time starting with the invention of computers to the two last months. But not anymore today; true, we need a massive adoption of OpenDocument.
But did Corel realize that if they had adopted OpenDocument and implemented it in WordPerfect they would be THE single leading vendor behind OpenDocument?
Did they realize how big their benefit would have been? True, there would have been people who would have chosen OpenOffice.org over WordPerfect because it is free as in speech and beer, but their market share would have grown even higher.
The rationale behind this is simple: an office suite using standard and open file formats having a very small market share is more appealing to customers and investors than a proprietary office suite using closed formats and having just a little bigger market share. Closed formats can survive in a monopolistic market, not in a free market with FLOSS challengers.
All in all, I'm disappointed by Corel's reaction. Corel has been selling WordPerfect office, an office suite that was more advanced than any other contender for years and suffered from Microsoft's practices and monopoly to the point of almost disappearing from the surface of the earth. Now that they managed to get some cash and some sales, I thought they would have learned the lesson. Apparently not. Corel was in the OASIS Technical Committee who designed to OpenDocument file format, but never considered implementing it or in a very far future...maybe when OpenOffice.org would have eaten WordPerfect's own market share?
So long, Corel, you had some jewels, got ruined, and still didn't learn how to sell your very last ones in a smart way.
Author: charles (10:52 am)
(official press release)
FIVE YEARS OF OPENOFFICE.ORG, MORE TO COME
13 October, 2005 - 1400 UTC
On this day, five years ago, the fledgling OpenOffice.org community
provided the first public access to the source code donated from
StarOffice by Sun Microsystems. The OpenOffice.org community had
recently been formed, and declared it's intent "to create, as a
community, the leading international office suite that will run on all
major platforms and provide access to all functionality and data". Since
then, the popularity and functionality of the OpenOffice.org office
productivity suite has grown exponentially and has had a major impact
not only in the greater Open Source community, but for all users of
office productivity software, worldwide.
The last five years have not only seen significant improvements in the
software, but also a notable growth in the community and a number of
organisational changes. These changes include the tremendous growth of
the Native Language Confederation, which now numbers thousands of
contributors, the establishment of a Community Council, and the
Engineering Steering Committee, both of which go a long way to improving
communication and transparency in one of the largest open-source
communities. OpenOffice.org developers and contributors number in the
thousands and they live in every part of the globe. From its early days
to now, OpenOffice.org has been international in scope and mission.
Significant contributions from many organisations including Novell, Red
Hat, Debian, Propylon, Intel and primary sponsor Sun Microsystems,
ensure the ongoing presence and support of OpenOffice.org. Independent
contributors also make a considerable impact in terms of code
development, marketing, translation, documentation and web presence.
The OpenOffice.org community looks forward to the continuing the
expansion, enhancement and innovation of technologies within the suite.
One thing is certain, there is more to come.
Thanks to all,
The OpenOffice.org Community
The OpenOffice.org Project is an international community of volunteers
and sponsors including founding sponsor and primary contributor, Sun
Microsystems. OpenOffice.org develops, supports, and promotes the
open-source office productivity suite, OpenOffice.org. The project can
be found at http://www.openoffice.org/. OpenOffice.org fully supports
the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) OASIS
Standard and is available on major computing platforms in over 60 languages.
Global Marketing Contacts
Jacqueline McNally (UTC +08h00)
OpenOffice.org Marketing Project Lead
+61 (8) 9474-3021
John McCreesh (UTC +01h00)
OpenOffice.org Marketing Project Co-Lead
+44 (131) 523-9218
OpenOffice.org Community Manager
+1 (416) 625-3843
Copyright © 2005 - OpenOffice.org
Author: charles (12:27 pm)
Brought to you by your erratic and pompous servant, the news of the week:
-OOoCON 2005 is now over and I'd like to thank everybody in the Slovenian team (http://si.openoffice.org) and the Italian community (http://it.openoffice.org) for having made this conference a truly unique moment. Especially, I'd like to praise Urska Colner, Davide Dozza and Robert Ludvik for having managed to transform this event in a great feast of friends.
my interview: http://ooocon-arnes.kiberpipa.org/media/index-day3.html (scroll down the page to find mine, of course, there are plenty of others)
-Microsoft Office 12 will include the PDF export features that OpenOffice.org and StarOffice had since the 1.1 ... Now, wait, Microsoft wouldn't be copying what we do, right? What if we had a patent about that feature? Nah, we in the FLOSS community are way too nice and gentle sometimes!
-The Open Document format has now be declared unencumbered from any Sun's patents it may get into: http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/office/ipr.php
-Google teams up with Sun in order to bring StarOffice to the masses, and on the Net... Welcome to StarOffice on demand: http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3553371
That's all for now, but that was a hell of a week, wasn't it?
Author: charles (1:31 pm)
Now this is too funny. And definitely, it's a great way to start the week!
I couldn't have written a better answer to this offer...