The new mayor of Munich is a self-proclaimed Microsoft fan and he wants to waste all the money that was invested in moving away from Microsoft’s vendor lock and incompatible technologies. His deputy is also a Microsoft fans so it’s not surprising that the new office of the mayor wants to bring back Microsoft technologies.
But that will be a very dangerous move for Munich.
Josef Schmid, teh deputy, points out two issues with LiMux – one is incompatibility with Microsoft technologies and other was increased support calls.
Incompatibility with Microsoft products is a huge problem and it’s a problem for everyone who is using Microsoft technologies. Linux or Open Source are not the cause of the problem as Schmid says, they are victims.
Then what is the cause?
In a recent interview one of the directors of The Document Foundation disclosed how Microsoft users various tricks to break compatibility and that leads to people like Schmid to blame open source technologies without fully understanding where the problem lies.
We often wish to share electronic documents with friends, colleagues, business or government, and the software application we use to prepare these documents will save them in a particular format.
Any application that later loads the document will also need to be able to understand this format. If an organisation can control the format, and convince people to use it, then they can use this as a very powerful tool to create a monopoly in the market.
Yes, you are likely using the Microsoft formats for your documents. However, they don't always follow OpenDocument Format (ODF) standards. Instead of opting for the proprietary Microsoft formats, switch over to one that's welcomed by nearly all office suites: ODF. You'll find a much more seamless collaboration process and fewer gotchas when moving between office suites. The only platform that can have a bit of trouble with this format is Android. The one Android office suite that works well with ODF is OfficeSuite 7 Pro.
This is really one of the most ridiculous get-out clauses, because it is so wide. The whole point of the FOI system is so that we can see precisely what is being said in these discussions, and to find out what companies are saying behind closed doors - and what ministers are replying. Although it's laudable that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills got in touch to correct its response to me, it's rather rich to do so and then simply refuse point-blank to release any of the information it has just found.
The only consolation is that whatever Microsoft whispered in the corridors of power to de-rail the move to ODF - since I hardly imagine it was a fervent supporter of the idea - it didn't work. However, there are doubtless many other occasions when it did, but we will never know. That's just unacceptable in a modern democracy.
The WebODF library webodf.js comes with a rich API and lots of abstraction layers to allow adaption to different backends and enviroments. There is an increasing number of software using WebODF, some of that listed here.
Most of the migrations from one office suite to another tend to happen without any coherent document management policy. Many organizations moving from, say, Microsoft Office to LibreOffice do not necessarily adopt ODF as their default format and will carry on supporting whatever version of the MS Office file format internally. This usually leads to frustrations and compatibility problems. This time, the UK Government decision takes a different approach. By deciding about the formats first, the UK creates the conditions necessary to have real choices for its government and its citizens, thus setting a level playing field for everyone. Many people have understood this decision as being a move against Microsoft. It is not or at least it should not be. Microsoft Office implements ODF files and its latest editions, as I’m being told are actually quite good at it. What this move does, however, is to ensure no other solution will be at a competitive disadvantage because of a technical or legal (aka patents) lock-in. Of course, it remains to be seen what concrete actions the UK Government will take in order to ensure a smooth transition between proprietary formats and open standards; and it remains to be seen how well it will ensure a proper change management across all of its departments so that its agents feel comfortable with ODF documents and whatever new office suites that may be adopted as a result of the decision. Much could be lost at that stage, but much could be gained as well. And of course, just like with the Netherlands, the decision itself might end up being toned down or take a somewhat different meaning.
The U.K. Cabinet Office accomplished today what the Commonwealth of Massachusetts set out (unsuccessfully) to achieve ten years ago: it formally required compliance with the Open Document Format (ODF) by software to be purchased in the future across all government bodies. Compliance with any of the existing versions of OOXML, the competing document format championed by Microsoft, is neither required nor relevant. The announcement was made today by The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude.
BREAKING NEWS: MICROSOFT RELEASES ITS OFFICE SUITE FOR LINUX
Take a few seconds to consider how you would feel, then maybe be kind enough to hear my view.
So it’s great? Microsoft’s flagship product now available to those who in the past had only LO, Abiword etc to chose from. Now you can run natively on your Linux box that which Windows users have been for years.