Malaysia is the latest in a growing list of countries that have expressed support for the OpenDocument Format (ODF). This past week, Malaysia's standards body voted to propose ODF as a country standard. After a public comment period that ends in October, Malaysia's Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is expected to formally endorse ODF by year's end, recommending the format for use by the public sector.
ODF was recently voted by ISO to be an international standard. The ODF Alliance that comprises of corporations such as IBM, Google, etc. was launched on March 3rd 2006 with more than 35 initial members (www.odfalliance.org ). They currently have around 280 members from 40 countries.
Belgium, France, Denmark, Norway, India and Thailand, as well as the Bristol City Council in the UK and the American states of Massachusetts and Minnesota, have moved, or are moving, toward requiring software based on open standards. ODF is specifically identified in a growing number of these places as the universally compatible format to use to ensure access to their own electronic public records years from now!
Where is Microsoft heading with OpenXML and ODF?
Recently, Microsoft announced that Office users will be able to save documents as ODF files. Some critics, however, saw the move as half-hearted, and the product as half-baked -- little more than an attempt to avoid being shut out from government procurement efforts. For example, see this article in eWeek: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1994141,00.asp
" the .1 release of the plug-in translates from ODF word processor documents to Word 2007's OpenXML format and not vice versa."
... "What's more, rather than add ODF as a standard format option in Word—like RTF (Rich Text Format) or WordPerfect—there's a separate menu line in the file menu for ODF. Users can't configure Word to save to ODF by default, which relegates the format to a sort of second-class citizenship."
... "Another limitation is that the plug-in requires Word 2007. And since it converts between ODF and OpenXML, the translator does nothing to help with the countless documents already stored in Microsoft Office binary formats."