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From Rob Weir <>
Subject [Draft] The Public Service Mission of OpenOffice
Date Tue, 17 Jul 2012 16:03:51 GMT
I'd like to see if we can agree on a statement along these lines.  I
think it is important that we show how our project aligns with
Apache's overall mission, which the home page phrases as:
"provides support for the Apache community of open-source software
projects, which provide software products for the public good."

I think we do and always have been strongly aligned with this goal.
But still, sometimes, we're questioned about our emphasis on
distributing binaries, or seeking support for items related to
distributing binaries.  In some ways we're the oddball at Apache,
being the only prominent end-user facing project.  So I think it will
help if we can express in clear terms how what we are doing is in fact
for the public good, and our aims and achievements are at least as
noble as what any other Apache project can claim.

Please, review and suggest improvements.  In the end I'd like to work
this into a webpage or blog post.




Along with an email client and a web browser, an office suite is a
core essential application that almost every computer user requires.
 Although there is a dominant commercial product in this category, its
price and limited platform and language support makes it an
unsatisfactory option for many.   OpenOffice, for over a decade, has
helped fill this gap.  Our goal is to develop, publish and support
OpenOffice as a world-class office suite, free for anyone to use, and
since it is open source, free for anyone to build upon.  Using the
generally available discounted price of commercial office products,
the value of OpenOffice downloads over the past decade exceeds USD 10
billion (10,000,000,000),

==Overcoming the "Digital Divide"==

More than 40% of the world population lives on less than US$ 2 per
day, and around 20% live on less than US$ 1 per day.  Against these
numbers, commercial shrink-wrapped office software is often seen as a
luxury good.  End-user facing open source software, like OpenOffice,
brings high-quality software to those who would otherwise have no
other affordable options.   Within the ICT for Development (ICT4D)
community, OpenOffice has long been an important part of achieving
development goals.

==Support for Linguistic and Cultural Diversity==

There are over 6,000 languages in the world, but unless the language
is associated with a G20 economic superpower, commercial vendors tend
to ignore it.  The OpenOffice community has a long standing tradition
of supporting a large number of languages, including languages used by
smaller populations, minority languages, endangered languages, etc.
For example, South Africa has 11 official languages.  OpenOffice has
been translated to all of them.  By supporting languages that would
not otherwise be supported we help reduce "digital exclusion" and
promote development, local education and administration.


Persons with disabilities, especially those with visual impairments,
commonly rely on "assistive technology" to interact with computers.
Such technologies work well only when applications are designed and
coded to work well with them.  Additionally, users who create
documents must do their part to ensure that the documents they create
work well with assistive technology, for example through the use of
image captions, consistent list levels, etc.  OpenOffice provides
strong accessibility support, including broader ecosystem support via
extensions, for working with Braille printers, exporting to DAISY
talking books, etc.

==Open Standards==

Open standards are those standards which are created in an open,
transparent process, where the specifications can be freely accessed
and implemented without royalties.  Most core web standards are open
standards.  The default document format in OpenOffice, OpenDocument
Format (ODF) is also an open standard.   Widespread use of open
standards promotes interoperability and choice in the market.  But
this does not come without effort on our part.  We commit to faithful
implementation of open standards, and to work with standards
organizations and other vendors to improve these standards and to test
and improve interoperability.

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