December 14, 2005

Just a Spear-Carrier in the Opera of Open Standards

Hey, you'll never guess what I found out today!

That I was quoted in the Valoris Report (PDF), the European Union's gloss on file formats, published in December 2003.

If you have never read the complete, unabridged Valoris Report, actually entitled: "Comparative assesment of Open Documents Formats Market Overview", then shame on you. There, in section, "User momentum" (page 58), it reads:
"OpenOffice spokesman Sam Heiser [sic] predicts that will become the dominant desktop productivity standard within the next 10 years."
I would be happier about this pick-up if they had just spelled my name right. But I have only Thor to blame.

The quote was pulled out of an online news piece I had given to Thor Olavsrud who was doing such a nice job covering Open Source and open standards for back around the time of's 1.0 and 1.1 releases. (Thor later moved over to Research at Jupiter. I was always taken by his God-like Anglo-Saxon/Beowulf sort of name. How are you, Thor?)

Reading this article again, 2 years later, is one part Deja Vu and one part looking in the mirror and being horrifically shocked by the pate, the unfamiliar visage that glares back in equal freight & dismay:
The project considers a Linux win anywhere to also be an win, because all the major distributions -- including Red Hat, SuSE and Debian -- now bundle the suite with their software. But it would be a mistake to equate with Linux, Heiser said.

In fact, at last count, more than 60 percent of downloads are served to Windows users, he said, though he noted that "quite a few of them" utilize multiple platforms, not just Windows. But the project is looking to take more Windows users.

"That's our market," he Heiser said. "The 40 percent to 60 percent of Microsoft Office users who are using legacy versions, who did not pay, who aren't that involved with the software acquisition process, who don't really care about their toolset and use whatever is in front of them. These are intelligent people, but they don't care much about the software. They use whatever is around. OpenOffice is what's around."
I remember that conversation with Thor like it was yesterday. I was so pumped saying that stuff that, today, I hardly recognize the person who said it. Audacious...forceful...certain.

To my present chagrin it sounds like Steve Ballmer on one of his more amped up addresses to the Microsoft salesforce in Boca Raton. Or Ballmer when he recently said, "We will win the Web." (I thought that was too hilarious...just over the top.)
"If you take a look at where we're going with innovation, what we have in the pipeline, I'm very excited. The output of our innovation is great," says Ballmer. "We won the desktop. We won the server. We will win the Web. We will move fast, we will get there. We will win the Web." (Business Week, September 25, 2005)
Observe how he judiciously abuses the word 'innovation' -- sputtering like the village idiot having just stumbled into two lovers in the grass under the shade of the old Oak tree (such as you might find in a Constable, a Fragonard or an early Goya).

Perhaps the shock of spying upon my older self is due to the late hardball politics in Massachusetts wearing me down. But one thing sticks out regarding that statement, the one about OpenOffice: it's still true.


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