Group Pushes for More Gov't ODF Use

A group of over 35 organizations representing various associations, academic institutions, industry and related groups said Friday they were forming a group known as the ODF Alliance. The organization would aim to promote improved access to government documents through use of the OpenDocument Format.

The ODF Alliance asserts that storing documents in an open format would ensure access across a variety of clients, as well as ensuring the information can be accessed well into the future.

"With a broad cross section of support, the ODF Alliance will work to enable governments around the world to have greater control over and direct management of their documents, now and forever," said Ken Wasch, President of the Software & Information Industry Association, an ODF Alliance member.

The group says the storage of documents in proprietary formats is already a problem, and will only get worse. The National Archives and Records Administration recently started a costly project to ensure that documents it stores from federal agencies are stored in an open format and can be read by a wide number of applications.

Some of the members in the Alliance include the American Library Association, Corel, Novell, Opera, OpenOffice.org, Oracle, Red Hat, Sun as well as representatives of the city of Vienna and two Massachusetts interest groups, whose state recently implemented a policy to use ODF.

While the group contains many of Microsoft's most vociferous critics, members of the organization say that it is no way a "partisan, anti-Microsoft group."

"There's no doubt that the momentum of ODF is gaining traction worldwide as more people every day are discovering that it's a better way to preserve and access documents," Wasch added.

ODF has some competition, that being Microsoft's proposed OpenXML standard. That format has received the support of Intel, Apple Computer, Toshiba, BP and the British Library, among others.

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