Sunday, May 21, 2006

New Open Document Format approved

It didn't get much press in the mainstream media, but the approval of the Open Document Format, ODF, by both the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on May 2 can be one of the very big news of the year. The ODF files can move smoothly from one program to any other without being locked in any brand or type and they can certainly challenge Microsoft "ownership" of a market that, according to Microsoft's Annual Report, last year gave $11 billion to the folks of Redmond; but it seems that the battle will not be necessarily a clean one. Last year the CIO of Massachusetts, Peter Quinn, made it state policy that by the beginning of 2007 all state files would be saved in open-standard formats such as HTML, PDF and ODF and soon afterwards the Boston Globe run a front-page story alleging that Mr Quinn misused state funds for travel. It was found that the allegations were untrue, but the newspapers put the news about the exoneration buried in the middle of the paper, not in the front page as it should (you can find the stories in the Boston Globe, but you need to register to do so).
Will Microsoft money be able to stop the expansion of open standards?
Will I be able to stop eating all the chocolates I brought from Geneva?

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