The Document Foundation Blog

2012/11/16

Open letter to the City of Freiburg

Filed under: Foundation — Florian Effenberger @ 10:36

The following is an open letter The Document Foundation has sent to the City of Freiburg, Germany, as a statement regarding the current discussion about Freiburg’s IT strategy. The letter in its original format is available at http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/File:OffenerBriefFreiburg.pdf

At the same time, The Document Foundation has signed the open letter of the Open Source Business Alliance at http://www.osb-alliance.de/fileadmin/Themen_News/121116_B_Stadt_Freiburg.pdf

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

als Herausgeber der freien Office-Suite LibreOffice bedauern wir die Überlegungen der Stadt Freiburg außerordentlich, sowohl einen Rückschritt hin zu proprietärer, geschlossener Software, als auch eine Abkehr vom offenen OpenDocument-Standard durchzuführen. Mehrere Thesen des Gutachtens erscheinen bereits im Ansatz falsch.

Nach unserer Kenntnis wurde kein Experte für freie Software und Open Source zu Rate gezogen. So ist in Fachkreisen anerkannt, dass die Gründung von LibreOffice gerade nicht zu einer Schwächung der Entwicklergemeinschaft geführt hat. Vielmehr wurde erst durch die Gründung des wirtschaftlich unabhängigen LibreOffice-Projekts die Zahl der Entwickler deutlich gesteigert. [1]

Die Document Foundation, eine gemeinnützige, rechtsfähige Stiftung des bürgerlichen Rechts mit Sitz in Berlin, garantiert die dauerhafte und kontinuierliche Weiterentwicklung von LibreOffice, unabhängig von den wirtschaftlichen Interessen einzelner Hersteller. So konnten neben großen, internationalen Unterstützern wie Intel, Google, Red Hat und SUSE auch immer mehr deutschsprachige Unternehmen in die Mitarbeit eingebunden werden. Diese bieten kompetent Migrationsberatung, Anwendungsentwicklung und professionellen Support an, was zudem neue Arbeitsplätze gerade auch in Deutschland geschaffen hat. Die im Gutachten aufgestellte Behauptung, der Support für freie Software sei nur eingeschränkt gewährleistet, erscheint deshalb nicht haltbar.

Vernachlässigt wurde aus unserer Sicht auch der Aufwand für die Migration und Schulung auf aktuellere Microsoft-Produkte, die sich insbesondere in der Bedienerführung, als auch in zahlreichen technischen Details von ihren Vorgängern unterscheiden, und somit teure Anpassungen an Fachanwendungen erforderlich machen.

Die Migration auf freie Software ist dabei keine bloße Theorie, wie unter anderem das positive Beispiel der Stadt München zeigt, die durch ihr professionelles Migrationskonzept schon mittelfristig Vorteile erzielen konnte. Aktuelle LibreOffice-Migrationsprojekte finden beispielsweise in den Kopenhagener Krankenhäusern, der Region Umbrien, den Provinzen Mailand und Bozen, den Städten Las Palmas (Spanien), Limerick (Irland) und Largo (Florida) statt. Unsere jüngst durchgeführte LibreOffice Conference in Berlin, mit 200 Teilnehmern aus über 30 Ländern, wurde sowohl vom Bundeswirtschafts- als auch vom Bundesinnenministerium unterstützt, die sich über die Bedeutung freier Software im Klaren sind und offene Dokumentformate und freie Software dadurch bewusst fördern wollen.

Viele Aufgabenstellungen sind aus unserer Praxiserfahrung durchaus lösbar. Zu bedenken ist, dass eine Rückmigration hin zu proprietärer Software die Bindung an und Abhängigkeit von einer einzelnen Lösung einer einzigen Firma zementiert und Investitionen für Lizenzkosten erforderlich macht, anstatt in ein existierendes Ökosystem einheimischer Firmen zu investieren, welche bei der Migration kompetente Hilfestellung leisten können.

Zudem bedeutet eine Rückmigration mitnichten, dass die Aufgaben kleiner werden – im Gegenteil, eine solche Entscheidung macht einen zusätzlichen enormen personellen, finanziellen und zeitlichen Aufwand erforderlich, der im Interesse aller Beteiligten, insbesondere auch im Interesse der Steuerzahler, vermieden werden sollte.

Die Rückmigration hin zu proprietärer Software ist aus unserer Sicht eine falsche Entscheidung, opfert die Stadt Freiburg dadurch doch Freiheit und Unabhängigkeit. Würde sie die gleichen Mittel in die Umsetzung des ursprünglichen Beschlusses investieren, so wären die angesprochenen Probleme sicherlich lösbar.

Als gemeinnützige Stiftung The Document Foundation bieten und vermitteln wir Ihnen gerne fachliche Unterstützung in allen Fragestellungen rund um offene Dokumentenaustauschformate und den Einsatz unserer freien Office-Suite LibreOffice an.

Hochachtungsvoll

Florian Effenberger
Vorstandsvorsitzender
The Document Foundation

Thorsten Behrens
Stellvertretender Vorstandsvorsitzender
The Document Foundation

[1] http://conference.libreoffice.org/talks/content/sessions/003/files/berlin-achievements.pdf

34 Comments

  1. Any chance of an English translation?

    Comment by Gordon Burgess-Parker — 2012/11/16 @ 10:51

    • English Translation:
      “Why in hells teeth are you going back to Microsoft Office, when you had previously moved to OpenOffice/Open Office suites.

      You guys believe that since Oracle bought OpenOffice the whole Open Office system is going down the pan, but it’s not, we have loads of people on board (including Intel, Google, Red Hat and SUSE) and it’s being worked on in a large number of countries (Copenhagen, the region of Umbria, the provinces of Milan and Bolzano, the cities of Las Palmas (Spain), Limerick (Ireland) and Largo (Florida)).

      It’s main office is in Germany and you supporting Open Office solutions will provide jobs in Germany.

      Can’t you guys see that going to MS Office is going to cost you lots more money, cause you to be locked into proprietary formats (MS Office does not do OASIS or other open formats) and be an administrative nightmare for you guys because the new MS Office looks and acts nothing like the old MS Office.

      The Document Foundation as a charitable foundation offer and we are happy to provide technical support in all questions related to open document exchange formats and the use of our free office suite LibreOffice.”

      or something like that.

      Comment by Jad — 2012/11/16 @ 12:20

    • [I got a thanksgiving-sized portion of help from http://translate.google.com, so read it with a grain of Salz :-) ]

      Open letter to the City of Freiburg
      Filed under: Foundation – Florian Effenberger @ 10:36

      The following is an open letter The Document Foundation sent to the City of Freiburg, Germany, as a statement regarding the current discussion about Freiburg’s IT strategy. The letter in its original format is available at http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/File:OffenerBriefFreiburg.pdf

      Meanwhile, The Document Foundation has signed the open letter of the Open Source Business Alliance at http://www.osb-alliance.de/fileadmin/Themen_News/121116_B_Stadt_Freiburg.pdf

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      As editor[s?] of the free office suite LibreOffice we dearly regret Freiburg’s recent actions to take both a step backward to proprietary, closed software, as well as a move away from the open OpenDocument standard. Several pieces of the report appear to be wrong [perhaps: on the whole wrong?].

      To our knowledge, no expert on free software and open source has been consulted [in this decision]. Shall be recognized in the art that the creation of LibreOffice has not just led to a weakening of the developer community. Rather, only through the establishment of an economically independent LibreOffice project, the number of developers has been significantly increased.

      [Not really sure what to make of these last two sentences! I believe they are trying to address concerns about fragmentation between OOo (now AOO) and LO, in terms of splitting development communities, having fewer developers in each camp, etc..]

      The Document Foundation, a nonprofit foundation based in Berlin, ensures the support and continuous development of LibreOffice, regardless of the economic interests of individual producers. The creation of TDF allowed big international supporters including Intel, Google, Red Hat and SUSE, as well as more and more German-speaking companies, to be involved in this collaborative development. They [TDF? German companies? big internationsl supporters?] offer expert advice on migration, application development and professional support, and their existence has created new jobs right here in Germany. The assertion in the report [by Freiburg] that limited support exists for free software is [false/incorrect].

      In our view, [this report] overlooks the costs of migrating to and training on newer/different Microsoft products, especially in the user interface [prob. a reference to the Ribbon], as well as numerous technical details of their predecessors. Thus, expensive adaptations to technical applications will be required.

      The migration to free software is not a mere theory [Now they're addressing the concern that adoption of FOSS office suits and ODF have not taken off]. Among other things, consider the example of the city of Munich, which was able to achieve advantages even in the medium term, through a professional approach to migration. Current LibreOffice migration projects are taking place in Copenhagen, in hospitals, in the region of Umbria, the provinces of Milan and Bolzano, the cities of Las Palmas (Spain), Limerick (Ireland) and Largo (Florida). The recent LibreOffice Conference in Berlin, with 200 participants from over 30 countries, was supported by the federal Economic [Ministry?] and the Interior Ministry, both of which are aware of the importance of free software and open document formats and are hoping to promote the public’s awareness of free software.

      Based on our practical experience, many [most?] problems can be fixed. Consider the license costs of migrating back to proprietary software and the concern of being bound and dependent on a single solution from one company, and instead consider investing in an existing ecosystem of local firms which can provide professional assistance.

      In addition, a migration back is not guaranteed to be quick and easy. On the contrary, such a decision may entail an additional and significant expense both in financial terms as well as time. Such an expense should be avoided in the interest of all parties, especially the interests of the taxpayers.

      The return to proprietary software is, in our view, a wrong decision, and would sacrifice freedom and independence for the city of Freiburg. If the city considers investing an equal amount of resources in the implementation of the initial decision [I assume this means upgrading/fixing OO or LO], the raised issues could certainly be solved.

      As a non-profit organization, The Document Foundation is happy to offer/provide technical support in all questions related to open document exchange formats and the use of our free office suite LibreOffice.

      Yours faithfully,

      Florian Effenberger
      CEO
      The Document Foundation

      Thorsten Behrens
      Vice Chairman
      The Document Foundation

      Comment by Qubit — 2012/11/17 @ 19:13

  2. I have always considered that Freiburg is not only one of the most progressive cities in Germany, so is from all over Europe.

    A step as indicated here, the surrender to the arms of proprietary software, is the work of the worst mentalities that exist in this historic city.

    Are few ones, but they do much harm.

    Too bad!

    Comment by DrakoDrakkonis — 2012/11/16 @ 16:59

  3. And who is going to rewrite all the specific applications that depend on MS libraries to generate rtf reports? This type of application is ubiquitous all over Germany. Both ODF suites are not compatible on API level (of course not) and both produce awful rtf (because there are too many rtf “standards”), let alone the horrible database access.
    ODF (free and open XML) could be the solution to many of these problems but we don’t even have an extension to work with generic XML tables, let alone any other presentable solution to generate ODF from raw application data.

    Comment by Andreas Säger — 2012/11/16 @ 20:35

    • This seems very backwards logic …
      “We need to produce RTF because RTF is the standard we work to”,
      “There are too many RTF standards so noone knows which one to use”,
      “LibreOffice writes RTF in the ‘WRONG’ RTF Standard”,
      “We need RTF because that is what we always used in the past” …

      I’ve seen so many applications (even recently) that try talking OLE to Office Applications in order to write documents … I’m sure that they work some of the time, but heaven help the system if the user accidentally clicks somewhere while it’s working.
      I’ve seen applications that try to use MS Office’s crippled idea of a database in order to do form filling and printing … not significantly better, and sometimes considerably worse if the system believes that the file/database has moved location on the disk or the network …

      You would be better off re-writing to not use an office solution.

      I may be wrong in my interpretation but you seem to be saying “I have a Hammer and some screws. What I need is a screwdriver, but I will complain until someone gives me nails.”

      Comment by Jad — 2012/11/16 @ 22:46

      • “… According to Microsoft’s Office 2010 resource kit documentation, Microsoft is discontinuing enhancements to the RTF specification. Further, some new features in Word 2010 and later versions will not save properly to the RTF format. ”

        ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_Text_Format )

        Comment by jlbenc — 2012/11/19 @ 15:32

      • “… According to Microsoft’s Office 2010 resource kit documentation, Microsoft is discontinuing enhancements to the RTF specification. Further, some new features in Word 2010 and later versions will not save properly to the RTF format.[11] ”
        (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_Text_Format)

        Comment by jlbenc — 2012/11/19 @ 15:34

  4. English Translation

    [I got a thanksgiving-sized portion of help from http://translate.google.com (so read it with a grain of Salz :-)]

    Open letter to the City of Freiburg
    Filed under: Foundation – Florian Effenberger @ 10:36

    The following is an open letter The Document Foundation sent to the City of Freiburg, Germany, as a statement regarding the current discussion about Freiburg’s IT strategy. The letter in its original format is available at http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/File:OffenerBriefFreiburg.pdf

    Meanwhile, The Document Foundation has signed the open letter of the Open Source Business Alliance at http://www.osb-alliance.de/fileadmin/Themen_News/121116_B_Stadt_Freiburg.pdf

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    As editor[s?] of the free office suite LibreOffice we dearly regret Freiburg’s recent actions to take both a step backward to proprietary, closed software, as well as a move away from the open OpenDocument standard. Several pieces of the report appear to be wrong [perhaps: on the whole wrong?].

    To our knowledge, no expert on free software and open source has been consulted [in this decision]. Shall be recognized in the art that the creation of LibreOffice has not just led to a weakening of the developer community. Rather, only through the establishment of an economically independent LibreOffice project, the number of developers has been significantly increased.

    [Not really sure what to make of these last two sentences! I believe they are trying to address concerns about fragmentation between OOo (now AOO) and LO, in terms of splitting development communities, having fewer developers in each camp, etc..]

    The Document Foundation, a nonprofit foundation based in Berlin, ensures the support and continuous development of LibreOffice, regardless of the economic interests of individual producers. The creation of TDF allowed big international supporters including Intel, Google, Red Hat and SUSE, as well as more and more German-speaking companies, to be involved in this collaborative development. They [TDF? German companies? big internationsl supporters?] offer expert advice on migration, application development and professional support, and their existence has created new jobs right here in Germany. The assertion in the report [by Freiburg] that limited support exists for free software is [false/incorrect].

    In our view, [this report] overlooks the costs of migrating to and training on newer/different Microsoft products, especially in the user interface [prob. a reference to the Ribbon], as well as numerous technical details of their predecessors. Thus, expensive adaptations to technical applications will be required.

    The migration to free software is not a mere theory [Now they're addressing the concern that adoption of FOSS office suits and ODF have not taken off]. Among other things, consider the example of the city of Munich, which was able to achieve advantages even in the medium term, through a professional approach to migration. Current LibreOffice migration projects are taking place in Copenhagen, in hospitals, in the region of Umbria, the provinces of Milan and Bolzano, the cities of Las Palmas (Spain), Limerick (Ireland) and Largo (Florida). The recent LibreOffice Conference in Berlin, with 200 participants from over 30 countries, was supported by the federal Economic [Ministry?] and the Interior Ministry, both of which are aware of the importance of free software and open document formats and are hoping to promote the public’s awareness of free software.

    Based on our practical experience, many [most?] problems can be fixed. Consider the license costs of migrating back to proprietary software and the concern of being bound and dependent on a single solution from one company, and instead consider investing in an existing ecosystem of local firms which can provide professional assistance.

    In addition, a migration back is not guaranteed to be quick and easy. On the contrary, such a decision may entail an additional and significant expense both in financial terms as well as time. Such an expense should be avoided in the interest of all parties, especially the interests of the taxpayers.

    The return to proprietary software is, in our view, a wrong decision, and would sacrifice freedom and independence for the city of Freiburg. If the city considers investing an equal amount of resources in the implementation of the initial decision [I assume this means upgrading/fixing OO or LO], the raised issues could certainly be solved.

    As a non-profit organization, The Document Foundation is happy to offer/provide technical support in all questions related to open document exchange formats and the use of our free office suite LibreOffice.

    Yours faithfully,

    Florian Effenberger
    CEO
    The Document Foundation

    Thorsten Behrens
    Vice Chairman
    The Document Foundation

    Comment by Qubit — 2012/11/17 @ 19:09

  5. The Germans claim that OpenOffice doesn’t have enough functionality for their needs and botches formatting too often. It would be better to add the missing functionality and MAKE LIBREOFFICE WORK WITH MS FILES DAMMIT! Nobody cares if you don’t want to add decent OOXML support in Libreoffice because you’re lazy and you don’t want to play catch up with Microsoft. Crying isn’t going to do any favors.

    Comment by Alex — 2012/11/18 @ 02:59

    • Full support of MS file formats makes LibreOffice&OpenOffice pointless. Please, please, please, stick with MS Office forever if you can’t work with ODF. And stop crying that there is not a single alternative. There can not be any alternative to MS Office unless you create an exact clone of it (which is virtually impossible to do).

      Comment by A.S. — 2012/11/18 @ 12:00

      • Bullshit. The poor support of MS file formats is what makes LibreOffice pointless. There are already alternatives to MS Office that have great support for MS formats, like Softmaker Office. ODF is a lost cause, Microsoft has already won, you can’t make people use ODF when MS Office is already the standard unless you implement the standard yourselves.

        Comment by Alex — 2012/11/18 @ 17:49

      • Get your facts straight. LO/OO supports OOXML standard better than MSO itself. The current way of building .docx / .xlsx /.pptx and whaterver-x is a strange mix of rtf+doc+xml. Compatibility isn’t guaranteed even between Office 2010 & Office 2010 SP1. MS isn’t supporting it’s own standard but OO/LO should have to ? (and they are already more compliant with OOXML than any of the MSO suite products) MS is messing up their stuff and we should follow them into it ?

        Comment by DX099 — 2012/11/21 @ 08:11

      • Again, what’s the point with bringing up proprietary document formats under active development? They can’t be successfully reverse engineered until they die out. SoftMaker Office is proprietary, so Microsoft could actually have a written agreement with SoftMaker, like they do with Fluendo S.A regarding the Gstreamer plugins for Microsoft media formats. Any why is ODF a lost cause? No, you can’t make people use specific formats, but they won’t be interested in the ones that won’t be readable after the demise of the developer either. The reasoning behind ODF was the fear of a future with unreadable documents, which already was a problem at the time (remember the bit about ancient tablets still readable today, but not ten year old Word documents?). Governments tend to have routines based on the problem with data stored in proprietary software, so they keep a paper copy as well. Microsoft Office might be widely used, but that doesn’t make it any way a standard, as those have to be specified and accessible for others to mimic exactly. Simply put, standards can’t have proprietary components.

        Comment by Olav Dahlum — 2012/11/21 @ 10:17

      • AFAIK there’s no proof that Softmaker ever did an agreement with Microsoft, so don’t try to make conspiracies. ODF is a lost cause because Open XML is the defacto standard and you need almost perfect compatibility with Open XML to make your product even usable. People need to be able to trade their documents with others reliably. It doesn’t matter if Office doesn’t support Open XML (actually, it does, not the Strict but the Transitional variant, and it uses several extensions), you have to support their documents or else your office suite is useless. Standards shouldn’t have proprietary components, but they do, and that’s how reality works. Those with the cash make the standards.

        Comment by Alex — 2012/11/24 @ 01:11

  6. After 2 decades of co-evolution .doc support is still incomplete. OOXML seems to be a much higher obstacle because it includes more features that did not exist until 2007.
    Do you believe lazyness or dumbness prevents perfect MS compatibility? No, it is the different document model. No ODF suite can map its own capabilities to all the things that are possible to do with MS file formats. The one and only solution would be: drop all ODF and try to mimic MS in each and every aspect of the document model. In other words: rewrite the whole suite and in favour of something that needs to be several times bigger than today’s 200MB download. That would be the point where I had to remove OpenOffice from our computers. LibreOffice had to leave our small business last month because of incompatibilities with itself.

    Comment by A.S. — 2012/11/18 @ 18:17


    • LibreOffice had to leave our small business last month because of incompatibilities with itself.

      what do you mean “with itself”? Do you mean that one version of LO isn’t compatible with another version of LO, or?

      Comment by Qubit — 2012/11/18 @ 19:01

      • A file I created under Linux crashed the same Windows version.

        Comment by A.S. — 2012/11/18 @ 21:41

      • Hi A.S.,

        Re: incompatibilities, was that on 3.6? I remember seeing some bugs recently regarding MS-Word having problems with output from LO, but I’m not sure I’ve seen the linux-to-windows bug you’re describing.

        Have you had a chance to file a bug report yet? I’d be happy to take a look at the problem and try to track down any recent regression(s) using the crashing file and our bibisect tool.

        Thanks!

        Comment by Qubit — 2012/11/19 @ 01:10

    • Is LibreOffice tied to the way ODF works? Then it seems that’s a broken design. I guess it should be possible to add new features to ODF, or at least make sure ODF to OOXML conversion works (if OOXML has all the stuff ODF has it should be possible), but if it’s not possible, then I guess LibreOffice is dead (because I don’t think the suite is ever going to be rewritten).

      Comment by Alex — 2012/11/18 @ 23:08

      • Of course, it has to be built around its own native format because MS never specified anything in a reasonable manner. Read comment #8 by cyang. OOXML has been bribed through the standardization boards for the only reason to fight ODF (and to have something with “Open”, “Office” and “XML” in the name). Fighting back against OOXML is a matter of self esteem.

        Comment by Andreas Säger — 2012/11/19 @ 18:47

      • … and you can not write a software that resembles all the features of all its competitors, particularly when the product of the main competitor is such a huge monster. Download the 3 viewers for MS file formats. You get perfect viewers for 7 different file formats: doc(x), xls(x), ppt(x) and rtf. No macros, no “XML 2003″ file formats, no way to add comments, Windows only. The download size of the 3 packages is the same size as the full blown OpenOffice suite which comes with 5 macro languages, database connectivity, vector graphic, formula editor and its own platform independent GUI widgets.

        Comment by Andreas Säger — 2012/11/19 @ 18:56

    • Most of what you write doesn’t make any sense, but I will take it apart anyway. Document model? It’s all the proprietary components they put into their products which makes documents dependent on Microsoft Windows. When users of the Apple OS X version can’t share files with users on Microsoft Windows, there’s something wrong with Microsoft’s code base. I can’t see the point with the rant about formats when we have all the facts. Speaking of which, dropping a standard because there’s a completely broken and non standard alternative which no one will ever implement? You have to explain the reasoning here. But the real threat is your bit about size. Even if the size should increase, it can be kept down with LZMA compression etc to make the distributable files small. However, why do we need to rewrite just to make it look better on a DVD or other similar large media? The last bit doesn’t belong here.

      Comment by Olav Dahlum — 2012/11/21 @ 09:42

      • Well, being a member of the LibO’s “QA” team (aka fan boys) it is not a big surprise that you don’t know what a document model is. It is the abstract representation of each and every document you throw at it regardless of the file format. It is the casting mould where you pour in the document data to get a meaningful representation in this particular software.

        Comment by Andreas Säger — 2012/11/21 @ 18:26

    • “LibreOffice had to leave our small business last month because of incompatibilities with itself.”

      I’m sorry, but the irony is stunning. You’re complaining about this in LO, despite the fact that it’s been an issue in EVERY VERSION OF MS OFFICE EVER RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC? MS Office has never been compatible with itself in its entire history.

      Comment by Dark Phoenix — 2012/11/21 @ 16:17

      • I do not complain and I did not use MS Office since 2000 for the reasons you mentioned. I can switch to another product which supports the same file format. This is the point of free file formats.

        Comment by Andreas Säger — 2012/11/21 @ 18:29

  7. It saddens me to see that Microsoft Office still manages to shakle sensible businesses and public services like that… The truth is that OOXML is badly engineered and that ODF is an excellent format. People always live in fear of not being able to work with existing Office files *and* also believe (wrongly) that OpenOffice/LibreOffice cannot do everything that MS Office can. The truth is that OpenOffice and LibreOffice are built around the OpenDocument format, whereas the OOXML format is built around the peculiarities of MS Office. There is nothing rational or desirable about OOXML: it is defective by design and achieves none of its stated goals. ODF is modern, rational, consistent and flexible. It is also *complete*, contrarily to what MS wants people to think. Users should not care about OOXML compatibility, they should care about achieving their goals with their documents. There is no proposed goal that cannot be achieved with ODF, however with OOXML you always have to jump through hoops.

    You choose. Do you want:

    - A format that is complete, covers all use cases and yet has a fairly concise specification (a little over 800 pages in PDF), that is similar to HTML in its XML syntax and thus can be implemented, read and authored directly at the XML level by anyone who has the skill to work with HTML and other such similar formats; or

    - A format that is not even known with certainty to be complete or to cover all use cases due to its complexity, verbosity and shunning of existing standards, has a specification of many thousands of pages that leaves out important implementation details and is so complex and alien in its XML syntax that it is hard, even for a seasoned coder, to actually write any of it “manually”?

    I know what I want. If the decision makers knew what was at stake, even if they chose MS Office, they would choose ODF (recent versions of MS Office are supposed to support ODF). Formats are important. They are actually, in a sense, more important than applications. At the onset of the web standards era, almost no one implemented the standards until a certain period of toil had passed. Then, eventually, standards began to be consistently implemented. And everyone involved saw that this was Good. During the dark ages, when the standards existed only in spec documents, they were an important beacon and implementing them was a motivation.

    The conclusion: ODF, well used and understood with Open/LibreOffice, is already much better than OOXML and MS Office. What we need to do is improve ODF implementations even more, so that the world eventually realizes how nice ODF is and wants nothing else.

    Comment by cyancg — 2012/11/19 @ 04:15

  8. freiburg means free town, doesn’t it? Ironic.

    Comment by terichardson — 2012/11/19 @ 04:54

    • The translation of “Freiburg” is “Free Castle”.

      Comment by Andreas Säger — 2012/11/19 @ 18:50

  9. [...] In dem Gutachten werden LibreOffice und OpenOffice nicht unbedingt in einem guten Licht dargestellt. Dazu nehmen die Document Foundation unter deren Leitung LibreOffice entwickelt wird und die OpenSource Business Alliance nun Stellung. Die Document Foundation hält das Gutachten aufgrund der Tatsachen, dass nicht einmal ein Experte für freie Software hinzugezogen wurde und viele Thesen schon im Grundsatz falsch sind, nicht für glaubwürdig. Im Gutachten wurde behauptet, dass die Gründung von LibreOffice zu einer Schwächung der Entwicklergemeinschaft geführt habe und dass der Support für freie Software nur eingeschränkt gewährleistet sei. Beides kommentiert die Organisation als grundsätzlich falsche Behauptungen. Der Brief ist unter folgender PDF-Datei verfügbar oder direkt im Blog. [...]

    Pingback by OpenSource Business Alliance und Document Foundation melden sich zu Wort | Liebig EDV – Open source solutions — 2012/11/19 @ 10:46

  10. The sad fact is as much as Libre Office believes that they are as good or better than MS Office, they are just wrong. There is still little or no innovation in the UI, many of the Libre Office products are missing key features or features that are hacked together and not fully functional. Mail Merge for an example is just a nightmare. The basic foundation of Libre Office is as good as MS Office for the general user, but when it comes to using it in the business environment, it is still a year or two away from competing with MS Office.

    Comment by Chris — 2012/11/22 @ 16:45

    • Correction, I believe you got that a little wrong:
      The sad fact is as much as MS Office believes that they are as good or better than Libre Office, they are just wrong. There is still little or no innovation in the UI, many of the MS Office products are missing key features or features that are hacked together and not fully functional. Mail Merge for an example is just a nightmare. The basic foundation of MS Office is as good as Libre Office for the general user, but when it comes to using it in the business environment, it is still a year or two away from competing with Libre Office.

      Comment by Jad — 2012/11/22 @ 16:55

  11. I guess Freiburg can go ahead with locked-in monopolistic software, spending more money than needed and Germany can possibly be the new Greece.

    I feel Freiburg has forgotten the hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic. As a wise man once said ‘those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.’

    Comment by paul2012 — 2012/11/23 @ 04:09

  12. […] year, I posted the following comment on a blog post from The Document Foundation. I post it here again, as I realize that I had neatly summed up my position in this small piece. I […]

    Pingback by A Response to The Document Foundation’s Open Letter to the City of Freiburg and to the Circumstances of the Letter’s Publication | Waidanian’s Codex — 2013/05/21 @ 03:57


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