[opensource] Openoffice.org 2.0 Released

Jim Dinan dinan at cse.ohio-state.edu
Fri Oct 21 13:55:48 EDT 2005


Openoffice.org has just announced the release of the much-anticipated 
version 2.0.  Check it out at: http://www.openoffice.org

FYI, Openoffice runs on just about anything (including windows) and in 
just about any language and best of all it's free!

Maybe this is a good chance to try and start a discussion/debate about 
vendor lock-in.  OOo 2.0 supports the new OASIS open-spec document 
standard.  One of the goals of OASIS is, of course, to provide an 
extensible, open, industry-wide document specification.  Another is that 
public institutions worldwide are not keen on having the Peoples' data 
stored in a proprietary format where you require a specific company's 
product to access this data.  In particular there are specific issues 
with microsoft storing .doc files in a binary-only format that is not 
cross platform (although I've heard lately they are making an effort to 
use XML, I'm not sure of the status).  According to the Valoris report, 
the issue is that:

"The native document format of Microsoft Word follows the internal 
program representation very closely; using Microsoft’s Object Embedding 
and Linking technology. A Word DOC file is OLE version 2 (OLE2) 
compatible, which is saved as a set of data streams in hierarchical 
archives. The data format of these archives is dependent on the 
architecture. For this reason, Microsoft DOC files cannot be exchanged 
as such, between Intel i386 and Mac architectures."

(From: the European Commission's Valoris report at:
http://europa.eu.int/idabc/en/document/3439/5585)

Of course, MS has added support to newer versions of office to convert 
intel->mac and vice versa in order to eliminate this last problem.  But 
the question still remains: Is it appropriate to store public data in a 
closed format?

Penny for your thoughts,

- jim.



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