OpenOffice.org, the Open Document Format and their customers are equally important, Michael Bemmer, the Vice President and General Manager of Oracle Office, said at the annual international OpenOffice.org Conference on Wednesday 1st September. Although Bemmer did not divulge details of his company's future strategy he made it clear that the inexorable rise of OpenOffice.org will continue in the years ahead, in a speech entitled “A Decade of Success” at the plenary session of the annual international OpenOffice.org Conference in the Hungarian Parliament building.
This year's event was seen as the most important to date, as the international IT community awaited US industry giant Oracle's first statement on the future of OpenOffice.org since its acquisition of Sun Systems earlier in the year.
Zsolt Nyitrai, State Secretary of IT Communications at Hungary's National Development Ministry, asked participants of the conference to become partners with the government in the task that “aims to open the closed doors of administration in the world of Open Source office softwares”.
Nyitrai's presence at the event indicated a sea change in government policy on Open Source software in the country that spawned John von Neumann, arguably the most important figure in the history of computing. Only two years ago Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was invited to Parliament by Hungary's then prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. However Ballmer's visit is better remembered for the incident when he was pelted with eggs by a local student wearing a shirt bearing the slogan “Microsoft = Corruption” while delivering a lecture at Budapest's Central European University.
Numerous European Union member states, including the Netherlands, France and Poland, have insisted on the the use of open standards-based software at all public offices since 2006. The EU has officially endorsed the use of Open Source software since 2002.
Open Source software adoption at international companies has maintained its remarkable pace of growth in recent years. IT market research and consultancy firm IDC calculates that Open Source software revenues will exceed $8 billion by 2013, with an annual compound growth rate of 22.4%, putting it way ahead of almost every other software category.
Some 5,000 IT professionals have worked as volunteers on the OpenOffice.org project since Sun Microsystems launched it in the autumn of 2000. The latest version of the office software suite is used by hundreds of millions of people, with a 15-20% global market share, and is available in over 100 languages. More than a 100 speakers and around 300 guests are currently in the Hungarian capital for the three-day event, which has been organised by ODFA Hungary.