ISO: OpenDoc Ratified as Standard
In Europe on Monday, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
and the IEC jointly announced they have ratified the OpenDocument Format (ODF)
as a standard meant to enable documents from various desktop applications to
OpenDocument -- also referred to as OpenDoc but not related to an earlier IBM
technology of the same name -- is a competitor to Microsoft's Office Open XML.Both
are based on XML vocabularies, but Microsoft's technology, while royalty free,
is proprietary, critics observe.
Microsoft is also planning on submitting Office Open XML to ISO after it receives
an assured ratification by European standards group, Ecma International.
Microsoft has stirred up quite a lot of controversy over its insistence that
its Office Open XML schemas are as "open" as OpenDoc. The Commonwealth
of Massachusetts executive branch has been caught
in the turmoil over what formats to require for all public documents issued
by that branch.
ODF was originally created by OpenOffice.org. It was developed and finally
adopted as a standard last spring by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement
of Structured Information Standards) in the U.S.
"The newly approved ISO/IEC 26300, Open Document Format for Office Applications
(OpenDocument) v1.0, has been designed to be used as a default file format for
office applications with no increase in file size or loss of data integrity,"
says a joint ISO/IEC statement announcing ratification.
"It will allow users to save and exchange editable office documents such
as text documents (including memos, reports, and books), spreadsheets, databases,
charts and presentations -- regardless of application or platform in which the
files were created," the statement continues.
The ODF file schemas are supported by both Sun Microsystems' StarOffice and
the open source OpenOffice suites, as well as by Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document
Format (PDF). Interestingly, though Microsoft has said it has no intention of
directly supporting ODF, it did
announce last year that Office System 2007 will be able to save documents
as PDF files.
Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.