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Latest ODF News from Andy Updegrove
Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 10:26 AM EST

Andy Updegrove provides us with his take on the first media statements coming out of the recent meeting in Armonk on ODF, the fascinating details of which he reports on his blog, "First Public Statements from Armonk Meeting (and supporting details)".

He tells us about the plans to begin telling the media, and hence the world, about ODF and the meeting, and you can see in the first interview with Elizabeth Montalbano at InfoWorld how it worked out.

The meeting was not just IBM and Sun, by the way. Here's who attended, according to the report:

The meeting last Friday was attended by executives from IBM and Sun, as well as representatives from some of the technology industry's biggest names, such as Apple Computer Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Intel Corp., Google Inc., Red Hat Inc., Corel Corp., Oracle Corp., Adobe Systems Inc., OpenOffice.org and Nokia Corp., Sutor said.

Andy tells us that Scalix and SIIA were there too, as well as representatives of CCIA, OASIS (including many individual members of the ODF Technical Committee), and Open Office. Individuals invited were Sam Hiser, Adelstein-Hiser; Peter Quinn, Massachusetts CIO; Stephen O'Grady, RedMonk; Leon Shimer (consultant to the MA TDF); Andrew Updegrove, Gesmer Updegrove/ConsortiumInfo.org.

Why do all these companies, most of whom do not offer an office suite, care so much about ODF? Andy explains:

One answer to that was provided by one participant at the meeting that explains why there is something to be gained by all technology companies from the displacement of a dominant and pervasive product that controls monopoly pricing: billions of dollars of IT budgets currently being spent on abnormally high office suite licensing fees could be redeployed to buy other products and services from the IT industry across the board.

The disability issue is being addressed head-on with the formation of a disability subcommittee. Not only are the corporations addressing this important issue, so is the FOSS community. I'll let Andy tell you the rest, while also recommending that you read the rest of his report on his blog.

************************

Report from Andy Updegrove for Groklaw:

Here's another ODF installment:

This one transitions into the next step in the ODF saga: watching as the plans made at the Armonk ODF meeting start to move out of the meeting room and into the press, with a first interview given by Bob Sutor, IBM meeting host, to Elizabeth Montalbano of IDG News Service: http://www.infoworld.com/article/05/11/08/HNibmsumopendoc_1.html The message Bob delivered yesterday was:

1. We will make the accessibility issue go away,

2. We will push this globally, and

3. There may be a formal organization in the future to make this all happen.

My own sense at the Armonk meeting was that everybody in attendance was solidly behind the initiative. Stephen O'Grady of RedMonk echoes that in the statements he made in the same interview. Still, who makes what announcements over the next several weeks will provide a critical indication of how successful the ODF initiative will be. As in many other situations, the perception of momentum can be huge, particularly in providing courage to the CIOs of other states and governments to make the move to support ODF. Being a leader isn't the most common trait in bureaucracies, and if those in charge in other states feel like the industry giants are protecting their back and will deliver, it's more likely that they'll stick their neck out.

Although the phrase "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" isn't heard as much now as it used to be years ago (when it was a mantra bewailed by emerging company salesmen) there's still a lot of power behind the Big Blue name. Still, it's important that the other companies that attended the meeting do their job by:

- delivering the same message persistently, consistently and aggressively

- promptly putting some deeds behind their words (like patent non-assertions), and

- all pulling together in the new OASIS subcommittees to address the disability problem as well as technical opportunities to improve the appeal of ODF

For more context (such as why a non-office suite vendor should care about the outcome) and details, see http://www.consortiuminfo.org/newsblog/blog.php?ID=1721


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