Open Document Format Gets ISO Approval

The Open Document Format has been approved as an international standard by the International Standards Organization, a move that supporters say will serve as a springboard for the adoption and use of ODF around the world.

The ODF allows the retrieval of information and the exchange of documents without regard to the application or platform in which the document was created. The format is supported by Corel, IBM, Novell, Opera Software, Oracle, Red Hat and Sun Microsystems.

To read the ODF Alliance’s press release (PDF) about the format’s approval by the ISO, click here.

Microsoft, which is pushing its OpenXML document format as an alternative to ODF, plans to seek ISO approval for OpenXML as well.

Jason Matusow, director of standards affairs for Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to supporting interoperability between OpenXML and ODF documents, saying the “richness of competitive choices in the market is good for our customers and for the industry as a whole.”

The ODF developed out of work done at the open-source project. That work was later submitted to, and further developed at, OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), where it was accepted as an official OASIS standard in May 2005.

The European Commission’s IDA (Interchange of Data between Administrations) Management Committee also publicly encouraged OASIS to submit the OASIS ODF standard to the ISO once OASIS had completed its work on the standard.

The six-month approval ballot for the ODF’s adoption as a standard by the ISO and the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) ended on May 1 in a vote to approve.

Also, in March, a coalition of organizations from across the world got together to launch the ODF Alliance, whose goal is to enable governments to have direct management and greater control over their documents.

The alliance started off with just 36 members, but has now grown to more than 150 members worldwide.

To read more about how the ODF Alliance is gaining steam, click here.

“The ODF Alliance believes that approval of ODF by the ISO standards body as an international standard will … have a particularly strong impact in Europe where ISO standards enjoy official recognition under European Union Directives,” Marino Marcich, the recently appointed executive director of the ODF Alliance, said in a statement on May 3.

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