Open Document Format for Ministry of Justice

There has been a lot of developments in the ODF-front during this week.

First the Finnish Ministry of Justice decided that they will be moving 8500 users from Lotus Smartsuite to Open Office. The decision was not officially announced. Instead, the information was published just in Ministry’s decision log. This is kind of odd because the move is very important step towards open standards and it was very carefully prepared (including extensive testing.) Perhaps they were trying to avoid the experiences from Massachusetts but now the other public sector players may get the information about the benefits of the move. Anyhow, submitting legal briefs in ODF is of course a nice option to have.

In other news, Novell announced that it will be supporting Microsoft’s Open XML in SuSE’s version of the Open Office:

Novell today announced that the Novell® edition of the office productivity suite will now support the Office Open XML format, increasing interoperability between and the next generation of Microsoft Office. Novell is cooperating with Microsoft and others on a project to create bi-directional open source translators for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations between and Microsoft Office, with the word processing translator to be available first, by the end of January 2007. The translators will be made available as plug-ins to Novell’s product. Novell will release the code to integrate the Open XML format into its product as open source and submit it for inclusion in the project.

The “community” was not very amazed about the decision.

Open XML was also accepted as standard at European based standards body Ecma International:

Ecma International on Thursday approved Microsoft’s Open XML, the default document format in Office 2007, despite objections from IBM. In approving the specification, Ecma’s General Assembly meeting in Geneva also agreed to submit the standard for adoption by the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO. Approval by the latter organization would greatly increase the new standard’s use by government and international organizations.

ISO-approval will take at least 9 months so ODF has still a narrow advantage.

Finally, we Mac users are not going to be left without Open XML – what a relief (doh).