The OpenDocument Foundation, Registered with OASIS

Posted by tadelste on Dec 19, 2005 8:12 PM EDT
OASIS OpenDocument TC; By Gary Edwards
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Last week i was able to register with OASIS, as a non profit, The OpenDocument Foundation, inc. The Foundation is a USA 501c(3) non profit incorporated in California, and duly registered with the IRS. (Pubished as-is by permission of the author)

Hi all,

Last week i was able to register with OASIS, as a non profit, The OpenDocument Foundation, inc. The Foundation is a USA 501c(3) non profit incorporated in California, and duly registered with the IRS.

OASIS has been kind enough to expedite the registration, and hopefully Foundation members will be able to join the ODF TC and the newly formed OASIS ODF Adoption TC. There is a great deal of interest in three ODF projects in particular; Metadata, OpenFormula, and Conformance. Unfortunately the Foundation has not had much luck with Accessibility, although we have contacted many a person far and wide, known to have experience in that area. Accessibility is proving to be one of those things that is going to demand a super effort.

With Metadata, OpenFormula, and Conformance though, we have had quite a bit of success gathering volunteers and getting useful work underway. Hopefully, with the OASIS non profit registration pending, we can soon begin to bring working proposals before the ODF TC for consideration.

The OpenDocument Foundation was set up to provide an application independent platform where volunteers from corporate, organizational, and FLOSS communities could freely participate in the promotion and development of ODF. An important aspect of the Foundation is the fact that many current and past members of the ODF TC are also members of the Foundation. Hopefully, having direct access to ODF TC activities and efforts will in many ways enable FLOSS style global participation without the OASIS ODF TC also being buried by new members and requests from divergent interests that might inadvertently encumber or perhaps slow down the serious work of the TC.

The Foundation is meant to be a resource assisting OASIS in the promotion and development of ODF. Also furthering the publics understanding of ODF, while enabling different means of comparatively casual participation that might eventually evolve into OASIS ODF efforts, or not. Sometimes participation is a value unto itself.

It's great that OASIS Administration has really stepped up to the many challenges presented by a rapidly emerging ODF and ODF ecosystem. New members, new sub committees, public participation forums and information centers, public events, and now even a new "Adoption" TC focused on promotion and market uptake. The whole purpose of the Foundation is to promote ODF and help the world come to grips with the incredible opportunities and advantages ODF makes possible. We are more than happy that OASIS has taken the lead so enthusiastically, with great determination and purpose. The Foundation is ready to follow.

We hope to bring to OASIS and the promotion of ODF the passion of purpose and participation that marks the success of great open source community efforts, and have organized ourselves accordingly. Many of the founding members come out of the community, and do so with bonds of loyalty and dedication that will never be broken. However, since one of the reasons for the Foundation is the realization that ODF must be application and platform independent, we ask our volunteers to leave their community bound passions at the door. This is all about ODF, and the many applications, systems, and information processes that ODF will impact.

Some will recall that near a year and a half ago we discussed the issues of conformance, compliance, branding and an ODF logo. At that time i went to the OOo community with a proposal that OOo create an intra application provider – developer – user counsel / cross community platform to address the specific needs of ODF. My proposal went nowhere. On three other occasions i tried to get similar actions initiated. All without success. Even without notice. Maybe it's just me? Some might recall my original confidence, and the disappointment that followed.

Now i realize that it was perhaps wrong to ask OOo, and OOo Marketing in particular, to take on the task of supporting the broader interests of ODF. They are in the community business of promoting and developing A big enough job i think. And while the community has been a great steward, developer and sponsor of ODF, maybe i was asking a bit too much. It's not that joining with others in the promotion of development of ODF is a problem. OOo has proven magnanimous time and time again. It's that i was asking them to become something other than OOo. I was asking them to become an OpenDocument centric community able to host the interests of many different communities, corporations, individuals, and orgs. Interests sometimes perhaps appearing adverse to those of the OOo community.

Whatever the reason, many others besides myself came to the realization that ODF needed much more than what any "one" FLOSS community could ever provide. And even as OASIS continues to expand their role in promoting and developing ODF, (Yeah OASIS!) there will always be a vast area just outside the membership reach of OASIS that the OpenDocument Foundation will be able to reach and service. Eventually harnessing their passions, ideas, and volunteer efforts in ways that can only help OASIS and the promotion of ODF. This will be good for OOo, KOffice, GNOME, ZOPE, Mozilla, Apache, and all the other FLOSS communities actively embracing and promoting ODF. It will also be good for the many corporations and orgs moving to ODF, or thinking about it. And, it will be good for OASIS and the OASIS ODF TC, who have the awesome responsibility of stewardship, promotion, and continued development. Even though the waters are rough. Rougher than any of us ever anticipated.

Thanks to all for the consideration. If anyone has questions about the Foundation (USA), the Fellowship (EU), or the Friends of OpenDocument (AU), please don't hesitate to ask.


Gary Edwards
OpenStack Business Systems
Redwood City, CA USA 94063
(650) 365-0899
(650) 888-2268 c.

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