Wednesday, February 07, 2007

You are even less alone ...

... if you're thinking of storing all of your office files in ODF. Now Texas and Minnesota seem to be moving in that direction.

Whether you like OpenOffice.org, Microsoft Office, KOffice, or something else, I think it's very much a positive step to adopt a standard format such as ODF.

Is ODF perfect? No, it seems not. For example, I can't see any reason to abandon the TeX format for typeseting mathematical formulæ. Then again, if I'm typesetting a document, I'll likely use LaTeX. With the prevalence of files created with office suites, I still think it's important to start with a standard file format and then help it evolve and improve.

While such a format could be led by a company, I've seen "standards" in the past. Think of Pascal, if you programmed computers in the 1980s, in which many companies made incompatible extensions to try to lock people in to their versions. Sure, you could program in Standard Pascal, but they hoped you'd make use of their attractive, special features and then become locked into their platforms.

Let's have a standard, open, and publicly-agreed-upon file format that vendors really stick with, and let the competition reign in software to produce and read those files. We'll all win.

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