Friday, December 17, 2004

Choosing for standards

Commentary: Why OpenOffice.org? This post talks about the notion of the information you use your software applications to manage and not the application themselves. In this line of thinking, the ability to run on multiple platforms, stability, data interoperability (via standards) are incredibly important because they help to ensure that a software change, the demise of single vendor, or a vendor's change to a new standard won't lock you out of your information.

It's funny, because just this morning is was talking about choosing in favor of standardizing around applications as lazy persons mechanism for office standards. A slightly more difficult route, choosing in favor of open, established and shared standards, and then picking those applications that implement and adhere to them, is a better bet in the long run.

Right now, organizations worry about the vendor they are choosing. Will this company be around? Will the continue to develop additional functionality and feature sets? Will they fix bugs? These questions are all one way of worrying about the ongoing capability of an organization to access and work with information -- and it doesn't matter if the information is stored in a Word document or a mySQL database. Instead, organizations should talk about whether they can have access to their data because they are using tools manipulate that data according to shared, open standards. This way that don't have to worry about the vendor; they will be able to get at their data.

(in: open_standards, open_source, interoperability, openoffice)