Happy Document Freedom Day, everyone! I can stand at my desk all day and proselytize, and I’m sure I sometimes do, but today, I’d rather offer an anecdote that I hope better demonstrates the case for open formats and document freedom than any sermon could.
The other day, I was working at my desk when a panicked student came in to our office with a USB drive in hand, asking if we had a copy of iWork ’09. This student was supposed to be in class right then giving a presentation, but they had created their presentation in iWork ’09 but couldn’t open it on the computer in their classroom because we only have iWork ’08 on all of our classroom and teacher Macs. Luckily for this student, we have a machine in our office with iWork ’09 on it and were able to open the presentation and save it in iWork ’08 format, but they would not have been so lucky if we hadn’t encountered this problem once before and made sure that we had a copy of iWork ’09 installed against such an eventuality.
With the converted copy safe on their USB drive, the student ran off to give their presentation, but I hope that this made some impression on them–at least that student will hopefully check for compatibility in advance next time. It may be a bit much to expect that this will be their rallying cry to switch to open formats, but I can always hope. All of our campus computers have Open-Office or another FOSS office suite installed for those people who are already converted, but I have no usage statistics; my guess would be that they’re not used that often, though.
Free your documents, free yourself!