GOSCON Executive Panel Will Help Navigate the Sharp Turns in Open Document Debate


PORTLAND, Ore. – The Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON), the industry’s premier event focusing on government use and development of open source software (OSS), today announced details of its expert-studded Executive Panel on Open Document Formats. The panel will take place Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 12:30 p.m. PT.

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 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 Director of Information Technology at the City of Newport News, VA Andy Stein, 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.

Panelists include:

Douglas W. Johnson, manager, Standards Strategy, Corporate Standards, Sun Microsystems. Dr. Johnson joined Sun in March of 1996 after nearly 15 years in the private and public Research & Development (R&D) sectors where he participated in a variety of activities, primarily involved with data-intensive remote sensing technologies.

Arnaud Le Hors, program director, Standards & Emerging Markets, IBM Open Source & Standards Project Office. Arnaud is responsible for overseeing the management of IBM standards activities and leading IBM open source and standards program in the emerging markets.

Buck "Marbux" Martin, director of legal affairs, OpenDocument Foundation. Marbux is a retired Oregon lawyer who volunteers his time with the OpenDocument Foundation as its director of legal affairs.

Jason Matusow, senior director of interoperability, Microsoft Corporation. Matusow is a leading strategist on the broad spectrum of issues that make up Microsoft’s global commitment to interoperability. His work in this role covers technology, public policy and business strategy.

GOSCON started bringing the open formats issue to its audience in 2005 with participation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts IT Division and its early experience in implementing a policy designed first to mandate an open document standard, later modifying its approach in collaboration with industry as it sought to solve the documents challenge for its state.

The conference will cover a broad range of standards and open source topics presented by government agencies and industry experts, beginning with the opening keynote by Jim Zemlin, executive director, Linux Foundation on “Open Source and Freedom: Why Open Standards Are Crucial to Protecting IT Investment.”

GOSCON, now it its third year, is produced by Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab. To register, or for more information on sessions during the Oct 15-16 conference please visit: www.goscon.org.