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29 May 2013, 11:05

Australia government goes with ODF document standard

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Australian coat of arms The Australian government, which had previously decided to mandate the Microsoft-driven Office Open XML format within its departments, has now proposed requiring instead that any office suite used by the government should, at a minimum, support Open Document Format 1.1. The proposal, presented in a blog post by the Australian Government CTO (AGCTO), comes as the result of the initial phase of an annual review to refine policies and clarify intent.

ODF 1.1 was selected to better conform with "a guiding principle" of the policy, that it be based on common standards and, where practical, these would be open standards. Availability of support for ODF in office suites and Microsoft's own ODF support have meant that ODF is more practically usable. The evaluation also considered that ODF is continually updated and that ODF 1.2 includes a spreadsheet function specification that addresses past problems with spreadsheet interoperability.

The AGCTO's office says that requiring support for ODF will not preclude use of other formats and does not mandate use of ODF 1.1. But it will establish ODF 1.1 as the baseline for compatibility within the Australian government. According to Australian tech news site Delimiter, in 2011, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) decided to standardise on Office Open XML, but was pushed to reconsider that choice after receiving complaints. The new proposal has now been published and the AGIMO and AGCTO are seeking public feedback before progressing further.



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