May 8, 2006 6:05 AM PDT

EC reluctant to back OpenDocument

The European Commission is reluctant to recommend the OpenDocument file format, even though the format has been endorsed by international standards groups.

According to sources familiar with the issue, Microsoft's drive to get its own file formats standardized may deter the EC from backing OpenDocument.

OpenDocument is supported by many applications, including the OpenOffice suite, but it is not currently supported by Microsoft Office. On Tuesday, members of the ISO and the IEC ratified the file format.

In October, Barbara Held of the EC's IDABC (Interoperable Delivery of European eGovernment Services to public Administrations, Businesses and Citizens) said that the IDABC would start recommending OpenDocument if it is approved as an ISO standard. But a month after Held made this statement, Microsoft announced that it was submitting its Office Open XML file formats to the European standards body ECMA International as a prelude to seeking ISO standardization.

On Thursday, a source close to IDABC told ZDNet UK that although the organization is likely to update its policy soon, it is unlikely to specifically recommend OpenDocument, as it is concerned that a second ISO document standard will emerge later.

"It is highly probable that we will strongly recommend the use of open document formats to public administrations. On the other hand, it is unlikely that we will make a specific recommendation, in case we will have two ISO standards at a later point in time," said the source. "It is likely that we will urge industry players to provide compatibility between formats, and in the long run to aim for one single format."

A representative for the EC's Enterprise and Industry Directorate General, which manages IDABC, confirmed on Friday that it is updating its policy around open document formats and highlighted the risk that there may be two competing ISO standards.

"IDABC is watching the developments closely. The program has started a consultation process with the member states in order to produce new recommendations for the support of the use of open document formats," the representative said.

"Microsoft... has introduced its Office Open XML specifications into an ECMA standardization process, also headed for consideration by ISO/IEC," he said. "At this point in time, it is unclear whether this will lead to two concurring ISO standards in the future."

The representative was unable to comment on whether IDABC would be recommending OpenDocument in the future.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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16 comments

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Silly people
Nothing like playing into Microsoft's hand. This is the only reason they are even submitting the new format in the first place. FUD.

MS will never allow a truly open standard if they can help it. Othewise, they would have joined the ODF develeopement and added their input.

If ODF has all the capabilities needed, they should use it. Once it has enough support, MS will have no choice but to support it themselves.
Posted by freemarket--2008 (5058 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Exactly
It seems that some cannot see the benefits of open standards. They should look at the success of the Internet and HTML and realise that an open document format would be best for everybody.

To give 1 company control over a standard would be as silly as giving 1 company control over HTML.

HTML's success should stand as an example of what an document open standard could achieve.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
Silly people
Nothing like playing into Microsoft's hand. This is the only reason they are even submitting the new format in the first place. FUD.

MS will never allow a truly open standard if they can help it. Othewise, they would have joined the ODF develeopement and added their input.

If ODF has all the capabilities needed, they should use it. Once it has enough support, MS will have no choice but to support it themselves.
Posted by freemarket--2008 (5058 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Exactly
It seems that some cannot see the benefits of open standards. They should look at the success of the Internet and HTML and realise that an open document format would be best for everybody.

To give 1 company control over a standard would be as silly as giving 1 company control over HTML.

HTML's success should stand as an example of what an document open standard could achieve.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
AN AMERICAS' OFFICE SUITE STANDARD!
I am very much likely to propose an AMERICAS' STANDARD OFFICE SUITE FORMAT that will be based on IBM's LOTUS SMARTSUITE (RE: Specifically the LOTUS 1-2-3 SpreadSheet Program) that both Microsoft Office and OpenOffice have copied from. The core competencies of the proposed AMERICAS' OFFICE SUITE FORMAT will be for the delivery of INTEROPERABLE XML FORMATS that will address the FINANCIAL and ECONOMIC "computational limitations" of both Microsoft Office and OpenOffice. Approval for the proposed formats will be sought from reputable international financial institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank ( <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.iadb.org" target="_newWindow">http://www.iadb.org</a> ) among other international financial institutions that rely on these "core computational competencies" for sound investment decision-making.
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AN AMERICAS' OFFICE SUITE STANDARD!
I am very much likely to propose an AMERICAS' STANDARD OFFICE SUITE FORMAT that will be based on IBM's LOTUS SMARTSUITE (RE: Specifically the LOTUS 1-2-3 SpreadSheet Program) that both Microsoft Office and OpenOffice have copied from. The core competencies of the proposed AMERICAS' OFFICE SUITE FORMAT will be for the delivery of INTEROPERABLE XML FORMATS that will address the FINANCIAL and ECONOMIC "computational limitations" of both Microsoft Office and OpenOffice. Approval for the proposed formats will be sought from reputable international financial institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank ( <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.iadb.org" target="_newWindow">http://www.iadb.org</a> ) among other international financial institutions that rely on these "core computational competencies" for sound investment decision-making.
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Uninformed informants...
I think this is article is spreading unfounded
hearsay. There's little rationale for the EC not
to back OpenDocument. First, the EC is
continuously at odds with MS over a wide range
of issues, and by their own declaration,
Microsoft is currently in breach of various EU
regulations.

OD is widely used today within the EC and is
also already a ratified international standard
that has prima facia advantages with regard to
intellectual property concerns (EC rules, for
example, would likely prohibit adopting MS' XML
format if software patents become permissible
there).

And, for them, other than possibly graft, what
would MS' XML format offer you over
OpenDocument? Well, nothing, actually. Both are
an XSLT away from being duplications of each
other at the basic level. OpenDocument already
has more complete document layout and
description than Microsoft's proposal.

No. The only incentive for EC to not endorse
OpenDocument over Microsoft's format would be
graft. If the article is implying that
Microsoft's paying off EC representatives, then
I could believe that -- there's precedent for
that. Implying that it has anything to do with
Microsoft's ECMA filing, that would be daft.
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Uninformed informants...
I think this is article is spreading unfounded
hearsay. There's little rationale for the EC not
to back OpenDocument. First, the EC is
continuously at odds with MS over a wide range
of issues, and by their own declaration,
Microsoft is currently in breach of various EU
regulations.

OD is widely used today within the EC and is
also already a ratified international standard
that has prima facia advantages with regard to
intellectual property concerns (EC rules, for
example, would likely prohibit adopting MS' XML
format if software patents become permissible
there).

And, for them, other than possibly graft, what
would MS' XML format offer you over
OpenDocument? Well, nothing, actually. Both are
an XSLT away from being duplications of each
other at the basic level. OpenDocument already
has more complete document layout and
description than Microsoft's proposal.

No. The only incentive for EC to not endorse
OpenDocument over Microsoft's format would be
graft. If the article is implying that
Microsoft's paying off EC representatives, then
I could believe that -- there's precedent for
that. Implying that it has anything to do with
Microsoft's ECMA filing, that would be daft.
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Engineering Standards
Standard &#8800; Standardize. Anything MS does is for control not for sharing. Open standards aren't good for MS bottom line. Everything they do is to grab market share. Open standards level the playing feed. This will bite the EU later, but the players that cause it to happen will not be held accountable. Maybe you should consult with a couple senior professionalized engineers. Good luck doing it on your own.
Posted by fastdodge (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Engineering Standards
Standard &#8800; Standardize. Anything MS does is for control not for sharing. Open standards aren't good for MS bottom line. Everything they do is to grab market share. Open standards level the playing feed. This will bite the EU later, but the players that cause it to happen will not be held accountable. Maybe you should consult with a couple senior professionalized engineers. Good luck doing it on your own.
Posted by fastdodge (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Engineering Standards (correction)
Standard does not equal Standardize. Anything MS does is for control not for sharing. Open standards aren't good for MS bottom line. Everything they do is to grab market share. Open standards level the playing feed. This will bite the EU later, but the players that cause it to happen will not be held accountable. Maybe you should consult with a couple senior professionalized engineers. Good luck doing it on your own.
Posted by fastdodge (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Engineering Standards (correction)
Standard does not equal Standardize. Anything MS does is for control not for sharing. Open standards aren't good for MS bottom line. Everything they do is to grab market share. Open standards level the playing feed. This will bite the EU later, but the players that cause it to happen will not be held accountable. Maybe you should consult with a couple senior professionalized engineers. Good luck doing it on your own.
Posted by fastdodge (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Captain Spock's Good Idea
Much applause for Captain Spock's comment. However, he failed to solve the problem of ineffective approvals. Therefore I, being reputable, responsible, and incontrovertible, will approve all approvals of all standards. This will eliminate any further confusion as to the implications and derivations that may complexify the impact of mutually overlapping and consistent or inconsistent standards, especially those involving individual (any) or organizational (corporate, government, non-goverment, and other) interests, whenever these may be approved by any other approval authority. I can be reached at my usual address: HEAVEN.
Posted by yen2ken (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RE: "Captain Spock's Good Idea"...
... "Much applause for Captain Spock's comment. However, he failed to solve the problem of ineffective approvals." thank you very for your very insightful compliments... but; the real question is we were given the "breath" of life so that we can appreciate what living is like and the imperfections at REDMOND is of such that "SYMANTEC" and others like it can breathe the breath of life also! Thus the rationale for "ineffective approvals" that appear to be without a solution; but, by an extension some are become "rovers" as pertaining the "ROVING ANALYST" to continue the "MONITORING PROCESSES" after REPORTING and DECISION-MAKING conducted to "approve all approvals of all standards" in "HEAVEN" as it is on EARTH thereby exhaulting the COMING OF THE KINGDOM. PEACE BE WITH YOU ALWAYS!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Link Flag
Captain Spock's Good Idea
Much applause for Captain Spock's comment. However, he failed to solve the problem of ineffective approvals. Therefore I, being reputable, responsible, and incontrovertible, will approve all approvals of all standards. This will eliminate any further confusion as to the implications and derivations that may complexify the impact of mutually overlapping and consistent or inconsistent standards, especially those involving individual (any) or organizational (corporate, government, non-goverment, and other) interests, whenever these may be approved by any other approval authority. I can be reached at my usual address: HEAVEN.
Posted by yen2ken (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RE: "Captain Spock's Good Idea"...
... "Much applause for Captain Spock's comment. However, he failed to solve the problem of ineffective approvals." thank you very for your very insightful compliments... but; the real question is we were given the "breath" of life so that we can appreciate what living is like and the imperfections at REDMOND is of such that "SYMANTEC" and others like it can breathe the breath of life also! Thus the rationale for "ineffective approvals" that appear to be without a solution; but, by an extension some are become "rovers" as pertaining the "ROVING ANALYST" to continue the "MONITORING PROCESSES" after REPORTING and DECISION-MAKING conducted to "approve all approvals of all standards" in "HEAVEN" as it is on EARTH thereby exhaulting the COMING OF THE KINGDOM. PEACE BE WITH YOU ALWAYS!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Link Flag
 

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