Lodahl's blog: 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008

28 December 2007

Amusements for Christmas

Christmas time is time for relax and having a good time. Amusement together with your family and friends.

Earlier in December, I found a blog post on http://jacob-sparre.dk/ about a popular toy from Denmark: Lego. Jacob Sparre has made some fine Danish manuals and he has revealed some of his own models.

Normally you buy a box of Lego and hen follow the instructions, page by page. My own kids are getting a little too old (13 and 15 years) for Lego, but when I introduced them to this concept, they actually returned to what they were about five years ago: Amused by Lego again.

I think most people has experienced the feeling of opening a box of Lego and taking the challenge of building something beautiful or very complicated.

Imagine that you have all the Lego that has ever existed and in all colors in the World. You will never 'mis' that last piece or end up with the wrong color. You have everything, right by your right finger.

OK, this computer program doesn't replace the feeling of building your own model out of those red and blue bricks from Lego, but it can give you the feeling of creating something new.

The program is called LDRAW http://www.ldraw.org and it's open source. You can build all the models that you can imagine - and for no charge at all.

About LDraw:

LDraw™ is an open standard for LEGO CAD programs that allow the user to create virtual LEGO models and scenes. You can use it to document models you have physically built, create building instructions just like LEGO, render 3D photo realistic images of your virtual models and even make animations. The possibilities are endless. Unlike real LEGO bricks where you are limited by the number of parts and colors, in LDraw nothing is impossible.

How about this model of The Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb by Matija Puzar

See more here: http://www.ldraw.org/module-LdrawMOTM-entry-modelid-261.html

25 December 2007

Danish OpenOffice.org newsletter

The January edition of the Danish OpenOffice.org monthly newsletter has just been released. You can read the pdf version here: http://doc.oooforum.dk/Nyhed/2008Januar.pdf

Subscribe to the newsletter here: nyhedsbrev-subscribe@da.openoffice.org?subject=Tilmeldingen%20sker%20ved%20at%20sende%20denne%20besked

The newsletter is in Danish. This time you can read about these topics:

Merry Christmas
Schools in municipal of Tønder
Sweden: municipal of Allingå
ODF Internationally
* The netherlands
* Norway
* Denmark
Analysis of open standards
Version 2.3.1
Version 2.4
Tip: language packs and spellcheckers
Tip: bullets and numbering
OpenOffice.org as web application
IBM Lotus Symphony beta 3
About the newsletter

24 December 2007

Happy Christmas to you all

I know that my blogging frequency has been a little lazy the last week or so. I have been busy buying presents for my family and friends.

I wish you all a happy Christmas.

21 December 2007

ODF Alliance Newsletter

ODF Alliance Newsletter
20 December 2007

You can sign up to receive the free newsletter or download a PDF version: http://www.odfalliance.org/mail_list.php.

15 December 2007

Answer to Jesper Lund Stocholm

Thank you to Jesper Lund Stocholm for his comment on this post http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2007/12/inquirer-has-coment-on-this.html

And thank you Jesper for correcting me when I misunderstand the information from the National IT- and Tele Agency. The thing is that I didn't participate in either of the two conferences. As a unpaid volunteer, I can't join all the meetings and conferences that takes place during daytime. I have a job to take care of. This is also the reason for not being so active on the blog over the last few months. I'm sorry if this is disappointing you Jesper, but that is how it is. Unfortunately this now ends up in you criticizing me for who I am and what I don't do.

These are some of the basic rules in open source communities:

  • Don't put criticism to what people don't do, only to what they do
  • Only put criticism to the actual work, not to th persons who did it
  • respect other people even if you don't share your own opinion

I kindly ask you use another tone in the debate in the future, thanks.

The reason for the two posts on my blog http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2007/12/groklaw-denmark-pretends-msooxml-is.html and http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2007/12/inquirer-has-coment-on-this.html is that I have seen these international reflections to the situation in Denmark. The international press probably don't read Danish, so I try to keep them up to date with the situation. And yes, this is the situation as it looks from my point of view. I'm sure that someone else will talk about the same issue from other points of views.

13 December 2007

The Inquirer has a coment on this

Thanks to Mads for this link.
The Inquirer calls the Danish approach a comedy.


A comedy is what it is. The Danish parliament first agrees on implementing open standards for office documents. It ends up with open standards or stick with Microsoft. The final solution is for text documents only.

The individual authority will be able to reject following the resolution, because it must be finacial neutral. So anything that costs money is a possible reason for not implementing open standards.

My conclusion is, that the resolution isn't worth the paper.

12 December 2007

Groklaw: Denmark Pretends MSOOXML is an "Open Standard"

According to Grocklaw the Danish government is pretending that EOOXML is an open standard approved by ISO. http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071211153924324

It's true that the public authorities is about to implement open standards in the public sector and that EOOXML is one of the accepted standards.

It must be emphasized that the ISO approval (or rejection) has never been a part of the discussion in the Danish Parliament. The ISO approval is not the final and true prove weather a document format is an open standard. ISO doesn't have the final word, but the the decision will of cause have effects in Denmark as well.

The Danish decision is this:

  • ODF is an open standard (accepted)
  • EOOXML is for now accepted as an open standard, but Microsoft must prove true openness in the process before end of 2008. The Danish Competition Authority has been asked to look after this.
I have talked to a few MP's about this both last summer when the discussion was open in the Parliament but also this late autumn where there was an election for Parliament. The politicians is very much aware of this problem and Microsoft will not get a final accept if the process isn't getting more open.

10 December 2007

OpenOffice.org on school computers

The municipal of Tønder ( http://www.toender.dk ) has installed OpenOffice.org as the only office suite on all 1.500 computers in public school.

07 December 2007

And the award goes to ....

Oh - sorry. We don't have an award. Sorry, the bill will be sent to ....

Contests are fine. I might even participate myself. Its a fine way to get new contributers out of the bushes. The problem is, that a contest only takes what comes in the limited contest period. A lot of people are doing a big contribution every day. Both when a contest is running and between. What about that effort. Shouldn't that be rewarded as well ?

Sun Microsystems has announced that they will support the Sun driven open source projects with an amount of 1 million dollars.

http://www.sun.com/software/opensource/awards/index.jsp . Contest will be published within the individual projects soon. These projects are GlassFish, NetBeans, OpenJDK, OpenOffice.org, OpenSolaris and OpenSPARC.
You can find the announcement from Sun here: http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20071205005370&newsLang=en.

The contest for openOffice.org has not been published yet, bur further details is promised before the Christmas holidays. It'sinteresting to see what they will come up with this time.

I suggest that some of the money from Sun should be used to establish an international annual open source award. The award can be given to a person, organization or OS project that has contributed to open source in general or an individual project in particular.

I'm also thinking domestic. In Denmark we have had an annual event now for a decade, called LinuxForum. From 2008 the event has changed name to Open Source Days ( http://www.opensourcedays.org ) because the event isn't just Linux.

Why don't we establish a domestic open source award.

06 December 2007

Lotus Notes to OpenOffice,.org integration

I was trying to help my Norwegian colleges find out why our Lotus Notes to OpenOffice.org integration didn't work properly. I have used several hours figuring out what the problem was.

Of cause field mapping must be accurate and in this case it's also case sensitive. And of cause: all required data must be available in the Notes-document.

Hokus pokus. It works.

Here is a movie that shows how it works

04 December 2007

OOXML is defective - we have to live with it !

No !
We can't live with it.

Microsoft posted the XML based to ECMA and later on to ISO to get it approved as an international standard for documents. But the purpose is to rubber stamp Microsoft Office.

Listen to this: Microsoft made a mistake back in the nineteenhundred-and-nineties. It was just a small bug, but it still lives in Microsoft Office. Thats a long time ago, but Microsoft is guaranteeing backward compatibility with old documents.

So that bug is implemented in the International standard OOXML as a feature. So, if you want to create a document based on this standard document format, you have to know about a bug in Microsoft Office and implement that in your application. How come ? Because Microsoft says so. Backward compatibility (with old bugs) are more important than building a robust document format.

What is that bug then ?
Well, it's not one bug, but several bugs in Excel spreadsheet.

One of them is that Microsoft has a function called 'workdays'. The purpose is to calculate the number of days between two dates, except for weekends. Microsoft assumed that all people in the whole world has the same good as the Americans and that we all keep the same weekdays off ( http://www.dis29500.org/gr-113 ).

This was back in the nineties. That must be gone now. No. Microsoft says:
We agree that the implementation of WORKDAY makes assumptions as to which days of the week are weekdays versus weekends. In order to maintain backwards compatibility with the corpus of existing documents, no semantic change will be made to the function. A spreadsheet application could create a new function which would allow for specification of which days of the week are workdays.

First of all, I consider this very disrespectful to all people who doesn't share religion with the developers in Redmond. And second, note the last paragraph: It's up to you to correct a Microsoft bug in your application.

03 December 2007

That might be the reason for our struggles ...!

A research performed by one of the Danish IT newspapers Computerworld reveals one of the main problems:

  • 56% of the answering persons has never heard of open source software.
  • 38% of them answered that they have open source programs installed on their computer.
Some of the comments to the result says that there is probably people that is using open souce software without knowing that it's actually open source.
  • 25% are using open source software
  • 84% of those who are using it, knows that open source is free of charge
The research is representing 1.200 people that uses the Internet.

I think that one of the problems is, that teachers in public schools don't know about license rights and copyright law. From my point of view, all students that leaves public school should know about whats right and whats wrong and how free software can be free of charge. That's the only way to change this.

Clean ODF implementation IS realistic

Jesper Lund Stockholm has posted this comment to my blogpost about the implementation manual: http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2007/12/now-its-getting-operational.html#c8036683144354266846

- Thank you for that Jesper.

Jesper claims that according to a technical report, it's clearly not realistic to do a clean ODF implementation in the public sector.

I must say that I'm disappointed with the project in the Danish IT- and Tele Agency. From the Parliament came a clear message: use open standards for exchanging office documents. But the Agency has managed to shave the decision down to "Use open standards or Microsoft for text documents- if you find it appropriate".

To Jesper I will say: the technical report you are referring to is taken out of its context. You know that this report is written based on a decision of dual standards. A situation where we know that to kinds of documents formats will live side by side. In this scenario there will be a lot of document conversion every day - from now and forever. If the decision had been one standard only, there would only be initial conversion of a lot of documents. Later on, conversion of documents would happen only rarely.

How come it's not realistic in Denmark when it already happens in France, Norway, Brazil and many other countries ? What is it that makes it different in Denmark ?

01 December 2007

Now it's getting operational :-)

First it was strategical decision in Folketinget (the Danish parliament) in summer 2006. This summer 2007 the agreement between government and the Danish municipals was a fact. And now we are getting close to the operational level. It all should start on January 1th. 2008, where all Danish authorities must be able to receive both ODF and OOXML documents.

A few days ago the Danish IT- and Tele agency published a 'manual' for the authorities. I think the manual as it is leaves the spirit of B103 behind and leaves the authorities with a choice of 'make he easy choice' with no respect for the original purpose and spirit of the resolution.

The manual (in Danish) can be found here: http://dokumentformater.oio.dk/billedmappe-til-dokumentformat-hjemmesiden/leverancer/62451-v4j-vejledning_-_rapport_tdh.pdf

There is a two week hearing period for this paper, and I will try to put rejections and comments.

Thanks to Jesper Lund Stocholm to direct my attention to this.

Danish OpenOffice.org Newsletter

The December edition of the Danish OpenOffice.org monthly newsletter has just been released.

Read it !
Text edition: http://da.openoffice.org/servlets/ReadMsg?list=nyhedsbrev&msgNo=40
Pdf edition: http://doc.oooforum.dk/Nyhed/2007December.pdf