Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 30th Sep 2005 11:15 UTC, submitted by Sansta
In the News The commonwealth of Massachusetts has finalised its decision to standardise desktop applications on OpenDocument, a format not supported by Microsoft Office. State agencies in the executive branch are now supposed to migrate to OpenDocument-compliant applications by 1 January, 2007, a change that will affect about 50 000 desktop PCs. The reference model also confirms that Adobe's PDF format is considered an "open format".
Thread beginning with comment 38283
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

It's consederably more open than the MS formats

That's all fine, but when you switch to an open format with as argument because it's open, then how can you accept a format that might be "more" open than MS', but is still very much closed?

It has nothing to do with trolling, mr. Anonymous, it is about being true to your reasons. The reason behind this move seems more of a "let's diss MS" instead of worries about true open-nes.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Tyr. Member since:
2005-07-06

That's all fine, but when you switch to an open format with as argument because it's open, then how can you accept a format that might be "more" open than MS', but is still very much closed?

It depends on how you define open. Since the spec is published and there exist independant (open source) implementations of that spec, I would consider it "open". Apparently so do Adobe and Massachusetts.
It doesn't have to be governed by comittee or some non-profit to be open (to me)

Reply Parent Score: 2

Bastian Member since:
2005-07-25

I suppose we could define open as "was not developed by a corporation." But then even OpenOffice's file formats wouldn't open, since they were developed by Sun.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Member since:

Thom, please do tell us how PDF is a closed format. Bloated yes, awkward yes, not suitable (and not meant) for editing yes, but closed?

Let's see. Is it undocumented? No, and here's the proof:

http://partners.adobe.com/public/developer/pdf/index_reference.html

Is anybody prohibited from making software that reads and writes it? No. Just look at the number of programs that work with it.

You just cannot say the same about Microsoft formats. MS hasn't tried to sue anybody for using its formats, but neither has it cooperated on implementing filters for them. As for the new XML formats, Microsoft tried hard to disguise them as open and free to implement while actually leaving strings attached, but luckily Mass knew better.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Thom, please do tell us how PDF is a closed format.

It is closed because Adobe, one company, can do whatever it wants with/to it. If they want the next version to contain certain closed aspects-- then they can. And that is NOT open.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Member since:

I was just going to look for that.... All I can say is:


BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reply Parent Score: 0

Rehdon Member since:
2005-07-06

First of all, unless the title you gave to the entry is exactly the same of the article you link to (I refuse to give them a single hit, so you'll have to answer this one), it smacks of editor bias all over the place.

Secondly, you're an editor, so you're supposed to know better than the flame-happy kids lurking here around: it's not about dissing Microsoft, because no one is preventing them to support OpenDocument; they don't want to because they can't accept the idea of having a competitor to their Office suite.

The goal is to insure data accessibility: this is not possible with Microsoft's data format, because they're not open standard and they are subject to patents. The Adobe format, while not truly an open standard because it is controlled by the company which originated it, is more open in its usage terms and is not put at risk by the patent threat.

There, is the situation a little bit clearer now? If you want to know more go read this article on Groklaw:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20050925165302314

especially Gary Edwards' comment at the end.

I must say I'm quite disappointed by OSNews lately ...

rehdon

Reply Parent Score: 5

DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

It is the exact title of the article on ZDnet Asia.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Member since:

rehdon

Very good comment. Precise and clear. (I followed this story since a month). wikipedia - OpenDocument is also a good starting point to learn about this.

I must say I'm quite disappointed by OSNews lately ...
I tend to agree with you. The problem is not in OSNews, too many people give or have an opinion without undestanding about what they are talking. The same can be said with other forums.

Regards.

Reply Parent Score: 0

Member since:

Please note that PDF is covered in 2 ISO standards: PDF/A (Archive Documents) & PDF/X (color prepress). The ISO body handles modifications and improvements to these standards and not Adobe.

If the state only creates ISO standard PDF, then they are using an Open Standard.

Also, all MS has to do to be included in MA state software selection is do one of the following:
1) Support OpenDocument.
2) Remove Patent Clams on the MSXML document formats and turn control of the format over to a standards body.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Member since:

PDF/X:
ISO 15929:2002
ISO 15930-1:2001
ISO 15930-3:2002
ISO 15930-4:2003
ISO 15930-5:2003
ISO 15930-6:2003
ISO/AWI 15930-7
SO/AWI 15930-8

PDF/A:
ISO 19005-1:2005

Reply Parent Score: 0

Lazarus Member since:
2005-08-10

This is also why Apple had dumped display postscript in favor of thier PDF based Quartz system. PDF is an open standard, and IME as long as you avoid Adobe (!) and GNOME PDF readers, life is good.

To be fair, the GNOME PDF reader is getting better, whereas the Adobe one keeps piling on more and more crap that I never use (and I don't know anyone who does use it all).

OT (and pointless personal opinion): I like how damned near every app in Mac OS X can save to PDF.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Member since:

It has nothing to do with trolling, mr. Anonymous, it is about being true to your reasons. The reason behind this move seems more of a "let's diss MS" instead of worries about true open-nes.

That's hardly true if you look at the history of IT in Massachusetts, and while non-proprietary implies open, it does not follow that proprietary implies closed. The current Adobe PDF specification is widely available with the blessings of Adobe. Software authors are legally free to create apps like XPDF without paying Adobe a dime. This isn't true about the upcoming MS-DOC format. If Adobe closes future versions of PDF, I'm sure Massachusetts will drop it, too.

Massachusetts has been moving toward open standards and open source for a long time. A few years ago they established an "open source software trough" and have since then been slowly (but systematically) replacing proprietary solutions, with closed formats being a priority.

Many of the individual departments and communities have already switched. Check out Saugus.net http://www.saugus.net/ for one example of a Massachusetts community that switched to open formats years ago; it's also interesting to note that there they utilize a handful of other open formats in addition to the ones mentioned by the article, including the venerable "Newton book" e-book format (which like PDF is proprietary but open).

Reply Parent Score: 0

Member since:

Many of the individual departments and communities have already switched. Check out Saugus.net

A better link for the Saugus, Massachusetts / Microsoft situation can be found here: http://www.saugus.net/Dailies/daily_2005-09-01_1653/

Reply Parent Score: 0

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

The current Adobe PDF specification is widely available with the blessings of Adobe. Software authors are legally free to create apps like XPDF without paying Adobe a dime. This isn't true about the upcoming MS-DOC format.

Incorrect. You can (and some have) produce Office XML editors, viewers, importers/exporters, etc., using the Office 2003 and Office 12 XML formats without having to pay MS to do so. The license even gives you the right to make commercial products.

OpenOffice has supported Office 2003 XML for a few versions now and will likely support the Office 12 formats since the licensing will be the same.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Member since:

That's all fine, but when you switch to an open format with as argument because it's open, then how can you accept a format that might be "more" open than MS', but is still very much closed?

The PDF spec is controlled by adobe, but they're open with the spec sufficiently that others can make PDF readers and writers. In fact, there are plenty of FOSS PDF readers and writers.

Microsoft, however, is not open with their document formats sufficiently that someone can make a reader/writer. People have managed to make readers/writers, but they still don't work quite exactly right, and Microsoft has fought attempts to make the format readable without Microsoft products.

It's a big difference, especially if your problem with closed formats isn't philosophical, but a practical issue of access.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Member since:

Once again the file format is "documented"!!! Anyone can create a reader or a pdfcreater. There is a ton of commercial and open source versions of readers and creaters for: Linux, *BSD and Solaris.

Please show proof that MS has documented their *.doc format; and no, thier XML doesn't count, because their are strings attached.

People can freely re-distribute code that was based on Adobes PDF format. Can you say the same thing with MS XML or DOC? No, so your argument is not valid.

Please feel free to mod me down in typical OSNews fashion.

Reply Parent Score: 0