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Liberate your documents!

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Document Freedom Day 2010

Today is Document Freedom Day 2010. For the third time, groups all over the world are celebrating open document formats and Open Standards. They are raising awareness for how a technical issue impacts our day- to-day lives.

Activities are taking place in many countries. In Germany and Austria, radio stations are receiving awards for offering streams in the open Ogg Vorbis format. In Slovenia, the country's highest court is commended for its use of the ODF format for text documents.

In Romania, activists have been busy pointing out to public administrations that "I can't read your documents". In Johannesburg, South Africa, the Department of Arts and Culture will hold a celebration to mark DFD. In the Brazilian city of Vitoria, the group Espirito Livre is organising a conference on Free Software and Open Standards.

Document Freedom Day coordinator Fernanda Weiden says: "It is great to see so many volunteers with a passion for freedom in technology. These people care deeply about the way that software and standards affect their lives, and they are taking the initiative to make sure that others can enjoy the same freedoms as them."

Computer users, companies and public administrations are storing huge amounts of information in electronic form. If this happens in a format that can only be read by software from a single vendor, the information will eventually be lost.

Open Standards, such as ODF for office documents or Ogg Vorbis for music, can be read and written with many different applications. They give users freedom of choice, since they work on any application on any platform or operating system.

"Open document formats make sure that your valuable information doesn't turn into digital toxic waste with your next upgrade to a new software", says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. "Whether it's your personal emails or your pension records in a government agency, it's important to think ahead. Will the software you're using now still be around in ten years' time? If the answer is no, make sure that your data is saved according to Open Standards."

The DFD team will gather information and reports from this year's activities, organise them and publish them on the DFD web pages.