2010. február 2., kedd

Denmark changed to ODF and OSS

It has been announced by the Danish government, that the Danish state administrative body will adopt the open format ODF as its sole document standard from April next year. This means that the Danish state will now ditch Microsoft’s proprietary document formats.


Below is a translation of the article just published by Danish national paper Politiken:
Politiken.dk, Friday January 29, 2010 – 11.45am

DENMARK DITCHES MICROSOFT


The science minister is happy, that the state turns its back on Microsoft.

“Hello, open free standards – and goodbye Microsoft monopoly.”


This is one way to describe the breaking news of the state administration’s use of the so-called open standards, which the Danish parliament has just agreed upon.

After four years of work the political parties have agreed that the state administration body from April next year will convert into using the open format ODF, when the state exchanges documents such as text files and spreadsheets.

This means, that the state to begin with chooses not to work with IT-behemoth Microsoft.
And that is something that science minister Helge Sander [of moderate right wing party Venstre] is proud of.

Enhedslisten [outer left wing party] agrees with the government parties
 

“My ambition is that we in the future will communicate solely via open standards,” said Helge Sander when addressing the parliament in a speech, according to IT-web magazine version2.dk.

For once the Enhedslisten-party agrees with the party in office. Per Clausen from Enhedslisten expresses get satisfaction over the decision that open standards have been chosen.

“It is our impression that the way forward is through open source, which should replace the patent mind-set that is dominant today,” said Clausen.

ODF is an abbreviation for Open Document Format, which is an ISO-standard for office documents (textfiles, spreadsheets, presentations). ODF was originally developed as document format for the open source-software suite OpenOffice.org, and is still to this day it’s standard format.
Documents saved in ODF can for instance be opened using the OpenOffice suite, which can be downloaded for free on the Internet, and also in Microsoft Word 2007.

The decision will initially apply for state administration body only. Municipalities and country region administrations will join later.

Read the Politiken article (in Danish) – and read also the original publication from web magazine version2.dk



Danish state administrations to use ODF

The Danish parliament and the Danish minister for Science this morning agreed that the Danish state administrations should use open standards, including the Open Document Format (ODF), starting on 1 April 2011. A formal vote on the agreement is planned for next Tuesday.

Talking to the Danish parliament this morning, Science minister Helge Sander said he was proud that many countries are anxious to see how Denmark will use open standards, reports the Danish IT news site Version2.

Sander said: "My ambition is that we now only communicate using open standards. We must not make this decision on purely symbolic arguments and principles. It must be a practical decision."

Just minutes prior to the debate in the Danish parliament, the ministry and the parliament agreed on a definition of open standards and drafted an initial list of open standards that are to be used by the Danish state's administrative organisations.

Their decision does not include regional and municipal public administrations. However, according to an article published by Business DK, the business section of the Berlingske Tidene newspaper, these public administrations will follow later.

Reporting on the discussions taking place this morning at the Danish Parliament, Version2 quotes Per Clausen, parliament member for the Enhedslisten (Unity List): "Our view is that we should choose a single standard. We could leave that decision to the market, but our textbooks also say that the state should intervene when that market develops in the direction of monopoly."

Business DK quotes MP Yildiz Akdogan, representing one of the major parties, the Social Democrats: "I am pleased that it did not become a religious debate. And I am glad that we agree on the requirements, so that nobody can accuse us of excluding anyone, yet that we ensure transparency and offer better services to the public."

Last week, Danish People's Party MP Morten Messerschmidt had hosted a hearing in the Danish parliament, including representatives from the Belgian and Dutch government. Following this hearing, members of parliament and the minister have been negotiating on the definition and the initial list of open standards. Without an agreement, the parliament could have forced a decision in the debate that was planned to take place this morning.



Support

The open standard ODF is recognised by many European member states. Next to Denmark it is also a national standard for public administrations in Belgium, Germany, France, Lithuania, Sweden and the Netherlands. ODF is recommended by Norway and it is one of the document standards at NATO.

ODF is a document standard supported by many office applications, including most open source office software packages. The list of software companies supporting ODF include Sun Microsystems with its StarOffice, Google with Google Docs, IBM with Lotus Domino and Workplace. Microsoft supports ODF in the second edition of its 2007 version of its Office suite. Earlier versions require a plugin made by Sun Microsystems. ODF support is also included in the office suite Hangul, used by many of Korea's public administrations and the office suite Itchitaro, which is popular in Japan. Open source applications that can handle ODF include OpenOffice, K-Office, Abiword, Gnumeric, Scribus and TextEdit.

Source: OSOR
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