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Making Document Freedom Freer

ComputerWorldUK - A crowdfunding project in Germany will make LibreOffice better for us all -- what a great example for Document Freedom Day!

Today March 26th is Document Freedom Day. It's today that we put the focus on the benefits of using open standards for the documents we use at work and home for spreadsheets, word processing and the like. As Apple demonstrated recently with presentation files, using closed formats allows the vendor to arbitrarily force you to spend money to retain access to your own work, and can even render archived documents unreadable for all practical purposes -- a phenomenon known as 'bit rot'.

The problem of bit rot is as old as the software application. It is part of a family of problems caused when the software that manages your data is not under your ultimate control. Another manifestation is "interoperability" -- trying to use data created in one application in an equivalent alternative created by a different vendor. Yet another is decayed digital restrictions, where the DRM used by a vendor for an defunct business model continues to defeat legal access by the owner of the data.

This last problem is especially toxic as the US DMCA and similar laws elsewhere actually make it a crime to access your own data if to do so you have to break into the defunct DRM. All three are used as a tool to lock-in customers and lock-out competitors, at the cost of customer flexibility.