Happy Document Freedom Day

Happy Document Freedom Day! Today, March 26th, is the first such global celebration of open documents. When I look back to 2002 and the ridicule that we faced when the first proposed that the world needed a stanard for office productivity documents, it's amazing to see those same mocking voices six years later advocating XML-based open document formats as if they thought of the idea!

We still have a long way to go. There is more to this than just standards. Our freedom depends on being able to implement, being able to influence future evolution and on having collective ownership of document standards. Today, only ODF offers the hope of that so here's to the ISO 26300 Open Document Format today, Document Freedom Day.

Comments:

"Our freedom depends on being able to implement"

How can you have the freedom to implement with software patents?

"being able to influence future evolution and on having collective ownership of document standards"

If OOXML is adopted, it will be probably maintained by SC34, where the Microsoft Business Partners circus will continue again in the different technical committees. And any change that breaks the backward compatibility with OOXML 1.0 will make Microsoft cry. This ISO process looks more and more broken, and I am not sure someone will be able to fix it one day to make it resistant to committee stuffers and al.

Posted by lori on March 26, 2008 at 08:15 AM PDT #

I didn't mention OOXML anywhere, why are you commenting on it? ODF is an XML-based format. And it is covered by a strong patent non-assert covenant so that software patents are not an immediate obstacle to implementation. Maybe you thought you were on someone else's blog?

Posted by Simon Phipps on March 26, 2008 at 08:32 AM PDT #

Care to back that assertion about having being "ridiculed" in 2002?

Microsoft added support for WordprocessingML in 2002 before ODF was submitted to OASIS.

Or is this perhaps a case of being under "sniper fire" in Bosnia?

Posted by r on March 27, 2008 at 04:56 AM PDT #

@r: I'll look for some information for you but the essence is that Microsoft in 2002 was focussed on XML as a data technology and ridiculed the idea that a standardised word-processing format was needed when invited to join the OASIS working group. As you say, they had an XML system in Office at the time but it was designed around a paradigm similar to markup editing rather than to encourage interoperability and document portability. But I'm sure you know that already.

Posted by Simon Phipps on March 27, 2008 at 05:08 AM PDT #

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