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open sourcing education

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Today and tomorrow I’ll be learning in a learning conversation about open sourcing education.

Hewlett Foundation, OSI, Shuttleworth Foundation have brought a group of open education resources people together so that we can learn from each other about open education resources, and (hopefully) focus thinking about open education resources (OER to the initiated).

There is a kind of laid back energy, something important is happening here, not the birth of a social movement, one already exists, not the first step, some participants have been working in the space for years, but a phase change.

I intend to put up a few idiosyncratic reports but you can also check out the wiki.

OOXML not up to standard

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Wednesday 18 July 2007, the technical sub-committee of the South African Bureau of Standards recommended that South Africa should vote that OOXML, the XML document formatting standard devised by Microsoft, shouldn’t be accepted by the ISO committee, JTC1, as an XML open document format in September.

What does all that jargon mean?

A common, open document format is important, because it means that different applications, can handle the same data.

A standard for XML document formatting was developed by the software community a number of years ago, that standard is Open Document Format (ODF). ODF was accepted as a standard by ISO (the international Standards Organisation) some time ago.

Microsoft developed another standard for XML document formatting, which they called OOXML. That standard is being considered in the fast track process of the ISO, and South Africa must vote in September whether the standard should be accepted as an additional standard.

The role of the technical sub-committee is to make a recommendation. The sub-committee decided to recommend that the standard be rejected by 13 votes to 4. The subcommittee will give technical reasons for their decision within three weeks.