The Evolving ODF Environment: Spotlight on KOffice
One of the great goals of standards development is to encourage the proliferation of multiple products that are comparable and interoperable at the level of standardization, but which each compete with value-added features, level of service and otherwise. This arises from a set of mutual expectations among vendors and end-users that each will benefit from the wide uptake of the standard, especially where interoperability is a necessity, or lock-in a danger.
To the vendor, the anticipated benefit is the rapid development of a larger and more long-term market than would result from multiple proprietary offerings, while the value to the end-user is greater choice, lower prices, more useful features, and avoidance of lock-in. But none of this will occur to the benefit of any stakeholder unless multiple vendors decide to implement the standard in question. As a result, the OpenDocument Format (ODF) will only be as valuable to end-users in fact as it is perceived to be potentially valuable to developers.
Happily, multiple developers, both proprietary vendors as well as open source communities, have decided that there is great value to be gained from supporting the ODF standard, promising just such an environment of rich features, service and protection from lock-in.
In this extensive interview, I explore with Inge Wallin, the KOffice Promotions Lead, how KOffice is different from the other major office productivity releases that support ODF, which users may find it most appropriate to their needs, in what directions future development will proceed, and much more.