[Foundation-l] Florence's presentation on Wikimania

Florence Devouard Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 9 10:47:23 UTC 2007

Kat Walsh wrote:
> On 8/9/07, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> I thought I could upload it this evening, but... the slides are ppt (as
>> Wikimania participants know...); I just tried to save them in odt, but
>> it changes the color of the text in various places. I tried to change
>> the colors to black again and Open Office froze. So just as I explained
>> a few days ago, I'll use ooo when and only when it deserve the title of
>> "helpful tool".
> One comment on this: though I think the rest of it went well, I was
> disappointed that your answer on the Wikimania panel spoke more about
> the detail of the difficulties of using OpenOffice for presentations
> than the importance of supporting free tools.


I heard you had a different answer, but did not have the opportunity to 
voice it at that time. Can you offer us your answer ?

For the record and those not present, the comment made to the board was
"could board members in the future, make any efforts to use FLOSS 
software (such as open office, rather than powerpoint), and to use free 
operating system (my presentation was done on the computer available in 
the conference room, which run under windows).

In my view, WMF has pledged for the creation of free educational 
content. It has not pledged to support open and free software. Though 
many of us support free software, it is not our mission. I do not 
consider MY job is to necessarily support free software, though I am 
glad doing it when suitable. As such, I am not going to shot me in the 
foot in making big public statements to explain the absolute necessity 
of using Linux and ooo, when I am not doing it myself. I *know* some 
will be disappointed by that, but this is a fact.
I am happy that you have a different view and consider you should 
support free software, but as long as it is not written as part of WMF 
mission to do so, speaking of the importance of supporting free tools, 
should stay a personal pledge .

> My presentation was done in OpenOffice; I saved in it .ppt format to
> run on the Windows machine doing presentations and it worked perfectly
> there, not because I'm good at using it or because I did anything
> special, but because it just worked without me having to think about
> it.

I tried "not to think about it", but it did not magically worked :-(
Practically, it costed me 30 mn of hotline and a lot of stress.

> Importing and exporting from each other, especially from older
> versions, are a sticky point in both pieces of software (though most
> of the time it works fine), but that's not much of a failure of the
> free tool on its own.

Absolutely correct.

> I'm not going to argue that all free tools are as good as their
> proprietary counterparts (some are worse, some are better), but I
> think Impress and PowerPoint are equally as bad, and in the same ways.
> :-)
> -Kat


When I joined Wikipedia in 2002, I did not have the slightest idea what 
a free license was. I never thought about it, never cared before. And 
for a full year, I had no idea. It only came afterwards. Today, I am 
indeed still using OS X (rather than Linux), and still using Powerpoint 
(rather than ooo), but if I had not run into Wikipedia, I would still 
have no idea what a free license is. If we were doing a poll in the 
wikimedia community, I would be very curious to know who *really* know 
what a free license is, and how many came to the free world thanks to 


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