Check out this article in eWeek: Playing the Standards Game the Microsoft Way (http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1985410,00.asp) by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols July 6, 2006!
"The Redmond crew has an entirely different agenda for "supporting" the OpenDocument Format with its own Open XML Translator.
It's not even news, actually, according to Andrew Updegrove, a partner with Boston law firm Gesmer Updegrove, and the editor of http://www.ConsortiumInfo.org . "Microsoft's announcement on plug-ins is being treated in the press as 'new news,'" Updegrove said. "Ray Ozzie actually let slip mention of the project last October, and an open-source converter project was started by the same French company last September 26." ....
There are two key phrases here. The first is "third-party." Jason Matusow, Microsoft's director of standards affairs, came right out and said Microsoft was not contributing code or providing architectural guidance for Open XML Translator. The OpenDocument Foundation says it will provide a plug-in that will allow Office users to open, render and save to ODF files. ....
Why, oh why, do I think that Translator's technical support line will often be telling users that the fault for a botched document transfer lies at ODF's door? And somehow I think Microsoft's technical support's usual suggested "fix" will be to just use Microsoft's own Open XML instead. "It's so much better," they'll say to annoyed users.
What could Microsoft do if it were really interested in supporting open standards? Easy: Bake ODF import and export support into Office 2007. This? This Translator support is just another trap to keep users locked into Microsoft Office. "
More FACTS (http://sourceforge.net/projects/odf-converter ):
Only available for Word so far. Nothing for Excel or Powerpoint.Only supports import of ODF files for now. Support for writing ODF word processor documents will not be seen until October.Plan is to issue final 1.0 version of the Word convertor (import/export) by December 30th. No plan stated for Excel or PowerPointThe tool pre-req's Word 2007. Behind the scenes, it is converting from ODF to Office Open XML. So this will only work and be relevant to those using the beta version of Word 2007. Microsoft should be able to retrofit this to work with Office 2003 as well (using something called the "compatibility kit" which they were already planning to support Ecma Office Open XML in Office 2003) they have no plans to bring ODF compatibility to earlier versions of Office (Office 97-XP).The UI integration is clumsy. For example, it brings ODF documents into Word as read-only documents and does not allow you to save back to the ODF document. It isn't integrated into the standard File Open dialog, but appears in its own "ODF" menu. The code is implemented in Microsoft's C# programming language. It is interesting to note that C# (pronounced "C sharp") was submitted by Microsoft for standardization to Ecma in 2000 where it went through Ecma and then ISO. Six years have based since C# was born. Where are the interoperable implementations? What makes us think that Office Open XML will fare any better? (http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=169337&package_id=196249)It also pre-req's the .NET 2.0 runtime, an additional 22MB download. It is odd that even on an up-to-date XP desktop with the Office 2007 beta on it, I did not have a sufficiently recent .NET runtime. I needed to download and install it.
Those following my blog would have read about several governments adopting ODF associated policies ( http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/AntonySatyadas?entry=belgian_government_adopts_odf_open ), ISO voting ODF as an international standard, as well as Microsoft pursuing Open XML as the standard with ECMA standards group.
Here is an interesting Microsoft press release: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060706/sfth055.html?.v=65 that announces Microsoft sponsored open source project for Open XML - ODF File Translation (http://sourceforge.net/projects/odf-converter ).
Check out this piece in Bob suitor's blog calling out some of the FUD! http://www.sutor.com/newsite/blog-open/?p=783
Key FUD items
- FUD: "Open XML and ODF are designed to meet very different customer requirements"
FUD: "Open XML formats are unique in their compatibility and fidelity to billions of Office documents, helping protect customers intellectual investments"
- Fact: The primary difference is that Open XML are designed for those who use Microsoft spreadsheet, word processor, presentation!
FUD: "In contrast, ODF focuses on more limited requirements, is architected very differently and is now under review in OASIS subcommittees to fill key gaps such as spreadsheet formulas, macro support and support for accessibility options."
- Fact: There are virtually no documents in existence that use the Open XML formats; any existing binary Office documents will have to be translated to it, warts and all, including every odd subformat that has been tried through the years, successful or not.
- Fact: ODF is under active development by a worldwide community of experts not under the control of a single vendor who are making it state of the art in such areas as accessibility!
What does this do to Office 2007 release dates? No Impact?
Very interesting article by Michael Vizard - Microsoft's SMB Dominance is under threat! http://www.extremerfid.com/article/Microsofts+SMB+Dominance+Is+Under+Threat/182141_1.aspx
"But a curious thing is starting to take shape in the SMB market as the loyalty to Microsoft among ISVs in this space becomes increasingly strained. The process that drove a wedge in that loyalty was Microsoft's decision to acquire a number of companies and begin aggressively marketing applications targeting the midmarket space. This naturally set ISVs on edge, with many of them shifting their stance from being pro to neutral about Microsoft to being neutral or against.
The reason solution providers need to pay attention to what's happening in the ISV community is that about one-third of all infrastructure is sold at the time of application deployment. Given that, the influence that ISV exerts on what infrastructure is chosen by the customer is immense. And what solution providers are going to see a lot more of is ISVs trying to push their customers toward Linux and open source.
.... ISVs will exercise enough clout with their customers to require more solution providers to have a deeper knowledge of all things open source. That may come with some additional cost for solution providers, but the days when a solution provider can focus on exclusively one platform in the SMB space appear to be coming to a close."
So, if you are a Microsoft ISV or solution provider or systems integrator or any other type of business partner, you got to check this out: http://www.ibm.com/lotus/abetterway !
Are you an IBM Lotus business partner who will be in town (Boston) on July 11th? Maybe you are a Microsoft business partner attending the Velocity 2006 conference in Boston? Want to figure out a better way to partner? with IBM Lotus?
Come join IBM Lotus executives at Anthony's Pier 4 on July 11th 6-9PM est.
Get a sneak peak of Lotus Sametime 7.5, WebSphere Portal 6.0. Play with Linux laptops running Lotus Notes, Sametime, and Productivity editors!
Grab the invitation from here: ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/software/lotus/lotusweb/Invite.pdf
Check out http://www.ibm.com/lotus/abetterway
Malaysia is the latest in a growing list of countries that have expressed support for the OpenDocument Format (ODF). This past week, Malaysia's standards body voted to propose ODF as a country standard. After a public comment period that ends in October, Malaysia's Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is expected to formally endorse ODF by year's end, recommending the format for use by the public sector.
ODF was recently voted by ISO to be an international standard. The ODF Alliance that comprises of corporations such as IBM, Google, etc. was launched on March 3rd 2006 with more than 35 initial members (www.odfalliance.org ). They currently have around 280 members from 40 countries.
Belgium, France, Denmark, Norway, India and Thailand, as well as the Bristol City Council in the UK and the American states of Massachusetts and Minnesota, have moved, or are moving, toward requiring software based on open standards. ODF is specifically identified in a growing number of these places as the universally compatible format to use to ensure access to their own electronic public records years from now!
Where is Microsoft heading with OpenXML and ODF?
Recently, Microsoft announced that Office users will be able to save documents as ODF files. Some critics, however, saw the move as half-hearted, and the product as half-baked -- little more than an attempt to avoid being shut out from government procurement efforts. For example, see this article in eWeek: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1994141,00.asp
" the .1 release of the plug-in translates from ODF word processor documents to Word 2007's OpenXML format and not vice versa."
... "What's more, rather than add ODF as a standard format option in Word—like RTF (Rich Text Format) or WordPerfect—there's a separate menu line in the file menu for ODF. Users can't configure Word to save to ODF by default, which relegates the format to a sort of second-class citizenship."
... "Another limitation is that the plug-in requires Word 2007. And since it converts between ODF and OpenXML, the translator does nothing to help with the countless documents already stored in Microsoft Office binary formats."
Check out this article in Computerweekly:
Microsoft officially informed the world about dropping WinFS right here: http://blogs.msdn.com/winfs/archive/2006/06/23/644706.aspx
So what is WinFS?
"WinFS is the code name of a Windows storage subsystem, being developed by Microsoft for use on its future Windows (c) Operating System. WinFS is a relational database located on NTFS and representing itself to the operating system as a file storage subsystem. The codename WinFS stands for Windows Future Storage.
WinFS intends to link the worlds of traditional relational databases, objects, XML, and file systems of unstructured documents with the concept of metadata over files. Instead of representing a file solely by directory path and filename, WinFS represents individual domain objects - e.g. images, e-mails, address book entries, and any kind of regular file - with indexed and searchable context and keyword information.
The underlying system is based on Microsoft SQL Server (c) database engine. WinFS provides access to data through both traditional file-based APIs, and new object-based approaches that take advantage of the new features. Applications that are not written to take advantage of WinFS can access the contents of a WinFS Store through a regular UNC path."
There will no longer be a WinFS Beta2, WinFS!
Microsoft still maintains that many of WinFS functionality will show up in other Microsoft products - like Katmai SQL Server!
I am not going to hold my breath on this one!
Check this out!
According to Aaron Tan, ZDNet Asia, "Gartner estimates that only half of Microsoft's customers with more than 1,000 desktops worldwide have purchased SA for Microsoft Office or the Windows platform, and only 65 percent of this clientele are renewing the maintenance program."
While Ed Bott argues that a price increase doesnt make sense, especially given the impact on customers with Microsoft Enterprise Agreement and Software Assurance as explained below - they may end up paying double!,
"If the goal is to increase adoption, a [Vista Enterprise] price increase doesn’t seem like the smart way to do it, especially given the bad feelings that a lot of enterprise customers are going to feel having purchased three-year SA licenses for Windows and Office in September 2003 with the assumption that they were buying upgrade rights to Longhorn and Office 12. Oops." in http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=104
a recent interview with Microsoft executives - see Joe Wilcox analysis: http://www.microsoftmonitor.com/archives/016739.html - does point to potential price increase!
"By the way, Kevin confirmed that Microsoft would charge more for Windows Vista Ultimate, and presumably Windows Vista Enterprise, than current Windows XP pricing. He described the increase "modest." Maybe, but it's also the first Windows price increase in more than a decade."
So, this also means that customers whose Microsoft Enterprise Agreement is expiring after Vista/MS Office shipping date, have yet another reason NOT to renew their Microsoft Enterprise Agreement!
Check this out -- According to Nitix, Nitix on Linux outperforms almost 17x Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 in a test case comparing the Installation of the Operating System and Core IT services!
http://www.sorrybill.com : "Lower cost, more reliable, easier to use, better security, quicker to setup!!"
And, here are more details of a product performance bakeoff done by CRN:
"Net Integration's Nitix Linux small-business server offering packs every bit of the feature punch of Microsoft's just-launched Small Business Server 2003 R2 ..."
Try Nitix with IBM Lotus Domino at no cost here: http://www.nitix.com/products/domino/requestDownload.php.
They already have Sage Accpak running on Nitix: http://www.nitix.com/products/accpac/index.php
Are you ready to transform your desktop?
Gartner predicts delay for Vista, MS Office is delayed! (http://www.tgdaily.com/2006/05/02/gartner_predicts_another_vista_delay/ )
Gartner has advised customers that they can forego Microsoft Enterprise Agreement in favor of an alternative licensing strategy (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/10/microsoft_sa_windows_vista/
, http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/AntonySatyadas?entry=what_next_increase_price_as )
You can use the new Eclipse based Sametime 7.5 on Linux that will be available this September (http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,20002921,00.asp , http://www.computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/0/D73CFB773FD2C1DECC2571CA00140882?OpenDocument )
IBM had announced availability of Notes on Linux before (http://biz.yahoo.com/iw/060710/0142515.html )
And ODF based productivity editors are available from IBM (as a component of IBM Workplace Managed Client, and next version of Lotus Notes codenamed Hannover) and other vendors! Several countries are standardizing on ODF. (http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/AntonySatyadas?entry=malaysian_government_and_odf )
Mainsoft, IBM advanced business partner has announced the ability to deploy your .NET applications on Linux using their Visual MainWin for J2EE and IBM WebSphere Everyplace Deployment software (http://www.mainsoft.com/news/press_releases/2006_08_14_01.aspx ) or as JSR 168 portlets in WebSphere Portal (http://www.mainsoft.com/products/vmw_wps.aspx ).
If you are an SMB customer, here is a Nitix based solution! (http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/AntonySatyadas?entry=nitix_on_linux_outperforms_17x )
Meanwhile, Steven Vaughan-Nichols writes about top 5 things Microsoft can learn from Linux (http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS7886275455.html ).
Its about choice, flexibility, open standards, reducing costs, driving innovation.
Are you ready for a pilot?
From guest blogger Scott Handy, Vice President of Linux and Open Source at IBM:
We announced at Linuxworld, eight key open source initiatives beyond Linux, aimed at accelerating the adoption of open standards and extending existing product lines to reach new customers. We also announced new work with the open source community to improve the development of general Linux kernel functionality, expanding its Linux focus around virtualization, Cell processor technologies, and security.
The eight new disciplines focusing on open source business opportunities include: Client-side Middleware - Supporting the Eclipse Rich Client Platform project for hosting cross-platform applications.Development Tools - Built on Eclipse, a universal open integration platform of frameworks and exemplary tools.Web Application Servers - Based on Apache open source projects like Geronimo.Data Servers - Building on the open source Apache Derby and no-license fee IBM DB2 Express-C.Systems Management - Including open source Aperi storage project.Open Hardware Architectures - Community-driven collaborative innovation with Power.org and Blade.org.Grid Computing - Expanded support for Open Grid Services Architecture and the Globus Alliance.IBM Research/Business Consulting and Technology Services - Enabling customers to innovate with open source-based solutions and development models.
Brazilian-based online gaming pioneer Hoplon Infotainment, Nationwide Insurance, CommX, and RealPlus, are among those pushing the company's estimated number of Linux-related customer engagements to more than 15,000 worldwide.
Customers using supercomputers, to gaming technologies and desktops and mobile phones are benefiting from the low cost of ownership, security, and reliability of Linux and open source software running on standards-based IBM hardware and server platforms. The company is particularly committed to expanding growth in IBM's Linux-related customer engagements in emerging markets including Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Hoplon Infotainment, for instance, is beta testing its new massive multi-player TaikoDom game hosted on an IBM mainframe computer at the IBM Service Delivery Center in Hortolandia, Brazil managing purchasing transactions with WebSphere and DB2 database software running on Linux. Millions of players worldwide can challenge each other in online games like TaikoDom and interact with other users in real time requiring a highly scalable IT infrastructure. The IBM DB2 Universal Database solution running on Linux delivered a significant percent performance increase over an Oracle solution that previously served as the technology middleware.
Gartner analyst Michael Silver expresses doubts about reports that Microsoft/PC vendors will start to offer upgrade coupons for Vista users in Q4, 2006. See the article by Gregg Keizer in Varbusiness: http://newsletter.varbusiness.com/cgi-bin4/DM/y/eyou0FZukk0Elw0Ei5t0EA
I wonder what value these coupons can bring to enterprise customers if the product is delayed.Given the potential delays before we see any enterprise wide rollouts, many might opt for Linux or Mac as these platforms continue to become more viable as enterprise desktop platforms.
I came across this interesting article in Datamonitor, based on AMR research findings, on challenges in leveraging Duet. (http://www.computerwire.com/industries/research/?pid=5F04C21A-8AC3-42B9-865E-86458CACFE93)
The article points out the following challenges:
Some Duet scenarios demand additional SAP software such as Employee Self Service, mySAP CRM 4.0, mySAP SRM 5.0, SAP NetWeaver BW 3.5
- Need SAP ERP 2004, Netweaver, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Office 2003 Professional
So what? Well, lets look at customers in Retail and Manufacturing industries. According to the Datamonitor aticle above, AMR, estimates only 29% of the SAP customers they surveyed have the prerequisite technology in place.
So why is it a no brainer for Lotus Notes customers?
Available since May 2006, there is no additional charge to Lotus Notes customers current on their maintenancce for access to the SAP solutions feature.
- No additional software is needed on the Lotus Domino server,
- SAP NetWeaver is not needed, and typically no changes to the SAP system will be required
- Mature and proven technology - Built on existing Lotus Connector for SAP software
- True business value - Provides independence through workflow and collaboration integration
- Immediate time to value -Includes both out-of-box capabilities and samples that show how to leverage and extend these functions using Lotus application development tools
- Facilitates improved decision making -Integrates collaborative capabilities with business processes and workflows
- Minimum training cost -Leverages a familiar user interface to introduce new capabilities, leading to a higher degree of business process automation across the organization
- Rapid deployment -Installs easily on existing SAP systems and Lotus Notes and Domino applications
Check out this case study: ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/software/lotus/lotusweb/lotusforsap/WPLC_for_SAP_Case_Studies.pdf
Note that we also have IBM Workplace for SAP software (http://www-142.ibm.com/software/workplace/products/product5.nsf/wdocs/workplaceforsap)
NASA (Jet Propulsion Lab) is building and running software using Eclipse for mission critical projects such as controling Mars rovers, Scout Lander, and various robotic systems (http://www.gcn.com/print/25_26/41756-1.html ).
Eclipse is an open source community whose projects are focused on providing an extensible development platform and application frameworks for building software. Eclipse provides extensible tools and frameworks that span the software development lifecycle, including support for modeling, language development environments for Java, C/C++ and others, testing and performance, business intelligence, rich client applications and embedded development. See http://www.eclipse.org for more details.
Millions of developers are using Eclipse. And several software vendors and consumers. Here are some more examples:
- The General Services Administration’s CIO office uses Eclipse as a base for an integrated modeling environment, one that bridges an agency’s enterprise architecture with more technical models
- IBM uses Eclipse as the basis for its Rational line of modeling and architecture applications, as well as Lotus collaboration products such as Sametime 7.5, Workplace Managed Client, and WebSphere Everyplace Deployment.
- Business Objects uses Eclipse as a platform for its report generation software
- Software AG (Germany) uses Eclipse for its Cossvision suite of service oriented architecture applications
- Adobe Version Cue Server (http://www.eclipse.org/community/casestudies/adobeversioncue.pdf )
- SAS App Dev Studio (http://www.eclipse.org/community/casestudies/SASfinal.pdf )
And many others...
So what? It aligns with IBM strategy and customer value in leveraging Eclipse and SOA role based application composition that provides an end-end programming model and the ability to leverage a server managed client environment. The value proposition includes flexibility and choice, web 2.0 capabilities, accelerate innovation, and lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) that in turn drives organizational productivity and effectiveness.
See http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/offers/techbriefings/details/eclipse.html for a deepdive on Eclipse.
Linux brewing in India? All over the place...
The following article provide examples of Linux adoption in Indian companies including UTI bank, Everady, Central bank of india, New India Assurance, LIC, BSNL, IRCTC, Airtel, IDBI, Indiabull, State of Maharashtra, State of West Bengal, etc.
And for the hot news, from Kerala, 32 million population, 12500 schools, more than 99% literacy rate, 1 million students aged 5-15 (see link below)
The Ministry of Education is banking on Linux to drive "making all school children computer literate"
Kerala is a well known tourism destination in Asia. It is also known for its success in striving for universal literacy and advanced PQLI and social development, including service delivery points in healthcare, education, and public distribution up to the village level. Called "Akshaya" (http://www.akshaya.net ), a recent (2004) initiative led by the Kerala government is focused on improving the state by using IT effectively. Examples of Akshaya's projects include creation of Information Communication Technology (ICT) access points at a village level, increased public participation by improving skills and encouraging daily use of ICT, making more content available in local languages, and using ICT centers for the delivery of a number of services and applications (e.g. e-governance, e-transaction and e-commerce).
I am excited as a native of Kerala to be able to witness this innovation.
Good news for 16 million Lotus Sametime users and potential new customers. IBM announced the availability of Lotus Sametime 7.5 unified business communications platform earlier this week (Sept 13th 2006).
Based on the open and flexible Eclipse framework, with web 2.0 capabilities, this is indeed a game changing application!
We are approaching 100 IBM Business Partners building solutions based on Lotus Sametime 7.5, with nearly 30 of them already featured in the Lotus Sametime Virtual Partner Showcase http://www.ibm.com/software/lotus/partnershowcase/sametime.
At the Sametime Real-Time. Right-Now launch event we demonstrated examples, ranging from plugins with Cisco to see your contact's phone availability, to Radvision's multi-party audio/video conferencing session.
Look at some of the press around this announcement:
IBM Beats Microsoft to Meeting Space By: Michael Hickins, September 13, 2006: http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/3631911
IBM Lotus Sametime Challenges Microsoft for New Market, By: Stan Gibson, September 13, 2006: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2015716,00.asp
View the webcast and see Lotus Sametime 7.5 in action for yourself: http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product3.nsf/wdocs/rtrneventbasic So, how is this different from Microsoft's unified communication announcements over the last three months, including the strategic relationship with Nortel?
- Lotus Sametime 7.5 is based on open standards that offer flexibility and choice.
- Leveraging open source Eclipse framework helps ISVs rapidly deliver plug-play components that complements Sametime services
- This is available TODAY. So customers need not wait for 2007.
- Solutions with Lotus Sametime 7.5 include Avaya (IP Telephony), Avistar Communications (Video Conferencing), Nortel (Voice, video, audio conferencing and mobility options), Phonesoft (voice messaging), RIM (audio and video conferencing)...