miércoles, 14 de octubre de 2015

The Great Paradox of Openness

Yesterday I went to a forum that was organized by the university where I work.  Since the title was "Freedom of Speech, Information Access and New Technologies" I decided to attend because I thought I could learn something about FLOSS.

The talks, however, were more about legal aspects of the government apparatus and the availability of information for regular citizens.

Some interesting points where discussed, such as classified information, privacy of government employees, and the legal framework to grant access of information to communicators.

Something happened when the second speaker attempted to start her speech: she got stuck and could not figure out how to open her presentation because the laptop, had LibreOffice installed.

A bit in a panic, she addressed the audience: "Does anyone know how to use Open Software?"  For two or three seconds, silence fell on the auditorium like a heavy curtain.

That was my cue.  I sprang up and from my seat at the very back and walked confidently to the front and onto the podium.  Slowly, I moved the pointer to "Slide show" and clicked on "Start from first slide".

The speaker showed a smile of absolute relief to me as she thank me.

I went to back to my seat and that could have been the end of the story, but the most paradoxical event happened when she, whose talk was on access to information, stressed the importance of saving government documents using open formats. (!?!)

I mean, this young woman showed evident command of her data and was, in no way, an incompetent speaker.  The sad reality was that, however persuasive her words were, they contrasted sharply with the way in which her speech started.  How can you advocate open formats and, at the same time, ignore how to use LibreOffice?

She redeemed herself, nevertheless.  When she finished her talk, she closed her presentation and repeated the simple process to open the presentation of the speaker that was coming next.

That was good.

1 comentario:

  1. Here, people talk a lot about technology but they understand very little about it.

    I don't blame the speaker, though. What happened to her was the result of the great tech training people receive by using MS products. The same goes for IT "experts"...