Today I had the opportunity to face the committee for Science and Technology in the Danish Parliament. The meeting was regarding implementation of the use of open standard in the public sector.
The deputation from the Community behind OpenOffic.org in Denmark was lead by me and together with me was Mr. Jørgen Kristensen.
Before the meeting, we had posted some information to the members of the committee:
Speak (Danish): http://doc.oooforum.dk/Filer/FTreplik.pdf
Documentation (English): http://doc.oooforum.dk/Filer/Research_OXML.ODF.pdf
At the meeting we claimed that Microsoft EOOXML is not qualified to be implemented as an open standard according to the definitions in the resolution B 103 (http://itpol.dk/sager/offpol/b103_eng/). We used the report "Research about OpenXML, ODF & PDF" as documentation for this. The report was developed by a Norwegian company on behalf of the National IT and Telecom Agency.
Then we talked about the opportunities for 'Denmark' to participate in development of both ODF and OpenOffice.org. This would from our point of view be a natural outcome of the decision. This can happen only because OASIS is an open organization. This way Denmark can be a part of the decicion makers in future development.
The members of the committee was listening with interest and they asked us questions several times. They had a special interest in the two reports from Ramboell Management that tries to cover the economical consequenses of the decision. The asked if we had anything to say about the reports, and we menthioned that the reports calculates the 'price' based on the assumption that it takes 10 minutes to convert a document from .doc format to .odf format. The report also says that this specific parameter makes the calculations very sensitive, because only small changes in the parameter, makes the final result change. We said that ten minutes to convert a document is too much time.
Fortunately we could come with two arguments:
At a meeting in march in a committee under the National IT and Telecom Agency it was concluded that there is only limited ned for conversion of old historical documents. So only living documents should actually be converted
The IT-Manager from one of the counties (City of Roedovre) near Copenhagen, has claimed (only two days ago), that document conversion should be taken much more pragmatic, because it isn't that much a problem. Most documents are just opened.
On the other hand, if we choose a dual standard solution, we will be converting documents from now and forever.
The members of the committee was very interested in what we had to say, and the many questions indicates that they actually know something about it. I feel that the case is in good hands. As one of the members said:
If we look at the great interest this case has found in the press, we almost find the conflict in the Middle East as a minor thing.
At the end of the day: We did what we could and we couldn't have done better. We expect the outcome before the summer holidays, but that's not for sure.
Stay tuned. I'll keep you informed.
(Sorry about the bad English.)