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09.03.08

OpenDocument Format Keeps Winning in Sweden, Brazil

Posted in America, Europe, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

The bad taste of Microsoft’s OOXML must not be doing it any favours. While most of the news at the moment revolves around anti-ISO backlash, not all is about hate, loathing, and revolt. There is actually a lot of positive news for ODF. First of all, the latest addition to the ODF family is Sweden.

Without making a press release or public announcement the Swedish Standards Institute has formally approved ODF 1.0 as a national standard. Only the “SS” prefix in SS-ISO/IEC 26300:2008 give away the status of the document.

There’s more than just a paragraph over at Open Malaysia, where ODF has been spreading like fire in recent weeks.

Time to fly the flag again. This time, Sweden’s. The last time Sweden was dubiously mentioned in this blog was during the OOXML voting saga. Nothing dubious about the car of Swedish make that I drive. Nothing dubious about ODF being approved as a national standard in Sweden! See the report by Peter Krantz, and the SIS page (in English) that describes SS-ISO/IEC 26300:2008.

But wait. That’s not all. Brazil is becoming ever more responsive to the benefits of ODF, in addition to its action against OOXML.

Some very significant bodies of the Brazilian Government and government-owned corporations have just signed an agreement to adopt Open Document Format as their standard format for the exchange of electronic documents.

In previous posts about the latest ISO headache [1, 2, 3], it was made clear that Brazil played a key role. Bob Sutor has finally found the time to comment about this ISO crisis and how this might be resolved.

So here are a few things to remember about what’s coming out of the OOXML fiasco and how ISO/IEC handled it:

* There are a lot of very angry people out there, and these people are willing to work for significant change.
* These people are not going away, and the ISO and IEC can’t just “wait them out.”
* People are in this for the long haul. Some things can be done quickly, but if others take years, then people are committed to work on them however long it takes.
* ISO and IEC have damaged their reputations and caused people to question seriously their relevance to IT interoperability standards in important emerging economies.
* Change at this point in inevitable.

There are interesting developments ahead. Alan Lord argues that “[t]his has really been a sorry affair for ISO. They have lost all credibility…”

A world that is orphaned from a centralised standards body (or lacks trust in it) is bound to approach a fresh new attitude. Might Free software take precedence over open standards? One can always hope. Just watch what happened Kerala, India.

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