Lodahl's blog: 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007

30 August 2007

Sweden changes their mind

The Swedish standard organization SiS has just announced that the voting from last Monday has been changed: http://sis.se/pdf/OOXML0830_Final.pdf

(quick translation) Motivate to corporation decision is that SIS had information as pointing on that one of the participants in the committee had attendance in vote with more than one voice. One such situation is nots compatible with SIS regulate as imply that every participant only have one voice. Corporation hass therefore taken this decision based on the SIS regulations.

The Microsoft coup

The Microsoft coup in Sweden has had some consequences in Denmark. Sweden and Denmark are very close, and we speak almost the same language, so we read each others papers and so on.

  • One (anonymous) Danish business partner says that he was under pressure. Repeating questions about if he had submitted his yes-comments. The comments was actually given to him by Microsoft (http://www.version2.dk/artikel/3759).
There has been a lot of focus on this in the Danish media. I don't know if there is any connection, but there has been more interest in open source in general ? These 3 newsmedias are delivering IT-news to almost all newspapers in Denmark.

The Members of parliament is also interested in the matter, because the discussion about implementing two parallel standards, was very much connected to the expectation, that OOXML would get approved by ISO. This case might end up, that Microsoft will get kicked out because of bad behavior.

I'll keep you up to date later.

28 August 2007

Money talks - bullshit walks

So it is. The ISO approval process has been degraded to a useless rubber stamp, just like ECMA has always been. I'm thinking about the case in Sweden, where twenty new members (this is not a spelling mistake!) suddenly showed up. All of them, ready to put a YES vote. http://ffii.se/pr/2007-08-27-se-ooxml-vote-en.html . How can the ISO organization accept this ? How can they sit on their fat bottoms and see to, that the ISO organization is loosing their authority ?

Is ISO corrupted ?

(The cartoon is from www.oooxml.org). Stop this comedy before it becomes a tragedy of enormously dimensions. The authority of ISO is at stake at the moment. Stop the fast track process now !

Its disgusting, outrages and out of the range of my mind.

I don't know, but I think that some of the many cases we have seen around the World (see these examples http://www.robweir.com/blog/2007/08/disenfranchisement.html by Robert Weir) shows, that Microsoft is not stepping back from any legal or illegal act to gain what they want. I remind you of my earlier post about the spoiled child (http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2007/08/what-did-microsoft-achieve.html).

27 August 2007

Article about OOXML ...

This is a very quick translation of an article in the Danish computer magazine Version2

Microsoft defeated in Danish document technical committee

Despite lots of lobbying among customers and partners, Microsoft didn't succeed in taking a Danish yes-vote to make OOXML an international ISO standard

By Torben R. Simonsen, 27. august 2007 kl. 08:50
Translation by Leif Lodahl

The technical subcommittee under Danish Standard couldn't agree on a consensus vote on the matter OOXML. OOXML is Microsofts proposal for an open document standard, that was supposed to become an international ISO standard.

The sub committee has been working all summer on clerify, if the certification from ECMA was good enough to get an ISO certificate too.

But the technical questioning has been too many, that the Danish committee couldn't accept the ECMA certificate as is.

On the meeting in the committee last friday it was up to the members to find consensus about the Danish vote, but the distance between the two camps was too large to reach a proposal to Danish Standards, who is the actually representative in ISO.

Danish Standards must find out how to vote on September 2th. How Danish Standards will vote will not be published before the meeting, so it will be on September 3rd.

But the committee could set up a delegation that will participate in the future work at ISO.

Half a victory
Oracle in Dnemark says that this is good. Oracle has the oppinion, that the overall important issue is, wether OOXML is interoperabel with the compeeting document format ODF, that is already an ISO standard. This has not yet been clarified to the committee, Oracle says. Oracle also concluedes that Dansish Standards can't post a yes-vote.

This is half a victory for open standards. The most important things forus has been, that there is not a yes-vote from Denmark, because the process has given us knowledge about several issues that hinders interoperability. The amount of issues and their character gives us no alternative to pass them on. This is an oppinion we share with the users", says the managing director from Oracle, Thomas Gergers Honorè.

The committee meets again in Danish Standards on September 28th.

26 August 2007

Interoperability or compatibility ?

The governments are expecting compatibility. But what can they expect to find in the plug-in technology ? Not compatibility, but interoperability and I think they will get disappointed.

Two words that flows around these days are interoperability and compatibility. As a non-native English, I often mixes the two words around and find myself (and others) confused in the discussion. Both words is used to way to describe the situation with two document standards. We need the two standards to be able to work together or somehow get the computer applications to accept both formats.

Is this a question of interoperability or compatibility ?


I decided to try and find out. Any comments are welcome from native English speaking readers. I really would like to know. By the way: Is these words commonly used in your every day life ?

I started to have a look at wikipedia to see if I could get a clue.

The definition of interoperability:

the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged.

This dictionary says: ability of a system (as a weapons system) to work with or use the parts or equipment of another system.

With respect to software, the term interoperability is used to describe the capability of different programs to exchange data via a common set of business procedures, and to read and write the same file formats and use the same protocols.

Okay. Interoperability is when two different things are working together in respect for each other. This sounds like a plug-in to me.

In technology, especially computing (irrespective of platform), a product is said to be backward compatible (or downward compatible) when it is able to take the place of an older product, by interoperating with other products that were designed for the older product.

Forward compatibility (sometimes confused with extensibility) is the ability of a system to accept input intended for later versions of itself. According to the dictionary it means designed to work with another device or system without modification; especially : being a computer designed to operate in the same manner and use the same software as another computer.

Okay, compatibility is when one can replace the other without any problems. This could be a filter plug-in too.

Please tell me if I'm wrong here.

Interoperability is usable in a situation, where you are expecting to convert a number of documents once, and never again. Compatibility is what you need if two standards is 'living together in harmony'.

But how is the actual situation out there ?

From my discussions with Danish politicians this summer and later on some IT guys from several municipals I will claim that the customers is expecting fully compatibility between the two standards. But what is actually happening is a few project trying to get interoperability. Non of the existing projects are expecting MS Word to use ODF format as native format and neither is the plug-in from Novell meant to use OOXML as native file format in OpenOffice.org.

When one vendor overrules an existing document standard and creates a new one for them selves, it shows us that they actually don't want compatibility. And why ? Because if we actually get there one day, the customers can actually make their own choice. By keeping the two formats away from each other, MS is keeping customers locked in with MS Office. Why is MS supporting one of the projects ? Because that way they can control the development process and either directly or indirectly make sure that development is in a slow hurry.

Compatibility will not happen as long as MS don't want it to happen. And the customers that is expecting compatibility will be disappointed, because what they might get is interoperability. Dual standards will not work.

Compatibility can only be reached with one single standard !

By the way, you should read this article by Bob Sutor about Interoperability

News from Denmark UPDATE !

It seems that the committee didn't come up with a concrete decision about what to vote. They have asked DS (Danish Standards) to send a delegation to ISO to hand over a long categorized list of comments. The list must be long and serious because it is inconsistent with a recommendation.

So, it will not be a yes !
The question is, if the delegates has the guts to put a no vote or if they will abstain from voting.

I'll try to find further information soon.

Thanks to John Gøtze for this information...

According to Danish Standards website http://www.ds.dk/3537 the result will be published on September 3th.

The committee has agreed that there is some issues that should be improved in ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML. The committee has asked DS to post these issues to ISO.
The issues will be published together with the Danish ballot as well.

My own conclusion is, that it can't be a yes vote from Denmark, because the decision includes so called issues. The question is, how strong these issues are. But I think it will be abstain. There are too many M$ partners in the committee that wouldn't accept a no.

25 August 2007

No news (is good news ?)

I expected news about the voting in the Danish TC yesterday. Sorry, bu I haven't been able to find any anyone who can tell me anything. Why ?

Probably because the TC couldn't reach consensus. This is actually not a surprise. I hope to come up with some detail over the weekend.

23 August 2007

Another trade organization said no !

Danish trade association for it, telecommunications, electronics and communication enterprises says no to OOXML as ISO standard as long as interoperability is not solved. Version2 (Danish).

The final meeting will be tomorrow Friday, where we expect the final vote from Denmark published.

22 August 2007

Danish IT Society supports OOXML as ISO

The Danish IT Society (called Dansk IT) has announced that they will support OOXML being an ISO certified standard. Source is the computer magazine Version2. This is actually no surprise, because the same society is already known as being very friendly to you-know-who. The society claims to be independent from single vendors but earlier this year they commented very positive to dual standards on one of thew reports from The National IT and Tele Agency here (in Danish).

The Society says, that they will ask for a Yes with comments because they find it very important that some of the serious faults in the specification from you-know-who are corrected.

The Danish IT Society is one of the members in S-142/U-34 technical committee under Danish Standards.

This position has already been criticized by another organization OSL (The Danish Open Source Business Association) in the same magazine. OSL is also member of the technical committee. OSL makes some kind of a fool of the Society, when they says:

You have misunderstood the rules for voting
And it is a fact, that it is possible to vote Yes with comments but in the fast-track the comment will be trashed.

The Society is also the managing institution in Denmark behind the European Computer Drivers License witch has actually become a M$ Drivers license in Denmark. Today it's not possible to take that drivers license without being tested in the use of products from you-know-who.

I don't mind that people, companies and organizations takes a stand on subjects like standards and so, but they shouldn't claim to be neutral when they are not. The society enjoys a virtual monopoly on the marked for certification and education and shouldn't use their own marked position to support another monopoly.

Bored ? ...see gullFOSS

Sometimes when I get bored, I am taking a look at gullFOSS just to see whats up. For instance take a look at this post about Notes. I think this is great news. The post takes you further to this wiki page where you can see mockups and several other interesting things.

Have a look. It's not fun, but very very interesting.

21 August 2007

IBM Lotus Notes 8

...or ND8 as we prefer to call it, was released last Friday. I've been trying it out for some time now, and I must say that it looks great. I am looking forward to go deeper into the designer client as soon as I get some time.

I have already looked at two parts:

  1. composite applications
  2. productivity tools
The ability to create composite applications will be a very strong feature some day. The problem is, that Lotus Notes is no longer a so called rapid development environment. To create composite applications, you actually must be a hardcore programmer.

And I am very happy that Lotus Notes now comes with productivity tools and support for ODF (open document format).

Some day I hope to be able to ask IBM a few questions:
  1. When can we expect Lotus Notes rich text to be native stored as ODF ?
  2. Is it possible to import ODF documents into a Notes rich text field ?
  3. Why wont IBM Lotus say, that productivity tools is actually a clone/fork of OpenOffice.org ?
    Please see my blogpost here
  4. When can expect IBM staff to use their own applications at work, e.g. product presentations and text documents ?
    I'm tired of seeing IBM staff do presentations with an application like You-know-who Powerpoint. When are you ready to take your own medicine ?
Any way: congratulations. I believe that Notes 8 will be a success.

20 August 2007

The Netherlands proposes revised procedures at ISO


The Netherlands will abstain from voting. Not because they are happy about it, but because the procedures demands an abstention. It has appeared that it is actually impossible to vote no because Microsoft continuously obstructs the work.

On this site: ISOC.nl regrets absence of Netherlands decision on OOXML
Michiel Leenaars writes:

ISOC.nl recommends that the ISO procedures - and more specific the Fast Track procedure - be adapted significantly to better deal with controversial standards like DIS 29500/Office Open XML in order for ISO to maintain relevant. This includes demanding two interoperable and independent full implementations prior to accepting a submission for a Fast Track procedure.
Michiel is member of the Dutch committee.

Let's hear from other countries about this issue.

16 August 2007

System integration made easy

This video shows that system integration is not that hard...

14 August 2007

...and what about ISO organization ?

Pieterh reflects in this blogpost, on, what impact the OOXML ballot in ISO will have on ISO as organization. It is very interesting thoughts about how ISO can be taken over by vulnerable attacks.
If Megatron can bully and buy ISO, then ISO is dead. No standard that is bought in blood is worth having, and the standards body that accepts such a controversial process is signing its own death warrant.
For more than a lifetime, ISO has been the organization to ask for a standardization if it was serious. But what happens now, if ISO is no longer creditable ? Which standard should we trust then ? The result will be, that a jungle of small organizations will try to take over the position from ISO. Lots of countries will rely more on national standardization committees and we will end up with hundreds of future standards.

13 August 2007

Comments are being moderated from now

So far I have not been hit by spam in comments. Unfortunately this is becoming a problem, and I have decided that comments should be moderated from now. I'm sorry, but thats the way it works now.

It's my policy that all serious comments will be accepted without any moderation at all, also in case you disagree with me. Only spam and inappropriate language will be rejected.

I'll try to take care of the moderation within a few hours during daytime (Europe) and as soon as possible in the morning.

I'm very sorry that this is necessary.

12 August 2007

Todos for this week

Tomorrow i'll start working after my vacation. This is my todo list for the first week or so:


  • Research on Lotus Notes/Domino 8 Beta 3 - Make a review for my colleges
  • Create a new VMWare environment with Domino/Lotus 8 and Symfoni product e-Office (for demonstration and test)
  • Create new OpenOffice.org templates for Symfoni Software
  • Implement OpenOffice.org templates (with field-to-field data exchange) in Symfoni e-office
  • Prepare a demo (new movie) with Symfoni e-Office and OpenOffice.org integration (make a draft story board)
  • Try to get an overview of my calendar appointments. Here is probably at least 20 new invitations waiting for me to consider.
  • Get a new rain water tank (The old one couldn't take the pressure yesterday). We got 80 mm rain in one hour and a new official record: 10.9 mm in one minute.
  • Do physiotherapy exercises with my son every day. He needs to exercise for about half an hour every day
  • Translation of 2.3. We still need to translate about 200 strings
  • Try to get more Danish signatures on the petition on www.noooxml.org
  • Register and analyze 98 answers from the Danish municipals. We asked them about 15 questions about OpenOffice.org and open standards


A few days ago I blogged about advertising on my blog.

In three months I have earned

A wet barbecue

Saturday evening we had invited a few friends over for dinner. The plan was to enjoy the nice weather out door in the garden. We prepared a nice steak for the barbecue. Unfortunately the weather changed around four o'clock in the afternoon and a cloudburst gave 80 mm of rain in one hour.

While my wife was preparing the salad in the kitchen, the water suddenly came up in the kitchen sink. The water was coming in the house. I had to move some things from the ground floor to the 1st. floor in the house to avoid too many damages. Panic.

We had to make the table inside, but I managed to get the barbecue started anyway.

You can see some more pictures here: http://galleri.tv2.dk/index.php/category-Vejret/id-7883763/page-1.html?forside

11 August 2007

Some statistics

The translation status for translating OpenOffice.org 2.3 is 69743 translated and approved of 69974 strings. We still need 231 strings. Unfortunately these strings are completely new and it takes several minutes for each string and I'm not sure if we are gonna make it.
The good news is, that all strings in the UI is completely finished.

So far 33251 has signed the petition on http://www.noooxml.org. Have you signed it ? If not, please sign up today. It's easy and don't worry, it's safe.

Over the last month, I had 1.017 page views and 846 visits. All together 606 people visited my blog in a month.People from Denmark and the United States are the most frequent visitors, but United Kingdom is coming up close.

10 August 2007

Certified OpenOffice.org user ?

Solveig Haugland (http://openoffice.blogs.com/openoffice/) is blogging from LinuxWorld about the lack of a certification program for OpenOffice.org.

First of all, I agree that we need a certification program for open source and OpenOffice.org. The question is, if there are customers for end-user certification ? Unfortunately I don't think so my self. I have some years of experience from Lotus Notes education. My experience is, that there is very little request for end user certification, but there is a marked for end-user education.

There is a tradition in the IT-department, that everybody should get as many certificates as possible, and I think that on the expert level and for programmers, it would be a good idea to make some kind of certification.

As I see it, there are tree levels of education:

  1. End user
  2. Expert (power users or what ever we choose to call it)
  3. Programming and integration

End users
In Europe we have something called 'PC drivers license' (http://www.ecdl.com/publisher/index.jsp). There is also a 'Junior PC drivers license' and a 'Truck certification' for experts. Unfortunately this has actually become a 'Microsoft drivers license' over the last ten years. A few years ago I tried to find sponsors to establish an alternative open source certification, but I had no luck then. Times might have changed since, and I could try again.

For end users, I think the most important thing is to provide them with a qualified education program. Whether they get a test or not, I don't find important. It will be possible use approximately the 'syllabus' from the drivers license for that purpose.

Power users
Certification it is !

I would find it natural if Sun Microsystems could provide that. Most of the content is from StarBasic anyway. We most certainly need a certification program.

Adverts on my blog

Some of you might have noticed the adverts on my blog. It started some months ago, in May I think, when one of my friends asked me why I didn't take (financial) advantage of my blog. I had already seen some American bloggers, telling stories about how their happiness was final and how they had become 'professionals'. The idea was okay, and I started to find out how it works. And at the same time I was quietly beginning to dream about quitting my job and just sit here in my garden getting richer and richer.

I got Adsense configured and I was very much aware that Adsense would not send me any money before my account exceeded USD 100. Okay, thats fair enough. It won't be long, I thought.

To the left, I have inserted a small indication of the progress in the number of visitors, but no actual numbers. Can you guess how much I've earned since I set up Adsense ?

I'll let you think about it for a while. The result will be revealed on a couple of days.

09 August 2007

Project management with open source

A few days ago I saw several blogposts about an new project management tool OpenProj (www.openproj.com). The application is released as beta on Linuxworld. Solveig Haugland wrote this post (http://openoffice.blogs.com/openoffice/2007/08/openproj-open-s.html). Bob Sutor also blogs about it here: http://www.sutor.com/newsite/blog-open/?p=1780 .

I rushed to see what this was all about, thus I am a project manager and I been looking for an alternative to 'you-know-who'.

I have tried to use GanttProject (www.ganttproject.org) for some small projects in the past. But GanttProject doesn't actually solve my needs. So I was excited to see whats in this new program. GanttProject is a Java application based on the Eclipse platform. My experience is, that there is some minor problems with the graphical interface and sometimes it's very difficult to keep control with all elements in the grahical gantt view. GanttProject has several export filters, e.g. pdf and bitmap. But there is no support for ODF in any way. I tried to download and install a new beta version today, but unfortunately it wouldn't start (some java exception or what ever).

I tried OpenProj today too. Well knowing that it's only a beta release, I was actually surprised. This application is also a java program and it loads quite fast. It seems as a much more comprehensive project management tool to me, contains both resource management and also, and this is important: Financial tracking and several reporting capabilities. Thus I found several problems in the graphical display, it was rather easy to control the items on the graphical gantt screen.

I'm looking forward to see a release in the future.

I'm just a little confused about all the different names. The application is called OpenProj but in the title bar, it's suddenly called Projity. If you ask for on-line help, you are directed to a web page with help for Project-on-demand. Well, I guess that the company is Projity and the open source software is OpenProj. And the Project-on-demand must be another program.

Why is project management tools so important ?

Managing large projects has several serious issues that all have to be dealt with. We need to keep track of all the contracts and specifications. We must be able to register and maintain project roles and resources and as the project planner, I need a planning tool that corresponds with a database with all available resources (people) and their skills. My manager needs to keep track of the economy and my customers wants to know if we're late or on time.

What can I wish of OpenProj: I want to see the use of open standards like Ical and XML/ODF. As far as I can see, the file format is actually a proprietary binary file format.

08 August 2007

It's been a good day ...

Today i'we had what I would call a good day. You know, the kind of day, where it all went on very well, and where you actually feel that you have achieved something.

Just before my summer holiday, I received a mail from a guy, who wanted to talk to me about accessibility in OpenOffice.org. I actually didn't think much about it at that time, but after the holidays are over, I've been in contact with this guy a couple of times. He wanted to know if OpenOffice.org could be used with a screen reader. He is working as a consultant at The Danish Association of the Blinds (http://www.dkblind.dk/dab)

Well, I must confess, that I didn't know much about accessibility in OpenOffice.org before, except of cause all the keyboard shortcuts. So what could I do to prepare a meeting ? I contacted the appropriate project (http://ui.openoffice.org/accessibility) and asked for help. And within just a few hours, I received a basic overview of the project and how things works. This was the first positive thing today. Thank you guys !

I went to visit David in his own home today. I didn't know for sure, but i had a clue: he is blind. He showed me how he is using his computer just as easy as I do. I was really impressed by this first demonstration of what accessibility is about - wauw. This was the second positive experience today.

I helped him to install the appropriate software (Java Access Bridge) and change the configuration in OpenOffice.org (activate AT support in OpenOffice.org: Choose menu Tools/Options/Accessibility and check “Support assistive technology tools”.).

We talked about the perspective for blind people, if they can gain access to an office application for free. David will perform a basic test, and if needed, a list of issues. Then we will make a short description in Danish for others to use. And I hope to be able to provide the The Danish Association of the Blinds with a special CD-image soon, that includes OpenOffice.org and the appropriate supplemental software pre-installed.

When I came home, I found that several other community members had joined the discussion and provided me with lots of further information about blind people, accessibility in general and perspectives in OpenOffice.org. Again a positive experience.

So, all together: It's been a good day !

Powered by ScribeFire.

07 August 2007

What did Microsoft achieve

And the rich kid cried: "I want to be ISO approved too !". He cried and cried until his parents gave up and said: "Okay then, we will buy you an ISO approval for Christmas. Now please stop crying and eat you dinner.". The rich boy stopped crying and then ate his dinner. Again he got exactly what he wanted. His father couldn't stand to hear his boy cry.

When OpenOffice.org released their second version of the open source office suite, they also submitted the file format (ODF) as as open standard to OASIS. The goal was to get official recognition and participation from other open source communities. Very soon Kword and other F/OSS projects joined the work, and also a few commercial providers like IBM and Google showed interest in this new approach.

The file format was processed in OASIS and later on submitted for ISO approval, and thus there was no competitive formats in the marked, the file format was approved. Along the way, the format was improved by new participants that added new functionality to the file format. About one hundred changes was made to the file format during the process in OASIS. The result was a very comprehensive and well formed description of a document format. Submission to ISO was just a natural 'next step'.

Nobody actually took notice of this, before a few politicians found that it would be a good idea to implement an ISO approved open standard in the public sector. Well, I'm quite sure that they didn't come up with the idea them selves. Of cause they got the interest because they where contacted by 'lobbyists' from the F/OSS communities. Anyway, they had courage enough to pick up the idea, and to make it a part of their public policy.

This was exactly what was needed to make Microsoft wake up from the Cinderella sleep. For several years they had been so sure about them selves and about their marked position, that they didn't think they would be threatened by any of their competitors. Of cause Microsoft is watching all potential competitors very closely, but this time .... suddenly there was, not one, but a whole bunch of competitors. And these competitors had accomplished something Microsoft didn't: The approval from ISO.

And the rich kid cried: "I want to be ISO approved too !". He cried and cried until his parents gave up and said: "Okay then, we will buy you an ISO approval for Christmas. Now please stop crying and eat you dinner.". The rich boy stopped crying and then ate his dinner. Again he got exactly what he wanted. His father couldn't stand to hear his boy cry.

Microsoft might or might not get the approval from ISO on September 2nd. We don't know that at the present time. But no matter if they do, it will be one of the most expensive Christmas presents ever. What Microsoft has accomplished is, that the file format in Office 2007 has been shown to the whole World as if it was the dirty laundry. It's been proved, that it's poor quality. The ISO organization might approve it, even if it's poor. The rich boys parents promised to get it for Christmas, remember, even if they has to buy the whole gift shop.

Don't you think that Microsoft would have been better of, without it ?

Somehow I think, that even if Microsoft gets the approval, we (in the communities behind ODF) will stand as the winners anyway. The price has been many wounds to the Microsoft brand and all the neighbors will always know, that the rich boy got it because he is a spoiled kid - and not because he deserves it.

05 August 2007

Back to CSV files again

I've been working with IT for about fifteen years. I remember in 1998, when I and some of my colleagues was analyzing and testing all the application (the millennium problem - remember ?). At that time, we identified 105.000 applications in the bank where I worked. More than one hundred thousand individual applications was working together - or not. That has always been one of the biggest and most expensive problems in IT. To make applications work together. Interchange data.

Some of the applications was highly integrated. But some of the applications was either old or to complex or maybe it just couldn't pay to integrate them.

I remember on several occasions, where we needed to transfer data from one application to another. This could be ad-hoc or on regular basis. We always had to use the lowest common denominator: CSV (comma separated values) - or just plain text.

It was obvious to us, that if we needed to get better data interchange, we had to find some kind of standard data structure. I guess thats what data architecture is about. Very soon we made applications based on the same basic set of coding rules and data structures. No big deal really - as long as you do it from the beginning and as long as you stick to the one standard. If one single application didn't follow the 'rules', it would ruin the completeness of the application system.

But what if we had, lets say.... two different sets of rules for code and data? We could still keep the bank open. But it would require another set of rules... for the bridge between the two sets of application systems. This sometimes happens when two banks decide two merge. But the bridging will always be a temporary thing. It's too expensive in the long run. Eventually one of the two systems will have to give up.

Two standards is not a good solution if we look at the long run. It can only be a temporary solution. CSV is too expensive.

Oh, by the way, the big problem was the 105.000 existing applications :-)

03 August 2007

Can Microsoft survive ?

Some of you might think: 'What a stupid question', but I actually doubt that Microsoft will be able to keep up with competition in the future. Well, I'm not thinking 3 or 7 years ahead, but more like ten or twenty years.

Microsoft is a very large and strong company and they will be able to survive for several years, but eventually Microsoft will disappear or at least return to be a company like any other company. The success in the past is the problem in the future: Microsoft is too big to change !

The reason is, that Microsoft is able to change their basic business model.

The traditional way to do business in IT is to develop a piece of software and sell it to as many consumers as possible. The more copies you can sell, the better your business can grow. This is the way that Microsoft has done for more than twenty years and thats the way they will try to continue for another twenty years. If the World was standing still, they would probably be able to continue without any problems, but the World is changing. The customers is asking for new software models, such as web based applications and open standards.

Microsoft is trying to keep up with these changes on applications and marketing, but the business is still the same: 'Vendor lock-in'. Do you think Microsoft asked for ISO approval of their document formats because they want to ? Do you think Microsoft is calling the same formats 'open' because they think they should be open ? Do you think Microsoft is working with open source because they think its a good idea ? No. They are doing these things (and several other things) because competitive applications and vendors is getting a little bit too close. Microsoft is loosing control. More and more customers is asking for 'openness'.

And we must give, that Microsoft is trying to make an 'open' document standard. They are actually working with open source and they might be able to develop some web based applications in the near future. The problem is, that the business model will be the same !

Microsoft is a very large company with a weird history. Originally Microsoft was established by a few guys that was lucky to be at the right place at the right time (with the right skills). First we could find MS-DOS and some years later Windows in the shops. And I agree with those who claim that these programs was very good. Yes the programming was the best seen on the marked. Bill Gates was the man, who made it possible to get Microsoft Windows pre-installed on every single computer in the whole World. The future belonged to Microsoft. Today we see a company with several hundred thousand employees all over the World. Bill Gates is out of office and there is actually nobody left in the management with imagination enough to see a new business model. Or maybe they can see it, but don't have the guts and the power to do it. And it will require both guts and power to change the behavior of so many people. To implement a completely new business model could seem as if they are saying, that the original model isn't good enough.

The customers is asking for open source and open standards. Microsoft can postpone the change for a few years, but they can't change the World. I have heard Microsoft claim, that no customers had asked for support for ODF in Microsoft Office. More and more customers will give up and find other providers.

To get back to the question: I don't think that Microsoft will exist for another ten or twenty years.

02 August 2007

Still translating

We are still working on the Danish translation of OpenOffice.org 2.3. Right now we have 545 strings that needs translation or approval. The bad thing is, that a lot of these strings are still english text, that needs to be translated into Danish. This takes a lot of time.

However, I have just installed the latest snapshot on my computer, and it was nice to see some of the new screens with Danish text.