Lodahl's blog: 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007

31 May 2007

Inivation and budgets

The current plan for implementation of open document standard in the public sector has, as I see it, some very serious problems. In this case I don't care if we do a dual standard implementation or not.

The political decision makers (Members of the Parliament) is asking for an overview of the economical impact from such a decision. I say: You can't have it. Noone on the Earth it able to make a bullet proof calculation. And we just have to learn to live with that.

Inovation doesn't com from one year budgets. And thats actually what the Parmiament is asking for here. We don't know what will happen. But what we can do, is to use our minds and brains and decide if this is a good idea or not. And then belive in it. If we don't belive in it, it won't be a success.

How do you think the bio-medical industry is doing inovation ? Do you think that the scientifc research is being done on one year budgets ? I say no. Inovation is about taking a chance or maybe taking several chances. If we are lucky, we will get revenue from one out of ten inovative research projects.

The implementation must be cost neutral. Ok. And how as that suposed to be possible ?
No matter if we implement one or two open standards, it will surtainly initially cost a hell lot of money. But these money will pay back over five or seven years. We agree on that. But how is society supposed to finance this unbalance in cash flow ?
The IT departments has some very limited resources and budgets. They need some kind of instrument to eliminate the unbalance. I don't know if we are talking about 41 mio, 180 mio or even 500 mio kroner. And I don't know if pay-back is five or seven years. And it doesn't actually matter at this moment. What matters is that local governments, institutes etc. can't afford to do the investment.

Another mini conference next monday :-)

On monday, June 4th. there is another mini conference at Symbion. This arrangement is about plug-ins and converters. Arranged by DKUUG, SSLUG and KLID together with Microsoft and SUN Microsystems.

Time: Manday June 4th. 2007 14:00-18:00
Place: Symbion, Fruebjergvej 3, 2100 Kbh Ø. (see Map here)

14:00-14:30 Intro about ODF standard
Keld Simonsen, DKUUG, member of ISO SC34

14:30-15:15 Converter filter from SUN for Microsoft office incl. demo
Malte Timmermann, Technical Architect for StarOffice/OpenOffice.org, Sun Hamburg

15:30-15:45 Mirosofts intentions with the ODF standard
Jasper Hedegaard Bojsen, Government Strategy Manager, Microsoft Danmark

15:45-16:00 Pause, coffee and cake

16:00-16:45 ODF converter - implementation and demo
Wolfgang Keber, Senior consultant, Dialogika, Tyskland

16:45-17:15 Testresults ODF converter
Axel Bojer, leader of the Norwegian OpenOffice.org translation group

17:15-17:30 Questions, summary and closing words
Keld Simonsen

30 May 2007

Mini conference in Copenhagen

Tomorrow evening I will participate in a small conference about open source software in the public sector. The conference is arranged by DKUUG and it takes place at Symbion. The conference will be a discussion and it will be introduced by Peter Timm, who is project manager at Nationalt Videnscenter for Software (National Knowledge Center for Software) http://www.oio.dk/software/videnscenter.

I am looking forward to this discussion because I hope to get some further information about the strategies in the public sector.

The discussion will begin at 19:00. Free access.

29 May 2007

Alternative Freedom

I just watched the film Alternative Freedom http://alternativefreedom.org by TWILA and SHAUN on DR2. Quite an interesting film right now, in the middle of the discussion on open standards.

Maybe the film actually won't help us. I think that the film is a little bit too much 'America'. A similar film produced by Europeans, would probably show things a little different. The good thing is that most Europeans are used to see this kind of American crap. Not that I disagree with the ideas behind GNU General Public License and Creative Commons, but I don't think that the arguments in the film reached the European audience.

Anyway, I hope that as many people as possible has seen this film tonight.

28 May 2007

Analyzing the situation

Well, you never know with politics...

I'm a little bit worried about the result of the debate in the Parliament. Not because we didn't do a good job. And not that I don't think Kim Østrup will do a good job on June 6th.

But because its politics !

The MP's don't always vote as we expect them to. The reason is, that the votings are not individually decided. Bargains are made in the corridors between the meetings.

I'll vote for you if you'll vote for me.
Thats the way it works in the Danish Parliament.

This case is not a case that can put the government under pressure, because the public will never understand the case. It would be much easier if we were talking about pension age or tax rates. People can understand that. So if the Minister of Science and Technology stands, he will be able to hold his position and do the dual standard implementation. Well, it will cost him later on, because he will be in debt to the supporting parties, but anyway - it can happen.

Its summer. Official summer holidays in the Parliament begins on June 1th. The hearing is on June 6th. So the members are in a hurry, they are already late. Experience says, that the case will not be decided with great wisdom but with one foot already on the beach.

The good thing is, that the original resolution was submitted by Morten Messerschmidt from Dansk Folkeparti (DF). DF could be one of the parties that would sell the case for something else. But because the resolution was proposed by DF in the first place, they might want to call it 'important'.

I expect a decision on June 6th. or just a few days later.

New chart integrated in OpenOffice.org 2.3

The new chart module is now being integrated into OpenOffice.org 2.3. You can find a developer snapshot here: http://ftp.linux.cz/pub/localization/OpenOffice.org/devel/680/SRC680_m213/Build-1/

Rather interesting to see the the new charting system as a part of the new version.

27 May 2007


OOoCon2007 in Barcelona
John McCreesh has persuaded me to come to OOoCON2007 in Barcelona. He wants me to talk about my experiences with the political situation with the Danish Parliament and the Minister of Science and Technology.

I have submitted my proposal to the conference committee and now we'll see if they want to see me.

I can't pay for the jurney my self. I have a full time job and I spend all my spare time on OpenOffice.org. Of cause I'll try to raise some funds in Denmark.

Things escalated today

Suddenly my problems escalated today. Well, not the problem, but more the support from back office. I think I'we received about 25 mails today, with useful information. I will read all these mails tomorrow and then I will write a letter to the Members of the Parliament.

Thanks to Mathias Bauer, Charles-H Schultz and Louis for the support so far.
Thanks to Sophie Gautier for the information on the French Parliament and Marko Grönross for information about Finnish Ministry of Justice.

I hope to meet you all some day and tell you that we won the battle. But I can't promise anything.

Tonight I found out why I'm doing this: It feels fantastic to get so many mails from people I'we never met. People that cares.

I also have to find out how to use the press more actively. I guess that's one of my weak areas.

25 May 2007

Question to the Minister

The Minister of Science and technology Helge Sander was asked a question today. The question came from the Parliament and the Minister MUST answer and the answer MUST be correct. Otherwise the whole government could get into serious problems.

Okay now. The question was about the Ramboell reports. There was some confusion about the background data, the assumptions and parameters.

The Minister answered that all background data was given in the report and that all calculations can be reproduced from these data.

It's very interesting if anyone can prove otherwise. I'm sure there is a lot of people trying.

Mini hearing on June 6th.

On June 6th. there will be a so called mini hearing at the committee (in the Parliament).
Participants from each side will be
* IBM (represented by Kim Østrup)
* Microsoft (represented by Jørgen Bardenfleth).

I don't know if this is an open hearing or a closed meeting. I fear that it will happen behind closed doors.

I expect a decision shortly after.

24 May 2007

Additional information

When I got home from the city yesterday afternoon, I has a few phonecalls with the press.

This morning I had a very interesting conversation with the IT-manager Lars Roark in one of the cities around Copenhagen (City of Roedovre).

City of Roedovre did some analyzes earlier on the issue converting documents. The conclusions are very clear; that the parameters in the economical consequences are totally wrong. Lars also point out several mistakes in the reports from Ramboell Management.

Today Lars published some details from the report here. This report is published by the organization Local Government Denmark.

This issue is very interesting right now, because this was exactly what I discussed with the members of the Parliament yesterday. Members of The Parliament are afraid that a swift to ODF will cost a lot of time (=money).

But now it seems that the prize is not nearly as high as discussed in the reports. The same reports mentioned by the way, that the parameters time used for conversion makes the calculations in the reports extremely sensitive.

23 May 2007

At the Parliament today

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.)

21 May 2007

How much IS 6000 pages ?

Photo by Pavel JanikThe EOOXML specification is 6000 pages. I got the pdf-version and that seems like a lot if information. But how much is it ?

Take a look at this blogpost by Pavel Janik. Remember to see all the pictures.

Of some reason I'll post this post under Fun.

20 May 2007


Today I didn't do much work on the computer. The last few days has been quite intensive.

So today I thought I should take a day of. The garden needed someone to attend to it. I got the hedge trimmed. But when I wanted to move the lawn, I couldn't start the lawn mover. I must see to that tomorrow when the shops open again. I hope it's just the sparking plug. If it is, I can fix it my self. Otherwise I need someone to see to it.

It was really nice to get out and do something else than thinking. Pure therapy, except that my shoulders and my back hurts...

I have been working on my speak for a couple of days now. I think I have received about a hundred mails with suggestions for the speak. But unfortunately I can't take all the good subjects into my speak. I have 15 minutes with the committee and I must focus on one or two subjects. I don't want to talk about the economical consequences because everybody is talking about that at the moment. So I think I'll talk about something else. Openness. Yes that will be my keyword. Try to have a look at this report.

Simon Phipps's : Message to Denmark...

Simon Phipps writes on his blog about the situation in Denmark:

18 May 2007

Just got a phone call

I just got a phone call from the Danish Parliament.

Next Wednesday I'll be facing the committee for science and technology in a hearing about open standards in the public administration in Denmark.

Wish me luck.

16 May 2007

Where is the trade unions ?

The debate on standards in Denmark has been dominated by IT-companies, organizations and private persons. Where is the trade unions ? The only trade union with an oppinion seems to be PROSA (Association of Computer Professionals) http://www.prosa.dk, but again this is IT people.

Normally we see the trade unions as oppinion makers, but in this case we have seen almost nothing from that side. Why ?

Openness should obviously be in the interest of the unions. And it's their members, who will be workong with the standards in the future.


All together 20 comments has been submitted from organizations, companies and private persons:

Kommentar Christian Nobel

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar CVU Øresund

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar Dannerseminariet

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar DKUUG

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar FreeBSD

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar Fællesskabet bag OpenOffice.dk i DK

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar Gøtze Consulting

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar IBM

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar IT-politisk forening

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar Jan Flodin

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar Microsoft 1

Single standard: OOXML

Kommentar Microsoft 2

Single standard: OOXML

Kommentar Microsoft 3

Single standard: OOXML

Kommentar Microsoft 4

Single standard: OOXML

Kommentar Nicholas Colding - Holbæk

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar OSL

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar Peter Toft

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar PROSA

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar Rødovre Kommune

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar SSLUG

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar Steffen Laursen

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar Sun

Single standard: ODF

Kommentar Thomas Poulsen

Single standard: ODF

15 May 2007

I'll try to talk the case

The implementation of B 103 is discussed in a committee in the Parliament. Today I have formally asked for permission to stand up in the committee to explain ...

  1. certain incorrect information that has previously been given to the committee
  2. how the Community behind OpenOffice.org (and ODF) works, and how Denmark can influence the process in the future.
It is my hope that I can get a 15 minutes audience in the near future, so I can represent OpenOffice.org in the Parliament. It is not enough to write blogposts and participate in debates on the Internet anymore.

I know it's a long shot, but if I don't try, I don't know if it is possible.

14 May 2007

Short translation of my reply

First I would like to note that the very short hearing peiode meens, that we at OpenOffice.org haven't had the opportunity to analyze the two reports.

*Respond to "Økonomiske konsekvensvurderinger vedr. åbne standarder"
*Value to society
*About standards in general
*First report: Conversion of old documents
*Conditions out of scope
*Contact information

The first report "Økonomisk konsekvensvurdering af ODF som entydigt obligatorisk dokumentformat" has a lack of information and is so uncertain and unacurate that the report should be removed from the debate and shouldn't be part of the decision.

The second report "Økonomisk konsekvensvurdering af anvendelse af obligatoriske, åbne standarder for software i den offentlige sektor" is using conditions that is out of scope according to resolution B 103. EOOXML can't be implemented as a document standard unless the Parliament changes the resolution. Untill then, this report should be removed from the debate and shouldn't be part of the decision.

What ? (UPDATE)

Tree days of work...
Complete overview of all responses in the hearing: http://www.oio.dk/standarder?o=9b1af78d25d35b00844474af28280d6e

As you know from my previous blogposts there has been two reports in the past week. Both reports from Rambøll Management tries to cover the economic consequences in case of one and two document standards. Se the reports here: http://www.oio.dk/standarder?o=da4dcd4e27ef86695e8d082b16781c15

And as we live in a democratic country, these reports is open for a tree days hearing. It's not a spelling mistake this time. Tree days was what we had to read, analyze and answer.

My respond to the hearing on behalf of the Community OpenOffice.org i Denmark

Hearing respond from John Gøtze.

The Danish Open Source Business Association has also responded. That respond has not yet been published, but there is a short article about it on Version2 http://www.version2.dk/artikel/2465

It seems that the reports is full of fauls and miscalculations. This is supposed to be documents ment to be used in the Parliament to make a decision. I hope the MP's gets some better and more accurate documents too.

(Sorry, most of the work is in danish)

11 May 2007

How come ?

Why ?

Please tell me why The Prime Minister Ander Fogh Rasmussen and Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Helge Sander is so happy about Microsoft?

Untill some one explains this to me, I'll select one of these reasons:

  1. In my studies over the last many years, I have noticed some very scarring facts about decisions in IT-organizations. When we talk about IT you would expect the decisions to be made in IT-department. Or at least in conjunction with the IT-department. But I have often seen, that the management level overrules IT, simply because they are afraid of changing the every-day work. Afraid that they, the people at the absolute highest level, will fail.
  2. In 2002 Microsoft bought the Danish IT-company called 'Navision'. ERP etc., now called Microsoft Dynamics a company in Vedbæk, just a few miles north of Copenhagen. Today there is about 1.400 employees and Dynamics in Vedbæk is the largest Microsoft development center outside the US. In February 2005 Bill Gates visited Copenhagen and at a meeting with The Prime Minister and The Minister of Science, Bill Gates threatened to take development 'home' (to the States), if the Danish government became too hostile to Microsoft. This is about the same time, where Europe began to find out what was going on in State of Massachusetts.
    My guess is that some promises was made at the meeting.
Which explanation should I pick Pick ?
In a world without borders; do we really need Office(TM), Windows(r) and Gates(c) ?
Sorry, I couldn't help telling this little joke ;-)

It's not THAT rotten

John Gøtze was so kind to refer to my blog. His subject is "Something IS rotten in the State of Denmark".

I must say that I don't agree with John this time.

Ok I agree that something is rotten in the Ministry, but the the PM's didn't accept the proposal as is.

Remember the background for the case. B 103 was NOT a proposal from the Minister. It came from the PM's. The Minister was forced to accept it because of the political situation in the Parliament.

The implementation plan from the Minister opens this 'back door' for Microsoft, but the PM's didn't just eat it. The implementation plan was NOT approved by the Parliament. Not for now anyway.

So things isn't that rotten anyway.

Byt the way, my name is Lodahl not Lohdal ;-)

10 May 2007

No money ?

The Minister is looking for institutions in Denmark who would be willing to participate in a "study and pilot project". Unfortunately he can't find any volunteers. Guess why. The institutions has to pay for it them selves.

The result will finally be (my guess) that some institutions will be pointed out by the Minister. What impact do you think motivation will have, when the participants don't really want to be there ?

If we are lucky the final result will be useless. But I think that the result will show wrong figures instead of actually reveal the truth.

Denmark is about to decide if we should go with two or only one standard for document exchange in the public. The implementation will cost quite a lot of money, but it is expected to pay back over years. Thats what's called an investment. According to the two reports from the Minister of Science, we are talking about 180 million danish kroner.

Normally you would make some inquiries before you invest money. You know, find out about the risk, find if others had good or bad experience and so on.

"No !" says the Minister. "We can not afford to pay for inquiries".

The Minister is under pressure

The Minister is under pressure, thats for sure !
Yesterday, there was a meeting in the parliament. It was meant to be the final decision on dual standards in Denmark. But "NO" said the members: "We are not ready to make that decision yet".

Just about 20 hours before the meeting began, the members received two reports about the economical consequences of the decision. Both reports was delivered to the Minister about a month ago, so why did he hold the reports back until the day before the meeting ? It seems like a suicide to me.

09 May 2007

Danish decision postponed

The Parliament did NOT decide about one or two standards today.

Doubt and uncertainness about all the details made the Parliament to postpone the decision until later this year. There will be another hearing about the specific problem about having one or two standards.

The hearing will take place just after the summer holidays because the final decision must be taken before end of 2007.

The MPs are now under pressure by their own decision about implementing open standards from beginning of 2008.

At the same time the Ministry will start working on pilot projects that will cover what problems will occur when choosing double standards.

I think it's very positive, that the Parliament didn't just accept the proposal from the Minister of Science Helge Sander. To me it shows that all our letters and e-mail actually made a difference.

08 May 2007

More reports to read

Today the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation released another two reports regarding the costs (economic consequences) of implementing two standards (ODF and EOOXML) in stead of one (ODF).

The conclusion is, that a double implementation will cost DKK 41,5 mio over five years, but a single choice will cost DKK 180 mio.

The reports has been released today and I am still reading and analyzing.

Link to the reports:
http://www.oio.dk/standarder?o=da4dcd4e27ef86695e8d082b16781c15 in Danish. Sorry, no English translation.

Tomorrow there will be a meeting in the minestry and the Minister (MP Helge Sander) expects a conclusion soon.

Tonight I will probably try to get in contact with as many MP's as possible. Probably by e-mail because of the lack of time.

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