South Africa adopts ODF as a national standard
The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) on Friday approved the Open Document Format (ODF) as an official national South African standard. The adoption of ODF by South Africa opens the way for the businesses and government to adopt ODF more widely in their processes. ODF is already an international standard, approved by the International Standards Organisation, or ISO. And last week Brazil adopted ODF as a national standard through its national standards body.
The South African government has already adopted ODF as one of the standards for government communication.
Bob Jolliffe of the department of science and technology (DST) says that while the adoption of ODF as a national standard won’t have major significance for government – “this is a national standard not a government one” – it will make ODF as a standard more visible and accessible to South African cisitzens.
He says that while ODF had already been adopted by government, most users were not aware of the format. “This will assist with general awareness raising around ODF.”
Aslam Raffee, chief information officer at DST, says that the deadlines for ODF adoption in government have already been set and are underway. The initial deadline was March this year for government department to be able to read documents in ODF format. By September it is expected that all departments will be able to read and write in the Open Document Format. Finally, in 2009, ODF will become the default document format for South African government departments.
Raffee says this process is progressing well and at this point “citizens should be able to send documents in Open Document Format to departments”.