Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Open Document Formats

Just saw this article from today's (Dec. 7th) Bangkok Post

As it indicates, and as we highlighted in our Roadmap, the core issues regarding document formats are not technological. The issue is control, and what conditions should exist for access to public information.

Here's my prediction: Within 2 -3 years (or sooner) this whole debate about open document formats will be over. The case is clear and compelling. Open document formats assure future access to public information. As more governments and other customers demand control over their information --- and they will --- open document formats will be the accepted baseline for information formats, and every major vendor and application will support them.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Sam said...

Loosely speaking, Jeff, your prediction has 100% chance of coming true, given the measures Microsoft is taking to emulate OpenDocument's qualities through covenants and standards bodies.

I fear, though, that their emulation is only skin deep, so we are looking at the market having to discern between two standard file formats, one of which is open and one which merely pretends to be.

The imperative is on the users once again to make the call in a decision framework which once again is not only defined by the file format itself and its glowing economic, political & practical merits. It falls then to organizations like the Berkman Center to double down on its already effective efforts like the Roadmap for Open ICT Ecosystems.

In particular, the people and their elected representatives need to understand better the issues at stake in this arcane trade discussion of file formats. If we fail to make a complex set of issues clear (to people like our own parents), then we will fail to take an extraordinary opportunity that current circumstances afford us.

(Incidentally, Jeff: nice template!)