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A National Archive Moves to ODF 99

Andy Updegrove writes "The National Archives of Australia (NAA) has announced that it will move its digital archives program to OpenOffice 2.0, an open source implementation of ODF. Unlike Massachusetts or the City of Bristol (which announced it would convert to save on total cost of ownership), the NAA will deal almost exclusively with documents created elsewhere in multiple formats. As a result, it provides a "worst possible case" for testing the practicality of using ODF in a still largely non-ODF world. If successful, the NAA example would therefore demonstrate that the use of ODF is reasonable and feasible in more normal situations, where the percentage of documentation that is created and used internally is much larger."
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A National Archive Moves to ODF

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  • by Sir_Jordan ( 819187 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:38PM (#15053578)
    Years ago when Novell switched over to Linux operating systems, one of their largest fears was the trouble integrating their documents in a Microsoft stardard based world. It turns out that Open Office was more than adequate concerning reading/writing various document standards.
  • Doesn't exist? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:43PM (#15053607)
    Which of these applications [], exactly, don't exist?
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:46PM (#15053634)

    Note: Said software doesn't exist.

    Get with the times. That hasn't been true for a while. The current list includes: Abiword 2.4, eZ publish, IBM Workplace Documents 2.6+, KWord 1.4+, NeoOffice 1.2 Writer, Writer, Scribus 1.2.2+ , StarOffice 8 Writer, TEA text editor , TextMaker 2005, Visioo Writer 0.6, and Writely for the word processor portion of the format, with similar lists for the other components. There are a lot more that have announced support on the way.

  • by Distinguished Hero ( 618385 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:46PM (#15053636) Homepage
    Wikipedia begs to differ [].

    Some highlights according to wikipedia:

    .odt: AbiWord, KWord, Writely
    .ods: KSpread, Gnumeric (incomplete)
    .odp: KPresenter

    Plus StarOffice (maybe that's cheating), and IBM Workplace Documents (never used it)
  • by R.Mo_Robert ( 737913 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:52PM (#15053670)


    Not that that makes it a myriad, but there are also a few lesser-known programs that do, and I would guess that many others will implement support for it soon. AbiWord didn't last time I checked, but they did support SXW (StarOffice/ Writer 1.x format), so it wouldn't surprise me to see them implement ODT. Actually ... oops ... I lied, looks like it does now: supporting_OpenDocument []

    Anyway, the OpenDocument Alliance also has a lot of companies behind it, among them IBM and, of course, Google. So it seems to be a pretty strong format to me, even if that one company from Redmond (what's their name again?) isn't particularly interested right now...

  • by Distinguished Hero ( 618385 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:55PM (#15053686) Homepage
    One should not copy and paste without citing the source. List of applications supporting OpenDocument [] seems to be where you got that form.
  • by olafura ( 539592 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:55PM (#15053691) Homepage
    You must be kidding is almost all C++ code, it's slow to start because it calls to many files on startup, it has certain parts of it which use java like the Base and some templates.
  • Re:First (Score:5, Informative)

    by Luctius ( 931144 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:56PM (#15053693)
    I think the dutch national archive also switched to odf.
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @05:00PM (#15053726) Homepage Journal
    "OOo is slow because it's still largely impelemented using a Java VM-based architecture with bytecode and all that entails."
    No it isn't. I just ran OpenOffice writer V2.0 and checked my task list. No java was running at all!
    OOo uses java for some functions but it in not "largely impelemented using a Java VM-based" anything ontroversy [] is a list OpenOffices use of Java.
    OpenOffice is mostly a C++ or C program.
    I have not run a profiler on OOo so I can not tell you 100% what makes OO slower than Office but I would guess that part of it is the XML format that OO uses.
    Just from my own experence I have found that you can write a fast XML parser and you can write a "safe" XML parser. But a fast safe XMP parser is very hard.

  • Re:Bristol, UK? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 03, 2006 @05:17PM (#15053838)
    Bristol's population is about 400,000. Bristol aims to save £1,000,000 over five years, or 50p per person per year. Only one fifth of council revenue comes from council tax, so your bill should be reduced by about 10p. Don't spend it all at once!
  • Questions here (Score:5, Informative)

    by countach ( 534280 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @05:49PM (#15054016)
    I wrote the original version of the National Archives software that does the conversion. The current version of the software is available here: []

    If anybody wants to ask any questions here I'll try and answer.
  • Taken (Score:2, Informative)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Monday April 03, 2006 @06:13PM (#15054157) Homepage Journal

    OK why is the little o included in the name? Its just Open Office. OOo is a website that Has OO. I don't get it.

    If this Wikipedia article [] is to be believed, then the name of the web site, project, and product is "" because "OpenOffice" was taken.

  • by Noksagt ( 69097 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @06:13PM (#15054158) Homepage
    which apps on the list 1. run on Microsoft Windows operating systems (so that they don't require re-buying hardware)
    Those which run under Linux probably wouldn't require new hardware either. That being said, here are the windows apps (which are most of them):
    • Abiword
    • EZ publish
    • IBM Workplace
    • Scribus
    • TextMaker
    Writely is web-native, so you could use that too.Kword might work in cygwin (I really don't know--I know you can run some KDE apps).
    • Gnumeric
    • IBM Workplace
    Same note on KSpread.
    Same note on KPresenter as on KWord
    • Scribus
    2. are promoted in print or on television across North America or across Europe?
    What does this have to do with anything? I have seen relatively few MS Office, OO.o, or Corel WordPerfect ads either. People giving away software usually don't spend money to ensure you'll take it from them.
  • Re: templates (Score:3, Informative)

    by michaelbuddy ( 751237 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @06:44PM (#15054324) Homepage
    I almost thought you were joking about the templates, because what you described is pretty exactly what some people have done. It's called OOextras.

    I don't think they match up to the beauty of (some) MS or Corel templates , but StarOffice has some templates you could steal from I bet. Would those be freely distributable under their license?

    Anyway, []

    that's the
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 03, 2006 @08:24PM (#15054811)
    Stop by the Fort Wayne LUG []. I'm sure someone can set you up. Personally, I buy online (or mailorder or fax or call or...)--it is cheaper and the selection is better.
  • by digipres ( 877201 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @08:48PM (#15054925)

    Our use of the OpenDocument format will be quite important, but it's only one facet of what we do. The Xena software has been developed with a plugin architecture that lets us use various external helpers to 'normalise' or convert to open formats any data objects in our care. For each data object, we use Xena to create a base64 encoded copy so that we can embed some metadata with it, and separately for a conversion to an open format. Much of the data ends up as XML, while images for example are png or jpg. We're currently investigating open audio formats. Xena is also used to 'present' data objects that it normalises.

    Until now, Xena has made use of OOo 1.1.x for the normalising of office documents into flat XML. Other development priorities have kept the move to OOo2 in the background. I must stress that we have not yet released Xena with OOo2 support, there is more testing to be done and we feel that the release must be accompanied by good user and developer documentation.

    The 'current' binary of Xena available at sourceforge is waaaaay out of date and will shortly be replaced by a much sleeker and more intuitive version. For the curious, anonymous cvs is pretty up to date. If you have a java 1.5 sdk and apache ant, check out a pile of modules and go nuts. Anyone who wishes to become involved in the development effort is more than welcome.

    For anyone else, keep an eye on the http// [] for the upcoming binary release.

  • by LardBrattish ( 703549 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @11:10PM (#15055486) Homepage
    A couple of years ago I went on a tour of the West Australian archives & they said that computer generated documents were their bane.
    They had 150 year old documents going back to wherever but they had trouble reading 25 year old floppy disks in weird formats and converting them to the raw text-only format they used back then.
    If they standardize on an XML based format like the ODF ones and convert all of their old stuff to this it will make archiving the current documents much easier. It may even in a few years prod the Australian government to standardise on a product that saves to ODF...

I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.