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Norway endorses ODF

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Norway is considering whether to make the use of the Open Document Format (ODF) compulsory in its government agencies.

The Ministry of Government Administration and Reform will make a final decision later in the year after recommendations from the Norwegian Standards Association committee.

Several European countries are also evaluating open file formats as an alternative to Microsoft Office.

The French Prime Minister recommended earlier this year that all government documents should be made available in ODF and have asked other European nations to do the same.

The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation already makes its online publications and other written communication available in ODF. According to the Rambøll-report, Danish state government could save 550 million kroner ($90m) by migrating to OpenOffice.org and ODF.

Similar moves are afoot in the US: the state of Massachusetts has begun using OpenDocument as the default document format, but it will be sticking with MS Office in the near term; Oregon is mooting the use of open source format documents for state agencies; and California is contemplating making ODF its required standard.

Microsoft, of course, is promoting the Open XML format, which may be approved by standards bodies such as the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

However, if ODF is accepted as the default file format in Norway and orther countries, it could mean fewer government agencies will continue to use MS Office. ®

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