Dutch Government to Use ODF as Standard

December 11th, 2007 at 12:00 am


Microsoft office is still the largest and most used Office suite on the planet. From consumers to businesses to government, Microsoft Office document formats are unsurpassed. However, the MS Office document file format is not the most versatile nor is it the cheapest.

Open source now a days are gaining stong foothold in all software industries. With the steep prices giants like Microsoft slap on their products and the crackdown on piracy, open source software is gaining much attention and momentum. From operating systems to office suites, free software has been improving and gaining certification from international organizations like the ISO. Most notableof which is Sun Microsystems’ Open Office suite. As compared to the MS Office suite which costs $400++ dollars, Open Office is completely free. Moreover, Open Office outputs are compatible with Microsoft, Adobe and most of all other Office Suites offline and online.

The Open Document Format or ODF is used by Open Office and it is more flexible and durable in terms of portability and preservation of the information in the file.

The Dutch Government will be discussing a legislation proposal this Wednesday that will mandate all sectors of the Dutch government to use ODF. "The proposal is part of a wider plan to increase the sustainability of information and innovation, while lowering costs through the reuse of data," according to Macworld News . Furthermore, the proposal recommends the use of Open Source software.

Microsoft on the other hand has violently reacted to this proposal and isnot relentlessly lobbying their cause. "The software vendor contests that the current definition is too narrow, specifically mandating ODF rather than open source standards in general," according to the Macworld article. This plan would disqualify Microsoft and hinder them to go into any deals with the Dutch government. Furthermore, with the government using ODF, the private sector will soon follow and that would be a big blow on Microsoft’s cash cow. “I wonder if you would be allowed to use standards like PDF, Wifi, GSM, XML, Bluetooth and mp3 within the government or if you would be bound to a comply or explain as well,” Theo Rinsema, general manager of Microsoft Netherlands, said to Webwereld, an IDG affiliate.

Microsoft has been monopolizing the software industry ever since the first PC’s rolled out with MS DOS. Over the last few years, this monopoly began to deteriorate. AS a sign of the times, Microsoft has also been developing their own open source file standard, the OpenXML, which is bogged down at the ISO for standardization certification.



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