Organizations and individuals that store their data in ODF XML avoid being locked in to a single software vendor, leaving them free to switch software if their current vendor goes out- of- business, raises its prices, changes its software, or changes alters its licensing terms.
The OASIS OpenDocument Format for Office Applications V1.0 (known simply as ODF), was submitted for fast track approval by the ISO/IEC international standards organizations in 4Q/2005. The submission was balloted this week (May 1, 2006) as an International Standard in ISO/IEC's Joint Technical Committee on Information Technology. See http://www.odfalliance.org/press/AllianceRelease3May06.pdf . The new international standard has been given the designation, ISO/IEC 26300 (ODF V1.0). ISO/IEC 26300 was approved by ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology, subcommittee SC 34, Document description and processing languages.
The standard will continue to be maintained and advanced by the OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee and the recently formed OASIS ODF Adoption Committee, both of which remain open to participation from users, suppliers, government agencies, and individuals.
So who all supports ODF (http://www-142.ibm.com/software/workplace/products/product5.nsf/wdocs/wmcodf ) ? Check out these presentations from thought leaders in several countries: http://open.giti.nectec.or.th/index.pl?id=2415&isa=Category&op=show .
I like this Editor's Note: Linux Pipeline Newsletter www.LinuxPipeline.com Wednesday, May 10, 2006
"Editor's Note: So What?
Is the state of Massachusetts biased against proprietary software makers? I don't know -- although under the circumstances, it sounds like a good idea to me.
To understand why, you'll first have to parse this bit of sophistry, which comes courtesy of Melanie Wyne, the executive director of the Institute for Software Choice:
"The RFP reveals that the choice presented by the previous ITD [Massachusetts Division of Technology] bureaucrats. i.e., ODF-compliant desktops for state agencies are the only viable options for citizens to have access to their data in the future, was purposely exclusionary, being primarily designed to distort the competitive landscape.
"In other words, it had little to do with access to documents, and everything to do with excluding proprietary software providers.
" Wyne clearly (or, perhaps, not so clearly- that first sentence is a doozie) does not like the fact that Massachusetts went shopping for a plug-in capable of converting Office documents to the open-source ODF format. Nor is she pleased that the state issued its RFP for such a plugin just two days after ISO approved ODF as a bona fide open standard. ..."
Here are 10 questions to think about ODF from Bob Sutor: http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/BobSutor?entry=ten_questions_to_think_about
A discussion on possibilities in Europe: http://comment.zdnet.co.uk/0,39020505,39267678,00.htm
And in this article: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1957104,00.asp there are signs of Microsoft's desire to be more active in standardization efforts! But:
Just because Microsoft is beating the standards drum doesn't mean that it is planning to ramp up its standards involvement, however, Robertson cautioned.
"You can achieve interoperability in a number of ways," said Robertson. Among them: joint collaboration agreements, technology licensing and interoperability pacts. "Standards are not always appropriate," Robertson said. And in the cases in which they are, "you should standardize only what is necessary."
Some questions to ask Microsoft:
- Will there still be proprietary extensions within the Microsoft XML implementation that are known only to Microsoft and keep the implementation from being fully open and will the format include macros that call on proprietary application?
- Are there intellectual property constraints which would preclude or make difficult the adoption of this technology as a truly open standard?
- Are there licensing terms which would preclude implementation by the open source community?
- Why will it be 18 months before developers will be able to get the full specification from ECMA and if that is due to ECMA's process why doesn't Microsoft release it to the public before hand?
- Finally, what will happen "post" standard process? Who will be in charge of the evolution of the standard? One proprietary vendor or the industry?
Well, lets watch and see...