Lodahl's blog: 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008

31 March 2008

Norway: The chairman posts a formal protest

The chairman of the Norwegian committee ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 Steve Pepper has formally posted a complaint about the procedure. http://www.digi.no/php/art.php?id=517414

30 March 2008

Don't vote - you can only agree

The order was clear: Don't make a vote in the committee. The order came probably directly from the government that didn't want the committee to make a democratic decision.

So if no vote is made, how can the committee find a solution ? In theory only one way: To agree. But that was only a theoretically possibility. The committee couldn't agree. Of cause not.

This was a very elegant way to hands over the decision directly to Danish Standards (DS) that could do what they wanted. The voted yes as you might be aware.

The rumor says that the committee was 4 (pro) against 8 (con). But because there where never a vote, this was never taken into consideration. The committee couldn't agree and DS took over and made a decision without taking any notice of the committee.

The committee actually said no but DS said yes.

28 March 2008

Update on the Danish YES-vote

Danish Standards admits that not all Danish complaints and comments has been fulfilled in the process. But the remaining outstanding comments are not important enough to continue the NO-vote.

The basic problem is, that the committee didn't recommend anything at all to DS.


Denmark approves OOXML as a standard ?

The committee asked DS to notice, that the committee did not find consensus on the question.

Dansih Standards then changed the vote to YES !

OpenOffice.org Newsletter in Danish

The monthly Danish newsletter is released and can be downloaded here: http://doc.oooforum.dk/Nyhed/2008April.pdf

Here is my own translation of one of the articles...
Standards and free competition

by Leif Lodahl, spokesman for OpenOffice.org in Denmark

The international organization for standardization ISO is about to decide if the document format from Microsoft can be accepted as an international standard.

The problem with standards is, that there shouldn't be more than one standard covering a single subject. Microsoft has being pointing out that OOXML as the format is called, covers another subject than covered by the already approved standard ODF. And furthermore Microsoft points that more standards will increase free competition.

Think about this example: If we had two (or more) standards covering the subject power outlets. This is a very good example how free competition should take action on the product and not the standard. With the standard in common, anybody can get access to the marketplace, if only you can fulfill the standard covering that subject.


Standards secures that we can change one product with another without worries. This is called interoperability: No matter what lamp you buy, you can be sure that the plug fits in the power outlet in your home. Interoperability was one of the most important arguments when the Danish parliament decided to implement open standards for office documents in the public sector.

Interoperability creates free competition. The situation today is, that Microsoft covers about 90% of the market for office applications in Denmark. Microsoft Office is the dominating product at that means that the document format used by this product becomes a de facto standard. If we can reach full interoperability, this will cause the end user to be able to decide what program to use. So Microsoft will loose the dominant position and more and more users will select other (less expensive) programs. Microsoft will then be forced to decrease the prize for the office suite. Microsoft is not motivated to reach interoperability.

Can't we just use one of those converter plug-ins ? Yes, but that will not be interoperability but compatibility. This will be the case when we have two different standards for power outlets. If you buy a lamp that doesn't fit in your power outlet, you must also buy a converter to but in between the outlet and the lamp. A converter can translate the power to another standard but you must expect to loose some quality.

Microsoft is trying to convince us, that interoperability between ODF and OOXML can be achieved using converters and plug-ins. What they really is trying, is to make us satisfied with compatibility. Microsoft is doing that by hinder true interoperability by not use or support ODF and by pushing compatibility by using and supporting the development of plug-ins.


If we can reach true interoperability, we as consumers can make a free choise. Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org or what ever you find most appropriate. If we don't reach interoperability, but instead accepts compatibility, we will continuously be tight up with Microsoft document format OOXML– no matter if we like it or not. Simply because 90% of us will be using it before we know it.

But can't OpenOffice.org just use OOXML as well ? Yes, but Microsoft will always be ahead. Because the core purpose of the format is to be a Microsoft format (thats how it is in the spec). We will not reach free competition.

27 March 2008

Denmark will vote NO! [UPDATED]

The committee S-142/U-34 under Danish Standards could not agree to change their vote from No to Yes, so the committee has asked Danish Standards to vote
NO !

This is still unconfirmed !
Danish Standards has told the chairman (
professor at Copenhagen Business School Mogens Kühn Pedersen) to keep his mouth shut: http://www.version2.dk/artikel/6718

[Added 22:00]Clarification
The meeting in the committee was yesterday afternoon. The chairman has been ordered to keep his mouth shot and Danish Standards will say nothing until tomorrow friday.

The committee did not reach a consensus decision yesterday and has asked Danish Standards (DS) to make a conclusion. So much is clear. The question is, what exactly didn't they agree on ?

Was the question: "Should we approve the standard ?" or was it "Should we change the Danish vote ?"

A press release from Danish Standards from just after the BRM said: "All the Danish complaints has been fulfilled". This is exactly what the members couldn't agree on yesterday. A complaint has been posted to DS that a conclusion was published long before the meeting. See my earlier
blogpost http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2008/03/here-are-minutes-of-tomorrows-meeting.html

Today in the press and on discussions:
Jesper Lund Stockholm said: "Read the press release from Danish Standards: All Danish complaints has been fulfilled. Thats the prove."
Morten Kjærsgaard from The Danish Open Source Business Association (OSL) said: "Rubbish. Several items from the Danish complaints hasn't been solved. Some has just been answered to and other items has been rejected".

So it's all up to Danish Standards to decide. Just as it was on the first vote. I can guarantee you, that at least one minister has been involved in the decision.

We will just have to wait until tomorrow. I don't think DS will vote YES. This would be too dangerous for the government. If the question was: "should we change the vote", then DS will vote NO. There couldn't be consensus to change the vote. But if that wasn't the question, DS might ABSTAIN from voting.

OpenOffice.org 2.4 is released

The Danish version will be released in just a few days.

The OpenOffice.org Community is pleased to announce the release of OpenOffice.org 2.4, the latest version of the leading open source office productivity suite. OpenOffice.org 2.4 includes new features, enhancements, and bug fixes to all its core components. OpenOffice.org 2.4 is available for immediate download from http://download.openoffice.org.

New features:

Users will appreciate changes such as usability improvements in printing, and further enhancements to PDF handling (OpenOffice.org creates PDF files 'out of the box' to ISO standard). The default font is now DejaVu, which supports more languages/localisations than the previous BitStream Vera -part of a raft of localisation improvements covering languages from Hiligaynon to Quechua. Mac OS X users will appreciate the use of the native Quicktime player and spell-checker.

Writer, OpenOffice.org's word processor, now has easier selection of the language for spellchecking; users can set options for printing hidden and place holder text and for following hyperlinks; text selection and 'find and replace' have been improved; and 'power users' will appreciate new extra keyboard shortcuts for paragraph styles.

Regular users of Calc, OpenOffice.org's spreadsheet, will appreciate the streamlining of data and formulae entry. Other new features include a 'smart move and copy' for blocks of cells; the ability to transform data into columns; and improvements to printing, data filtering, and the Data Pilot.

Usability improvements have been made to Draw, the drawing and diagramming module, and Impress, OpenOffice.org's application for creating presentations. Both applications have enhanced PDF export capabilities. In addition, Impress now has a new range of thrilling 3D transition effects supported through an extension.

The Chart module, used throughout OpenOffice.org, continues to evolve rapidly. Novice users benefit from more intelligent default choices from the graphics engine; advanced users have more options allowing them to fine tune a chart exactly the way they want it.

OpenOffice.org's database application, Base, now supports MS-Access 2007 (accdb files on MS-Windows), and has enhanced capabilities for MySQL, Oracle/jdbc, and native (HSQL) databases. The Query Designer is also improved.

OpenOffice.org 2.4 is the eleventh release in the 2.x series (launched in October 2005) and demonstrates the Community's commitment to continuous and regular improvement of its software. The next major release - 3.0 - is planned for the autumn/fall this year. If you would like to help us, please visit http://contributing.openoffice.org.

The OpenOffice.org Community


26 March 2008

If you can't beat them, talk badly about them

You can see this in the kinder garden and in the school yard.

When small children are fighting over something, they often tend to speak in a bad language and talk about each other behind the back.

Now Microsoft is showing us a very adult and much more mature version of this behavior.

In New Zealand Matthew Holloway has been working as an adviser for the National Standard Body in the matter of voting for or against the approval of OOXML at the ISO BRM last month. As far as we know, he has done a great job.

But Microsoft apparently doesn't share this feeling and so much that they had to write an e-mails to members of another national body in another country, about how badly Matthew did his job in New Zealand.

How low can you go ?

The Standard National Body in New Zealand found this so serious that they found it necessary to send out a message trying to rescue the honor and integrity of an employee.

This is another example of how Microsoft employees are willing to use any method to reach their goal.


25 March 2008

Waiting for 2.4 lets have a look at 3.0

I hope that OpenOffice.org 2.4 will be released within a few days. It was originally planned to be released about two weeks ago, but it was unfortunately delayed by a few late discovered faults.

While we are waiting, we can just as well look forward against the next major release, witch is 3.0 planned to be released in September 2008.

You can find a good and relatively detailed walk-through demonstration here: http://www.oooninja.com/2008/03/openofficeorg-30-new-features.html

You can download an early developer snapshot here: http://ftp.linux.cz/pub/localization/OpenOffice.org/devel/DEV300/

What happened to 2.4.1 in the plan ?
Usually we find a bug-fix release between the major releases and the plan is open for that, but at this moment there is no specific plans for a 2.4.1.

24 March 2008

Summerhouse in the winther ?

This year we have spend the Easter together with some of our family in the summer house close to the west coast http://www.findvej.dk/Troldedalen%2024%2C%20Ringk%F8bing . This was the first grand opening with snow storm and traffic problems. This morning we had to turn the car back home, but just before we started of, I took this picture:

Please note that the sun is shining on the picture. On our way back to Copenhagen we had to slow down several times because of snow.

17 March 2008

Bo Vesterdorf has been asked to help

Will Bo Vesterdorf be a part of the Danish decision or is it just a political maneuvre to get the miniter do what he is asked ?

Perhaps you don't know him. Perhaps you do. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_14/b3877041.htm

Last year he was the leading judge in the case against Microsoft in the European Court. He was one of the key figures behind the historical judgement in the case about misusing their leading marked position.

Now the opposition parties in the Danish Parliament want him to be in charge of the investigation of B103 implementation. These parties has asked the Minister to order the The Danish Competition Authority to go into the work as agreed last year. The minister rejected and now the opposition is talking about asking Bo Vesterdorf to do it instead. -Woow.

Is it real or are they just teasing the minister to make him work with The Danish Competition Authority as he should ?

14 March 2008

Another USB Gadget

We see a lot of new gadgets for the USB drive all the time: Coffee cup heaters, fans, lamps etc. But this one bites them all:

Turn on the speakers, even if you don't understand the French. It's fun just to hear it.
Se more in http://www.usbwine.com.

11 March 2008

Lotus Notes - the best decision maker

Lotus Notes 8.01 has a lot of new features that helps you in your daily work. I've been using and teaching Notes for several years and I'm looking forward to my next user course.

I can tell the students that Lotus Notes is the best decision maker ever.

Should I go to the golf court or not ?

First, take a look at the local weather forecast and if you are still in doubt; flip a coin. Both features can now be integrated directly into your Notes environment.

How ?
You can install almost any Google Gadget in the sidebar in the Notes client.

05 March 2008

Here are the minutes of the tomorrows meeting

Yes thats how it works in my country. I wonder when we will see the agenda ? After the meeting, perhaps !

The meeting is at Danish Standards (S-142/U-34 Document standards) on Marts 26th. and the information is in this press release: http://www.ds.dk/4196 . The press release was published by Pia Elleby Lange, lead of the Danish delegation in Geneva.

All Danish comments has been approved.
Thats what she says. Even that not all Danish comments was even discussed at the meeting.
The committee will meet on Marts 26th. where the result of the delegation will be presented to the committee.
Didn't she just do that when she claimed that all comments was approved ?
The scope of the meeting is to discuss the next step...
and then:
The next step is to ...
Is this putting words into the mouths of the members or what ?
What is the purpose of having a meeting when the chairman has already made all the decisions ?

I call it another scandal in the ISO process.

01 March 2008

It didn't make it !

The BRM meeting in Geneva is over. The plan was, from the Microsoft point of view, that OOXML should now be an ISO standard. It didn't make it.

OOXML was proposed an ISO standard by the industrial organization ECMA in a fast track route. The basic philosophy behind this is, that a standard that has already been prepared by one organization can be submitted to a fast track route in ISO. This requires that the submitting organization does all the work and make the proposal ready to be confirmed before submission. In this case ECMA didn't do their homework properly.

At this BRM meeting there should be no outstandings and the process should have been a core formality. It wasn't. Still there are several open issues and the meeting couldn't even get through all the issues. The head of the U.S. delegation at the meeting, Frank Farance says:

At this week's ballot resolution meeting (BRM) in Geneva, the sponsor of the draft standard, industry consortium ECMA International, presented 1,100 recommendations for changes to the draft.

However, delegates only had time to discuss and modify around 20 percent of those, said Farance, an industry consultant with expertise in standards issues.