[clug] Tweet by @sherro58 FAS

Alex (Maxious) Sadleir maxious at gmail.com
Fri Jan 21 06:05:20 MST 2011

On Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 6:29 PM, Ben Nizette <bn at niasdigital.com> wrote:
> On 21/01/2011, at 5:50 PM, Alex Satrapa wrote:
>> On 21/01/2011, at 17:34 , Robert Edwards wrote:
>>> His list of other products simply demonstrates that everything
>>> can read and write ODF. So why was ECMA-376 chosen? Not sure why
>>> it is relevant that all these other products can read/import
>>> ECMA-376? What's the point if you can't write the format back out?
>> They're public servants, not scientists,
> They're public servants, not typesetters or even people who use word processing as anything other than a means to an end!  Remember a COE is not best practise, not a migration plan, not an evaluation of the quality and ethics of a standard, it's a baseline and the last thing in the world these people want is thousands of angry public servants complaining that their huge, ancient, crufty M$ legacy documents have broken!
> Given that, I don't see the authors had any choice other than to go with the easiest migration from .doc.  Can anyone here argue that importers, either OOo, M$ or otherwise, do a better job going from .doc to .odf than to ECMA-376 (and vice-versa)?
> I really hope (and honestly expect) that once of the cruft is in ECMA-376 form it'll be easier to move to a truly free and open standard and the wider choice in word processors that implies.  M$ has a head start here but patience my friends, patience :-)

For those of you not following the blog comments, it seems that the
COE policy at this point in time has to include compatibility with
existing SOEs that are made up of Office 2003 (
). Office 2003 can have support for ODF or OOXML/.docx through plugins
but Microsoft's OOXML plugin is free and Oracle licences it's ODF
plugin for $90/seat plus a annual $19.80/seat support fee (
). There is a free ODF plugin for Office XP/2003/2007/2010 that
apparently was made with help from Microsoft and Novell and might
convert ODF to OOXML under the hood rather than actually supporting
it: http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/download.html

It is possible to rollout LibreOffice (There is some simple trick to
get the MSI file out of the windows installer so it can be used for
enterprise deployment:
https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=31305 ) but I guess the
advantage a docx plugin has is those agencies stuck on Office 2003
also have large libraries of approved templates in Microsoft Office
format that would need to be converted and installed too. The training
cost of going from 2003 to 2010 would probably be similar to going to
LibreOffice though, because of the ribbon UI change introduced in
Office 2007.

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