Feeds

Belgium adopts open office doc format

Edging away from Microsoft

Boost IT visibility and business value

Belgium has become the first country to mandate the use of the OpenDocument format (ODF) for office files, albeit tentatively.

From September next year software in all Belgian government departments must be able to read ODF files. If the experiment is successful, ODF will become the standard interchange format - although departments will still be able to exchange office files in proprietary formats internally.

Early last month the ISO voted unanimously to approve the OpenDocument format - an XML specification that originated from Sun's OpenOffice project, and which for a time was known as Open Office XML.

Although Microsoft hasn't changed its Office file formats since 1997, it's fighting OpenDocument with its own rival XML interoperability initiative, on the grounds that the new ISO format "stifles innovation". Microsoft is also pushing its own XML format through the ISO standardization tracks.

It's the most significant federal mandate yet, following the trail blazed by the US state of Massachusetts. An immediate problem facing adopters is that the most up to date version of Microsoft Office, Office 2003, doesn't natively support ODF.

Massachusetts state IT department published a Request For Information for an Office plug-in last month. In response to the RFI, Microsoft says it's supplying technical documentation and granting IP rights to any developers who want to work on such a plug-in.

It's also given Massachusetts state education software licenses worth $30m - or $800 for each college student and $2,400 for each student in further education. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?