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Hi :)
The UK Government is ostensibly and proudly independent of the US government.  

Although the decision appears to have already been made in the US, (to support a US company) the 
discussion is still open in the UK.  Would the US Government have been so quick to support MS if it 
had been a foreign company?  I think that might be one of the crucial differences.  MS is foreign 
to the UK.  Hopefully that might make the decision more controversial.  

Back when MSO 2007 came out there were a LOT of people still using the older versions.  OOo and the 
rest had an opportunity to join forces with them to petition and make a strong stand against using 
the newer format.  

For whatever reasons Sun were always shy about promoting OOo and the ODF formats in the USA (and in 
England).  Hopefully if the same thing happened today then TDF would be better positioned to seize 
such opportunities.  

Also the UK's consultation document specifically states things like "reduce lock-in to a particular 
vendor or product".  I think if  people could write in and address specific points raised in the 
consultation document.  Then it might go someway towards swaying opinion in favour of ODF as used 
by LibreOffice and OpenOffice and all the rest.  

Now is the time for action, not for grumbling!
Regards from
Tom :)

--- On Fri, 30/3/12, webmaster-Kracked_P_P <> wrote:

From: webmaster-Kracked_P_P <>
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Re: Fw: 'Open' Standards dependant on a single company?
Date: Friday, 30 March, 2012, 14:43

When MSO 2007 first came out and they were the only one that could use .docx formats, the US 
government started to produce .docx documents for the Library of Congress for public assess for 
documents.  At that time for whatever reason MSO get the US government to REQUIRE the people to 
upgrade to MSO 2007 if they wanted to read public documents.  MS had that much power back then.  I 
wrote a letter to LOC and some other government officials, via email and post-office-mail, about 
that subject.  I stated how much I was concerned that the US government no required their people to 
buy one company's newest software to access the documents required by LAW to be FREELY ACCESSIBLE.  
The US government was producing documents that was no longer freely accessible since you were 
required to buy MSO to use them.  Forget the MSO file readers.  You need to be able to 
read/edit/use those government documents.  You could not do that for free at that point.  The
 government was breaking its own laws for freedom of information.

Now there are other office suites that can read/write .docx files, so it is not as much of a 

But, the US government needs to realize that there are more vendors out there that can be used for 
their office suite needs.  Yes, having them switch to ODF formats instead of MSO formats would be 
challenging, but packages like LibreOffice can replace most government users office packages 
without too many problems.  They still will be able to use the .doc and .docx file, along with the 
spreadsheet and presentation files.  Access files may take a little longer to get a Base version 
usable by both types of users.

I really think instead of "open standards", we need "open vendors".  Get people to realize that 
there is more than MSO to be chosen as their office package.  THEN we can start getting people to 
look into ODF as a replacement for MSO's formats.  Even MSO is now working to read/write ODF, 
although not up to any real quality.  IF their users started to demand MSO to read/write ODF more 
that it does now, then "Open Standards" for office file formats will get a real boost.

The US government is pushing open source, but I have not seen nay articles about them pushing open 
source for office packages in the government offices. Just think what savings it would be if 
instead of buying the newest MSO for 10,000 computers, they install LO's newest business ready 
version [not 3.5.1 at this point, but 3.4.5/3.4.6].  Even with a discount for volume, Free 10,000 
package vs. $50 each for 10,000.  That would give those agencies that get the 10,000 LO packages a 
half-million of monies to use for other things in their limited budgets [ less the cost of helping 
the user to realize how easy their work is with LO].  This will only work for those who do not use 
MSO for those complex document needs that less than 0.01% of MSO users seem to need.  The average 
office worker, or at least for those agencies I have worked with, do not do or need to do complex 

we need to get MSO for being the one company in control of the office document formats that most 
governments use, as well as the people who have to deal with the government agencies.

We need to have it in the hands of the community who knows better what they need than one company 
telling us we need this and nothing else.

get the users to realize that MSO is not their only choice for a good office suite than can 
read/write MSO formatted documents.

let them know that there are other formats that are out there that more and more 
people/businesses/governments world-wide are using successfully instead of what MSO tells us we 
have to use.

We who use Linux, knows what it is like to not be able to read/write documents that were in the 
newer MSO file formats, till OOo/LO came along, if did not have a Windows machine as well.  So we 
might be more vocal about open documents standards.  Windows users need to start being as vocal as 
some Linux users.  If Windows users start demanding open document standards for their individual 
and business use, the MSO might get the point.  If we can get the Windows users to realize that 
they do not need to use MSO, and they start switching over to LO and not buy the newest MSO 
offerings, the MSO might take notice.  Once you get a user to use LO, it may be an easy step to get 
them into using an open standard for the documents, instead of MSO's one company controlled 

That is my opinion.
On 03/30/2012 07:51 AM, Tom Davies wrote:
HI :)
Hmm, ok so i have read the Open Standards Consultation web-page on

They claim they want ...
Background: The cost of the Government’s IT is
currently too high and needs to be reduced. There is a lack of market
diversity in existing government contracts. A more diverse market and
level-playing field for access to government IT contracts is needed to
improve competition, reduce cost and improve public service outcomes.

  From a user perspective, it is difficult to transfer information and
data across government boundaries and systems due to a lack of
interoperability between products and services.

Citizens, businesses and delivery partners must be able to interact
with the Government, exchanging information/data across in the software
package of their choice and not have access costs imposed upon them by
the IT choices which the Government makes.

A lack of interoperability also makes it difficult for the Government
to reuse components, switch between vendors and products or to deliver
efficient public services that leverage the value of government
information, for instance through the provision of interfaces that
allow delivery partners to build on government information services,
delivering more innovative solutions.

Government is therefore seeking to:
give citizens and businesses a choice in the software they use when accessing government 
information and services reduce lock-in to a particular vendor or product;reduce the cost of IT 
through a more competitive and diverse market and sustained commercial leverage; and improve 
software interoperability and sharing of data and documents across government boundaries." 
Interestingly the full booklet is only available in English (Uk? or US?) and only as a Pdf. So, 
it's probably better to deal with their stated goals rather than just do a rant or a ramble like 
mine.  In fact now i re-read mine i'm a bit embarrassed about it. 
Regards from
Tom :)

--- On Fri, 30/3/12, Tom Davies<>  wrote:

From: Tom Davies<>
Subject: Fw: 'Open' Standards dependant on a single company?
Date: Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:35

Hi :)
I have forwarded a long rambling rant i just sent to the "Open Standards" agency.  Short and 
sweet might have been better.  Please feel free to write your own or perhaps modify bits of mine. 
 The marketing list had a great post a few weeks ago from someone in Thailand or Vietnam or 
somewhere and some of the comments from that would be superb. 
I would really like to see "e-letter" write to them because it's one of the things he is 
fantastic at. 
Please, even if you don't live in England (or the rest of the UK) or/and are not English please 
write in to the "Open Standards" office to express dissatisfaction about the Microsoft formats.  
I guess it wouldn't work if your email address clearly places you in a different country but .com 
or .org addresses would be great. 
Regards from

--- On Fri, 30/3/12, Tom Davies<>  wrote:

From: Tom Davies<>
Subject: 'Open' Standards dependant on a single company?
Date: Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:24

Dear Sirs,

I heard that an American company is trying to push their exclusive formats as an "Open Standard". 
The format as used in their programs apparently differs according to which version of their 
operating system is
   being used and which version of their product is used to view the format.  While they have 
managed to get a format granted ISO status and the format they use in their programs has the same 
name it seems there are significant differences between any of their implementations and the ISO 
version.  Other companies are kept out-of-the-loop about variances so agreeing to use their 
formats means being tied in to constantly buying their latest products. 
Interestingly they attempted to do this before with a format called .Rtf (= "Rich Text Format").  
The newer format seemed to magically appear just after
   they lost a court-case involving the Rtf format and they have withdrawn development support for 
Meanwhile all other programs and office suites continue to happily use the ODF format that has 
been an ISO standard for so long.  The upgraded 1.2 version of the ODF standard has recently been 
released after extensive testing out in the field with many programs on many different platforms. 
 The older ODF format will continue to be supported for many years.  Most other programs and 
office suites allow add-ons that can provide support for specific formats.  Such add-ons are 
usually maintained by various companies or individuals. 
So, unlike the American company's format the ODF standard does not depend on a single company to 
maintain and develop it.  If one company withdraws from developing and supporting it the others 
carry on and new ones join the umbrella organisation. 
Also from a security
   point of view the American company's format makes a lot of noise about security but keeps 
getting compromised.  Just this week my company has had trouble with a few machines running their 
office suite.  Microsoft seems to blame the user after their formats have been compromised and 
then sell them their latest product. 
By contrast the ODF format has never been compromised out in the wild (ie "in the field").  
Indeed a huge fuss was recently made when someone noticed a theoretical possibility of a 
potential problem and a patch applied far before anyone could take advantage. 
Perhaps Microsoft don't keep records of how often their various products get compromised and so 
they can claim "there are no problems on record".  I would try google or any other search engine 
to test the validity of such claims. 
Regards from
Tom Davies

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