December 14, 2005 5:10 PM PST

Sun: ODF needed to prevent 'corporate Alzheimer's'

SAN FRANCISCO--Having an open, stable document format is necessary to preserve the world's information, top Sun Microsystems executives said on Wednesday.

Speaking to a group of reporters, Sun's top open-source executive said that a format like OpenDocument (ODF) is needed to prevent a permanent condition of what he dubbed "corporate Alzheimer's."

"I want to make sure that when my grandchild studies history at university, that they can study source documents," said Chief Open Source Officer Simon Phipps. Phipps said that without a standard that remains stable and is widely adopted, documents won't be able to be opened decades later.

Sun trotted out Phipps, XML guru Tim Bray and several other top executives the same day as Massachusetts held another hearing over its proposal to mandate the use of OpenDocument as the default format beginning in 2007.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has tried to satisfy its critics by submitting the file formats for Office 12 to Ecma, a standards body separate from the group that certified OpenDocument. Sun, a onetime Ecma member, criticized the organization for both its process and its membership criteria.

Intel and Apple Computer have sponsored the Ecma technical committee work, while Sun, IBM, Red Hat and others have lined up in support of OpenDocument.

Phipps argued that what is needed is a standard that will be used by many companies and remains stable. "That's the reason rubber stamping Office 12 isn't the answer, in my opinion."

It just isn't in Microsoft's interest to have something that is open and stable, said Piper Cole, the Sun vice president in charge of government-relations efforts. "That's where governments come in," Cole said. "Microsoft doesn't have an economic interest in doing that themselves. Nobody with a monopoly does. "

6 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Never thought about that
Intersting but whining to the to the government is a loser thing to do. MS are in charge of their own bad karma. Time will accomplish all.
Posted by scdecade (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
TeX as an archiving format for math
The mathematical community was aware of the issue of preservation of information years ago, and standardized on TeX, that is an open and stable document format. Practically everything is published in TeX, and a lot of information from the era that preceded TeX was converted to TeX. This ensures accessibility to the information in the future (at least to publicly available info. Abuse of copyright privileges by publishers is a different issue).
Posted by hadaso (468 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not A New Problem
back during my military days we had tape recordings of some critical battles in vietnam. these recordings included clear and encrypted voice traffic between ground forces engaged in combat, air strike forces on targets, and various command and control agencies. it was a critical few days in the conduct of that war. after saving these hundreds of hours of recordings for 15 years, it was decided to destroy (demagnitize) them because no one had the technology any longer to play them.

during desert storm we flew missions over the aor and recorded a humourous and telling exchange between a command and control aircraft and a helicopter in which the helicopter was reporting that iraqi forces were dropping their weapons and raising their arms in surrender--to the helicopter! the helicopter crew was requesting instructions on what to do with their pow's!

bottom line: there are lots of data out there. much of it will become important in ways that we don't yet recognize. it's vitally important that any data production/collection activity (hardware, software, etc) include as an integral part of its design the permanent archiving and retrieval of that data.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ECMA Standards Favored by Microsoft
Check it out. Pretty funny.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.ecma.org/" target="_newWindow">http://www.ecma.org/</a>
Posted by (139 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Convenince not Format
There is onnly one reason to use any software, and that is because you like it. The interface, location of toolbars, the options that are better than other competing products. THAT s what it should be all about, not the compatibility with other programs. That is was Microsoft counts on, the incompatibility of competeators to read their format, hence, buy Microsoft if you want to read your daughter's letter from college.

Thank you Open Office for offering a refreshing alternative to the evil Micorsoft empire. They rule becuase of compatibility, not beacuse we like their product so awefully much.

Like Email: pick your program wisely because after a year or so you will not be able to afford to change. One proguct will not read antother product, same issue that we have with wordprocessors.

I am all for making the compatibility for all products the same, and compete on the level of Convenience and options. Microsoft will surely loose.(but don't tell them!!)

Ernest
Posted by eSchmeltzer (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Convenince not Format
There is onnly one reason to use any software, and that is because you like it. The interface, location of toolbars, the options that are better than other competing products. THAT s what it should be all about, not the compatibility with other programs. That is was Microsoft counts on, the incompatibility of competitors to read their format, hence, buy Microsoft if you want to read your daughter's letter from college.

Thank you Open Office for offering a refreshing alternative to the evil Micorsoft empire. They rule becuase of compatibility, not beacuse we like their product so awefully much.

Like Email: pick your program wisely because after a year or so you will not be able to afford to change. One product will not read another product, same issue that we have with wordprocessors.

I am all for making the compatibility for all products the same, and compete on the level of Convenience and options. Microsoft will surely loose.(but don't tell them!!)

Ernest
Posted by eSchmeltzer (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.