Today is Document Freedom Day. In the five years since Open Document Format (ODF) first was approved in OASIS we have certainly made progress, but there is still work remaining to be done. How will we know when we have arrived? At what point can we declare victory and say “Free at last”? I think that when we can agree that all of the following statements are true, then at that point we have achieved the substantial benefits of document freedom.
- I can create documents on the platform of my choice, using the software of my choice.
- I can migrate to another editing environment (application or operating system) without losing high-fidelity access to my existing documents.
- I can send my documents to anyone and know that they can read them without requiring the purchase of new software.
- I can receive documents from anyone and know that I can read them without requiring the purchase of new software.
- I have confidence that the documents I create today can be read and understood, 10, 25 or 50 years from now.
- Programmers can write and distribute software that reads and writes documents without paying royalties to anyone.
- I have confidence that the document format standard is being evolved in a way that guarantees the above rights equally for all users and vendors.
We’ve made substantial progress on these fronts, but I don’t think we’re there yet. We should celebrate our substantial progress, while at the same time commit ourselves for the remaining work ahead. For example, we still need to improve interoperability. In a few weeks we will have our next ODF Plugfest, in Granada, where ODF implementors will gather for the 3rd time to work together to improve interoperability among their implementations.