Meeting the Taiwanese community

I have just visited Taiwan to attend COSCUP, meet representatives of the Taiwanese government and the local community, and run a certification session. Generally speaking, it was a very positive trip, because I was able to get a grasp of the activities at every level. Taiwan is definitely one of the strongholds of The Document Foundation.

COSCUP is the annual conference held by the Taiwanese Open source community since 2006. This year, the event has returned to its original location at the National Taiwan University on August 5/6, with a number of community managed tracks. ODF and LibreOffice were featured during the first day, when I was able to present about the advantages of ODF over OOXML to a large audience of Taiwanese people – mostly young students – who asked several questions. Taiwan is one of the countries moving to ODF, so the topic is rather hot.

The meeting with representatives of the Taiwanese government, led by Digital Minister Audrey Tang, was organized on Monday, August 7, in the early afternoon. During the meeting, we discussed the situation of the migrations to ODF in Europe, together with the opportunities and the challenges faced by every government. I learned about the digital strategy of the Taiwanese government, and about the investments they are doing to introduce open source software to the next generations of citizens. Digital Minister Audrey Tang asked about the evolution of LibreOffice in the cloud.

The meeting with the Taiwanese LibreOffice community spanned over a couple of events: a dinner on Saturday night, during which I had the opportunity to taste some real Chinese and Taiwanese dishes (which are rather different from their European equivalents), and a meetup on Monday night, during which I could talk about ODF vs OOXML, to provide some competitive marketing background on the topic. Moving from OOXML to ODF is not easy, not even in countries where the decision is backed by the government like Taiwan. It is therefore important that all community members know the differences between the two document formats and the advantages of ODF in term of interoperability and costs over OOXML.

I would like to take the opportunity of thanking LibreOffice Taiwanese community for the organization of my presence in the island, and congratulate the Taiwanese government for their comprehensive digital strategy to support not only open source software and open standards but also the education of a new generation of digital citizens.