ODF Alliance debuts
By webmink on Mar 03, 2006
I got in late last night from Copenhagen, where I had the pleasure of speaking at the Linux Forum Denmark. I actually got to sit down and chat with Alan Cox at last, which was very enjoyable (charming guy), and I was made very welcome by the organisers - they even drove me to the airport at the end when it was clear the blizzard that had sprung up was going to prevent me catching my flight if I took a taxi. Mind you, the blizzard delayed the flight by 2 hours (but only once we were all on board, saving SAS from its statutory responsibilities).
One of the important subjects for the day was the launch of the new ODF Alliance, a broad-based advocacy group promoting the use of OASIS OpenDocument formats for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and more. The group comprises many different kinds of groups, from corporations to open source communities and universities. Bob has a round-up of the press reaction, and Andy Updegrove has a great article about what it means to have the Alliance around and so does Pamela at Groklaw.
I seem to have spent the whole week talking to people about this, and the themes will be familiar to regular readers here - about how we need to recognise the maturity of the document creation and viewing market and draw a baseline standard across it so that innovation doesn't mean the loss of earlier work; about standards and openness and how Ecma fails the test; about the subtle dishonesty of some of the counter-arguments (watch for abusive manipulation of the disability community by the anti-ODF lobby next, just like in MA); especially about the ODF Alliance and its role as an independent rallying-point for advocacy.
Something I have said repeatedly is that the ODF Alliance is pro-freedom, pro-history, pro-individual, pro-openness. It's not anti- anyone. The web site even uses technology that some abhor, but it was formed by a diverse group of people genuinely pro- something and no-one gave a thought to partisan political correctness as SIIA put the resources together. It's just an idea whose time has come, as all of us found over the last 10 days or so as we recruited members. We found almost everyone we asked said "of course we'll join" the instant we asked (a few then got vetoed by superiors, can't say who).
It's Saturday and I am decompressing after a busy week, but I'll leave a final invitation. The ODF Alliance. Please get your organisation to join now or, if you are unable to do that, join one of the many member organisations. We need to all send a clear message that it's time for a real standard so that we aren't condemned to forget our history by the competitive software market and its dynamics.