Declaring independence from proprietary systems

I like what they’re doing at the Journal Register company this weekend: Producing their online and print editions using only free tools. They dubbed it internally the Ben Franklin project, chronicling the project through, what else, a blog.

Here’s a video of one editor as the print edition comes off the (still-proprietary) press:

It’s still very much an experiment. For instance, there’s the “Ben Franklin” edition of the Daily Saratogian’s web site, made in WordPress, and the “regular” edition, presumably built with an expensive, proprietary system. (Personally, I like the temporary version better – it’s much more readable without the usual newspaper-online blast of dozens of headlines on the home page.)

I gather that this will not immediately become business-as-usual at Journal Register, but I hope it informs some longer-term changes. Even better, I hope it strikes fear into the hearts of the sales staffs of the multi-million dollar publishing software suites that have been soaking a gullible less-than-opensource-savvy industry for years.

(Edited because “gullible” was a tad harsh.)

Tim Windsor