☆ Apple and Google and ODF

I’m in Latvia today speaking at the Latvian Open Technology Association annual conference – my slides are online. The speaker before me was from the government and made an important announcement; that from now on, all government departments in Latvia must accept documents in ODF.

It’s not just Latvia. Moves like this are in progress across Europe as public administrations seek to ensure citizens can engage with government without being forced to pay for the means to do so. All the same, many citizens will want to use software other than LibreOffice to edit ODF documents.

So I remain surprised that neither Apple nor Google are taking ODF support seriously. Apple still don’t support ODF in their applications (despite it being available in their TextEdit gadget on Mac OS X) or the iPhone or iPad, and the ODF support in Google Docs is so weak that documents I try to upload from LibreOffice are routinely rejected in ODF and yet accepted if I save the identical document in .doc format. It’s ironic that the best proprietary ODF support right now is from Microsoft.

10 Responses

  1. Thank you, Simon, for coming to Latvia! I was not able to participate but hopefully your keynote was taped and will be posted somewhere.

  2. Who cares about proprietary implementations?

  3. Regardless of what those of us who have immersed ourselves in Free Software think about them, these proprietary implementations still dominate the market and what they do or do not implement is important.

    Back on subject, as long as those pieces of software can produce documents in a format that the government can also accept (and I’m guessing they can both output .doc), then they provide equivalent access whether they output ODF or not, so where is the pressure for them to do so in this situation?

  4. [...] Apple and Google and ODF I’m in Latvia today speaking at the Latvian Open Technology Association annual conference – my slides are online. The speaker before me was from the government and made an important announcement; that from now on, all government departments in Latvia must accept documents in ODF. [...]

  5. [...] Phipps, ehemaliger Open-Source-Evangelist bei Sun, berichtete am Mittwoch in seinem Blog von einem Vortrag in Lettland in Sachen Open Document Format (ODF). Sein Vorredner, ein Vertreter [...]

  6. [...] Simon Phipps berichtet, die Regierung in Lettland setze nun auf Open Document format. The speaker before me was from the government and made an important announcement; that from now on, all government departments in Latvia must accept documents in ODF. [...]

  7. [...] Todos los departamentos gubernamentales en Letonia deberán aceptar los documentos en ODF [En] webmink.com/2011/01/18/apple-and-google-and-odf/  por bonobo hace 2 segundos [...]

  8. [...] Livre Quarta-feira passada Simon Phipps, antigo responsável pelo programa open-source da Sun, escreveu em seu blog sobre a apresentação numa conferência na Letônia sobre o Open Document For…. O ODF é formato de livre de texto (equivalente ao DOC, da Microsoft), planilha (equivalente ao [...]

  9. I understand your criticism of Apple and Google, but I don’t think it is accurate to say that Microsoft is the only game in town with regards to commercial/proprietary ODF support.

    Surely you have you heard of IBM Lotus Symphony? It is proprietary (though free). You should give it a try. Its ODF support compares favorably with anything Microsoft Office offers. Available on RedHat, Ubuntu, Windows and Mac OS X.

    http://symphony.lotus.com

  10. I envy Latvia such an intelligent government. In Poland, a country of fools and corrupt idiots ruling the country, things like in Latvia will probably never happen. Best wishes!

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