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Denmark Chooses OpenDocument Format 198

Posted by kdawson
from the vote-to-empower dept.
Seahawk was one of several readers to write in with news of Denmark's decision to embrace ODF. "On Friday morning Denmark decided to choose ODF over Microsoft's OOXML. For now the decision is only effective for governmental institutions, but regions and municipalities will most likely follow some time in the future. The decision has unfolded over a period of four years, and many open source advocates were fearing the worst, but it looks like the minister finally caved in and listened to what a lot of people were saying." While in transition away from Microsoft Office formats, the Danes may find use for this new OpenOffice integration guide (sent in by reader AdeleWard).
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Denmark Chooses OpenDocument Format

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  • by cormander (1273812) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:33AM (#30949880) Homepage
    It's still not in English, so I can not read it.
  • 4...3...2.. hopefully this is more than an attempt to glean free Office licenses from Microsoft, which they would undoubtedly cough up to prevent anyone else from gaining a foothold. Good Luck Denmark, good to see this move, hope it was for the right reasons
    • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:38AM (#30949944)

      Great, free Office licenses would be good being that it supports ODF, its a win win situation for them.

      They use an open standard and aren't stuck with any one vendor, and one of those vendors may give them software for free.

      The only retraining needed will be to get people to save in ODF rather than DOCX.

      • by oloron (1092167) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:40AM (#30949978)
        but, how long will MS stay true to the ODF format, just because its a 'standard' doesnt mean they won't throw their own proprietary sh#t into the mix, they have done this before with other standards
        • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:44AM (#30950042)

          As long as they want the government to use their software, which in turn keeps people used to using MS Office and using it elsewhere.

          They start making it incompatible with the standard and they'll run into problems.

          Now ... if the standard allows for extensibility, and they take advantage of that extensibility to provide extra features that governments want to use than whos fault is that?

          The point of an OPEN document format is to allow people to use whatever software they want, not tie them in to some particular OSS software package.

          If that is your (or anyone elses goal), to get people to not use MS Office and to force them to use OSS like OpenOffice, well then thats no better than being locked into MSOffice really.

    • Sigh... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IANAAC (692242)

      hopefully this is more than an attempt to glean free Office licenses from Microsoft

      Why hopefully? Do you even understand the point of ODF? It's *NOT* OpenOffice.

      • I think you're interpreting the GP statement differently than I do because IIRC it's common for Microsoft to give better deals to those who seek alternatives to MS Office, and in many cases the organizations who say they're going with Open Standards (tm) end up with that sweet MS Office discount in the end. What the GP is pointing out is that he (and I) are hoping the Danish government is really routing for open standards but not using it just for leverage in price negotiations with Microsoft.
  • by loafula (1080631) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:36AM (#30949918)
    It makes me happy to see yet another government moving away from proprietary M$ software. I hope our government does the same and soon.
    • why the parent is modded as 'flamebait', in a reasonable manner ?

      • by rliden (1473185)

        Maybe because he let a little nerd-rage get the best of him. It's easy to do when responding to a post full of tripe and drivel like the GP. He could have probably could have gotten the point across without the vitriol and got modded up. Either that or someone with mod points this week hates him in which case he's screwed.

  • by Palestrina (715471) * on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:40AM (#30949972) Homepage
    This is great news. Open standards, like other forms of openness, spreads like wildfire. In Europe we saw Belgium, Netherlands, Norway adopt ODF, now Denmark. A similar pattern occurred in South America, with Brazil proving to be the center of influence. So the question is: who is next?
    • by Terrasque (796014)

      The US?

      Ba-da-bing! Thank you all, try the waitress.

    • by jim_v2000 (818799)
      >Belgium, Netherlands, Norway...now Denmark

      Maybe it's more like slowfire.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      In Europe we saw Belgium, Netherlands, Norway adopt ODF, now Denmark

      Belgium: 10.4 mio people
      Netherlands: 16.5 mio people
      Norway: 4.9 mio people
      Denmark: 5.5 mio people
      Europe: 731 mio people

      So 37.1/731 mio = 5.1%. And I can't speak for the other countries, but the only requirement in Norway was that public information must be at least in either HTML, PDF or ODF - having DOCs is fine as long as it's not the only option and they can still use whatever tools they like internally. I have been working with one rather large government institution in Norway and there's thousands and

      • by abulafia (7826)
        Yes, but 4/23 =17.3% of the EU, from a nation-state perspective. Interoperability between governments' IT infrastructure matters.
        • by Splab (574204)

          Also, OO can read most office stuff (except for latest greatest (depending on your distro of choise)) while office doesn't do OO - which means those 17% sets the communication standard for the rest of EU; want to talk to us in Denmark (or other EU countries where they have gone OO) - install OO...

  • So regions and municipalities are in fact not government institutions in Denmark? My guess is that you meant that the decision is currently only effective for national government institutions, but I'm not sure.

    • by Carthag (643047)

      Yep, that's correct (Dane here)

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Reading comprehension is hard.

    • by Carewolf (581105)

      So regions and municipalities are in fact not government institutions in Denmark?

      Are they anywhere? I thought many people was just misusing of the word "government" when they meant "public".

      • by sribe (304414)

        Are they anywhere? I thought many people was just misusing of the word "government" when they meant "public".

        Of course they are. Provincial, state, & city governments are all, uhm, governments.

        • by Carewolf (581105)

          Of course they are. Provincial, state, & city governments are all, uhm, governments.

          What on earth is a city government? Do you mean the city council or the majors office?

          Anyway, the mistake is much more basic than that, most institutions are never government(al). They are public, governments change, but the institutions don't, only those tied directly to the faith of the existing government can be called government institutions.

          • by sribe (304414)

            Oh good grief, learn to use a dictionary before arguing about the meaning of words:

            government |gvr(n)mnt|

            noun

            1 [treated as sing. or pl. ] the governing body of a nation, state, or community.

            - the system by which a nation, state, or community is governed

            - the action or manner of controlling or regulating a nation, organization, or people

            - the group of persons in office at a particular time; administration
            ...

  • It can be used in offices where other file formats are used and represents a great cost saving for organisations

    What costs are saved by adopting this file format?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jank1887 (815982)

      government offices will not be forced to upgrade to maintain compatibility. they will be able to apply cost-effectiveness decisions to their software purchases based on the benefit and value of future software versions.

    • Re:Cost savings? (Score:5, Informative)

      by KlaymenDK (713149) on Friday January 29, 2010 @12:13PM (#30950514) Journal

      Um, not *having* to spend money in commercial software licenses?

      It's the same old argument ... why insist on having citizens pay for software so they can read official documents?

      * If you force a free format, you can use any software you like -- including the same commercial software you've been using for years.
      * But, if you force a commercial format, there is NO guarantee (almost like the opposite) that you can use any software you like -- even non-commercial.

      • by jim_v2000 (818799)
        Of course, they could spare us the bullshit of having to download a multi-hundred megabyte app and just publish these docs in HTML.
        • by KlaymenDK (713149)

          I would agree with you, in that HMTL is very good as an information markup language.
          However, HTML was never intended to play well with fixed media (in fact, one might argue the opposite), so page margins and numbering, footnotes, etc. would be a mess.

          Also consider that ODF is not just for text documents, it also covers spread sheets, presentations, and (most tricky for HTML) drawings.

    • What costs are saved by adopting this file format?

      I think it's a fallacious argument from the start, anyway. Even if costs actually increase, ultimately, the openness of the file formats that government uses (at least in those cases where the documents can potentially be made available to the public, or where it's accepted formats of documents submitted to the government) is more important. Reason being, one can opt out from dealing with a private business that uses the "wrong format" for which you don't have means to work with it - but one cannot opt out

  • by dybdahl (80720) <info&dybdahl,dk> on Friday January 29, 2010 @12:04PM (#30950352) Homepage Journal

    This slashdot story has the same headline as many Danish stories, but the decision did not exclude OOXML, and did not specifically pick ODF. However, the criterias that were decided upon, currently only fits ODF in the minds of most people, but Jasper Bojsen fra Microsoft also thinks that Microsoft OOXML complies with the criterias.

    So basically, ODF is in, OOXML may be in, too.

    • by KlaymenDK (713149) on Friday January 29, 2010 @12:28PM (#30950748) Journal

      It's true that there is quite a bit of "noise" still ... we shall see what the dry ink says on Tuesday.

      Having said that in the part of the agreement concerning editable documents, it says that:

      4. Starting 1st of April 2011, govermental institutions will be required to send and receive documents in formats covered by the list mentioned in section 2 including ODF. To ensure that everyone, regardless of platform, have access to editable documents published on the websites of state authorities, the documents must be in ODF and other document formats that are listed.

      So unless they rephrase this agreement, what it says here is that if you're an official, you must publish in ODF and optionally in additional formats in accordance to "The List".

      As for "The List" itself:

      The following principles must be fulfilled before a standard can be included on the list. The standard must be:

              * Fully documented and publicly available;
              * Freely implementable without economical, political or legal limitations on implementation and use;
              * Approved by an internationally recognized standards organisation such as ISO, and standardized and maintained in an open forum through an open process;
              * It must be demonstrable that the standard can be directly implemented by anyone in its entirety on multiple platforms;
              * Interoperable within the functionality parameters with the other standards on the list

      Take special note of the last point — what is interesting is that initially, ODF is the only standard on the list, so what this means is that OOXML cannot make the cut unless it "plays well" with ODF.

      There is an additional provision that documents that are not intended for editing must be published in PDF/A-1 format.

  • Currently, the situation is, that ODF and OOXML must both be accepted, but there are several examples where only Microsoft dataformats are received. Therefore, it can not be expected, that this new decision will have full effect quickly.

    • by Dan Ost (415913)

      The effect of this decision is that every official in the national government will have to publish official documents in ODF. I don't think this decision has any directives about the formats that the government officials can receive.

      The obvious ripple effect of this decision is that everyone who consumes official documents will require software that can render an ODF document (and there are lots, so this will be easy). Since most software that can render ODF documents can also create ODF documents, it seems

  • When OOXML was being crammed through ISO through ballot stuffing, what was Denmark's position? Were they involved at all? If they were involved, did they vote yes or no?

    No time to search that right now, but it would be an interesting question to know the answer to.

    • by Inf0phreak (627499) on Friday January 29, 2010 @02:30PM (#30952834)

      Denmark voted "Yes with comments" on the ISO OOXML ballot. Of course that turned out to do a hell of a lot of good since at later meetings a lot of ISO's changes to the ECMA spec were tossed away, so essentially we just voted "Yes".

      A lot of the members of Dansk Standard [www.ds.dk] wanted to vote "No", but it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Denmark would say yes given that business in this country is nearly 100% MS-based. (Actually... Denmark might be the country in the West with the highest percentage of Windows installs).

      And on a personal note, I don't take ISO seriously any more, and neither should you.

  • ODF is already on a roll throughout the European governments. It is the standard in Belgium, Croatia, the Netherlands, and has a strong foothold in Finland, France, Germany, the UK, Norway and Slovakia.

    The real watershed moment will be when the central EU administration decides to standardize it. That might greatly encourage the other member nations to follow...

  • I wonder if they'll have to file the specification for their ATM Machines in ODF Document Format?

  • He is going to say, "aw! Shucks. Guys, just buy Denmark and close it down. Those pesky gadflies!".
    • Radar Operator: Sir, we seem to have a rather large object that just launched from somewhere in Washington state!

      Supervisor: How big is the object and what trajectory?

      Radar Operator: Crap! Uh, Sir, the object appears to be about 16,640 miles in diameter and looks like it is on a trajectory to impact somewhere in northern Europe!

      Supervisor: Is there a heat signature? Is it a missile?

      Radar Operator: Sensors detect no exhaust heat signature, or anything like that. However, there appear to be metal appendages o

  • it wouldn't be modern slashdot if they didn't spelled out all the technical stuff for you constantly.

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