NEWS HAS REACHED US that the UK government, an outfit that paid Microsoft extra money to continue using Windows XP after its official end of life, is moving away from Windows and considering putting more of its weight onto the Open Document Format (ODF).
This will be regarded as a victory for the ODF, a format with perhaps broader support than any Microsoft alternative. The fact that the government has posted a number of guides to embracing the ODF should also stoke celebratory fires.
There is no pomp or ceremony from the government, just the kind of blunt information that you might expect from any member of the Civil Service.
"The UK government has selected ODF 1.2 as the standard for editable office documents to be used across government," said the Open Document Format guidance for UK government.
"ODF1.2 was selected as the standard for government because it allows citizens, businesses and other organisations to share and edit documents with government.
"The other way round allows people working in government to share and edit documents with each other. [It] is compatible with a wide range of software, [and] is a reliable long-term solution for storing and accessing information."
Read into that what you will. It looks like the government, or at least the people in charge of paper pushing, want something with longer legs and a broader view of what is acceptable.
The official information, or guidance, which we came to via ArsTechnica, is aimed at informing CTOs and government procurement officials about the ODF standard and how it can be adopted.
The government is in a changeable mood, and a Government Digital Service blog post shows that it is also considering and testing the use of open source technology in the creation of a cloud-based platform-as-a-service that should prevent time wasting and repetition across Westminster.
This was announced earlier in the week with enthusiasm. "Teams all over government can end up duplicating work that's already been done elsewhere. That means spending time on areas that aren't their speciality, such as application monitoring or log aggregation, which stops teams focusing on their areas of expertise," said the post.
"It also leads to a lot of time searching for people with expertise in this area to hire. All of this takes time and money and leaves teams less time to focus on their users' needs.
"One way to address these issues is to provide a platform-as-a-service that services could use for their cloud hosting." µ
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