Lodahl's blog: 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007

29 July 2007

Is Microsoft taking over ISO ?

The Danish technical standard committee (DS) that is to vote on EOOXML is to become an international ISO standard is taken over by Microsoft partners. 17 out of 31 members are Microsoft partners or in other way associated with Microsoft.

Is the ISO organization totally gone to sleep ?
This is undermining the authority of the organization and we can no longer trust, that an ISO standard is a good quality standard. ISO is becoming a a blue rubber stamp where rich companies can get 'approval' of anything, as long as you pay the puppets.

Read the Danish article here: http://epn.dk/erhverv_samfund/article1022249.ece

27 July 2007

Dear diary...

I have been on vacation for about two weeks now. One of my most interesting experiences has been not to be connected (to the Internet) for more than a week.

We are living in a small cottage on the west coast of Denmark, in the middle of no where and with my (disconnected) laptop.

What do I do ?

Well, I've been working on a piece in Danish about OpenOffice.org extensions. I printed a few articles and the complete Wiki before I left home. I hope it will be a good article, because we need to drag attention to this matter in Denmark. I don't think there is anybody (except from me) that has ever made an extension yet. I'm just writing to Paolo Mantovani about a bug in the BasicAddonBuilder.

I also prepared my speak at Barcelona. It's good to get away from everything. It makes you think better and it clears the mind. I'm looking forward to meet all the people at OOoConf. The guys and dolls that I have only met on email so far.

I'm playing with the kids (well, they are actually not kids anymore). We took s small drive to Lübeck, Germany this week. Nice, but rainy. Why does it always rain when I'm on vacation ?

18 July 2007

Sign the petition agianst OOXML

Please sign this petition against OOXML getting approved as an international ISO standard:

I ask the national members of ISO to vote "NO" in the ballot of ISO DIS 29500 (Office OpenXML or OOXML format) for the following reasons:

  1. There is already a standard ISO26300 named Open Document Format (ODF): a dual standard adds costs, uncertainty and confusion to industry, government and citizens;
  2. There is no provable implementation of the OOXML specification: Microsoft Office 2007 produces a special version of OOXML, not a file format which complies with the OOXML specification;
  3. There is missing information from the specification document, for example how to do a autoSpaceLikeWord95 or useWord97LineBreakRules;
  4. More than 10% of the examples mentioned in the proposed standard do not validate as XML;
  5. There is no guarantee that anybody can write a software that fully or partially implements the OOXML specification without being liable to patent damages or patent license fees by Microsoft;
  6. This standard proposal conflicts with other ISO standards, such as ISO 8601 (Representation of dates and times), ISO 639 (Codes for the Representation of Names and Languages) or ISO/IEC 10118-3 (cryptographic hash);
  7. There is a bug in the spreadsheet file format which forbids to enter any date before the year 1900: such bugs affects the OOXML specification as well as software versions such as Microsoft Excel 2000, XP, 2003 or 2007.
  8. This standard proposal has not been created by bringing together the experience and expertise of all interested parties (such as the producers, sellers, buyers, users and regulators), but by Microsoft alone.

15 July 2007

Votes at ISO/IEC

I have tried to get an overview of how the voting in ISO/IEC works. I'm ot sure about all the details, so if you have aditional information, please leave me a comment.

O-member: Observing member.
P-member: Participating member.
L-member: Liaison member.

This is how it works:
First all P-members are counted, and if there are more than 1/3 of NO votes among the sum of YES+NO votes, the proposal is rejected. There is about 30-35 P-members.

If the P-members can't reject the proposal, there is a second count with all the O-members and P-members. In this count, there must be 1/4 of the total voting countries (about 104) to get the proposal rejected.

So O-members are also very important if it comes to a second vote.

Note that this way, the ABSTAIN votes actually counts in somehow. This is because these votes is *not* counted in the total sum of YES+NO, so an abstaining country is encreasing the chance of getting enough NO-votes. It's possible to Abstain with comments, but I don't see how the comments can come into the game. Comments to an Abstain-vote will only have domestic value.

The entire list of voting members consist of the following 104:
Algeria (IANOR)
Argentina (IRAM)
Armenia (SARM)
Australia (SA)
Austria (ON)
Azerbaijan (AZSTAND)
Bahrain (BSMD)
Bangladesh (BSTI)
Barbados (BNSI)
Belarus (BELST)
Belgium (NBN)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BAS)
Botswana (BOBS)
Brazil (ABNT)
Bulgaria (BDS)
Canada (SCC)
Chile (INN)
China (SAC)
Colombia (ICONTEC)
Congo, The Democratic Republic of (OCC)
Costa Rica (INTECO)
Croatia (HZN)
Cuba (NC)
Cyprus (CYS)
Czech Republic (CNI)
Côte-d'Ivoire (CODINORM)
Denmark (DS)
Ecuador (INEN)
Egypt (EOS)
Ethiopia (QSAE)
Finland (SFS)
France (AFNOR)
Germany (DIN)
Ghana (GSB)
Greece (ELOT)
Hungary (MSZT)
Iceland (IST)
India (BIS)
Indonesia (BSN)
Iran, Islamic Republic of (ISIRI)
Iraq (COSQC)
Ireland (NSAI)
Israel (SII)
Italy (UNI)
Jamaica (JBS)
Japan (JISC)
Jordan (JISM)
Kazakhstan (KAZMEMST)
Kenya (KEBS)
Korea, Democratic People's Republic (CSK)
Korea, Republic of (KATS)
Kuwait (KOWSMD)
Lebanon (LIBNOR)
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (LNCSM)
Luxembourg (SEE)
Malaysia (DSM)
Malta (MSA)
Mauritius (MSB)
Mexico (DGN)
Mongolia (MASM)
Morocco (SNIMA)
Netherlands (NEN)
New Zealand (SNZ)
Nigeria (SON)
Norway (SN)
Oman (DGSM)
Pakistan (PSQCA)
Panama (COPANIT)
Philippines (BPS)
Poland (PKN)
Portugal (IPQ)
Qatar (QS)
Romania (ASRO)
Russian Federation (GOST R)
Saint Lucia (SLBS)
Saudi Arabia (SASO)
Serbia (ISS)
Singapore (SPRING SG)
Slovakia (SUTN)
Slovenia (SIST)
South Africa (SABS)
Spain (AENOR)
Sri Lanka (SLSI)
Sudan (SSMO)
Sweden (SIS)
Switzerland (SNV)
Syrian Arab Republic (SASMO)
Tanzania, United Republic of (TBS)
Thailand (TISI)
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (ISRM)
Trinidad and Tobago (TTBS)
Tunisia (INNORPI)
Turkey (TSE)
Ukraine (DSSU)
United Arab Emirates (ESMA)
United Kingdom (BSI)
Uruguay (UNIT)
Uzbekistan (UZSTANDARD)
Venezuela (FONDONORMA)
Viet Nam (TCVN)
Zimbabwe (SAZ)

04 July 2007

Symfoni integrates OpenOffice with Lotus Notes

I recently wrote about integration of OpenOff.org (ODF) in Lotus Notes. Now I have made a few screen shuts to give you an idea of how it works.

This is a good example that shows that ODF-integration is possible and we will probably see more examples in the futire.

In the coming weeks I'll try to make some screen shots of how the templates and field mapping works.

Here is a single image:

02 July 2007

ISO Objections - Dismiss it

The Danish subcommittee under DS called S-142/U-34 has a hearing that closes today, July 2nd. Now that the hearing is over, the subcommittee will decide how Denmark will vote in ISO.

The Community behind OpenOffice.org in Denmark has objected to the ISO approval of OOXML or ISO/IEC DIS 29500 or ECMA-376 or "Office Open XML File Formats" being an ISO standard. Here you can find the objections: http://doc.oooforum.dk/Filer/ISO_kommentar_OpenOffice_org.pdf

While I was working on this document, I had the opportunity to get some detailed knowledge of the content in the 6.000 pages specification. And some of it is quite overwhelming. For example have a look at this document from the ODF Alliance: http://www.odfalliance.org/resources/The%20Technical%20Case%20Against%20OOXML.pdf on page 4: Cultural and Linguistic Adaptability -- Does it consider different cultures and languages?

Read it and read it again.

The answer to that question is no ! The specification is cultural and religious discriminating. If you are a person from the rich part of the christian world, everything will be fine. But if you don't consider the American way of living as an interest of yours, you can find you another document format.

This is disrespectful and this should alone cause the ISO organization to dismiss the specification. Shame on you !

01 July 2007

Arrgh... problems with my calendar sync again

I'm using the Mozilla Lightning plug-in for Thunderbird for calendaring. This, together with Google calendar has been a very fine solution for me for a long time. Specially after I found a small sync application called GCALDaemon to sync my local calendar with Google.

Yesterday, I upgraded my Lightning plug-in to version 0.5 and at the same time I installed another plug-in called 'Provider for Google Calendar'. This plug-in should be the native Google sync application in the future. So far so good. Upgrade and install and restarted Thunderbird. I also removed the GCALDaemon from my computer.

This is where Arrgh comes in to the picture. It didn't work. I could see my calendar entries for about five seconds, and then the calendar view was empty. I tried to remove both the provider-plug-in and my calendar accounts from Lightning and then installed it again. The funny thing was, that I couldn't remove the Provider thing . I gave up after about an hour and started to plan how to reinstall GCALDaemon.

Then today, when I started my computer, I got some weird warnings from Thunderbird. I found that my calendar accounts had reappeared and I could actually see my appointments ....for about five seconds.

I tried to remove that Provider thing again. No luck. After restarting Thunderbird, Provider was still there. Double arrgh.

Then I came to remember, that Thunderbird has an irritating problem, that when you close the program, it actually continues to run as a hidden service. Yes, Thunderbird was still running, even after I closed it. Kill Thunderbird. Start Thunderbird again. The provider thing was removed. Yes !

I installed Provider again and now I could see all my accounts and appointments. I can create appointments in Lightning and they are synchronized to Google. Fantastic.

Morale: Remember to close the application and kill the process in the process window. Closing and starting is not always a complete restart. Maybe some of the Mozilla guys could look into this problem one day ? Okay, I know that I'm a part of the problem, because I'm running Microsoft Windows. Bare with me.

Anyway, I must say that the Mozilla guys has done a great job this time. Bidirectional sync works fine and the layout has got a huge improvement. And now i can print my weekly and monthly calendar and put it on the refrigerator door together with the rest of my family plans.

I have been working with calendaring in Lotus applications for about ten years now. And I know how difficult it can be to visualize a calendar on a computer screen. Do you remember Organizer ? One of the first applications, that tried to visualize a calendar by copying the design from a manual calendar. I still think that concept could win awards today.

But still, the hard thing is to keep the environment running. I remember one of my customers, who wanted to keep half the staff on Lotus Notes and the other half on Microsoft Exchange. Imagine the question: Can we get an overview of all employee calendars ? Will it be possible to invite to a meeting across the applications ?

Converters and integration ended up being a nightmare. When we solved one problem, another fire new problems occurred. That was about four years ago.

Open standards could solve the problem today. With iCal and WebDAW it would be quite easy to establish a common platform for both Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange calendars.