ODF Interoperability: Rough Consensus and Running Code

Rajiv Shah and Jay Kesan wrote the paper “running code as part of an open standards policy” arguing that the “running code” requirement – i.e. multiple independent, interoperable implementations of an open standard – should be part of governments’ open standards policies.

Last week the Dutch government hosted the first ODF plugfest: creators, implementors and end-users met up to improve OpenDocument interoperability for real, and it worked out well.

House’s ruless were clearly set, NoiV program and the OpenDoc Society created an appropriate environment to avoid flaming and to concentrate on fine tuning ODF interoperability.

I have been long advocating the need for public administrations to take part in the process to certify standards’ compliance, and it is a pleasure to testify the merits of the Dutch Government.

“The fact that this ODF Interoperability Workshop was organized is a clear sign that we are moving in the next phase in supporting ODF,” said Ineke Schop, Programm Manager at Nederland Open in Verbinding. “The use of open standards rely on available implementations and interoperability comes via these implementations. So I am extremely pleased with the support and commitment from vendors and open source projects at the workshop.”

Ineke Schop – who actually was originally supposed to join the ForumPA open source session – and her colleagues made an excellent job, showing the world what can be done.

Among the many results the Plugfest’s testing environment (officeshots), not open available yet (and also ODF cloud validation is on the way) and a draft working definition of interoperability (open to proposals).

IETF showed the way years ago, making clear that IETF was and is interested in working systems that can be quickly implemented. I am looking forward to participate or to organize another ODF Plugfest, the upcoming OpenOffice.org  Conference 2009 seems an appropriate venue for the event.

What do you think?