December 4, 2005 6:00 PM PST

IBM to support OpenDocument early next year

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IBM plans to support early next year the OpenDocument standard in its desktop software, a product the company intends to market aggressively in developing countries.

At a press conference in Delhi, India, IBM executives plan to announce Monday that the company's Workplace Managed Client will be able to read, write and save documents in the OpenDocument format. OpenDocument, or ODF, is a standard set of document formats for desktop productivity applications.

IBM has already publicly endorsed OpenDocument, which the company views as a way to loosen Microsoft's dominance over desktop software. But the forthcoming Workplace products will be the first from IBM to support OpenDocument, a standard ratified in May of this year.

In a high-profile case, the state of Massachusetts in September decided to standardize desktop applications on OpenDocument.

That decision, however, is being contested by other branches of the state government. The governor's office last week said it is "optimistic" that Microsoft's Office formats, once standardized, will meet the state guidelines for "open formats."

Rather than create an analog to Microsoft Office, IBM is offering editors for creating documents, spreadsheets or presentations within a Web browser. Documents are delivered via a Web portal and stored in shared directories. Access control and document management tools allow people to share and edit documents with others.

Until now, Workplace supported the formats from open-source product OpenOffice, from which the OpenDocument was derived. Workplace Managed Client software also can read, write and edit documents created with Microsoft Office.

Arthur Fontaine, the marketing manager for Workplace Managed Client, believes IBM's support for industry standards and the server-centric design of Workplace will appeal to customers in developing countries, particularly governments.

"The governments of India, China and other emerging markets are very interested in this," Fontaine said. "They don't have the legacy of having everything saved in Microsoft Office to transition from...This is an opportunity to start out right."

In response to requests from government customers, Microsoft last month said it will submit the file formats for Office 12 to standards bodies ECMA International and ISO.

A representative for India's National Informatics Center (NIC) said in a statement that the country is pursuing a technology policy of "open standards and open source."

"The NIC has received a mandate from the Central Department of Information Technology to work in the areas of standards to facilitate implementation of the National e-Governance Program in the country," said M. Moni, deputy director general of India's NIC. "The choice, flexibility and reliability inherent in open standards like ODF are critical in our efforts to drive the eGovernance momentum in the country."

IBM has been testing the Workplace Managed Client software for the past year. With the release next year, the product will be generally available, Fontaine said.

12 comments

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Workplace's Green Fields of Asia
I'm glad to hear the release of Workplace is firming. My US clients are eager to place it alongside OpenOffice and StarOffice in their pilots.

While US organizations who are planning office suite/file format migrations have the difficulty of legacy formats and human factors, they are especially interested in the experiences in Asia where absence of legacy frictions provide a Greener Field for the adoption of open standards.

Good News!
Posted by swhiser (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Losers support open sourcem, open document
Open Document, Open Sources became destination of LOSERS. Novel, Sun, Netscape and now IBM came to open source and open document only after they failed in the market.
Posted by TanNg (31 comments )
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Just what is the cause of your apparently incomprehensible...
... state of "denial" with highly charged elements of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) -- (Redmond Style) that have made you state that "Open Document, Open Sources became destination of LOSERS. Novel, Sun, Netscape and now IBM came to open source and open document only after they failed in the market"; my guess is that you may even be imbibing in substances that are clouding your judgment while research analysts at organizations such as IDC are forcasting a 'Google effect' next year; please see link:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/IDC+Tech+to+see+Google+effect+next+year/2100-7344_3-5980346.html" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/IDC+Tech+to+see+Google+effect+next+year/2100-7344_3-5980346.html</a>

Also, (who ever you are) for your records as well as others, IBM is not now coming to "IBM came to open source and open document" as "OpenDoc in Warp 4.0 laid the foundation for OpenDOC and as history will show IBM was part of that earlier invention of OpenDoc to solve quite a few problems; also, for "a way of building compound documents with collections of small, portable components called Parts. These parts reside in Containers, and you can put any type of part into any kind of container. Learn only one text-editing part and you can put it into any document container you please. The same goes for spreadsheet parts, or graphics parts, spellchecking parts and so on". You may satisfy your learning curiousity in your better state of mind at your covenience by following link provided:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.os2ezine.com/v1n13/opendoc.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.os2ezine.com/v1n13/opendoc.htm</a>

In the fast paced information technology world in which we now live companies (such as the one located in Redmond and which you apparently support) that wish to remain competitive must either "lead" or "follow" and you should rest assure that it will not be persons like yourself; but, those that influence the marketplace conditions that will be the final arbiters as to the "De facto standards" in relation the OpenDoucment Office Productivity Applications in the not too distant future.
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Link Flag
Nice try
Assuming you are sincere...

The entire planet used to believe the world was flat but a few dissidents proved them wrong.

However, if you wish to continue to believe the world is flat go ahead. Ignorance is your best friend.
Posted by UntoldDreams (91 comments )
Link Flag
The "Market" is has not ended
The "Market" is not some closed system that ends in a
permanent victor. In response to a market now dominated by
one player, a monopoly, the market is responding, as any good
"capitalist" market must, to correct the problems caused by
monopolies.

It is creating competition for better products, based on what the
"market" wants -- open standards, ability to compete in the
"market", ability to give buyer in the "market" a better deal, more
functionality, that the "market" is saying it wants.

Open Source is likewise a market response to a market that is
not satisifying many in the market.

A "LOSER" is one who genuflects to the current market leader,
unable to determine what is best for itself, always content to
unthinkingly follow whoever he/she hears is the leader, waiting,
hat in hand, for the leader to grant them the benefits of the
leader's largesse.
Posted by lawrencewinkler (56 comments )
Link Flag
What about Lotus?
Will Lotus be supporting OpenDocument?
Posted by (54 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RE: What about Lotus? Yes.
Within IBM, Lotus falls under the Workplace Brand and is actually responsible for a large portion of its sales. This is not to say that its entire suite is standards based, but Workplace is the culmination of many pieces of IBM's front end computing; including components from Lotus' collaborative offerings.

Thus a Lotus customer will have the option to evolve into Workplace if they so choose. So yes, Lotus is supporting OpenDocument.
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
go ibm!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/mercury_sable_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/mercury_sable_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by 208774626618253979477959487856 (176 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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