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Re: [Fsfe-uk] E-envoy and Open file formats

From: ian
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] E-envoy and Open file formats
Date: 03 Aug 2003 18:18:19 +0100

On Sun, 2003-08-03 at 17:53, Ralph Corderoy wrote:

> Yes, so once the open file format exists someone, possibly Microsoft,
> implements a read/write plugin for it and everyone can stick with their
> preferred office suite, which for 99% will be MS Office since it gives
> full edit capability since it is an entire application.

MS Office hasn't got 99% of the market now! There are quite a lot of
people who *only* stick with MS Office because of file transfer issues.
MS are very reluctant to give up the proprietary file format for a
reason. They are members of OASIS but they have declined to join the
technical committee working on open file formats. I wonder why? Its
pretty clear that once you get 100% or as near as makes no difference
file transfer between free software and MS Office there will be mass
defections from MS Office in business. It will save a fortune (Munich
recently voted to migrate 14,000 desktops) and once business don't use
MS Office their employees will switch to whatever they use at work.

I should think that once you hit 20% not on MS Office the floodgates
will open because the confidence in using something else will grow. Why
pay for something you can have for free? 2 things might stop this. 1. MS
make MS Office so cheap it makes very little difference 2. MS Office
develops some must have feature that is impossible to replicate in free
software (Seems very unlikely)

As I said, this is a wider issue than just access to files on government
sites. Its a step in breaking a monopoly and that is good for everyone -
except MS perhaps.

ian <address@hidden>

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