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Christmas comes early for the Open Document Faithful (ODF)

Computer Weekly - Jingle Bells. The UK government has spruced its open document policy up for Christmas.

The Cabinet Office began a public consultation on open document formats this week, three and a half years after it came to power promising they would be one of the first things it delivered.

The consultation might signify the government has renewed its commitment to the policy. It had struggled so much since the coalition's first failed attempt to introduce it in 2011 that it seemed it would never deliver at all.

The Cabinet Office Open Standards Board issued a "challenge" for public comment on a proposal this week that government documents be published in a format that anyone can read.

"Citizens, businesses and government officials need to access government documents," said the challenge.

"[They] must not have costs imposed upon them, or be excluded, by the format in which government documents are provided," it said.

It said people should not be forced to buy special software just so they could read government documents. Government, in other words, must publish documents in formats that people can read without condition.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said in a written press statement on Wednesday said open formats would make government communications more efficient.