PORTLAND, Ore. – Industry reaction to a scheduled executive panel discussion on the hot topic of open document formats has been so strong, organizers of the third-annual Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) have expanded next week’s event to accommodate a deeper exploration of the topic.

Joining senior leaders of Sun Microsystems, IBM, Microsoft and the OpenDocument Foundation on the panel will be Adobe Systems PDF Platform Architect James C. King, who is also a senior principal scientist in Adobe’s Office of Technology. King is the Adobe technology lead in handing control of the PDF (portable document file) standard over to the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and has been nominated to become the PDF/ISO standard technical editor. He is also responsible for guiding Adobe contributions to the PDF format that is the basis for Adobe’s Acrobat and LiveCycle product lines.

GOSCON is also adding two new breakout sessions, one on open document format and portable document file (PDF) standards and a second on open document and the OOXML (the “office open” document file format).

GOSCON is set for Oct. 15-16 at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower in downtown Portland, Ore. GOSCON is the industry’s premier event focusing on the government use and development of open source software (OSS). See more information at goscon.org.

“Adobe felt it would be beneficial for the scores of customers who have been asking them to explain how their PDF fits in with office open and open document standards, so the timing is great for everyone,” said Deb Bryant, GOSCON director. “I’m particularly grateful that the leading professionals on our executive panel will be taking part in the two new breakout sessions, which should make for a serious, in-depth discussion.”

The initial defeat of the OOXML standard has recharged the debate over open document formats in government. While OOXML backers prepare for the next vote and ODF and CDF stakeholders continue their own campaigns, government users are overwhelmed with contradicting messages about an issue that needs quick resolution. GOSCON is bringing together in one forum experts from every corner of the debate to translate the issue into information conference attendees can immediately act upon when they return to their offices.

“Open Standards and Interoperability “is the theme for this year’s GOSCON event. Document accessibility, interoperability and longevity are core components of government service. The maintenance and exchange of the most important records – such as certificates of birth, marriage and death, taxes, licenses, deeds, laws, regulations, codes and rules – as well as their role in business processes are the responsibility of IT officers around the globe. It is increasingly expected that these officers provide public access to these documents, bringing more stringent requirements for the longevity and interoperability of records that are going digital.

The Executive Panel on Open Document Formats, moderated by Director of Information Technology at the City of Newport News Andy Stein, will focus on how the user community can get involved in this issue, have influence over its outcome and knowledge for implementations. Panelists are expected to , address the practical differences between competing standards OOXML, ODF and CDF to determine which one(s) truly provide a single file format that is open, universally interoperable and application and platform independent. About half of the time will be set aside for audience questions, providing the an opportunity for as GOSCON attendees to gain direct access to the debate.

Panelists include:

Douglas W. Johnson, manager, Standards Strategy, Corporate Standards, Sun Microsystems Dr. Johnson joined Sun in March of 1996 after nearly 15 years in the private and public Research & Development (R&D) sectors where he participated in a variety of activities, primarily involved with data-intensive remote sensing technologies.

Arnaud Le Hors, program director, Standards & Emerging Markets, IBM Open Source & Standards Project Office Arnaud is responsible for overseeing the management of IBM standards activities and leading IBM open source and standards program in the emerging markets.

James C. King, Ph.D., PDF Platform Architect/senior principal scientist and member of the Office of Technology, Adobe Systems, Inc. King is responsible for guiding the current and future Adobe contributions to the PDF format that is the basis for Adobe’s Acrobat and LiveCycle product lines. He has been with Adobe since 1988 when he formed the Advanced Technology Group.

Buck "Marbux" Martin, director of legal affairs, OpenDocument Foundation Marbux is a retired Oregon lawyer who volunteers his time with the OpenDocument Foundation as its director of legal affairs.

Jason Matusown, senior director of interoperability, Microsoft Corporation Matusow is a leading strategist on the broad spectrum of issues that make up Microsoft’s global commitment to interoperability. His work in this role covers technology, public policy and business strategy.

GOSCON started bringing the open formats issue to its audience in 2005 with participation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts IT Division and its early experience in implementing a policy designed first to mandate an open document standard, later modifying its approach in collaboration with industry as it sought to solve the documents challenge for its state.

The conference will cover a broad range of standards and open source topics presented by government agencies and industry experts, beginning with the opening keynote by Jim Zemlin, executive director, Linux Foundation on “Open Source and Freedom: Why Open Standards Are Crucial to Protecting IT Investment.”

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