Openness is Alive and Well (and Living in Europe)

Last week I took something of a trip back through time. The transition began somewhere over the dark Atlantic, on my way to Brussels via Heathrow, when the person sitting next to me struck up a conversation. Improbably, I found myself discussing ODF – the OpenDocument Format – with a former Sun engineer who had followed the ODF???OOXML contest with great interest back in 2005 – 2007.

I was sorry to tell him, and he was sorry to hear, that things had not gone so well in the years that followed, and that many of the bright hopes of those that had supported ODF remained to be realized. The conversation set me thinking about how much of the energy that had surrounded open standards back then has faded from view in the U.S….That’s not the case in Europe, though, where the promise of openness in all things IT-related, including in open standards, remains a hot topic.