USER Perspectives on Open Document Format (ODF)
October 20, 2006
A Public Round Table Discussion, organized by the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD)

Round Table Homepage
Round Table Program
    * Alwin Sixma
    * Amina Fazlullah
    * Andrew Updegrove
    * Ann Wright
    * Ben Wallis
    * Benedicte Federspiel
    * Dan Geer
    * Dan Johnson
    * Dan O' Connor
    * David Banisar
    * Douglas Johnson
    * Ed Mierzwinski
    * Eric Bourassa
    * Eric Kriss
    * James Love
    * Jeannine Kenney
    * Lars Grondal
    * Laura Denardis
    * Leon Shiman
    * Lewis Akenji
    * Louis Suarez-Potts
    * Malini Aisola
    * Manon Ress
    * Mark Silbergeld
    * Peter Lord
    * Peter Strickx
    * Rishab Aiyer Ghosh
    * Robert Weir
    * Roslyn Docktor
    * Sam Hiser
    * Tim Vaverchak
    * Tom Rabon
    * Torgeir Waterhouse
    * Will Rodger
Related Documents
Round Table Organizers
Venue and Hotel
CPTech Page on ODF
CPTech Page on IGF

Alwin Sixma is campaign leader at Consumentenbond, the Dutch consumers organisation, leading the Digital campaign team working on Intellectual Property and Information Society issues. Consumentenbond has some 630.000 members which represents approximately 10% of the Dutch households. In absolute numbers the Consumentenbond is the largest consumers association of Europe. Consumentenbond is an independent organisation. The Consumentenbond's mission is to enable consumers to make easier and better choice, with respect to man and environment. Alwin is European co-chair of the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue's Intellectual Property Working Group, and is also an active participant at BEUC, the Brussels based European lobbying organisation of consumers.

Amina Fazlullah, U.S. PIRG

Andrew Updegrove is a co-founder and partner of the Boston law firm of Gesmer Updegrove LLP, and has been structuring and representing technology consortia since 1988. During that time period, he has worked with over 75 consortia, accredited standards development organizations and open source consortia, and has been retained by many of the largest technology companies in the world to assist them in forming such organizations.

He has also written and spoken extensively on the topics of consortia and standard setting, has given testimony to the United States Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission on the same topics, and has filed "friend of the court" briefs on a pro bono basis with the Federal Circuit Court, Supreme Court, and Federal Trade Commission on leading standards litigation. In 2002, he launched, a website intended to be the most detailed and comprehensive resource on the Internet on the topics of consortia and standard setting, as well as the Consortium Standards Bulletin, a monthly e-Journal of news, ideas and analysis in the standard setting area that now has thousands of subscribers. In 2005, he launched the Standards Blog.

He has been a member of the United States Standards Strategy revision committee, received the President's Award for Journalism from ANSI in 2005, and currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Free Standards Group, and on the Board of Advisors of HL7. He is a graduate of Yale University and the Cornell University Law School.

Ann Wright is a Senior Policy Analyst at Consumers Union in Washington, DC. She works on energy and trade related issues. Ann came to Consumers Union with eight years of experience working in the U.S. Senate for Senator Paul Simon on issues including agriculture, appropriations and budget. Prior to joining Consumers Union in March of 2006 she worked as a Governmental Affairs Representative for the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition where she worked with Members of Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on federal policy in the areas of marketing and rural development.

Ben Wallis has been Coordinator of the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue since 2001. His role is to helps consumer organisations represent the consumer perspective - on food, information society, trade and intellectual property issues - to European Commission and US Government officials. TACD's secretariat is provided by Consumers International, for whom Ben also coordinates work on intellectual property issues.

Benedicte Federspiel graduated in law from Copenhagen University. Following a few years with the Danish diplomatic service in London and New York, she has dedicated her entire working life to the consumer cause. In 1970 she joined the Danish Consumer Council, and after having been the Executive Director for many years - during which she also held important positions internationally - she now mainly concentrates on legal matters, ministerial committees, standardization and Nordic, European and international consumer policy work.

Benedicte Federspiel holds a number of important positions in the European and international consumer political scene: Member of the European Consumer Consultative Group of the European Commission, ECCG, Member of the European Consumers' Organisation BEUC, member of the European board of the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue, TACD, and member of the Council and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Consumers International.

Benedicte Federspiel is President of the European Association for the co-ordination of Consumer Representation in Standardisation and Certification, ANEC, member of the CEN and CENELEC Certification Boards CCB and CCAF, member of the European Advisory Accreditation Board, EAAB, and member of the Chairman's Group of COPOLCO, ISO.

Dan Geer is one of a small number of pioneers in the security world that raised critical issues before others could see a risk emerge. He is most recently known to many as the chief technical officer for @stake, a computer security consulting company that did work for large banks and technology vendors including Microsoft. He published a 2003 paper arguing that Microsoft was a monoculture; he was fired the day the report was made public.

The 24-page report entitled "CyberInsecurity: The Cost of Monopoly" was released by the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) which made the argument that Microsoft is a threat to national security.

Geer has a Bachelor Of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. He also has a Ph.D. in biostatistics from Harvard, and has worked for:

* Health Sciences Computing Facility, Harvard School of Public Health
* Project Athena, MIT
* Digital Equipment Corporation
* Geer Zolot & Associates
* OpenVision Technologies
* Open Market
* Certco
* @stake (acquired by Symantec in November 2004)

Geer is currently employed by Verdasys.

Dan Johnson, Computer and Communications Industry Association

Dan O' Connor, Computer and Communications Industry Association/Open Source and Industry Alliance

David Banisar is Director of the Freedom of Information Project of Privacy International in London and a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Law, University of Leeds, UK. Previously he was a Research Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and co-founder and Policy Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, DC. He has also served as an advisor and consultant to numerous organizations including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Justice Canada, the Open Society Institute, Article XIX and Consumers International. He has worked in the field of information policy for over fourteen years and is the author of numerous books, studies, and articles on freedom of information, freedom of expression and privacy. His most recent study of FOI laws is available at

Dr. Douglas Johnson joined Sun Microsystems in March of 1996 after nearly 15 years in the private and public R&D sector. Currently in the Corporate Standards Department, he is working to identify and further the adoption of key standards for advanced technologies and emerging markets. The impact and role of Internet technologies and standards has been a central theme in these efforts, including likely future evolution and exploitation of wireless, network-centric and related architectures. Another area of interest is the increasingly important role of open standards coupled with open source software development principles. This combination is accelerating software innovation trends that underpin many of the industry's most enduring contributions to economic development, business efficiency, and addressing the digital divide.

Prior to joining Sun, he participated in a variety of research activities, primarily involved with data intensive remote sensing technologies. In addition to extensive experience in designing and developing computing architectures for the analysis of diverse physical data sets, he has published more than 50 articles, reports and presentations on a variety of scientific topics, primarily in the physical sciences. These topics include laser-based chemical remote sensing, galactic structure and satellite-based image sensor design and exploitation, as well as the design and implementation of algorithms for remote sensing data analysis.

Ed Mierzwinski has been a consumer advocate in the Washington DC-based federal lobbying office of the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups (U.S. PIRG) since 1989. State PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan consumer, environmental and good government watchdog groups with over 500,000 members around the United States.

He often testifies before both Congress and state legislatures and has authored or co-authored numerous reports on a wide range of consumer issues ranging from telecommunications to financial services and privacy. He comments on these and a variety of other important consumer issues in his blog He is often quoted in the national press and has been profiled in the New York Times. He is a 2003 recipient of Privacy International's "Brandeis Award" for privacy protection efforts. He is a founding member of the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue and represents U.S. PIRG on the TACD Steering Committee. From 1981 through 1988, he was Executive Director

Eric Bourassa is the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group's (MASSPIRG) Consumer Advocate. MASSPIRG is a statewide non-profit, non-partisan public interest organization with 50,000 members across the state. MASSPIRG works to promote environmental preservation, consumer protection and good government.

Eric works to make sure that consumers in Massachusetts have a voice in public policy decisions that affect them, including protecting consumers from identity theft, unsafe products, deceptive lending, and rip-offs in the marketplace. Eric also acts as a watchdog on public transit, corporate tax subsidies, and media consolidation issues.

Before coming to MASSPIRG, Eric organized social service programs for the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations. Eric received his Masters Degree in American Studies from Brown University and graduated with honors from Dickinson College.

Eric Arthur Kriss (born 1949) is a business and government leader. He served as Secretary of Administration and Finance in Massachusetts Governor Romney's cabinet (January 2003 - October 2005), and as assistant A&F secretary under Governor William Weld (January 1991 - February 1993). Kriss currently is CEO of Workmode, Inc., a web applications developer that he founded in 1998.

In August 2006, Governor Romney and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority board asked Kriss to lead a comprehensive review of the Turnpike following the ouster of Chairman Matthew J. Amorello and the collapse of a portion of the roof of the Ted Williams Tunnel.

Kriss was previously CEO of MediQual Systems, a healthcare information company, and founder/CEO of MediVision, a network of eye surgery centers.

In 2004, Kriss released Initial Public Offering, an audio CD featuring original compositions and interpretations. He has also written three books on blues piano, as well as numerous articles, reviews, and anthologies. In 1976, Kriss produced and performed on Mike Bloomfield's If You Love These Blues, Play 'Em As You Please, nominated for a Grammy Award.

James Love is the Director of the Consumer Project on Technology, a non-government organization with offices in Washington, DC, London and Geneva. Information about CPTech is on the web at

An advisor to a number of UN agencies, national governments, international and regional intergovernmental organizations and public health NGOs, Mr. Love is US co-chair of the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) Working Group on Intellectual Property, founder and Chairman of Essential Inventions, Chairman of the Union for the Public Domain, Chairman of the Civil Society Coalition, and members of the MSF working groups on Intellectual Property and Research and Development, the Adelphi Charter on Creativity, Innovation and Intellectual Property and the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD) Task Force on Intellectual Property.

Mr. Love was previously Senior Economist for the Frank Russell Company, a Lecturer at Rutgers University, and a researcher on international finance at Princeton University. Mr. Love received a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and a Masters in Public Affairs from the Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. lists some recent articles, reports and chapters.

Jeannine Kenney, Consumers Union

Lars Grondal is working at the Consumer Council of Norway's Digital Consumer Group. He holds a cand. jur. degree from the University of Oslo and an LL.M. from King's College London. His main fields of expertise are EC, competition, contract and procedural law.

Among other things, Lars is currently involved in a complaint against Apple's iTunes Music Store Terms of Service and their digital rights management.

Laura DeNardis is a visiting fellow in the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Her research addresses the political, cultural, and legal dimensions of computer protocols. She is currently conducting a historical research project on government procurement policies and ODF and will be participating later this month in a workshop on Open Standards at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Athens, Greece, and presenting on Best Practices in Internet Standards Governance at the Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet) conference. She holds engineering degrees from Dartmouth (A.B.) and Cornell University (M.Eng.) and received a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Tech.

Leon Shiman, is the Director of Foundation. He has a A.B. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Leon Shiman was formerly the Director of Computing at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT. He has also been Founder, Chief Architect, and Open Source Developer for Shiman Associates whose products include "MAS" Media Application Server for X.Org.

Lewis Akenji is the International Communications Manager of the Association of Conscious Consumers, and Coordinator of the Central and eastern European Network of NGOs for Sustainable Consumption ( - a partnership 28 non-governmental consumer organizations from 16 countries facilitating co-operation between NGOs, and addressing the interrelationship among consumption patterns, consumer protection and environmental issues as they pertain to the CEE region.

Louis Suarez-Potts is the community manager for, as well as the chair of the governing Community Council. An employee of CollabNet and an adjunct at York University, Suarez-Potts has managed for six years. He is currently working on a study of the contradictions implicit in liberal accounts of open source development.

Malini Aisola is a research associate at the Consumer Project on Technology. Prior to this position, Malini was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she was studying clinical psychology and more specifically, the role of attention in the processing of emotion in psychopathic populations. She holds bachelor degrees in Psychology from the University of Illinois as well as from the University of Delhi in India, which is where she grew up.

Manon Ress works for the Consumer Project on Technology (CPTech) on various e-commerce and consumer protection issues such as the definition of consumers, unfair contracts and tort liabilities and on issues related to internet governance such as free speech, privacy protections and fair use rights. Since October 2000, she has been a consumer representative on the US Delegation to the Proposed Hague Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters. She is focusing on Intellectual Property issues, building public awareness and interest in debating the value of the public interest in intellectual property rights.

Prior to her present position, she was the Director of the Debs-Jones-Douglass Institute, a labor founded non-profit where she worked on the use of the internet by labor unions. She was the Manager of Education and Technology for an international team working on distance education in Malaysia. She held teaching and research positions at Princeton University and Temple University.

She received a BA and a Master's Degree from Universite de Nice, France and a Master and a Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Mark Silbergeld is a Senior Fellow and Director of International Issues at the Consumer Federation of America. He has also held positions as Director, Co-Director and staff attorney with Consumers Union's Washington Office for 30 years. Previously, he was staff attorney for Ralph Nader's original Public Interest Research Group and staff attorney at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Peter Lord is Director of Technology Policy for Oracle where he advises on issues related to the intersection of technology, business, and public policy. Current areas of engagement are open standards, open source, privacy and information security policy.

Prior to this role, Peter served as Oracle's Senior Manager for Global Trade Compliance. Before joining Oracle, he worked for U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. A graduate of Bowdoin College, Peter is a Masters candidate at Georgetown University.

Peter Strickx, Belgian Federal Government holds a MSc in Computer Science with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence from the Free University of Brussels, where he graduated in 1987. From 1987 till 1989 he worked as a research assistant with Prof. Luc Steels (VUB) on second generation expert systems and software agents. In 1991 he participated in starting Sun Microsystems Belgium. During his 10.5 years at Sun Microsystems Belgium he held various management positions in Sales & Marketing as well as in more technical areas such as sales support.

Since 2001 Peter Strickx is Chief Technology Officer at Fedict, the Belgian Federal Government's eGov/ICT Service. He was the technical lead in projects such as FedMAN, Universal Messaging Engine (UME) and the Federal Authentication Service and co-authored papers on open standards and the use of ODF. His interests include programming and microprocessor & network technology.

Rishab Aiyer Ghosh is Founding International and Managing Editor of First Monday, the most widely read peer-reviewed on-line journal of the Internet, and Senior Researcher at the Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) at the University of Maastricht and United Nations University, the Netherlands. In 1997, he co-authored tools to measure contributions by free software developers by analysing source code, pioneering now widely used research techniques. From 1995 to 1999 he covered Indian telecoms and media markets for US and UK-based investment analysis journals, and provided consulting to multinationals venturing into the newly liberalised market.

In 2000 he moved to the Netherlands, where he coordinated the European Union -funded FLOSS project, the most comprehensive early study of free/libre/open source users and developers; the follow-on FLOSSPOLS project on government policy support; and the on-going FLOSSWorld project conducting comparative studies in Asia, Africa, America and Europe. He is involved in government policy initiatives on free software and open standards, and conducts research funded by the European Union and the US National Science Foundation. He was a co-author and initial signatory to the Geneva Declaration on the Future of the World Intellectual Property Organisation and involved in the early drafting of the Access To Knowledge (A2K) Treaty. In 2005, he published "CODE: Collaborative Ownership and the Digital Economy" with MIT Press. Rishab was elected a board member of the Open Source Initiative, which maintains the Open Source Definition.

Rob Weir is a 16 veteran of IBM and Lotus Development corporation. He has extensive experience working with office file formats, from the old binary formats in Lotus SmartSuite and Microsoft Office, to the new generation of XML formats undergoing standardization. He is a member of the OASIS ODF TC, the Metadata and Formula Subcommittees, the ODF Adoption TC, and a U.S. delegate to ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34.

His blog can be found at:

Roslyn Docktor, the worldwide governmental programs executive for open standards for IBM, develops and manages technology policy strategies across the globe. In 2005, she led IBM's collaborative effort with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, Oracle and 13 nations to develop the critically acclaimed Roadmap for Open ICT Ecosystems. In early 2006, she worked with other leading companies to launch the ODF Alliance which now has over 300 public, private and NGO members from over 40 countries.

Prior to IBM, Ms. Docktor co-founded McConnell International, a technology policy and management consulting firm. As its vice president from 2000-2004, she provided advice to, and managed projects for, the Government of Jordan, the US Department of State, and the Organization of American States, to name a few, focused on fostering economic and social development through e-government, e-business and appropriate technology policy.

Ms. Docktor is most proud of her secondment from the U.S. Peace Corps to the White House to coordinate the World Bank and United Nations global Y2K mitigation program. She established and maintained a government-to-government network of 170 National Y2K Coordinators that helped to squash the millennium bug. Her Peace Corps experience began as a volunteer in Zambia and continued with her role as special projects and Y2K manager for PC headquarters.

Proficient in Bemba and Spanish, Ms. Docktor has provided strategic advice, delivered keynote presentations and/or led roundtable discussions in over 30 countries. When not traveling, she can be found biking to work, teaching sailing or running marathons.

Sam Hiser is Vice President & Director of Business Affairs of the OpenDocument Foundation, a catalyst for the development of the ODF standard at OASIS. He helps organizations in government, education, and the private sector understand and adopt open standard and open source and free software where it improves business processes. Hiser holds a B.A. in English literature and art history from St. Lawrence University and an MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. His blog is

Tim Vaverchak is the Manager of Shared Services at the Information Technology Division of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition to providing technical leadership for the Commonwealth's implementation of the OpenDocument standard he manages several development groups including ITD's Open Source Development team. Tim has worked at ITD for the past five years. During this time he has successfully developed and implemented Open Source technology solutions for business problems as diverse as fostering cross organizational collaboration, online job posting, and computer virus tracking.

Tom Rabon is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Political Science. In 1975, he served as a Lyndon Baines Johnson Intern in U. S. House of Representatives in Washington, DC. He also served as a Community Development Intern for United Telecommunications, Inc. (later became Sprint) in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1984, he attended the Executive Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has completed various courses at the AT&T School of Business including the AT&T Advanced Management Program.

Shortly after graduation from college, he served as a substitute high school teacher before becoming Director of Planning for Brunswick County, North Carolina. In 1978, he was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives at age 24, one of the youngest persons ever elected to that body. He was re-elected to the Legislature in 1980 and 1982. While serving in the Legislature, he was Chairman of the Energy Committee and the Committee on Manufacturing and Labor.

In 1983, he left the Legislature to become State Manager of Government Relations for AT&T. He was later promoted to State Vice President Government Affairs for AT&T. On February 1, 1996, he accepted a position with Lucent Technologies as Vice President State Public Affairs., with responsibility for all of Lucent's public affairs activities in the 50 states and Canada. Later, his responsibilities were expanded to include the Caribbean and Latin America and the Asia Pacific Regions. In September 2001, he became Vice President, Global Government Affairs and was given responsibility for all of Lucent's government affairs activities throughout the world. In January 2003, he accepted a position as Executive Vice President Corporate Affairs with Red Hat, Inc., a position which he currently holds. He serves as a member of Red Hat's Executive Management Team and has the global responsibility for Red Hat's corporate affairs activities.

He has served on various Boards and Commissions, including the Board of Advisors of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and the University of North Carolina Alumni Association. He is currently a Member of the Board of Directors of NCTA (North Carolina Technology Association). He also served on the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for 8 years including one term as Chairman of the Board. He currently served on the Boards of the North Carolina World Trade Center and the NC Citizens for Business and Industry. In 1998, he received the Razor Walker Award in recognition of Distinguished Service to the People of North Carolina.

Torgeir A. Waterhouse is a Senior Advisor to the Norwegian Consumer Council where he is part of the working group Digital Consumer. Until february 2005 he was head of the It-section at the Consumer Council, but moved on to consumer policy side of the organization in order to strengthen the council's ability to address the whole aspect of the digital society, including technical issues.

His main area is the technical side of the possibilities and challenges a consumer faces in a digital society, a recent example is the Norwegian case against iTunes and other music download services which orginated in the Digital Consumer working group.

Currently he is focusing on:
- eGovernment
- Open Standards
- Interoperability
- Net Neutrality
- Consumers digital rights

Will Rodger is Director of Public Policy at the Open Source and Industry Alliance. OSAIA, a unit of the Computer & Communications Industry Association is the first trade association dedicated to the defense of open source developers, users and technologies. OSAIA members include Oracle, Red Hat, MySQL, the Gnome Foundation, devIS and other companies and organization dedicasted to free and open information infrastructure.

Prior to joining CCIA, Rodger was an award-winning journalist with USA Today, Ziff-Davis and American City Business Journals, where he spent more than 10 years as a writer covering the intersection of technology and public policy. His work, both as association executive and reporter, has appeared in a wide range of publications, including USA Today, Wired Magazine, Business 2.0 and Privacy Journal.

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