You may not be aware, but the UK government is currently in the process of making important selections about which open standards to mandate the use of in future. These decisions WILL likely impact you; either as a citizen of the UK, a UK business or as a company doing or wanting to do business with government.
An important current proposal relates to sharing and collaborating with government documents. The government proposes to mandate Open Document format (ODF) and exclude the most widely supported and used open standard for document formats, Open XML (OOXML). We believe this will cause problems for citizens and businesses who use office suites which don’t support ODF, including many people who do not use a recent version of Microsoft Office or, for example, Pages on iOS and even Google Docs. Microsoft Office has supported ODF since 2007, but adoption of OOXML has been more widespread amongst other products than ODF. This move has the potential to impact businesses selling to government, who may be forced to comply. It also sets a worrying precedent because government is, in effect, refusing to support another internationally recognised open standard and may do so for other similar popular standards in the future, potentially impacting anyone who wishes to sell to Government.
We believe very strongly that the current proposal is likely to increase costs, cause dissatisfaction amongst citizens and businesses, add complexity to the process of dealing with government and negatively impact some suppliers to government. Our Area Vice President, Michel Van der Bel, has written an open letter to Microsoft partners which details our concerns and draft response. You can read it here.
To be very clear, we are not calling for the government to drop its proposal to use ODF. Nor are we calling for it to use only Open XML. What we are saying is that the government include BOTH Open XML and ODF. To do so offers it most flexibility, the widest compatibility and the lowest Total Cost of Ownership for everyone – government, businesses and citizens alike.
Please take a few minutes to read the email and seriously consider responding to this consultation. Whether you agree with our proposal or feel that the government proposal is correct, please do take a few minutes to have your voice heard and respond before the consultation closes on 26th February 2014.
It’s worth remembering that the government is seeking responses from anyone, organisations and citizens, so it is possible for you to respond in a number of capacities. Although our response is very detailed yours can be much shorter and simpler, just covering the key points you want to make. You will need to register on the Open Standards Hub site before you can submit your response.
OOXML is about as Open and transparent as a black hole. It's nothing more than a vendor lock-in scam that has run it's course. The world has moved on. Time to get with the new programme guys.
I always understood OOXML to be a bit of a MS smoke and mirrors gambit, and it's not actually very open. http://blog.gardeviance.org/2013/12/once-more-unto-breach-dear-friends-once.html
MS would not have a problem with ODF unless it meant more people being able to process docs without buying software such as MS Office. There are perfectly good alternatives. Both free and at a cost. OOXML is not an open standard and never will be. It's
all about vendor lock-in.
As a citizen and business owner in the UK I disagree. This move is likely to save me time and money as it means that the government departments I deal with are over time likely to stop sending me files that I can only open and correctly view with Microsoft
based software. As for Open XML its a standard that was not needed in the first place, apart from Microsoft's need to maintain a tie-in based standard. Any standard that requires 7,000+ pages to detail it is pointless.
I wouldn't describe OOXML as an open standard other than that it has been published, and agree with Roger Thomas.
About time the government booted out the awful microsoft monopolist. This is a great move.
OOXML is crap.
It's about time you pulled out of the entire public sector, Microsoft. Nobody wants you; nobody wants their taxes spent on your bloat and vendor lock-in. OOXML isn't an open standard by any stretch of the imagination.
GavinI think you will find lots of public sector organisations want Microsoft technology, particularly Dynamics CRM which provides huge value for money when compared to other vendor 'locked in' applications.
I agree we should be heard. Let's all email in and say how wonderful it is that the UK is embracing openness and freedom by ditching the proprietary and closed OOXML. MS and partners have a choice - get with the program and assist inter-operability or get out; someone else will do the job.Is MS truly fear ODF, that just proves how weak their own offering is.
Thanks for the heads up. I've just left a message in support of this draft. It looks good. I'm fed up of receiving digital forms from my government that are contained within your proprietary file formats. I don't want your 'open' xml anywhere near my government and I told them that a long time ago.
If MS is so for open standards, why not stand behind ODF fully. OOXML is only so other products have issues reading the files and you are basically left working with MS Office. ODF is supported by Office, so there is no issue. I personally don't want to use ms office so I would rather see ODF.
This is your future Microsoft, embrace it..
"You...are trouble. I'm sorry the kid doesn't see it, but I sure as hell do. You are a time bomb, tick-tick-ticking. And I have no intention of being around for the boom."
There are two problems with using OOXML. Firstly, Microsoft itself doesn't use OOXML as it is published; this means the published standard is becoming more anachronistic by the day (revisions notwithstanding). Secondly, the standard has such lovely undefined elements like "useWord2002TableStyleRules" and "wpJustification" which are limited to the decription similar to "emaulate the behaviour of this 10 year old software package".In short it is an oversized (7,000+ pages OOXML vs 1,200 ODF 1.2), in parts lacking detail and accurate documentation, and without a compliant example (closed or open source). OOXML was written to benefit Microsoft and its symbiants that Microsoft has deigned not to compete with (yet). Hardly good reasons for a public body to support it.