I want you to know that your comments and emails on the last article asking how the two ISO standards (26300 and 29500, commonly known as ODF and OOXML) are doing these days on the openness graph have been read and appreciated. They are useful. There is room for more commenting, including personal experiences you've had struggling to interact with governmental agencies that make little or no allowance for users of Linux. You can comment on the article itself or email me privately.
And now comes news that there is a chance to have input into the next major version of ODF, for now being called 'ODF-Next'. There is a call for proposals that went out Friday from the ODF technical committee, and here's where you go to read all about it and to leave your comments. You can comment here too, of course, but you must input there if you wish your input to be registered and considered. What would you like to see in the feature set of the next major release of ODF? What capabilities does ODF need?
Personally, I'd say the main thing it needs is what only Microsoft can provide: true interoperability, guaranteed, with Microsoft's 'standard'. I am hearing from one and all that the crutches being offered for ODF to try to do so don't really work very well. That is wrong. Period. It's what I expected, but it needs to be fixed. What if there were another natural disaster, like Katrina? Interoperability and the ability to communicate with government agencies can mean your life. It's that serious, and who is to argue that the lives of Linux users don't matter?
Here's more on the Call for Proposals from Rob Weir's blog:
The ODF TC has decided to begin activities on the next version of ODF, called for now "ODF-Next", even before we have ODF 1.2 approved.... The Call for Proposals for ODF-Next went out on Friday.
So put on your thinking cap.... But now is the time to start collecting the ideas, big or small, and submit them to the ODF TC according to the instructions in the Call for Proposals linked to above.
We'll be collecting ideas at least until March 31st. The Requirements Subcommittee will then sort through the ideas, categorize and prioritize them, and generally try to make sense of it all, and then write up an ODF-Next Requirements document with their recommendations.
This is a good chance to get your ideas in early and have a real impact on where we go with ODF in the next major release. But please, do not give me ideas via blog comments. We can only accept ideas sent through the above linked OASIS comment submission procedure, which is necessary to ensure that ODF remains an open standard that anyone can implement. IANAL, but I believe an added benefit is that any idea you submit, even if speculative, even if not added to ODF-Next, will be permanently archived in the ODF comment list, and thus will establish prior art which could scuttle attempts to secure patents in this area. So by contributing your ideas publicly in this way, you help to establish an intellectual commons that will benefit free and open source applications in this area.