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AGIMO going open

By johnboy - 4 June 2013 11

Government News has an intriguing story on a push for the Open Document Format in Government word processors:

The once mighty proprietary influence of Microsoft over government software and operating environment standards has been dealt a further blow after the Australian Government Information Management Office revealed that it now wants the Open Document Format to be supported as a file standard in productivity application suites used by most federal agencies.

The proposed move to require most agencies to support ODF effectively draws a line under decades of preference for Microsoft created standards thanks to the now fading dominance of the Office range of products and the Windows client and server operating systems.

Better late than never.

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
AGIMO going open
dtc 9:54 am 05 Jun 13

Paul0075 said :

I have been using Open Office and now Libre Office for a long time, because still after 6 years of the ribbon, I still can’t find anything on it. The ribbon is also a great way to clutter the screen too..

You know you can create your own custom ribbon tab – mine has about 15 things on it and covers 95% of what I use the ribbon for.

Assuming your organisation allows for custom tab creation of course.

OpenYourMind 9:20 pm 04 Jun 13

If you read the document on the AGIMO Common Operating Environment model, it doesn’t specifically state that Windows should be used, but reading between the lines it is heavily inferred. For better or worse, I’m expecting that most Govt departments will stick with a Microsoft Volume Source Agreement as arranged by AGIMO. Once you are part of the VSA, the MS Office suite pretty much becomes the automatic choice.

Jivrashia 8:33 pm 04 Jun 13

They are addressing productivity by enforcing ODF?

I think the problem with Microsoft Office suite is that it has become so rich and complicated that one is unable to intuitively know where things are. (e.g. Word from Microsoft Office 2010)

Sure, it’s probably a good thing for publishers and people whose job is to produce rich documents, to have a vast set of tools to give them the edge, especially if they are in a marketing related job.

But for most people working in the public service, something simple is all we need for us to get the job done. I actually reminisce the time I was using Microsoft Word 2.0 – simple, and did the job for my Uni work.

Which comes to my main point.

ODF is for enabling easier interchangeability of documents across government agencies. I think that is AGIMO’s main goal.

But I think they should concentrate their effort on adopting software applications that are easy to use so that a typical public servant doesn’t have to waste their time relearning what is the same tool, and achieves the same result, and yet it is vastly different to operate.

If OO and OL achieves that then I’m all for it.

[disclaimer: Yes, I am an old dog that can’t easily be taught new tricks]

Pollushon 7:45 pm 04 Jun 13

As stated by fernandof, M$ Office has supported ODF since 07 so really they’re just encouraging agencies to update Office to a semi-recent version, which really they should do if security is even a slight interest. Agencies have always had the ability to us alternate software, I don’t get why this story is worded in a ‘sensationalist’ manner, like some sort of imaginary win.

The one thing to always watch with open source products is support, proper support. At least with M$ you get the premiere support you pay for. With OO and LO you get a community forum. TCO on open source products are often higher for this reason, I can only hope the ‘way cool’ self proclaimed technophile dinosaurs making the big tax payer dollar decisions, show a little due diligence before they make any plunge in the name of community development and fighting the corporate machine.

Grrrr 5:57 pm 04 Jun 13

PoQ said :

Except that OO also intalls java

There is a Java-less install. Java is only required for certain functionality, which most users will not require: http://wiki.openoffice.org/wiki/OOoJava

Same for LibreOffice – which is being more actively developed than OpenOffice, since forking from it. https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Development/Java

As per fernandof’s post, MS Office supports ODF so there’s no need for change to support this new requirement.

PoQ 2:07 pm 04 Jun 13

Except that OO also intalls java, which in turn creates a whole bunch of extra security holes, just in case your windows substrate didn’t have enough to start with

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/23/java_reflection_api_an_insecure_mess/

EvanJames 1:11 pm 04 Jun 13

Perhaps the prospect of having to upgrade to nonsense like Windows 8 is motivating them to look outside MS. And agree, the ribbon crap of Office 2010 is a step backwards from menus, you now have to know something exists and go lookign for it (if you want to find where Reveal Formatting that they stole off Wordperfect has got to, you’re best off using google, it’s well hidden).

Tetranitrate 1:04 pm 04 Jun 13

Bubbalo_Bill said :

Good news! Most of the problems for individuals switching to LibreOffice/OpenOffice don’t exist when the entire organisation switches. Personally, I also prefer the Windows XP/LibreOffice/OpenOffice system of menus and taskbars rather than the new ‘Ribbon’ that Windows 7 and onwards have.

Yup. I was happy using office until they ruined the interface in Office 2007 for no discernible reason whatsoever. Switched to Openoffice and have never looked back.

fernandof 12:36 pm 04 Jun 13

I don’t think it’s as an excited news as it’s presented. The requirement here is that the “The office productivity suite must support … [the ODF format]”. And it further goes to provide a list of compatible software, Microsoft Office 2007, 2010 and 2013 being among the supported suites.
(source: http://agimo.gov.au/2013/05/28/views-sought-on-annual-review-of-the-common-operating-environment-policy/)

The recommendation says nothing about the requirement of agencies to use ODF, just that whatever office suite an agency choose to use, that suite must support ODF. No biggie.

Paul0075 12:12 pm 04 Jun 13

Bubbalo_Bill said :

Good news! Most of the problems for individuals switching to LibreOffice/OpenOffice don’t exist when the entire organisation switches. Personally, I also prefer the Windows XP/LibreOffice/OpenOffice system of menus and taskbars rather than the new ‘Ribbon’ that Windows 7 and onwards have.

+1

I have been using Open Office and now Libre Office for a long time, because still after 6 years of the ribbon, I still can’t find anything on it. The ribbon is also a great way to clutter the screen too.

The other advantage of using things like OO or LO is that they’re available across Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, which means no matter what systems are adopted within the working environment, the office suite interface remains pretty much the same.

Bubbalo_Bill 11:39 am 04 Jun 13

Good news! Most of the problems for individuals switching to LibreOffice/OpenOffice don’t exist when the entire organisation switches. Personally, I also prefer the Windows XP/LibreOffice/OpenOffice system of menus and taskbars rather than the new ‘Ribbon’ that Windows 7 and onwards have.

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