infoTECH Feature

December 08, 2008

Germany Adopts ODF

The Federal Government of Germany announced its decision to implement use of the Open Document Format (ODF) by federal agencies starting in 2010. This news was seen as a welcomed move by the ODF Alliance.
As many as 16 national and eight provincial governments have formally recommended or required the use of ODF by government agencies and with the public.
“2008 will end on a high note, with Germany joining the growing ranks of governments that have adopted ODF,” said ODF Alliance Managing Director, Marino Marcich.
The OpenDocument Format Alliance is an organization of governments, academic institutions, non-government organizations and industry dedicated to educating policy makers, IT administrators and the public on the benefits and opportunities of ODF.
This recent move by Germany has been looked upon as an encouraging sign. By supporting open IT standards at the government level, and with several dozen powerful word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software products now supporting ODF, many of them available free of charge, the federal government has demonstrated that it has a clear vision for promoting software choice, reducing costs, and ensuring access to public information.
ODF has made slow but steady headway, challenging the ubiquity of proprietary formats. According to this article, Japan required that all its ministries contract with software vendors whose applications are built around open standards. Others who have made commitments in principle to adopting ODF are Brazil, Poland, Malaysia, Italy, Korea, Norway, France, The Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the Delhi State Government in India.
To raise awareness, a recent workshop on ODF was held in October 2008 hosted by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs in collaboration with the ODF Alliance. This brought together officials from governments around the world that have already made the move to ODF or are actively considering how best to utilize an open format preserve access to documents and increase choice of software for governments and citizens and save money in the process.
The ODF Alliance continues its effort to enlighten policy-makers with the information and tools they need to make recommendations and change policy, but the challenge is that while widespread adoption is inevitable, it will take time.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Fixed Service Strategies for Mobile Network Operators, brought to you by Comverse (News - Alert).

Anita B. is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anita's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

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