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Subject: Re: FW: [odf-adoption] Action items and deliverables

On 5/10/07, Carol Geyer <carol.geyer@oasis-open.org> wrote:
> Good suggestions.
> FYI, pooling resources to hire an evangelist is something that can be done
> through OASIS, if that's what members want to do.
> WRT the suggestion that we need a website with links to developer resources, a
> comprehensive database of supporting applications, and a professional directory
> of ODF development consultants, we already have one --
> http://opendocument.xml.org. If that site needs to be modified to better meet
> the needs of developers, let's work on that and not create yet another web site
> on OpenDocument.
Hi, Carol,

Thanks for the feedback. I don't have my mind closed on any reasonable
suggestion for moving the project I've suggested forward. But I do see
some barriers in selling the idea of doing it via opendocument.xml.org
to others. I'll be frank to impart what I see as the principle
barriers, but intend no disrespect to you or other OASIS staff.

* I'm concerned by the pace at which infrastructure changes happen at
that site. E.g., it's been months sent I sent you and Mary the
cookbook for the 10-minute task to turn on and configure the Drupal
plain text editor on that site so we can work around bugs and critical
feature limitations of the WYSIWYG editor.

* I suspect that OASIS would have difficulties and experience delays
in granting needed permissions to the folks who have expressed an
interest in doing the development and maintenance work for such a

* There are turf issues involved. The Fellowship membership have some
sense of having been the pioneer clearinghouse for listing of
ODF-supporting applications. Members have put a lot of work into it
already. I suspect it would be difficult to find Fellowship member
consensus on rebranding their work as an OASIS project; I think there
is a better chance they would get behind a project for a new website
branded as a joint venture.

* There are folks involved who perceive OASIS as being firmly
controlled by big vendors unwilling to give up any substantial control
to folks who can't afford the OASIS membership fees necessary to be
treated as equals. Such perceptions would need to be overcome and may
not be.

* There are times where a more free-wheeling, "git 'er done" approach
is useful, an approach that lets the people who have energy to work on
a project do the work without the need to depend on others or their
approvals; I think the web site suggested is one of them.

In the longer term, I appreciate that you, other OASIS staff, and the
other various groups of people pushing ODF adoption globally all have
an admirable desire to help. But based on long experience in growing
communities around web sites and doing political organizing, I think
we might get where we all want to go more quickly if
opendocument.xml.org took more of a "help a thousand flowers bloom"
approach rather than trying to consolidate all advocacy work onto one
mega-web site.  I.e., aim to become the portal to other sites where
people can work with more autonomy and provide them with a
communications center.

As an example, you might take a look at WordPerfect Universe,
<http://wpuniverse.com>, which provides a portal/communications center
service for all other WordPerfect-related site owners, power users,
and script developers, all done with a single web forum application
and two static pages. The resources index page drives the traffic to
the site with ulta-high search engine ranking. A lot of people look
around a bit and come back because it's the
communications/documentation/support center for all things relating to
WordPerfect Office.

The site been a tremendous success in community-building even though
WordPerfect Office is in decline and is a beehive of activity. In my
opion, opendocument.xml.org offered so many services from the
beginning that the site has no real focal point to entice web traffic
or people to stay. It is too diffuse. I think a much more tightly
focused mission might work miracles. Just my 2 cents, of course.

In any event, I appreciate the discussion of my suggestion. I'll close
by observing that I have no desire to "own" the idea or the project. I
am well aware that it isn't something I could pull off by myself and
will only happen if it becomes "our" project for a lot of people. I
can try to start this snowball rolling down the mountain, but gravity
has to work its magic if it's going to get to the bottom. And if many
people do not get behind it to push it past the obstacles, it won't
get there.  I am now just one of hopefully, those many.

Best regards,


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