ODF |Open Document Format Debate at GOSCON

In the summer of 2005, I took on the challenge of creating the first Open Source Conference focused on government. My first phone call was to Linda Hamel from Massachusetts. Hamel had created a Legal Toolkit for state agencies which had become an outstanding reference. What I didn’t know at the time was that Massachusetts was about to embark on open standards journey that would draw the attention of government and private sector alike. After two years has become very clear to me that this issue of open the documents deserves maximum public exposure, public debate possible.

My thanks to go the industry players that are arm-wrestling over the issue, and to to the OpenDocument Foundation who will join, for bringing this important discussion to GOSCON on Tuesday, October 16th;

  • Douglas W. Johnson, manager, Standards Strategy, Corporate Standards, Sun Microsystems
  • Arnaud Le Hors, program director, Standards & Emerging Markets, IBM Open Source & Standards Project Office
  • Buck “Marbux” Martin, director of legal affairs, OpenDocument Foundation
  • Jason Matusow, senior director of interoperability, Microsoft Corporation

Here’s the full press release from earlier this week:

GOSCON Executive Panel Will Help Navigate the Sharp Turns in Open Document Debate

This year’s conference will close with today’s most pressing issue for international governments; panelists from Microsoft, Sun, IBM and the OpenDocument Foundation to weigh in

PORTLAND, Ore., October 2, 2007 – The Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON), the industry’s premier event focusing on government use and development of open source software (OSS), today announced details of its expert-studded Executive Panel on Open Document Formats. The panel will take place Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 12:30 p.m. PT.
The initial defeat of the OOXML standard has recharged the debate over open document formats in government. While OOXML backers prepare for the next vote and ODF and CDF stakeholders continue their own campaigns, government users are overwhelmed with contradicting messages about an issue that needs quick resolution. GOSCON is bringing together in one forum experts from every corner of the debate to translate the issue into information conference attendees can immediately act upon when they return to their offices.
“GOSCON has earned a reputation for being the place where government CIOs and IT managers can learn ways to successfully adopt open source software from industry and from each other,” said Deb Bryant, GOSCON director and former Oregon Deputy State CIO. “Open documents are critical to successful open source deployments across federal, state and local governments and we’re happy to again provide the venue for open dialog on this critical topic.”
“Open Standards and Interoperability“ is the theme for this year’s GOSCON event. Document accessibility, interoperability and longevity are core components of government service. The maintenance and exchange of the most important records – such as certificates of birth, marriage and death, taxes, licenses, deeds, laws, regulations, codes and rules – as well as their role in business processes are the responsibility of IT officers around the globe. It is increasingly expected that these officers provide public access to these documents, bringing more stringent requirements for the longevity and interoperability of records that are going digital.
The Executive Panel on Open Document Formats, moderated by Director of Information Technology at the City of Newport News, VA Andy Stein, will focus on how the user community can get involved in this issue, have influence over its outcome and knowledge for implementations. Panelists are expected to address the practical differences between competing standards OOXML, ODF and CDF to determine which one(s) truly provide a single file format that is open, universally interoperable and application and platform independent. About half of the session will be set aside for audience questions, providing an opportunity for GOSCON attendees to gain direct access to the debate.
Panelists include:
Douglas W. Johnson, manager, Standards Strategy, Corporate Standards, Sun Microsystems
Dr. Johnson joined Sun in March of 1996 after nearly 15 years in the private and public Research & Development (R&D) sectors where he participated in a variety of activities, primarily involved with data-intensive remote sensing technologies.

Arnaud Le Hors, program director, Standards & Emerging Markets, IBM Open Source & Standards Project Office
Arnaud is responsible for overseeing the management of IBM standards activities and leading IBM open source and standards program in the emerging markets.

Buck “Marbux” Martin, director of legal affairs, OpenDocument Foundation
Marbux is a retired Oregon lawyer who volunteers his time with the OpenDocument Foundation as its director of legal affairs.

Jason Matusow, senior director of interoperability, Microsoft Corporation
Matusow is a leading strategist on the broad spectrum of issues that make up Microsoft’s global commitment to interoperability. His work in this role covers technology, public policy and business strategy.

GOSCON started bringing the open formats issue to its audience in 2005 with participation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts IT Division and its early experience in implementing a policy designed first to mandate an open document standard, later modifying its approach in collaboration with industry as it sought to solve the documents challenge for its state.

The conference will cover a broad range of standards and open source topics presented by government agencies and industry experts, beginning with the opening keynote by Jim Zemlin, executive director, Linux Foundation on “Open Source and Freedom: Why Open Standards Are Crucial to Protecting IT Investment”

GOSCON, now it its third year, is produced by Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab. To register, or for more information on sessions during the Oct 15-16 conference please visit: www.goscon.org.


About the OSU Open Source Lab: The Open Source Lab helps accelerate the adoption of open source software across the globe and aids the community that develops and uses it. Its staff and students provide custom open source software development and host some of the world’s largest open source projects, including the Debian and Gentoo Linux operating systems, and the Apache web server.

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