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Is ODF Finally Coming to UK Government?

ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - Back in December, I lamented the almost complete disappearance of ODF in discussions around office formats. I also pointed to a consultation being run by the UK government on the subject - or, rather "document format challenges" as it preferred to call it. Even though that only closed a couple of weeks ago, Francis Maude has just made a speech in which he discusses what's happening there:

Today I can announce that we’ve set out the document formats that we propose should be adopted across government - and we’re asking you to tell us what you think about them.

It’s not about banning any one product or imposing an arbitrary list of standards. Our plan, as you would expect, is about going back to the user needs, setting down our preferences and making sure we can choose the software that meets our requirements best.

Technical standards for document formats may not set the pulse racing - it may not sound like the first shot in a revolution. But be in no doubt: the adoption of open standards in government threatens the power of lock-in to propriety vendors yet it will give departments the power to choose what is right for them and the citizens who use their services.