ODF support in pages, numbers et al

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Dunk the Lunk, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. Dunk the Lunk macrumors regular

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    #1
    Recent press release from the UK government:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/open-document-formats-selected-to-meet-user-needs

    I imagine that other European governments and the EU/EC will also be doing this.

    What chance is there for support in Pages etc.? If Apple are serious about the former iWork products they really are going to have to start thinking about odf support. I guess if we don't it soon we know Apple aren't.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    That occurred only 4 days ago, its really impossible to say one way or another. Maybe apple will set up ODF as a way to export its documents. I expect Pages to still use its own proprietary forum imo.
     
  3. Dunk the Lunk thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Yeah but its been on the cards for months if not years. But I think you are right - we won't see proper support in the future. Which is a pity - if it was fully supported Apple could get the jump on Microsoft (which was/is still trying to push .docx etc as an open format) in the paid/commercial market which big companies are likely to prefer (rather than Libre/OpenOffice).
     
  4. dyn, Jul 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014

    dyn macrumors 68030

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    #4
    The UK isn't the first, it's nowhere near the first. We Dutch have it since 2008 (as of 1-1-2009 our government has to provide their documents in odf format; if we hand in an odf document during a trial it has to be accepted, they are not allowed to deny it and request it to be a different format). There's also the famous switch to open source in Munster (Germany). In France there are some governmental bodies that also use open source (Linux, OpenOffice). According to the following Wikipedia article there are many more countries worldwide: OpenDocument adoption.

    It is used a lot, especially when it comes to governments so Apple should support it. And they do, TextEdit is able to open .docx as well as .odt files. A nice overview of ODF capable software (may not be entirely up to date though): OpenDocument software. This link depicts that TextEdit is able to use .odt but it doesn't list any of the iWork apps. Apple has some work to do!
     
  5. Dunk the Lunk thread starter macrumors regular

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    Hi Dyn

    I'd seen those articles but it does the Dutch government only produce/accept ODF versions or does it also accept OpenDocument (OOXML - .docx, etc) too? Many national and regional governments/councils (including ones in the UK have required 'open documents' but that could be either ODF or OOXML). That seems to be the main difference with this decision - the UK government now only accepts ODF. The Document Foundation press release states 'UK citizens will be the first in Europe to be liberated from proprietary lock-ins'.

    Also see an article from zdnet: 'The document format world has just been turned upside down'. And most importantly with regards to Pages, Numbers and Keynote:

    All office-suite programs, which do not support ODF, such as Google Docs, must add support for the standard. Without it, they will find themselves unable to compete for UK government business now. And, in the future, they may find themselves unable to compete for other office contracts that will require ODF.
     
  6. dyn macrumors 68030

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    Like most governments the Dutch government has a list of accepted file formats. Whatever is on it has to be accepted by them. In court there were still some restrictions but they have lifted them. If you now hand in a document in ODF no government body or court can deny the format. Official documents are also produced in several file formats, ODF is one of them (most are in PDF and ODF). The reason behind this is quite simple: it is an open standard which allows anybody to be able to read them.

    I checked if OOXML is also on the list of open standards but I couldn't find it. We have two lists. One of them is the so called "pas toe of leg uit". If the standard is "pas toe" then the supplier will have to implement it. The UK has the same requirement when it comes to ODF. However, in theory the supplier can deviate from the "pas toe of leg uit" list if he explains (="leg uit") why they want to deviate from it. That might be the only difference with the UK. The EU (both the UK and NL are part of it) has written some recommendations concerning the use of ODF. A lot of member states have already implemented it or are working on it. That's why there are quite a lot of similarities in the EU regarding ODF for governmental use.

    The following document (in pdf of course) has more information about the policy regarding open standards: Open Document Standards for the Government Guide (and yes, it is in English :)).

    The push for use of open standards and open source software in the Netherlands started in 2007 after "motion Venderink" was passed. The government started up a special program for the use of open source software and open standards. That's where the ODF came from. If I'm correct the standardisation of ODF by ISO/IEC in 2006 was the reason why mr Venderink entered his motion. As you may have noted we do more than just implement ODF and PDF. The motion is meant as a push towards other open standards and open source software as well. That is the big difference with what the UK and some other countries are doing. We are going for open standards/open source on all levels, not just the implementation of open standards for documents.

    Btw, the sentence 'UK citizens will be the first in Europe to be liberated from proprietary lock-ins' is not in the press release, probably removed because they found it simply isn't true.

    Just remembered something. I think there was a debate about requiring ODF and OOXML. Some found it to be stupid to require ODF and not "an open standard such as ODF or OOXML". There are some countries with this discussion as well. Microsoft is to blame for this themselves as well as ISO/IEC. The standardisation process went too dodgy. There have been quite a few lawsuits regarding fraud and bribery. Also, the fact that OOXML can still use proprietary elements from the old MS formats does not make it a proper open standard. Some simply state that due to this OOXML cannot be considered an open standard and thus should not be included on such a list. I'll see if I can retrieve some info about this concerning the open standards used here (NL).
     
  7. Dunk the Lunk thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Hi Dyn

    The quote is still there - it's a subheading in bold under the headline and above Berlin, July 23, 2014.

    Your links are very interesting (thanks!) and as you say show that the Dutch government paper to only support ODF. However reading this blog by one of the key people behind LibreOffice it notes And of course, just like with the Netherlands, the decision itself might end up being toned down or take a somewhat different meaning. Not really sure what this means but sounds like policy and practice in the Dutch government might differ...

    More interesting and getting back to my original point the blog also says
    By way of an example, I have always been amazed at Apple’s clean support of ODF inside Mac OS X but its constant absence across the iWork editions. Perhaps Apple will feel compelled to introduce ODF files in iWork now?

    What does 'clean support' mean? I really do hope that Apple fully supports ODF in Pages, Numbers and Keynote as I do think it would be a way to get the jump on Microsoft (and Google Docs) in Enterprise (where open source is much less likely to be supported).
     
  8. dyn macrumors 68030

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    Ah, and its even in bold, yet I did completely overlook that sentence :eek:

    As for the toning down, I think that is because of plans to migrate from MS Office to OpenOffice.org were made but not many have gone through. Parts of the government renewed their Microsoft contracts (but the MS Office suite is capable of reading and writing in ODF).

    Anyway, toning down things is very common in politics, no matter the country. That's what happens when you have a lot of people in one room with different opinions (the EU, UN and so on all suffer from this).

    The "clean" support probably means that it will fully support ODF documents. In some applications the ODF support is just so and so. OpenOffice.org (when it was still under control of Sun before Oracle bought them and left OOo to rot) was one of those because it didn't use the ISO/IEC standard but its own (it had more features for spreadsheets for example; with ODF 1.2 this has become less of a concern). Koffice and OpenOffice.org documents were in ODF but they weren't quite the same when it came to layout (the raw information however was intact in both suites; this is also the main benefit of ODF: it's the information that counts the most, not the layout). As I said, this has changed considerably with ODF 1.2, although some issues remain.
     

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