by Colin Dodd
Document Freedom Day (DFD) is a global grassroots effort to promote and build awareness of the importance of free document formats in particular and open standards in general. If you have ever received a document from a friend that your software could not open, then you know the frustration of proprietary formats. Document Freedom Day promotes open formats so that users can freely exchange their data no matter what software program they choose to use. Complete interoperability is the ultimate goal of those who support open standards.
And it’s not just a matter of convenience. Public documents stored on closed, proprietary formats require citizens to pay twice to access information that already belongs to them, once for the document creation, and again to access them. There is also the danger of losing the information stored in those formats should the vendors go out of business, or decide that they no longer want to maintain that technology. Proponents of open document formats believe all public information should be stored using open standards accessible to all.
Melanie Chernoff, Red Hat’s Public Policy Manager explains that “Red Hat is committed to open source, open standards and open content. Document Freedom Day is an opportunity to single out one of these important areas, open standards. DFD promotes open standards in the document space, which is where the average user really feels the impact of proprietary formats.
“We view Document Freedom Day as a great vehicle for highlighting the importance of standards to interoperability and user choice, which reflect Red Hat’s core values. ”
Document Freedom Day is supported by a large group of organizations and individuals, including, but not limited to ANSOL, Ars Aperta, BrOffice.org, COSS, Esoma, Estándares Abiertos, FFII, Free Knowledge Foundation, Free Software Foundation, Free Software Foundation Europe, Free Software Foundation Latin America, Funambol, Google, IBM, NLnet, ODF Alliance, Open Forum Europe, Open Source Initiative (OSI), Opentia, OSL, iMatix, Red Hat, Sun, The Open Learning Centre.
The list of DFD Teams is available at: http://documentfreedom.org/Category:Teams