Momentum behind ODF in government grows
As South Africa prepares to host the second annual ODF conference next week, momentum behind the Open Document Format appears to be growing stronger.
To date at least 15 national governments, including countries such as South Africa, Brazil, and Italy, have adopted ODF as a government standard according to the ODF Alliance. And earlier this week Sweden national standards body approved ODF as a national standard in that country.
With the battle between open source advocates and proprietary vendors over the Office Open XML (OOXML) now many months in the past the trend appears to be for many countries to pursue ODF at either a provincial or national standard. This despite the ISO international standards body and the IEC rejecting oppositions to the OOXML ratification process, effectively opening the way for OOXML to be adopted as an ISO standard.
OOXML is the XML document format specification backed by Microsoft. Opponents of OOXML, typically supporters of ODF, point to, among other things, the fact that OOXML duplicates the XML-based ODF format which is already accredited by the ISO.
Over the past year, since the height of the ODF/OOXML battle, there as been a noticeable increase in the number of countries pursuing ODF standardisation.
Those national governments that have already adopted ODF formally as a government standard include:
– Belgium, in which government agencies are required to be able to access documents in ODF format;
– Brazil, where agencies are required to incorporate formats including ODF into new information systems;
– Croatia, in which agencies are required to provide documents on public websites in formats including ODF, PDF and HTML;
– Denmark, where it is required of agencies to be able to accept documents in ODF and OOXML formats;
– France, where agencies are required to be able to accept documents in ODF format and are encouraged to install OpenOffice.org;
– Malaysia, which already has a roadmap for implementing ODF in government;
– Russia, which has a government-wide plan for supporting ODF in its e-government framework;
– South Africa, which has adopted ODF as part of the minimum interoperability standards;
– Switzerland, where agencies are required to use one of ODF, PDF or OOXML for exchanging documents with citizens or other agencies; and
– Uruguay, which officially recommends ODF for government documents.