Lodahl's blog: 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007

30 June 2007

Write to DS with objections to EOOXML

Remember to post your objections against EOOXML being approved as ISO standard. The Danish standard committee has a deadline on Monday July 2nd.

29 June 2007

Why is open standards so important ?

I actually wanted to write a series of small essays called "How do you explain open standards to your mother-in-law". It should be several small stories about how I would explain open standard to different people. You know, my mother-in-law, my local bank clerk and so on and so forth. But I'll let that be up to others. Feel free to post comments here.

The Danish Parliament decided i 2006 that the public sector should use open standard for document exchange. Just before summer 2007, they decided a plan for implementation of open standards. The plans gives the individual authority the choice between the open format ODF and Microsofts EOOXML when sending documents. As a consequence all authorities must be able to read both ODF and EOOXML.

Why is open standards so important ?

About standards...
It's a good idea to use standards on curtain areas, because this assures that it's possible to talk to each other. Isolated, it might be cheaper for each authority to buy non-standard software, because the purchase price is lower. But it will be very difficult (=expensive) to work together with other authorities. Bu agreeing on a common format, we will be able to work together without any problems.

Example 1:
Imagine that each local city had their own way of creating social security numbers, Most people in Denmark know how the social security number is made and how it works, but what i there where 98 different ways of doing it ? Exchanging data between authorities would become very difficult and expensive and I dare not to think about moving to another city.

Example 2:
For little more that a hundred years ago, the Danish railroad to develop. For many years the national railroad company took care about the major parts of the railroad, and smaller local companies handled the local routes. When the local rail companies needed to buy new equipment, they would often buy the cheapest they could get. After a few years there where several different track widths in use. As long as the trains only needed to serve on their own tracks, there where no problems. But it wasn't possible to use each others equipment and it was difficult to transport equipment from one place to another. It wasn't possible to use through-going lines, so passengers always needed to change train under way.

Example 3:
In Denmark we use 230 volts in the electrical plugs. Imagine that in some cities they use 230 volts,, and in other cities thats 110 volts. And of cause the size of the plugs (format) will be different too. We would all need to take adapters (converters) in the bag when we were traveling.

Why does it need to be open ?

For many years we have been using something called a de-facto standard.for editable document; Microsoft Office format. This is giving Microsoft an advantage in competition, because that format is maintained by Microsoft alone. Decisions about improvements is taken based on Microsoft (economical) needs, and not based on whats best. It's also important, that Microsoft has the opportunity to misuse the position to kill their competitors. This can happen by implementing extra complicated details in the format, that makes it absolutely impossible
for others to find out how it works. This way, the products from Microsoft will appear as better than competing products.

Thats why standards must be open. Everybody must have access to the complete specification and have the right to use the details. Everybody should be able to get involved in developing the standard. The standard should not be depending on a single vendors special needs.

Example 4:
Earlier here were only one supplier of telecom services. Later, when there was more telecom companies comming to Denmark, The National Telecom company still had responsibility to maintain the infrastructure. The National Telecom misused their position as the 'owner' of the
infrastructure. One example is, that when somebody bought a DSL connection from another vendor, the National company would make about to or three weeks before they could establish the connection. But if the customer bought the same product directly from the company, they could establish the connection within a few days.

Example 5:
See example 3 above.
Imagine that we agreed on a standard for electrical plugs. But the standard was developed by one company and it's only that company that knows all the details about the new plug standard. The company has developed some very special and complicated details in the standard which makes it very difficult to install any electrical devices, without consulting the specification. This makes it completely impossible for other contractors to do any electrical work without braking the law. Where do you think customers will go to get a contractor ? How do you think the chances is for other electrical contractors to get any work ?

One standard is enough - two standards is one too many

28 June 2007

Miscellaneous things before my vacation

I'm just finishing the Danish OpenOffice.org Newsletter for July. You know, the final brush over and corrections. Try to get additional information in the last minute. The newsletter will be send to approximately 1.000 receivers in the weekend.

I'm announcing release of the Danish version of OpenOffice.org 2.2.1. This time we are far behind schedule, because of several unfortunate things. First the QA was late. Bad luck, but that wasn't enough. When we wanted to upload to dotsrc, where the Danish versions are stored, we couldn't connect because of some problems on the Danish server. We can still see some slow performance once in a while. We will look into another solution soon because we can't live with this situation. We are trying to find out how the bouncer server works.

Lots of things are to be done in the summer period. Translation is in good progress: 69024 of 69336 strings are completely done and I think the last 300 strings will be translated and approved over the next couple of days. Nice to be finished with that. Thanks guys.

My travel to Barcelona in September is safe now. I managed to raise funds here in Denmark. Thanks to Symfoni Software and Sun Microsystems. Now I just need to prepare my presentation.

26 June 2007

Hangovers -sort of

Not literally, but after several months of struggles with the decision in the Parliament and writing the objections to ISO/IEC DIS 29500 (ECMA-376) hearing, I somehow find it nice just doing something else. I shipped the objections yesterday, witch is actually one week ahead. I'm proud to be ahead for once. I even had time to help one of the guys from Belgium with his objections. I got a lot of help during the process and it's nice to be able to pass it on to someone else.

I started to help translate OpenOffice.org 2.3 to Danish. We are already more than half way, so in a few days, I expect that to be finished as well. I'm happy that the translation is going smooth and without any problems. No discussions and arguing. Just translate the strings, one by one.

I'm looking forward to the summer holidays together with family and friends. Four weeks with no connection to the internet. Is that possible ? I'll bring some work, just in case I get bored, but my experience tells me that I won't be doing much of that. Unless of cause; if it rains. But I must prepare my speak in Barcelona. I'm really looking forward to OOoCon 2007. It will be nice to meet all the people I only know from e-mails and blog posts.

I hope to see the new eOffice from Symfoni Software before I go on vacation. I'm really excited about the Lotus Notes -> ODF integration.

The media is going on vacation too. I can see that more and more articles are just translations of stuff. Boring. I don't think I'll miss that part. The only exciting thing right now, is that all the papers is trying to analyze what will happen, now that the Parliament has finished their part. Will Microsoft keep the marked share ? Will OpenOffice.org finally get its break through ? How will the ISO election end ? and so on and so forth.

Well, we'll see about that later.

25 June 2007

One year evaluation

For one year, beginning on January 1st. 2008, we will see both ODF and EOOXML as format for document exchange in the public sector. All software purchased must support at least one of the formats. Furthermore, all public offices must be capable of opening or reading documents of both formats.

There is no doubt that ODF is here to stay, but Microsoft must prove openness and willingness to other platforms and applications. The Members of the Parliament are very well aware, that Microsoft has an advantage, because of a existing marked share around 98%. If Microsoft can't prove that EOOXML can be implemented by other vendors and on other platforms, they will be dismissed.

The Danish Competition Authority has been asked to follow the competitive situation closely in the evaluation period.

24 June 2007

We don't burn witches anymore, or do we ?

This weekend was midsummer. In Denmark we have several traditions on this day. I was asked to prepare a speak at the party where I participated in. This made me think about why we, in some occasions don't ask questions, but just do what we are expected to.

Every year on midsummer night, we burn a fire and on top of the fire, we put a witch. Don't worry, it's not a real one, just a model. This is a tradition from ancient times, where witches where actually burned on a fire -alive. The prosecution was usually performed after a very short and unfair trial. The witch was accused for doing something unnatural or maybe something completely irrelevant. Maybe there had been sickness among the cattle or maybe there had been a dead born child. Everything needs to be explained at that time, and sometimes the only explanation was an imprecation. 'Who could throw a curse ?', people would ask. And very often the answer was random, and in some cases, the accusation was simply a result of some disagreement between the population.

When a person was accused of being a witch, nobody dared to stand up and reject that. If they did, they might be accused too. So such an accusation was almost impossible to survive. The accusation could for instance come from a religious leader: the Minister.

So, if the Minister at the local church could explain something that had happened, by saying, that a particular person had thrown a curse, everybody would either believe it, or at least accept the decision. It would be too dangerous to stand up against the Minister to support the

Today this kind of religious trial and prosecution are not performed in our part of the world.

But don't we still use the same way of thinking ? If a highly respected person speaks for or against a course, don't we believe what he says ? Don't we sometimes just accept things, because we assume it's right ?

I believe we still do.

When the Danish Parliament made the decision to implement two standards for exchanging documents in the public sector, they assumed that it will be easier and cheaper if a Microsoft supported solution was chosen. Or at least, if a Microsoft solution is available, the decision will be accepted by the crowd. They didn't make a decision based on knowledge but on an assumption. And perhaps thats understandable but it's not acceptable.

22 June 2007

How can we make sure that the spirit in B 103 is being fulfilled ?

How can we make sure that the spirit in B 103 is being fulfilled ?

The situation is that the public Denmark must use either the open ODF or EOOXML from Microsoft. On thing is for sure: Microsoft will do what they can to keep their marked share around the 98% for Office suites. We can expect to a continuous stream of misleading information and threads about what will happen, if ODF gets popular.

The two reports from Ramboell Management, that unfortunately is still used for decisions, gives the impression, that EOOXML is cheaper to implement than ODF. This might be right on the short lane. But if we open our minds for a little large perspective, ODF will be much cheaper. Furthermore we will see the positive side effect in society like more competition in the marked place. When the IT-manager in a local city is sitting looking at his one-year budget, he will probably not find money for long-term thinking. The budgets is simply too small for that. And it is not a job for that local IT-managers to deal with society matters. His job is to keep the majors office running. The situation is that long-term investments is to be funded by one-year budgets. This dilemma will of cause meen that the investment is not done or at least only done in a very small scale. There isn't money for more.

One solution to that could be, to offer some kind of financial support, where each authority can fetch funds to cover the initial cost by implementing ODF. Unfortunately this is actually against the words in B 103 because the resolution itself must be cost neutral. But we have seen some attention on this problem from the politicians lately, so something indicates that the politicians continues to support the spirit in the resolution.

This is not enough form my point of view ...

Open source doesn't work in the same way as conventional customer-vendor software. Vi are dealing with a slightly different business model. IT-managers and the vendor usualy sign a contract with the description of what the vendor should deliver, and how much money the customer should pay. When we move in to the area with open source, we must consider a few other parameters. It's very important that buying software is done on the right basis, and from my opinion it's also important that those who buy software is aware of this. Otherwise, we will surely see more damaged projects in the future. The different manuals from the National IT- and Tele Agency on IT purchase, e.g. the publication "Modenhed i IT-baserede forretningsprojekter" doesn't take other purchase models in to consideration. Only the traditional customer-vendor model is covered. The public authorities has none, or only very limited knowledge about the special culture in the open source communities. The National IT- and Tele Agency has only limited material on the subject under the project softwareboersen (The software bourse).

These aspects has only been covered superficial by the National IT- and Tele Agency, that in fact can end up be a hinder to successful implementation of pilot projects in the coming years. The overall used business model (customer-vendor) is not to be used in such projects because it actually hinders fully outcome of whats special in open source: The community.

An example from Norway...
In Norway, three Fylkeskommuner (like regions) has hires two people to develope a norwegian linux distribution for educational purpose (www.skolelinux.no). This project has reached results like a complete translation of OpenOffic.org into two Norwegian dialects as well as both spell checking and thesaurus of high quality. In the Norwegian project, the vendors (Fylkeskommuner) has especially weighted language very high.

I don't think we should use exactly the same model in Denmark, but this is a good example of the fact, that by taking responsibility for a project, the public authorities can get influence on the results. And this without higher costs than with traditional purchase. In the Norwegian project, the choice of project was deliberate.

21 June 2007

Further analysis

What is all this about ?
Is this a good or a bad development ?

I don't know. Tomorrow I'll try to contact some of the involved politicians to get further information.

The good things are:

  1. The Parliament actually listened to us, when we said that EOOXML is not open.
  2. Nobody has asked questions about openness in ODF. We now have two years to improve the format.
The bad things are:
  1. Microsoft now has two years to convince the Parliament. The FUD will continue and of cause Microsoft will try to get multiple implementations of EOOXML. Microsoft will obviously pay business partners to do so.
  2. The MP's shows that they are not ready to make a decision, after almost half a year with discussion and documents. They can see the reports, that shows all the benefits of open standards and that the only pro EOOXML is Microsoft related of payed by Microsoft directly.
By the way...
There will be an election for Parliament in February 2009 at the latest. This could give us hope, because there probably will be a political shift (from right to left). Another government is realistic. So we hope that the current opposition will remember what they promised today.

The election on Ecma 376 for ISO adoption is very important. I think that the result of this will end up having huge impact on the final result.

They couldn't make up their minds :-(

I have been reporting from the struggle about open standards in the Danish Parliament for some time now. And it seems that I will be doing this for some time in the future too.

Today the Parliament agreed to ....not to agree !

Well, actually the agreed on implementing both ODF and EOOXML as open standards in the public sector from January 1th. 2008. Excacly what the Minister of Science and Technology proposed.


There will be a two year review periode for Microsoft to prove that EOOXML is open enough. This is exactly what we have been arguing about for the last several months. Openness. Or the lack of it. Microsoft MUST prove that

  1. other vendors can and will use EOOXML
  2. EOOXML can be used on other platforms that Microsoft Windows.
This is not what I expected. I thought that the politicians could make up their minds, but this will give Microsoft an enormous advantage. There is no guaranty, that the politicians will take us serious in two years from now. If they will, why didn't they now ?

I'll come up with further information later.

20 June 2007

Integrating OpenOffice.org in Lotus Notes ...

One of the objections from Microsoft, against ODF as a single document standard, isthat ODF doesn't support what they call smart fields for data transmission and calculations. Well, we know that this is just another lie from the Microsoft FUD machine. We, from the Danish community made a very clear complaint to the Parliament about this.

Now is one of the first proves on the way from a Scandinavian software company: Symfoni Software.

Next release of Symfoni eOffice is planned in June 2007 and here you will see one of the first implementations of complete integration of ODF in a Notes based document management system.

ODF support will be a native part of other applications from Symfoni in the future, e.g. a quality management system, called QMS.

This is the prove of the fact, that ODF can easily be integrated in other applications like Notes based applications.

The product

EOffice is a Lotus Notes based collaboration platform, witch gives you the opportunity to work together on correspondence and documents in the center, and work from you customer database, employee database or whatever. Create documents and store them in a centralized container and still keep track of your work.

I'll come up with some screen shots as soon as possible.

The company
The company I work for is Symfoni Software.

http://www.symfonisoftware.com Symfoni is a Scandinavian IBM Business Partner and we are working with Lotus Notes/IBM Rational development and education. One of our standard Lotus Notes products is eOffice.

19 June 2007

The members are .....(not existing)

I just checked the only Danish member of the organization ISC: Daneware. Funny enough, the only company by that name is .....British. Of cause it's a Microsoft business partner.

I wonder how they collect the annual fee if they don't know where the members are ?

It's fake (or how low can you go ?)

Hey, what do you do, if you are a large company struggling against NGOs in a political fight ?

You start your own organization and claims that it's independent, open and democratic. This way you can make it look like you have wide support. Now you are not alone anymore. You have this 'friend' that you can ask for favors. The puppet will do exactly what you tell him to do. Now you only need an office on an expensive address.

Then you send letters (from this organization) to relevant political institutions about whatever you want to say, and they will believe it's from someone important.

Ref.: http://www.softwarechoice.org

18 June 2007

Rain, work and reading a book

After a week with 28 degrees celcius we had quite a shock this weekend. 40 mm. of rain in 12 hours. The drain from my roof was stuck, so I had to go outside to clean it, at the most dreadful time. It took me about 5 minutes to solve the problem, but when I came inside, I was wet all the way in to my underpants.

Well, then I could just as well do something useful. I got the objection on Ecma 376 to the Danish ISO standard committee in Denmark done. I have send it to a few others for review and comments. Nice to get things done in good time for once. Deadline is July 2th.

Finished a book I started long ago:"The 7 habits of highly effective people" by Stephen R. Covey. I think it's 3 months since I started reading it. I'm not much of a reader.

Never mind, it was a good alternative to my wifes book "Advanced biochemistry" and similar subjects on the shelf.

16 June 2007

Youngsters in rock

My son Christian aged 14, made this movie from some pictures taken on June 8th. 2007.

It's wonderful to see that young people having a good time.

15 June 2007

I was thinking ...

For a long time, I have wondered why the Minister of Science and Technology and the National IT- and Tele Agency is so happy about Microsoft. Now the Minister of Finance has joined the list of Microsoft supporters.

Do they have a secret shareholder account or something ? I don't think so. I don't hope so.

What about other 'public' people. How can it be ? What is the secret connection between the Danish Government and Microsoft ?

Rumors says that there is a secret agreement between the Government and Microsoft about the Danish Microsoft development department in Vedbaek. This is the largest development department outside America. More than 1.400 jobs and they are expanding every year. Can this has something to do with it ?

Perhaps. But Microsoft must know, that a 'unwritten' agreement will not hold longer than the Government. If and when we get a shift (witch is expected at the next election), the connection or agreement will no longer be valid. OK then, Microsoft might be passed the troubles for now, but what about next time they are in trouble? A new government will probably be with Socialdemokratiet (Labour) in charge and one or two additional minor parties along. A government like this will not be so friendly to Microsoft in the future.

Do we have to wait for a new government ?

Yes, I'm afraid so. The current leaders are locked up with some very oldfashioned ways of thinking or some old agreements.

What is the background for this situation ?

I don't know. But I do have a suggestion. I would very much like comments on this:

Many years ago the local governments in Denmark created something called 'Kommunedata'. We are back in the very early days of computing. Later on, this data central was considered illegal, because private enterprise should have a chance to compete. Today it's illigal for local governments and other public agencies to create anything like an enterprise. Obviously because public tax money could help supporting low prices and thereby create unfair competition. It was decided that 'Kommunedata' should be sold away from the local governments in 2012 at the latest. To prepare this, the company was called KMD and was changed into a private limited company, owned by the local governments through an organization. KMD is now being prepared to become a real company. They have to present the account report every year and as we all know: A better result will give a better price on sale eventually. So KMD was asked to make a revenue.

Now comes the best part...

KMD has always been very kind to Microsoft. Four years ago KMD was announced Advanced Business Partner. I remember the press announcement from then, but today you can't find anything about this on KMD website, but if you ask Microsoft, you can find KMD on the list of partners.

When KMD has send so called 'IT-advisers' or 'experts' to the local governments, they are probably considered as friends. "They are payed by us" the local IT-managers must think. But did they know, that the advisers actually had a Microsoft budget ? That they have been partly payed by Microsoft ?

The agreement made just a few days ago by the Minister of Finance has nine possible 'resellers'. KMD is one of the nine.

Here is my point:
If OpenOffice.org becomes too popular because of B 103, KMD will lose the marketplace. KMD is very friendly to Microsoft and did NOT try to keep up with time, and investigate FOSS at all. Not even OpenOffice.org, when customers asked for it two years ago. So if OpenOffice.org and ODF is getting popular, KMD will lose value. Estimated price now is 20 billion Danish kroner but it could easily be halved if things work out wrong. This is money that the local governments would like to get their fingers on. And if they lose half of it, they might be a little disappointed. Don't you think ?

KMD http://www.kmd.dk

13 June 2007

Minister of Finance signs agreement with Microsoft

The Minister of Finance has signed a three year Enterprise Agreement (EA) contract with Microsoft, that covers all 'of the shelf products' from Microsoft. It's very unusual that the Ministry signs this kind of contract directly because Denmark has a special office for that purpose, called National Procurement Ltd. - Denmark ski .

The agreement is considered a direct attack from the Government against the ongoing process in the Parliament on implementing B 103. Remember that the Danish Government is actually not that happy about the original resolution.

With this agreement, the Ministry of Finance is actually becoming a Microsoft reseller.

Sorry, this was a very quick post, but I'm in a hurry for a meeting. I'll keep you up to date with information later tonight or tomorrow.

12 June 2007

I must get to it

The OOXML ballot is coming close.
Here in Denmark, there is a hearing going on now. The deadline is July 2nd. Here e it is a committee under DS (Dansih Standards). I already received the standard form from DS to submit my objections. Believe it or not, it's a spreadsheet. guess what file format ?

I have spend some time researching and planning my approach to this. I have received a lot of good ideas from all kinds of communities over the last few month, while I was working on the case in the Parliament.

Yes, that's go to e my recipe for a good objection. What do you think ?

Make sure to make your contribution to the ballot on time in your country. Every objection is important.

11 June 2007

OpenOffice.org 2.2.1 has been approved

The QA team has approved the current release candidate as ready to go. So we can expect the software to be released tomorrow Tuesday June 12th.

This is a version with bugfixes alone. You will not find any improved functionality or new features here. Next release is planed for September 4th and will be numbered 2.3. New features (among many others) will be implementing of a new chart in Calc spreadsheet and a new reporting tool in Base.

Congratulations to all teams.

10 June 2007

Broadcast on BBC

Broadcast in the UK today is a remarkable 20 minute round up of the thriving state of global open source. The principle themes are extreme innovation (See Mark Shuttleworth interview and some examples), choice, many eyes gives more security, modular approaches, easy information flow, open bug tracking, and the great successes of Open Office, citing hundreds of thousands of users.

Oh, and one other thing. It's Free.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/video_and_audio/default.stm (English)

(Scan down page and look for ‘Click’, and the slightly curious headline ‘Is Web 2.0 an improved version of the web or just a marketing term?’)

Article balance:
Noteworthy is the complete deafening silence from Microsoft & Apple. Being the BBC, it is almost certain both companies would have been asked to contribute to ensure balance.

You will smile from ear to ear to hear this. Feel free to pass it on.

I got this from Chris Clark. Thanks Chris for the information. Happy to see that good old BBC is still up to date.

08 June 2007

I was just listening to a comedy show

Well, actually it was an interview by a jounalist from Computerworld, Kurt Westh Nielsen. Be carefull, this is a one hour long mp3 file (45 Mb). He was supposed to make an interview with Stephen McGibbon from Microsoft, but it sounds more like a monolog. Stephen is talking without any interuption from the journalist, and when Stephen is out of words, Kurt will help him going again.

It all explodes when Kurt asks Stephen why the ODF support from Microsoft has to come from plugins developed by someone else. Why don't Microsoft incorporate native support for ODF ? Kurt said:"I am a Microsoft Office user. As a user, I don't understand why I can't open a document from OpenOffice.org". The answer from Stephen is a very long description of how to download and install the plug-in from SourceForge.

Kurt repeats: "I, as a normal user don't understand why the support don't come from the Office application. Why do I have to do all this installation stuff ?". Stephen answers:"Ohh, native support ? Our customers don't require native suppoert. We supply our customers with what they require, but they didn't ask for native support for ODF !".

Kurt asks the same question about five or six times.

Hey Stephen, wake up !

The guy is sitting no more than a microphone away from you, and he's asking for ODF support. And you are telling him, that you customers are not asking for ODF support ?

This is making a fool out of him.

And what is the Danish Parliament saying ? Asking for native ODF support ?

To me it sounds like a request from one of your customers mr. McGibbon.

But you are making a fool of your customers, just as you used to do, in the commercial where you made a grin out of customers by dressing them up as dinosaurs.

Stephen, I think you are underestimating your customers.

Solveig Haugland on the new Chart module

Solveig has made a brief introduction to the upcoming new chart module in Clac spreadsheet. Look at this blogpost. Remember to see the reference she made on this occation.

What should we call this ?

Some time ago I was criticized for using the expression Format war. I apologize if anyone was offended by that. I know that a lot of people actually live in parts of the world where war is a sad part of your lives. Sorry.

On the other hand, what's going on here in Denmark at the moment, more and more battles, fights and dirty discussions are going on. One of the Computer magazines made a short summary yesterday, claiming that Microsoft is about to win or at least that the battle is approximately equal. How can you measure if a discussion is being equal, when the outcome is still unknown ?

In the article is mentioned that Simon Phipps earlier said that it is understandable if the Parliament chooses dual standards. This, despite that Simon has made a very clear rejection of this interpretation of an earlier interview. The same article claims that the Danish UNIX User Group (DKUUG) is moving towards accepting dual standards. The user group has arranged a demonstration and comparison of the conversion tools, with representatives from both Microsoft and Sun. DKUUG is about to deny their support to dual standards. The presentation was a way to demonstrate how complicated things will be, if we implement dual standards. The article also gives credit to Microsoft for accepting ODF as a American National Standards Institutes (ANSI) standard. Yearh right ! Hi's the nice boy in the class, isn't he ? Prince Charming, we call him. As soon as the teacher turns his back, Microsoft will start teasing again. Taking things out of a context is one of the most popular arms.

Okay, I admit it. Microsoft is not the only one to throw mud. Sun, Novell and IBM can do pretty good as well.

Now the Danish IT-news has begun to make short summaries in English (e.g. http://www.computerworld.dk/art/39748 ). Funny development, because this has never happened before.

Call it a war, battle or fight. Call it what you like. I call it dirty and unnecessary.

07 June 2007

Alternative operating system

Just came across this specification of a new and very useful operating system. By the way, Das is Danish for a toilet.

Scientist wonders ...

Professor Peter Møllgaard from Copenhagen Business School is wondering why the National IT- and Tele Agency is recommending dual standards. As he says: "Nobody else than Microsoft has an interest in dual standards".

Peter Møllgaard has just released a report about the competitive impacts of EOOXML (Microsoft) and ODF (FOSS). The only logical reason, as Peter says, must be the fear of the unknown. Microsoft FUD machine has been rolling for some time now.

I have another possible reason, but that I must keep for my self. -Advise from my solicitor.

Reference Version2 (Danish)

Decision is expected soon

The committee under the Parliament had a meeting yesterday. Guests speakers was:

  • Jørgen Bardenfleth, Microsoft
  • Mogens Kühn Pedersen, professor at Copenhagen Business School
  • Representatives from Rambøll Management
The Parties Dansk Folkeparti (Morten Messerschmidt) and Socialdemokratiet (Sophie Hæstorp Andersen) feels that they are getting closer to a final decision. The Minister of Science and Technology Helge Sander (Venstre) needs a decision to work with. Start of implementation of resolution B 103 must be at the beginning of 2008.

Reference: Computerworld (Danish)

06 June 2007

Counting votes ...

While we are waiting...

This is the situation in the Parliament:

Venstre (liberal)51Government. Suggest dual standards
Konservative18Government. Probably pro dual standards together with the Minister
Socialdemokratiet (Labour)47Pro single standard ODF
Radikale16Pro single standard ODF
Dansk Folkeparti23Pro single standard ODF
Socialistisk Folkeparti11Pro single standard ODF
Enhedslisten6Pro single standard ODF
Fólkaflokkurin, Tjóðveldisflokkurin, Inuit Ataqatigiit and Siumut4Faroe Islands and Greenland - Will probably abstain
Stand-alone Members3Unknown

Four members from Faroe Islands and Greenland will probably abstain from voting. They will only use their vote in matters regarding their home lands.

So 103 members is pro single format ODF. 69 votes is recommending dual standards. A few votes are unknown.

Will this automatically give us a single standard implementation ?

Unfortunately not.

The case is, that the Minister of Science and Technology has already proposed a plan for implementing dual standards (EOOXML and ODF). It's his job to suggest the implementation of Resolution B 103 and the Parliament will accept this, unless something is absolutely wrong. This is what we are trying to convince them about right now. There has already been a meeting, where the Minister asked the Members to accept his proposal, but they didn't. They postponed the decision. The Members are asking questions to the Minister and the Minister must answer these questions. He must answer correctly. He will do what he can, to avoid saying anything that is not the truth. If he did, it could cost him the position and in a serious case: the government.

What might happen next ?

Scenario 1: The Minister will stick to dual standards and force it. This will cost him some bargains later on. But if this cause is important to him, he might want to do it.
Scenario 2: The Minister will count votes (like I did) and see that forcing dual standards could be dangerous form him at a later time.
Scenario 3: This issue will end up in a major bargain between several parties and the votes will be 'sold' for votes on other (and more important/understandable) matters.

No, I don't want to make a bet on this at this time.

Change in media coverage

One positive thing that has happened over the last week or so, is that the debate has moved from the internet based IT-news to the printed press. The newspaper Børsen is covering the debate on print now. Other papers are following as well.

Today I gave an interview to another business paper called Erhversbladet. This is also a printed newspaper. I think it's very good that we can get into other media than dedicated IT-news. The question is, if it's too late now. I don't know when the final decision is made in th Parliament, but we still have a job to do regarding the ISO process.

Report on competitive issues published

The organization OSL (The Danish Open Source Business Association) has published a new report. The report was developed by Professor Peter Møllgaard, Copenhagen Business School and managing director Claus Kastberg Nielsen, Copenhagen Economics. Both authors must be respected for their knowledge and work.

The report analyzes the competitive situation regarding standards, but due to the short time scope, it is not giving any concrete figures or calculations. The conclusion in this report is clear: Recommending two dual standards will leave Microsoft in a marked leading position forever. Because Microsoft has the absolute leading position on office applications now, they will continue to lock-in customers to Microsoft Office and other Microsoft applications.

This is in contradiction to the 'spirit' of resolution B 103 from the Danish Parliament.

The report is in Danish: Read it here.

05 June 2007

Back from the country side

I just came back from a nice long weekend on the country side. My family and I have spend the last four days in the family cottage on the west coast (Map). Nice to stay off-line for several days. But revenge came, when I had the first look at my inbox when I came home: 165 new mails.

Well, after a couple of hours sorting and reading, I started answering some of them.

I came to my knowledge that IBM passed on the mini hearing tomorrow. Instead, they have asked professor Mogens Kuhn Pedersen from Copenhagen Business School to present the ODF side. Mogens is up tp date with all relevant information and he is, by the way a resource on this area. He is chairman for the U-34 committee under DS (http://www.ds.dk/3537).

I think it's very wise to ask the professor to do this presentation.