[OpenDoc Announce] OpenDoc Society Intl. newsletter - 2008 number II

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Wed Apr 16 09:58:35 CEST 2008

Newsletter OpenDoc Society International
2008, nr. 2

                  Published by OpenDoc Society 
            Join at: http://opendocsociety.org/join

* Conference in European Parliament on open standards
* ODF related projects in Google Summer of Code 
* ODF initiatives for Community Innovation Awards Program
* ODF accepted as national standard in Croatia, Brazil
* Proposal for new ISO SC 34 WG's in the making
* Next ODF Workshop in Utrecht, The Netherlands
* EC investigation into MS Office interop continues
* OpenDoc Society Bangladesh initiated
* MAMPU Migrates to ODF 
* Special: Font policy
* Software news:
  - Sharing between Online/Offline ODF editors
  - Abiword 2.6.2 released
  - New viewer for ODF and DOCX: Docx2Rtf
  - Tomahawk Gold 4.0.3
* Agenda
* OpenDoc Society in the press



* Conference in European Parliament on open standards

On April 17th 2008 there will be a conference in the European
Parliament on open standards [1]. Participative democracy relies
increasingly on the ability of citizens and stakeholders to access
public information and to communicate with officials and elected
politicians electronically. This half-day conference looks at the
situation where public institutions are locked into the ICT products of
a single vendor, discusses the implications of this for participative
democracy and fair competition, and considers the prospects for the
European Parliament to adopt the use of open standards and open source
software and to promote interoperability in the European ICT sector.
This is a Greens / European Free Alliance conference, hosted by MEP
David Hammerstein with the support of OpenForum Europe. 

That same day the fifth CIRCABC (Communication and Information Resource
Centre for Administrations, Businesses and Citizens) and IPM
(Interactive Policy Making) Conference will take place in Brussels.

Please RSVP: david.hammerstein-assistant at europarl.europa.eu [2]

* ODF related projects in Google Summer of Code 

Google's SoC [1] offers the possibility for tech savvy students to
request a stipend of 4500 USD to work on an open source project as a
summer job - no strings attached but hard work. Quite a number of ODF
related open source projects have made it to the final list of Google
Summer of Code mentor organisations: among them are projects for
Gnumeric, Abiword, KDE (Kword), Drupal and Scribus. If you are involved
with these projects, and are willing to mentor students you have only a
few days left to make yourself known. Next week (April 21st 2008) we
will know which ODF related projects will be worked on over the summer
by tomorrows IT talent. If your favorite project did not get picked up,
there may be other (national) alternatives like Programmeerzomer.nl to
resubmit them. 

[1] http://code.google.com/soc/2008

* ODF initiatives for Community Innovation Awards Program

Suggestions are still welcome for the $1 Million Open Source Community
Innovation Awards Program announced by Sun Microsystems. One of the six
pillars of this program is the OpenOffice.org Community Innovation
Program. Project results will fall under OpenOffice.org's license
scheme. Besides OpenDocument Format there are five other subcategories
for this awards program: Technical, Community, Tools, Documentation and
Special. Projects can be submitted until 23 June 2008.


* ODF accepted as national standard in Croatia, Brazil

We welcome Croatia (HZN) and Brazil (ABNT) in accepting ODF as a
national standard, following in the footsteps of other countries like
Lithuania, Korea and Italy. Having ODF as a national standard gives in
many legislations the benefit for the consumer of additional legal
pressure on public authorities to not be denied if users send their
document in ODF format. Of course, the added benefit is now a native
Portuguese version of the ODF specification.

* Proposal for new ISO SC 34 WG's in the making

In Oslo last week ISO/JTC1 SC34 met, and adopted (amongst others) a
resolution that took away the further maintenance of OOXML from ECMA,
explicityly turning down ECMA's proposal to do so after the very
controversial and error-prone DIS 29500 process. OOXML is an archiving
format for Microsoft Office Document formats that has some features for
creating new documents as well, both of which purposes create the need
for excellent interoperability with ODF/ISO 26300. SC34 intends to set
up a number of ad hoc groups that will focus on identifying the defects
that failed to be identified or addressed in the fast track procedure
of OOXML and need to be fixed for OOXML to become practically usable,
and to advise on setting up a more inclusive mechanism for future work
on the standard. If issues arise with hidden patents, ISO has made a
press statement it might withdraw ISO 29500 [2]. Current ECMA TC45
members are invited as observers to the process. It is suggested that
in the future SC34 may have a WG for ODF, currently this is delegated
to OASIS. SC 34 does show it takes interoperability between ODF and
ISO/IEC 29500 very seriously. The ad hoc group will meet in July in
London and shall make its proposal to SC 34 for consideration at its
plenary scheduled for 2008-10-01, at Jeju Island, Korea. A draft
proposal shall be made available to SC 34 one month before the plenary. 

[1] http://adjb.net/index.php?entry=entry080409-221633
[2] http://www.iso.org/iso/pressrelease/faqs_isoiec29500.htm

* Next ODF Workshop in Utrecht, The Netherlands

On May 14th 2008 there will be another ODF Workshop focusing on the use
of ODF within local authorities. In The Netherlands the entire
government has to support ODF within their organization by the end of
2008. Speakers include Fabrice Mous (NOiV programme Dutch Government),
Bart Hanssens (Belgian Fedict), Sander de Graaf (Centric), Gavin
Beckett (Bristol City Council), Machtelt Garrels (OpenDoc Society
Belgium) and Bauke Keulen (Department of Defense). During this workshop
a number of international and national best practices about the Open
Document Format are combined with knowledge about available tools and


* EC investigation into MS Office interop continues

The anti-trust arm of the European Commission has confirmed it will
pursue its investigative probe against Microsoft. The multinational
firm is alleged to have abused its dominant market position in the area
of Office applications, and have engaged in anticompetitive behaviour
e.g. through the lack of compatibility of its Office suite with ODF and
the lack of information about its existing file formats and other. The
Commission is said to also look into the controversial fast-track ISO
procedure around OOXML via Ecma International, and has according to the
Wall Street Journal directly requested information from Microsoft and
other involved parties. After earlier questions in the European
parliament about serious misuse of the ISO/JTC1 SC34 voting system
already pointed towards such an inquiry. The original complaint was
filed by the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS, [1])
alleging Redmond had refused to disclose interoperability information
on a range of Microsoft products including its office suite. 

[1] http://www.ecis.eu

* OpenDoc Society Bangladesh initiated

OpenDoc Society Bangladesh has been accepted as a candidate chapter of
OpenDoc Society. OpenDoc Society Bangladesh intends to serve the
different communitites in Bangladesh to increase the awareness on ODF
and facilitate the process of the adoption of ODF at the National
level. Initiator Mohammad Anwarul Mamun states: "The chapter of OpenDoc
Society is a good way to do it because OpenDoc Society brings together
individuals and organisations around the world with a stake or interest
in the openness and future of documents to learn from each other and
share knowledge." 

More information: anwarulmamun at opendocsociety.org
Prospective chapters contact: expand at opendocsociety.org

* MAMPU Migrates to ODF 

On a related note, The Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and
Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), has officially adopted a policy to
migrate to ODF and the OpenOffice.org open source productivity suite.
This is in line with the Malaysian Public Sector Open Source Master
Plan, which calls for government agencies to reduce costs, increase
freedom of choice and interoperability. From April 1st, MAMPU adopted
the OpenDocument Format (ODF) as the standard for all new documents
created. In order to facilitate the migration the agency will apparently
uninstall all copies of Microsoft Office by the end of 2008. 



Special: Font policy

Organisations and users working with Office suites often wrongly assume
that the fonts they can choose from in menu's is automatically shared
when the document is sent. This becomes all the more clear if
applications use fonts only available within a certain product. For
instance Microsoft Office 2007 introduced a number of new ClearType
Collection typefaces (Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Consolas, Constantia,
and Corbel), which replace the publicly available "web font
classics" [1] such as Times New Roman, Arial and Courier New.
Microsofts new fonts are therefore only available on a very limited
amount of systems, not helped by the rather hefty price tag of 199
dollar just for the fonts if you buy them seperately [2]. 

Although users of Microsofts operating systems may download the fonts
bundled with for instance PowerPoint Viewer 2007 for free, the fonts
may not be copied, installed or used on other devices like an OLPC or
Apple iPod  - unless perhaps the latter simultaneously also runs a
virtual machine with a Microsoft Windows product in it [4]. For
exclusive viewing purposes thanks to ODF's use of W3C's CSS2 @font-face
there may be mechanisms to render something legible matches the font
metrics, depending on software. But when even minor editing is
involved, a more strict solution is needed.

Organisations that want to make sure they are optimally interoperable
with the rest of the world, need to set up a font policy that avoids
any risks. If the information about the fonts used by the author of a
document is sufficiently rich and the client is both smart and online
too, it might be feasible to hot-install fonts within an application.
Especially web based applications might easily implement this
unexplored feature of ODF. Currently however we are not aware of
applications that are already able to retrieve a font if it does not
have them installed. So your best option would be to use fonts that are
available by default in situations your users encounter (say, the
default fonts of OpenOffice.org). Otherwise make sure that fonts are
available freely from other systems online, so that a recipient of a
document can at least install these fonts by hand or (in the future)

If you use fonts that are available under for instance GPL (General
Public Licence), Apache, BSD or OFL (Open Font Licence), fonts can also
be distributed by the author or his organisation through e.g. a
website  - or even embedded in an ODF document to be retrieved by a
plugin or extension (perhaps a future version will allow standardised
embedding of fonts). Examples are Red Hat's Liberation fonts (GPL) [5],
which are metrically equivalent to Microsoft's web fonts - of which the
maintenance was abandoned years ago -, SIL fonts [6], fonts from the
Japanese Information-technology Promotion Agency [7] and GNU Freefont
[8]. If you select freely available fonts available in the public
domain [9], check for restrictions, internationalisation features (i.e.
a full set of high quality glyphs for diacritics) as well as
distribution limitations.

[1] http://corefonts.sourceforge.net
[2] http://www.ascendercorp.com
[5] https://www.redhat.com/promo/fonts [6]
[7] http://ossipedia.ipa.go.jp/ipafont [8]
http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/freefont/ [9]


* Sharing between Online/Offline ODF editors

If you have a need for both a full feature Office application on your
desktop and a webbased editor, you can use OO-Googledocs-Integrator.
This Openoffice.org plugin provides integration with Google Docs and
Zoho, such as uploading of (multiple) documents (text, spreadsheet,
presentation), download of documents, history of actions and on-line
documents' content searching.

Visit project webpage

* Abiword 2.6.2 released

It's been a long time since a significantly new version of Abiword was
released, but the open source word processor popular for its speed,
cross-platform availability and small memory footprint has made it
worth the wait. Abiword 2.6.2 has many innovative features, like hooks
into Web services, pop-out font previews, and a useful presentation
mode. Its user friendly, uncluttered interface and of course improved
ODF support make it a pleasure to use. Abiword is available at no cost
for Windows, Linux, QNX, BeOS, all BSD's and other UNIX operating
systems such as Mac OS X and Solaris - also in a version you can take
along on a USB stick anywhere you go [2]. 

[1] http://www.abisource.com
[2] Portable Abiword (by default with ODF plugin):

* New viewer for ODF and DOCX: Docx2Rtf

Docx2Rtf is a lightweight freeware file viewer for MS Word 2007 Docx
and ODF files that can also convert to RTF. No other software needs to
be installed for the program to work. Word 2007 Docx files (*.docx;
*.dotx) and ODF files (*.odt) will be converted to rich text (rtf)
format with partial formatting and images. Docx2Rtf does a fair job of
retrieving basic information. Docx2Rtf will show you a page by page
layout of what was retrieved and produce a PDF, send it to a printer,
or convert it to RTF. Docx2Rtf also allows you to view a number of
common graphic file formats.


* Tomahawk Gold 4.0.3

Tomahawk Gold is a relatively unknown but feature rich and lightweight
word processing application with the ability to work with ODF and
create PDF file content natively. 


Other product releases:

* O3Spaces Workplace 2.2.1
* EMS Data Export for InterBase/Firebird v3.0.0.9
* OpenOffice 2.4

* Agenda

17 April     IDABC CIRCABC - IPM Conference 2008, Brussels, Belgium
17-19 April  fisl 9.0, Porto Alegre, Brazil
22 April     The Netherlands in Open Connection, The Hague, The
24 April     Government and ICT, Utrecht, Netherlands
19 May       ODF Seminar for Municipalities, Schoten, Belgium
30-31 May    eLiberatica, Bucharest, Romania
28-31 May    LinuxTag, Berlin, Germany
11-15 August Balisage 2008, Montreal, Canada
14-17 Oct.   OOoCon 2008 2008, Beijing, China


* OpenDoc Society in the press

Read about OpenDoc Society in the media, all across the globe:

- IT Wire (Australie)

- Cuba Headlines

- China Post

- CBC News Canada

- Computerworld

- Washington Post:

- Computerworld New Zealand:

- Computerworld Malaysia:

- CNET News:

- NY Times:

- The Industry Standard

- Stuff NZ:

- PC Magazine:

- Blue Ridge Now:

- Intelligent Enterprise, UK:

- Star News Online:

- IT Pro:

- The Guardian:

- Canada.com (Reuters)

- Automatisering Gids (in Dutch, password protected)

* OpenDoc Society thanks the following organisations for their support:

Ars Aperta * Rem automatiseringen * Gravity Zoo * Burger op overheid.nl
* Oxford Archeology * Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica * Van Bussel
Document Services * O3 Spaces * Livre * Institute for Network Cultures
* Hogeschool van Amsterdam Interactieve Media * Groen Links * Capgemini
* Waag Society * Sun Microsystems * SGML/XML User Group Holland * SELF
project * Rednose training en advies * nl.openoffice.org * Open Office
* Novell * Stichting NLnet * Internet Society Nederland * Gendo * Bull
* Nou&off * Ubuntu * Squirrel * Stichting Accessibility.nl * Intel *
iRex Technologies * Stichting Softwareconsulent * Ontwerpbureau Dertig
* AEL * Syllable * De Balie * Stichting No Papers * eLaw - Leiden
University * ISOC Belgium * Toltech * Vicus eBusiness Solutions *
Valid/Vision * Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations * IBM * Free
Knowledge Institute * BSOOO * Holland Open * Viziris * Google * Red
Dolphin ICT Services BV * DTO * X Out Open Source Hosting * HWD Online
* Open DataCenter * Core Consult * Openbare Basisschool Rosa
Boekdrukker * Rack 66 * Better Access * I.T. Works * Morpheus

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