LAWMAKERS IN the Netherlands will consider mandating the use of Open Document Format (ODF) in government offices Wednesday, Macworld reports.
The proposed legislation is intended to preserve future information accessibility, increase interoperability and reduce costs through more use of open standards.
Agencies would be able to deviate from the open standards policy by requesting a temporary stay, but would have to show a timeline for implementing compliance.
The proposal would recommend the use of open source software if that's a viable alternative to proprietary products, which might lead to adoption of Openoffice.
Mandating the use of ODF could disqualify Microsoft applications, which use the Vole's OOXML formats instead of ODF. ISO approval of OOXML is still pending.
Microsoft is lobbying against the proposal. "There is an ecosystem around our products that employs 170,000 people. They deliver all sorts of services," Theo Rinsema of Microsoft Netherlands told Webwereld. "With the uncertainty in the program, I wonder if they still have a licence to operate," he complained.
The Opendoc Society says that Microsoft's fears are unjustified, pointing out that Sun has an ODF plug-in for Microsoft Office 12 and another is being developed by Microsoft and Novell. Ruud Vriens of the Opendoc Society said, " The choice in favour of ODF doesn't exclude anybody. I fail to see why authorities cannot use Microsoft Office."
The Vole's tactics attempting to push through ISO fast-track approval of OOXML as a standard apparently haven't been forgotten. Vriens continued: "This plan is not about Microsoft, it's about ensuring the perpetual availability of data without any obstacles. Currently there are issues with OpenXML, they aren't an official ISO-standard yet. And the way they tried to get the specification certified is questionable at least." µ
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