[Foundation-l] Florence's presentation on Wikimania

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Sat Aug 11 04:18:12 UTC 2007

Erik Moeller wrote:

>On 8/9/07, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>In my view, WMF has pledged for the creation of free educational
>>content. It has not pledged to support open and free software.
>When people can no longer participate in something we do, or when they
>can no longer access information we provide, because they are running
>free software, we have failed in our mission. Our mission is not about
>software, that's true, but it is about spreading knowledge without
>boundaries, and proprietary tools & formats can and do represent such
The problem is more the other way around.  People have difficulty with 
free software when they are trying to view it by using propritary 
software.  They want something that works reliably without needing to 
investigate the guts of the software.  A simple fix or work-around may 
come easily to a computer geek, but it could take a free content editor 
a whole day just to understand a problem that can ultimately be fixed by 
changing a single letter.

>People running free software can usually import XLS, DOC & PPT files,
>but it's clear that open document standards are critical for the long
>term preservation of & access to knowledge, which includes information
>we carry to the outside. Whether you end up running any specific open
>source solution or not, let's try to at least archive all
>presentations in an open format.
Nothing wrong with archiving.  After that it's important that it be 
usable by all.  Files that are not accessible for technical reasons are 
not really free.

Florence did relate the problem of not having PowerPoint software work 
when she needs to give a speech far away from home.  At home the 
solution may be as simple as reaching back to a familiar place on the 
bookshelf, but that option is not available on the road.

>It was a very nice presentation, BTW. :-)


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