Government Open Source Conference to Feature Open Document Debate

"Open documents are critical to successful open-source deployments across federal, state and local governments."

by / October 3, 2007
This year's Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) to be held Oct. 15-16 in Portland, Ore., will close with panelists from Microsoft, Sun, IBM and the OpenDocument Foundation weighing in on Open Document Formats.

The initial defeat of the OOXML standard has recharged the debate over open document formats in government. While OOXML backers prepare for the next vote and ODF and CDF stakeholders continue their own campaigns, government users are overwhelmed with contradicting messages about an issue that needs quick resolution. GOSCON is bringing together in one forum experts from every corner of the debate to translate the issue into information that conference attendees can immediately act upon when they return to their offices.

"GOSCON has earned a reputation for being the place where government CIOs and IT managers can learn ways to successfully adopt open-source software from industry and from each other," said Deb Bryant, GOSCON director and former Oregon deputy state CIO. "Open documents are critical to successful open-source deployments across federal, state and local governments and we're happy to again provide the venue for open dialog on this critical topic."

"Open Standards and Interoperability" is the theme for this year's GOSCON event. Document accessibility, interoperability and longevity are core components of government service. The maintenance and exchange of the most important records such as certificates of birth, marriage and death, taxes, licenses, deeds, laws, regulations, codes and rules -- as well as their role in business processes -- are the responsibility of IT officers around the globe. It is increasingly expected that these officers provide public access to these documents, bringing more stringent requirements for the longevity and interoperability of records that are going digital.

The Executive Panel on Open Document Formats, moderated by Andy Stein, director of information technology at the city of Newport News, Va., will focus on how the user community can get involved in this issue, have influence over its outcome and knowledge for implementations. Panelists are expected to address the practical differences between competing standards OOXML, ODF and CDF to determine which one(s) truly provide a single file format that is open, universally interoperable and application- and platform-independent. About half of the session will be set aside for audience questions, providing an opportunity for GOSCON attendees to gain direct access to the debate.

 GOSCON, now in its third year, is produced by Oregon State University's Open Source Lab.
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