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EU institutions accused of doing nothing to free themselves from dependence on Microsoft

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The European Commission and European Parliament are doing nothing to rid themselves of their dependance on Microsoft, two lobby groups said Wednesday, Document Freedom Day.

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and Open Forum Europe urged EU institutions to support open standards in an open letter to Giancarlo Vilella, president of the European Parliament's Directorate-General for Innovation and Technological Support. He also chairs the body that coordinates IT activities for government agencies including Parliament, the Commission and the Council of the E.U.

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It’s Document Freedom Day 2014: What Does that Mean for You?

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You’ll recall that I noted above Document Freedom Day awareness is limited in the U.S. So is participation in DFD activities, as you can see from the image at left, which shows where they are being held this year. That’s a shame, because document freedom is a universal, and not a regional or national concern.

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ODF vs. OOXML: War of the Words Chapter 3 – What a Difference a Decade Can Make

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Moreover, in the years to come, PC-based word processing products like WordStar, and then WordPerfect, would become far more popular than Microsoft’s own first word processing (originally called Multitool Word), providing low-cost alternatives to the proprietary minicomputer based software offerings of vendors like Wang Laboratories. IBM, too, provided a word processing program for the PC called DisplayWriter. That software was based on a similar program that IBM had developed for its mainframe systems customers. More importantly, another program was launched at just the right time to dramatically accelerate the sale of IBM PCs and their clones. That product was the legendary “killer app” of the IBM PC clone market: Lotus 1-2-3, the spreadsheet software upon which Mitch Kapor built the fortunes of his Lotus Development Corporation.

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MEP Tarand: "EU should switch to ODF standard"

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The European institutions should switch to using the Open Document Format ODF as their internal default document format, says Member of the European Parliament Indrek Tarand. Speaking at a meeting of the European Parliament's Free Software User Group (Epfsug), last week Wednesday, MEP Tarand said: "Moving to ODF would allow real innovation, and real procurement."

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ODF vs. OOXML: War of the Words

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The story has other notable features as well: ODF is the first IT standard to be taken up as a popular cause, and also represents the first “cross over” standards issue that has attracted the broad support of the open source community. Then there are the societal dimensions: open formats are needed to safeguard our culture and our history from oblivion. And when implemented in open source software and deployed on Linux-based systems (not to mention One Laptop Per Child computers), the benefits and opportunities of IT become more available to those throughout the third world.

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Document Freedom Matters

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As the Document Freedom Day is approaching I realized that we don’t push ODF and open standards as loudly as before. Certainly most of the battles for the mind and market share are past, at least when it comes to office file formats. But the recent public consultation of the UK government brought back some of the most crucial issues surrounding ODF and it’s useful, I think, to check where stand these days on these matters.

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Breaking Microsoft’s Chains by Moving to LibreOffice

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Vignoli is one of the founders and a member of the Board of Directors of The Document Foundation, the organization behind LibreOffice, where his duties include marketing and communications as well as being an international spokesperson for the project. Before helping start The Document Project, he spent over six years on the marketing team for OpenOffice.org, which was the original code base for LibreOffice. In other words, this is a guy who knows his stuff and who has “been there/done that” when it comes to large enterprise level migrations from MS Office to LibreOffice or OpenOffice.

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Registration opens for Document Freedom Day 2014

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Today registration opens for Document Freedom Day 2014 events. This year the campaign day is March 26th, when people who believe in fair access to communications technology and Open Standards will again present, perform, and demonstrate. Event organisers can now register on the re-launched documentfreedom.org website.

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UK Gov garners 400 comments on ODF proposal, extends deadline

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On 28 January, the UK government asked for public comments on its proposal for standards involved in sharing and working with government documents. Introducing the proposal to use ODF and HTML: "Citizens, businesses and delivery partners, such as charities and voluntary groups, need to be able to interact with government officials, sharing and editing documents. Officials within government departments also need to work efficiently, sharing and collaborating with documents. Users must not have costs imposed upon them due to the format in which editable government information is shared or requested."

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My Comments as Posted to the UK Cabinet Office Standards Hub (now it's your turn)

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Last week I highlighted the fact that Microsoft was urging its business partners to comment at the British Cabinet Office's Standards Hub on a standards-related proposal. That proposal would limit government procurement to office software that complied with the ISO ODF standard, but makes no mention of the ISO OOXML standard promoted by Microsoft. I also noted that anyone could comment on the proposal, and that the deadline for comments would close on February 26, Greenwich time. I closed by urging readers to let their opinions on the subject be heard.

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I've been Linuxing since before you were born

Once upon a time, there was no Linux. No, really! It did not exist. It was not like today, with Linux everywhere. There were multiple flavors of Unix, there was Apple, and there was Microsoft Windows. When it comes to Windows, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite adding 20+ gigabytes of gosh-knows-what, Windows is mostly the same. (Except you can't drop to a DOS prompt to get actual work done.) Hey, who remembers Gorilla.bas, the exploding banana game that came in DOS? Fun times! The Internet never forgets, and you can play a Flash version on Kongregate.com. Apple changed, evolving from a friendly system that encouraged hacking to a sleek, sealed box that you are not supposed to open, and that dictates what hardware interfaces you are allowed to use. 1998: no more floppy disk. 2012: no more optical drive. The 12-inch MacBook has only a single USB Type-C port that supplies power, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, external storage, video output, and accessories. If you want to plug in more than one thing at a time and don't want to tote a herd of dongles and adapters around with you, too bad. Next up: The headphone jack. Yes, the one remaining non-proprietary standard hardware port in Apple-land is doomed. Read more