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06.16.08

ODF Op-Eds from South Africa, Malaysia

Posted in Africa, Asia, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, SUN at 8:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

South Africa holds an important meeting that discusses XML and, in particular, document formats. Some of the latest coverage from Tectonic, which is based in South Africa, indicates that, among several things, closed formats may be dying and change needs to come from citizens whose choice of formats may gradually instruct and drive change in government.

One of the best ways to ensure this happens is for the likes of you and your readers to keep sending ODF documents to government agencies and requiring that they accept them. Most departments have a plan for fuller support in 2008/2009.

A lot of important progress has been made by ODF recently. Over in Malaysia, there’s this good little summary predicting that Microsoft will not sit idly. We shall wait and watch.

Lets see how the Microsoft machinery reacts to this set of interesting news, and see how they spin in. How much has this fiasco cost them? What did they get out of it? A chance to be more open? Can you see a change yet?

In related news, Sun’s commitment to Open Source is applauded by one who is typically a shrewd critic.

In the open source world, many grandiloquent declarations of free and open source commitment have been legitimately questioned by apparently minor details: Microsoft refusing the GNU GPLv3 on their open source repository CodePlex or Google refusing the GNU AGPLv3 (Affero) on open source repository Google Code are good examples of such troubling discrepancies.

Short of a slow start and a few hiccups, SUN has done pretty well so far. The company seems genuinely committed to open source and free software. Here is a story that shows that SUN commitment runs even deeper.

As Linus Torvalds suggested a year ago, Sun’s goal is to attract Linux developers and restore its older golden days somehow. For the time being, Sun is an interesting Free software citizen. It is not fully committed and engaged yet. To some people, ODF is synonymous with Sun and OpenOffice.org, but this is far from true in practice.

“Writing non-free software is not an ethically legitimate activity, so if people who do this run into trouble, that’s good! All businesses based on non-free software ought to fail, and the sooner the better.”

Richard Stallman

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