Governments Role

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-12-14 Print this article Print

Piper Cole, Suns vice president for global government and community affairs, said it is very important that government take a role in what is happening on the document standards front because they are strategic customers who can use their buying power to dictate that a multivendor baseline is created for file formats—just as Massachusetts has done. "A lot of other governments are also thinking of doing this," she said.
Both Cole and Phipps also called for Microsoft to reconsider its position and join the OpenDocument technical committee.
They join Patrick Gannon, the president and CEO of OASIS, who is also trying to get Microsoft to change course and work with the committee. He told eWEEK recently that Microsoft had been a sponsor member of the organization for many years and had shown their commitment to advancing work within the OASIS open process. "The OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee remains open to new participation and contributions. Obviously, Microsofts expertise in office applications would make them a great asset to the committee, and we continue to encourage them to participate in this effort," he said. Tim Bray, a Sun Web technologist and co-inventor of XML, said he would like to see office suites become more like the Web. "When you get a shared standard, all sorts of things will happen and develop and which can never be predicted. The Web is an example of that. I want to be able to read my old files, pay less for the office software and have a standard format," he said. Asked about Googles support for ODF and Suns interaction with it around this, Bray said Sun talked to the search engine giant all the time, which had also "poached some fine engineers from the OpenOffice group, so draw any conclusions from that you like." Click here to read more about the Sun-Google alliance. Asked if there is currently a real problem around file formats and document standards, Phipps said there is, "and we are not willing to have Microsoft as the only company selling software that can actually do and provide what users need," he said. But it is necessary to also remember that the objective of the ODF technical committee is to create a mechanism to end the problem of document corrosion and provide an alternative to the Microsoft office proprietary file formats, a goal that remains so far unfulfilled, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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