ODF is gaining some excellent momentum. With South Africa last month, a large number of of software vendors, Malaysia, Japan, Russia, Holland, possibly even Belgium and Germany embracing ODF, it has become clear that ODF will never go away. Au contraire — it spreads rapidly, maybe owing to the network effect.
To those who have the most to lose from ODF adoption, namely Microsoft, this is not encouraging news, but for the rest of us it’s a reason to be pleased. It improves digital preservation, widens choice, lowers prices, and leads to products that are better (the effect of a truly competitive market).
The most recent news comes from the blog Open Malaysia. Interestingly enough, it mentions something which happened under the radar of the mainstream media. Korea is among those who have adopted ODF and made it a national standard.
The proposal for ODF to be accepted as a Malaysian Standard by SIRIM, Department of Standards Malaysia and ultimately the Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation is dormant for more than a year now. Four months after the Malaysian proposal went to sleep, Italy made ODF a National Standard. Eight months after that, Korea has followed suit. With this Korean news, perhaps the Malaysian proposal will be awakened.
As we pointed out a couple of days ago, there is hope for similar moves in the United States where document formats have become part of the presidential debate. eWeek concludes, a tad inaccurately one might suppose, that Andy Updegrove said ODF is clearly a winner in Obama’s mind.
OpenDocument Format supporters are welcoming presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama’s promise to put government data online in universally accessible formats should he be elected.
The title states “Obama Voices Support for ODF”, but it seems safe to say that ISO's mishandling of OOXML amid Microsoft's manipulation can have OOXML qualify as an “open document standard” (no, it’s still proprietary and patent-encumbered).
Regardless of what happens in the States (it usually lags behind as far as Free software is concerned), there is reason to extrapolate and see this as a milestone for Free software and standards on a broader scale.
When U.S. presidential candidates start promoting their open-source and open-document platforms, you know that the open-source movement has finally arrived.
Ironically, this was said by Matt Asay, who happens to have permitted Microsoft to become part of the "Open Source" movement. It’s very clear what Microsoft strives to achieve here and why [1, 2, 3]. █