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Cabinet Office extends Open Document Format talks

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Fri Feb 28 2014, 13:08
The Houses of Parliament

THE UK GOVERNMENT'S consultation on future document standards has elicited 400 responses, including an infamous one from Microsoft and a much shorter one from internet pioneer and Google internet evangelist Vint Cerf.

Microsoft's take on the question of document format standards is that the open choice will be bad for businesses.

In its response it whinged that anyone who sells to the government will be impacted, and moaned that costs and general bad vibes might increase as a result.

"These decisions WILL likely impact you; either as a citizen of the UK, a UK business or as a company doing or wanting to do business with government," it said in a blog post.

"This move has the potential to impact businesses selling to government, who may be forced to comply. It also sets a worrying precedent because government is, in effect, refusing to support another internationally recognised open standard and may do so for other similar popular standards in the future, potentially impacting anyone who wishes to sell to Government."

Microsoft penned a very lengthy response to the government's proposal and called on its cronies and shills to do the same. It hinted that they could use its arguments to guide their responses.

Many comments have appeared on the consultation, around 400 in all, but they do not all follow the Redmond line. Google's, for example, takes the approach of supporting the ODF standard.

"Google supports the use of ODF as an open document format. ODF is an international open standard free to implement by all software developers without restrictions," wrote Vint Cerf, Google's internet evangelist.

"Choosing ODF will allow the UK Government to select from a wide range of implementations to get the best value for UK taxpayers."

The Document Foundation also appeared among the responses with a comment from its spokesperson, Italo Vignoli.

"ODF has enabled different implementations to interact in real world scenarios like no other productivity related technology has done in the past, and as such has been quickly adopted by a diverse set of entities," he wrote.

"ODF is maintained by a truly independent organization as OASIS, which has no hidden ties to one single software vendor... In addition, most software vendors - including Microsoft - are members of OASIS, and as such are involved in the development of the ODF standard (and in many cases support the ODF format). As such, ODF is the best choice between document standards because of its transparent independence." µ


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