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 formatsjust as Massachusetts has done. "A lot of other governments are also thinking of doing this," she said.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.
Both Cole and Phipps also called for Microsoft to reconsider its position and join the OpenDocument technical committee.