NATO supports ODF open document format
NATO has included the International Standardization Organization's (ISO) certified Open Document Format (ODF) in its list of mandatory standards to promote interoperability. NATO's standards list includes Rich Text Format (RTF), extensible markup language (XML) and Office XP formats as requirements for the sharing of data.
The list does not include Office Open XML (OOXML), Microsoft's direct competitor to ODF, which is currently undergoing a controversial ISO certification process. Observers say that the Dutch Defence Ministry threw its weight behind ODF. The public sector in the Netherlands expressly supports open standards and open source.
Jan Wildeboer, open source evangelist at Red Hat in Europe, told heise online that NATO support for ODF is an "good sign" and a "further step towards a truly open market, where proprietary solutions and open source software compete on equal terms". Open standards are the only feasible way to provide interoperability and avoid dependence on individual vendors.
Wildeboer welcomed the European Commission's new proposal for a European Interoperability Framework (EIF) to promote the use of open standards that are not subject to patent license fees in the public sector.