We live in a world of false superlatives. Every damn new thing is the latest, greatest, fastest, etc. Then you bring your bright shiny new widget home from the store, and maybe it works great for about 5 minutes before falling apart. Nowhere has this disappoint been greater than in the world of computers. So we have become jaded.
Time to lose your funk. Web 2.0 is on the way, and the Open Document format is the horse that it will be riding in on, and the name of that horse is OpenOffice.org 2.0 stable version. (Plus the LAMPPP stack. Okay, so Web 2.0 will have more than one horse). Very soon, Joe Sixpack will have a more viable alternative to the Microsoft Office for performing one of the most important, if mundane, functions of desktop computing anywhere, anytime, on any desktop. Word processing. Spreadsheets. Presentations. All free as in beer, and free as in freedom. And while Google it is not actually clear to what extent Google will be providing access to OpenOffice.org over the web, it is very clear that the clean XML upon which OpenOffice.org 2.0 is based will allow interoperability among modular, loosely coupled disparate computer systems through of service-oriented architectures (SOAs) in ways that we can now only begin to imagine.
Think SOA is just a boring acronym? Think again. SOA is what the collaboration of Web 2.0 is all about. As Kevin Kelley said in a recent Wired article, the Internet is probably going to become the first form of artificial intelligence. You will soon be able to share data generated 50 years ago across computing applications that are being written today. The possibilities are staggering.
Uncle Vic, the scowling Mad Penguin™ mascot, is so pumped about this new development that Mad Penguin™ will be running a series of three interviews with people who are in the trenches in the work to bring out OOo 2.0. The first of these interviews, with Florian Reuter, covers some of the differences between the truly open XML found in OOo 2.0, and the closed MS Word ML found in the upcoming Microsoft Office 12, as well as the importance of simple end users in the process of improving the code with bug reports.
OOo 2.0 is really different from Microsoft Office in a way that makes a difference. Be sure to check back here with Mad Penguin™ as we approach the formal release of the stable version of OOo 2.0 to find out more about where this powerful new office suite is going, and how it will change the way that humanity communicates.