May 03, 2006
The OASIS OpenDocument format (ODF), which has made major inroads into worldwide government and education vertical markets in the last 12 months, was ratified May 2 as international file format standard ISO/IEC 26300 by two respected standards groups.
Thirty-one members of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) ratified the open source file-format standard with no opposing votes and a few abstentions.
The six-month voting window for ISO/IEC adoption of the ODF standard closed on May 1, and at midnight (Geneva time) May 2 it was announced that the format had been approved by the ISO. There are several other procedural steps -- mostly formalities, as listed in the blog of Patrick Durusau, chairman of the ISO subcommittee and project editor for the ODF submission -- that ISO/IEC must complete before the official text of the standard will be finalized, ISO said.
With the ODF international standard now assured, office software that implements the standard -- such as OpenOffice.org, KOffice, and StarOffice -- will become more attractive to those European and other government purchasers for whom global adoption by ISO/IEC is either desirable, or required.
In the U.S., the state of Massachusetts became the first government entity to endorse the ODF standard back in September 2005, mandating that all state offices be able to produce ODF documents by the start of business on Jan. 1, 2007.
Since then, a number of open standards groups and government entities around the world have indicated their support for using the ODF to replace all proprietary office documents.
The ODF Alliance, a coalition of about 150 international organizations whose goal is to enable governments to have direct management and greater control over their documents, applauded the news.
"Approval of the OpenDocument Format by ISO marks an important milestone in the effort to help governments solve the very real problem of finding a better way to preserve, access and control their documents now and in the future," said Marino Marcich, Executive Director of the ODF Alliance, in a statement.
"There's no doubt that this broad vote of support will serve as a springboard for adoption and use of ODF around the world. At the same time, it also represents a milestone for the ODF Alliance, which in just weeks has seen a groundswell of support and continues to grow every day," Marcich added.