Slashdot posts “An anonymous reader writes “The OASIS Group announces that the third Committee Draft [PDF] of the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0 Specification has been approved as an OASIS Standard. The submission of the approved standard can be found at here. The OpenDocument format is intended to provide an open alternative to proprietary document formats including the popular DOC, XLS, and PPT formats used by Microsoft Office. Organizations and individuals that store their data in an open format avoid being locked in to a single software vendor, leaving them free to switch software if their current vendor goes out of business or changes their software or licensing terms to something less favorable.”
That’s great news! I was recently cleaning up some loose ends on my web site, and noticed that the oldest of my whitepapers at http://www.tedroche.com/papers.html were exported from MS Office 95 (I think) with the awful HTML that’s hostile to most browsers. I went to open up the original documents in OpenOffice.org and found they could not be read. Just as predicted in “The Long Now,” I have data locked up in a proprietary format I cannot read. I’m sure I can find a machine around here somewhere with the correct translators (and if I don’t, in this case, it’s no great loss) but it’s disturbing to see bits on disks turned from information into random noise.