Microsoft’s Windows and Office developments are exciting, however I’m glad to see open source software and open standards to gain traction and support, in particular in the public sector.
Since all people have contact with the public sector, it is important that they have clear support for open standards and don’t lock users into particular systems or products. That would only amount to state sponsored monopoly. A sign of course, of just how much influence a company can have, if it reaches a certain scale, and affect enough people.
A more fractured market, with several important players, is better. That’s why, even though I’m not a Linux user, I’m happy to see increased support for it and increased momentum for open standards.
To meet the “challenge” that the Open Document Format (ODF) poses, Microsoft has moved to push its own formats through ECMA and ISO as standards. I suppose if standardisation is inevitable, better have your own formats be the standard, the thinking must be. We’ll see how things go. The Z/XML (Zip plus XML) construct is certainly a great combination that is sort of a best of both worlds – the small file size of binary files and the parsability and extensibility of XML, combined with a hierarchical compressed container. Quite a nice combination. I don’t know how ODF is structured.
So, the news is that the italian parliament will migrate to Linux and the government of Japan will migrate to ODF. Other high profile efforts to move to Open Source and Open Standards seem to have been derailed last-minute, due in part to heavy lobbyism from Microsoft.
- Italian Paliament Migrates to Linux
- Japan Standardises on Open Document Format
- Open Document Format Alliance