What Has Worked: OpenOffice.org Around the World

Louis Suarez-Potts (Oracle / OpenOffice.org)
Design & Usability, Government, People
Location: Meeting Room B1/B4
Average rating: ****.
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Since shortly after its inception in 2000, the OpenOffice.org Project has shown itself to be a leader in international development, distribution, and use. Through its innovative Native Language Confederation (NLC), the OpenOffice.org Project has engaged the efforts of hundreds of thousands of contributors—not just developers but artists, writers, and other non-technical adherents.
How have we accomplished this? What problems have we faced? And how did we or do we resolve them? The most obvious problem lies in the potential of balkanizing development, and so losing co-ordinated effort. Yet that has not occurred: Why not? As well, our NLC houses contributors who have taken upon themselves extraordinary responsibilities and tasks, yet many so involved are not developers nor engaged in localizing the application nor otherwise technically inclined. Nevertheless, they contribute and do so handsomely, and to them the project owes much of its worldwide brand recognition.

But the successes of this first and second act suggest a yet-more-interesting third: what now? Governments around the world are looking to OpenOffice.org, not just Free and Open Source Software (Foss). Are the NLC projects up to the task of working with these government offices? More abstractly, and importantly, as this problem of local, regional groups facing up to large-scale users is not particular to OpenOffice.org, but is shared by other Foss projects, What strategies work for getting Foss used by governmental offices? Or, more to the point, what has worked for OpenOffice.org—and why?

This presentation seeks to answer these and other related questions; its audience is anyone concerned with promoting Foss to governments and others.

Photo of Louis Suarez-Potts

Louis Suarez-Potts

Oracle / OpenOffice.org

Louis Suárez-Potts is the longtime Community Manager and Chair of the Community Council for OpenOffice.org; he joined Sun Microsystems in 2007 and has led the OpenOffice.org community since 2000. The lead and co-lead of several projects and the primary spokesperson and representative of OpenOffice.org, Suárez-Potts also represents the project regarding OpenDocument format (ODF) matters, and is on the OASIS ODF Adoption Technical Committee and is a member of the ODF Alliance. He speaks frequently on the ODF, OpenOffice.org, education and open source, and community development throughout the world. Suárez-Potts is currently working on several articles regarding open source development and education. He lives in Toronto and received his PhD from U.C. Berkeley.

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