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Everybody's Guide to OpenDocument

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Sorting out the facts from the errors and omissions in recent reaction to Massachusetts' announcement to use OpenDocument.

A lot of misinformation about the OpenDocument digital format has started to appear in the mainstream media and interest groups. Answers to many questions on the topic already have appeared, but they are written by techies for techies. This article is different, however. You can print out this one and pass it on to everyone, regardless of their computer skill level.

Storing valuable data inside computers is no guarantee of its availability. Did you know that scientists "couldn't read magnetic tapes from the 1976 Viking landings on Mars?... With the data in an unknown format, [they] had to track down printouts and hire students to retype everything" (full story available here). That was quite a waste of money, wasn't it? This situation occurred less than 30 years ago, and it was able to be fixed because paper copies were available, a format everybody could read.

Now, try thinking about the same thing happening to your digital records: pension forms, family budget spreadsheets, your graduation slideshow, mortgage contract. It's scary!

Full Article.