Posts filed under ‘ODF’

Introducing LibreOffice, A New Branch Off Of OpenOffice

The Document Foundation – The Document Foundation

Our mission is to facilitate the evolution of the OpenOffice.org Community into a new open, independent, and meritocratic organizational structure within the next few months. An independent Foundation is a better match to the values of our contributors, users, and supporters, and will enable a more effective, efficient, transparent, and inclusive Community. We will protect past investments by building on the solid achievements of our first decade, encourage wide participation in the Community, and co-ordinate activity across the Community.

The Document Foundation is producing LibreOffice as the next evolution in the OpenOffice.org story. There have been some rumblings for quite a while about Sun’s (now Oracle’s) outsize role in OpenOffice. Oracle, of course, is more energetic about its pursuit of higher earnings than Sun was. Some would argue that Oracle is less friendly toward freedom-preserving software (“free / open source software”), and point to its activities around OpenSolaris and Java as examples of this.

I don’t see LibreOffice as a backlash against Oracle, and I wouldn’t want it to be spun that way. It is time for such an important FPS (freedom-preserving software) application as OpenOffice to have a vendor-independent foundation at the helm. Whether Oracle, Sun, IBM, or even Microsoft was the vendor, I’d still believe this is a timely thing.

The current version of LibreOffice is marked as beta, not for daily, real-world use. Being that it is primarily just the most-current version of OpenOffice code with some changes to remove names and trademarks, it should be okay. Still, I don’t generally run beta software, and I’m not advising that anyone else does either.

This is an opportunity for a big forward step. I hope that Oracle will recognize this and that it will assist The Document Foundation with this project–in particular, by transferring any needed “IP” to the foundation and by committing OpenOffice.org to follow the lead of LibreOffice–so that both they and everyone else can share in the rewards of having an independent foundation in control.

In the meantime, let us continue to find those few use cases where OpenOffice is less suited for the task at hand than the leading proprietary office applications suite. We can then help the Document Foundation to prioritize those areas. The important thing about non-profit community foundations is that they require active participation by members of the community. I intend to be there. How about you?

Hat tip: Roy Schestowitz’ Techrights.org blog.


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Wednesday, 2010-September-29 at 02:47

It Starts: ORCL Charges $90 For ODF Plugin

There were many people who felt that Oracle’s Sun purchase would negatively affect OpenOffice.org and other open source and zero-price software products that Sun had made available. Others counseled patience, saying that we should not jump to conclusions. I agreed, although Oracle’s reputation preceded it.

So I was surprised yesterday to hear that the Sun/Oracle ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office was going paid. Now, you have to remember that the justification for the plugin has always been that there are some individuals and companies that are committed to Microsoft’s office products (as irritating and user-unfriendly as it is), but wanted to be able to receive and send ODF file formats. The plugin was an easy way to taste what was available outside of the msoffice world, a loss-leader that should lead to higher uptake of OpenOffice.org and StarOffice (soon to be rebranded Oracle Office, I’m sure).

Surely, I thought, someone at Oracle just isn’t understanding the use case for the plugin. At $90, there is zero chance I’m going to convince my friends and family members to give it a try, which means those individuals will continue to look at OpenOffice.org with the same suspicion they hold for ersatz “office” software such as Microsoft Works, the ThinkFree online office product, or that $30 office suite for sale at the local office products store. At $90, someone in a business will need to go through a formal request process to obtain this plugin. But that was before I really read the site.

This morning, I learned that the minimum quantity is 100 units at $90 apiece, and that there was an annual support fee on top of it (currently $19.80). Now, I would imagine that ORCL sales is going to pitch this to their corporate customers, and they didn’t want a zero-price version chewing away at their market from underneath. I also imagine that Oracle already realizes that the manager drones that decide such things are not going to agree to buy a plugin from Oracle for Microsoft office.

It seems entirely likely that this will allow ORCL to say “We gave it a fair shot, but there’s just no demand for it.” With that, Oracle could abandon the ODF-translation field, leaving it to the Microsoft-sponsored Clever Age plugins project and the not-so-interoperable built-in functionality in recent updates to MS Office.

As an aside, is it likely that something like this is coming to MySQL soon?

What does this say for the OpenOffice.org project? Obviously, no one knows yet. At least, no one outside of Oracle knows.

Tuesday, 2010-April-20 at 22:09 2 comments

Denmark Chooses ODF Over OOXML

This is great news (hat tip, Darius Damalakas). Danish government institutions will be using ODF for their documents, not OOXML. Not that there aren’t improvements to be made in ODF-producing and ODF-consuming applications (and the standard itself). Even so, it is gratifying to see user-friendly, constituent-friendly choices being made by government agencies.

I wish that American governmental agencies were more concerned about their users and constituents (rather than maintaining a close relationship with a particular vendor). I’m certain that some agencies here would also make the same choice. Not all of them, by any means, but certainly some of them.

If you are aware of a state or federal agency that is thinking about the file formats of their future, I encourage you to contact them and request that they use ODF as their canonical format, even if they also utilize a secondary format (e.g., OOXML, WPD).

Tuesday, 2010-February-09 at 03:32 1 comment

Norwegian Broadcasting Moves To OpenOffice and ODF — Linux Magazine Online

Open Norway: Norwegian Broadcasting Moves to OpenOffice and ODF – Linux Magazine Online

Norway appreciates free standards. After the government a year ago recommended Ogg Vorbis, FLAC and Ogg Theora next to their commercial alternatives MP3 and H.264 as standards for audio and video files, this year it focuses on ODF as the standard document format. According to the governmnent’s Reference Catalog for IT Standards, the recommendation should become binding in January of 2011.

The first larger institution, Norway’s national radio and TV corporation, Norsk rikkringkasting (NRK), is now taking the move to OpenOffice seriously. The conversion is based on the better ODF support, therefore the NRK is running many of its clients on Mac OS X because the Mac version of Microsoft’s Office Suite doesn’t support the open document format. Another reason for the move is the Microsoft Office licensing costs.

This is wonderful news. While we still await “government with guts” here in the US, Norway is working to make its citizens able to use and access the content they paid for without requiring specific proprietary applications. Not that there is anything wrong with using proprietary software if that is your choice. But when a government agency requires you to use proprietary software to access content that you paid for with your taxes, that is wrong.

As always, this is my opinion, not that of any employer, organization, or government agency.
H/T: einfeldt


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Tuesday, 2010-January-19 at 00:39 3 comments

Drupal CMS Can Now Import ODF Docs

There is a Drupal project to enable importing ODF files into a Web site. It is still in its early stages, but the plan is to develop this further.

ODF Import allows a user to import ODF files into drupal nodes. Currently the module can import content from ODT files only. No style information is imported in current release.
Future releases will support other ODF formats as well as importing of styles from an ODF document.

My congratulations to Drupal for joining the future, where our documents will be ours, and not subject to the whims of some large, out-of-area corporation (LOOAC).

H/T: freemjd


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Monday, 2009-December-28 at 02:50 1 comment

Officeshots: View ODF Compatibilty

Officeshots.org: Test ODF compatibility: Requests

You want to try which Office software is any good for you or your organisation? It’s very easy. Five steps:

1. Submit a document that contains features you typically require.
2. Take a pick from the supported word processors, spreadsheet and presentation packages.
3. Select what you would like to see: PDF exports, screen output or ODF roundtrips.
4. Wait a bit while we work our magic…
5. Grab the results and compare them!

So you’re wanting to send someone an ODF document and you want to know what it will look like when they get it. Go directly to Officeshots and upload it, following the steps above. I love it when someone take the initiative to help vendor-agnostic standards grow.

Source: Boycott Novell

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Sunday, 2009-November-01 at 05:19

Using OpenOffice.org For Book Layout

How to Layout a Book with OpenOffice.org: Part 1 – Make Tech Easier

It is all in your head: the plot, the characters, the locations, and even the scenes, but for some reason, staring at the blank page and blinking cursor makes you freeze. You like the idea of writing a book but cannot imagine actually completing it. If that feeling sounds familiar, then this might be the right article for you. Even if you have written a book and have it all ready to go, you may intend to self-publish it, start your own publishing company, send it to an editor, or just layout your book so you can see how it looks.

There is a long list of reasons why you might need to prepare an OpenOffice.org document in book form, and once you have learned how to do it, you will have a useful skill that you or people you know may need in the future. You can use this method for both print publications and e-books

Be sure to read the article, the comments, and the next twp parts of the article. One of the things this covers is the file format to use (export to PDF). The PDF export options have improved for OpenOffice.org (OOo) 3.0. I was recently working on a computer that had version 2.4.1 and found myself surprised at how few options there used to be.

Now that Microsoft officially considers OOo to be a competitor, we need to show off the additional capabilities of the software. First up, the ease in setting up and using styles, which makes longer documents and documents which will be subject to extensive editing easier to deal with. Native use of the vendor-neutral ODF file formats is another plus. As other products also implement this format (and improve their implementations so they interoperate), it will be less and less necessary to buy any specific vendor’s products in order to communicate. (Could this account for the way ODF was implemented in MS Office 2007 SP2?)

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Tuesday, 2009-July-28 at 02:32

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