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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Document Formats - To the Winner Go the Spoils

Let the market decide. That is Microsoft's view on competing standards for document formats, as described in this recent MacWorld article.

That sounds fine . . . as long as people are clear that ODF and MS's "open" XML standard are not equivalents in terms of openness, control and genuine neutrality for platforms and 3rd party products.

As the Berkman Center's John Palfrey said, echoing some key points in the Open ePolicy Group's Roadmap for Open ICT Ecosystems, it's not about one company verses another. It's about access to the information you create today and tomorrow. It's about who should properly control public information.

A summary of John's remarks at yesterday's Open Forum on the Future of Electronic Data Formats for the Commonwealth at the Massachusetts State House is available at his blog.

So where is this competition going?

Will we see other governments take official positions on open document formats?


Sam said...


John's comments introducing the Forum (12/14) were excellent, as I say on PlexNex here.

I also agree with you that ODF is going to be a market-referrendum where it's incumbent upon us to make sure end-user organizations can distinguish between significant differences in degree of openness of multiple competing standards. This seems our fate as Ecma is designed to fasttrack the MS XML spec throught ISO and after 18- 24 months we'll have "OpenXML" and "OpenDocument." (Luckily, we have a better name, as well as few other things going for us.)

For this distinguishing exercise, I propose a Beaufort Scale for openness of a standard which cites the real effects in common language of certain characteristics of a standard. More to come.

Greg said...

employee books what about it..employee books