Today at GOSCON, the OpenDocument Foundation's legal affairs czar, marbux, will present something quite new and refreshing to the tired eyes & numb ears of the document formats conversation.
Within the broad schedule which Deb Bryant skillfully assembled, today at 12:30 pm PST Andy Stein, the CIO of Newport News, Virginia, will host in a general session the Executive Panel on Open Document Formats.
Here are the conference location details.
Here, CDF will enter formally from stage-left, representing our Hero with a Thousand Faces -- a potential solution to the difficult problem of the Universal Document Format. (Click the image to view in full size.)
Attending will be well-known senior open source & format people from Adobe, IBM, Microsoft, OpenDocument Foundation & Sun Microsystems. Expect some pretty mind-numbing repetition of platitudes about choice, openness, value & interoperability.
It may be news to some -- not to the ODF Community, certainly -- that we at the OpenDocument Foundation have been displeased with the direction of ODF development this year. We find that ODF is not the open format with the open process we thought it was or originally intended it to be.
Holding aside any tiresome stridency about motivations and possible malicious intentions (everyone wants to be successful and has their own set of objectives and view on how to accomplish them), it is important to recognize that ODF -- the format we have today along with the community structure which sponsors its progress -- does not adequately respect existing standards and does not address the market's requirements for a single Universal Document Format with which any and all applications can work on an equal basis.
Among ODF's weaknesses is its provenance from a specific application and the unwillingness of its originators to release it into the Bazaar. Merchants of irony will note this is the identical problem that paralyzes the incumbent gorilla's format.
I beg you to pay attention to this event and to listen and participate in the trailing conversation over the next several weeks. We may have a solution to a large problem, we may not.
Scoff, complain, criticize, discuss -- but do not doubt that the motivations behind the proposal of WC3 CDF comes from fresh & healthy thought about the market's requirements, which include:
- openness & objective oversight
- full compatibility with legacy MS formats
- convergence of desktops, servers & devices
- cross-platform portability
- vendor independence
- an explicit interoperability framework
- freedom from patent & other encumbrances
Members of the W3C may be sensitive that we are bringing their work to a purpose for which it was not intended. We express with the deepest sincerity our intention to work within the frame provided by the W3C and to fully respect the spirit and the specification of the Compound Document Format to help make documents good for the Web.
UPDATE: Further details and background on our Universal Interoperability efforts are found here.
UPDATE II: better link