CA bill requires open XML format

With new Open Office support for Microsoft's XML, such moves may leave a place for Microsoft in state offices.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

The movement towards open document formats in government is gaining steam, as a bill was introduced in the California legislature to require state government to use XML formats, BetaNews reports.

The bill would indeed stipulate that state workers must create documents using the XML-based format, not just archive them. So Microsoft Office 2003 and older versions would have to be replaced on or before January 1, 2008; and conceivably, existing documents might need to be translated on or before that time - a process which for other states generally takes far longer than twelve months.

The bill says the format must be interoperable, fully published, royalty-free, sponsored by an open industry organization, and implemented by multiple vendors.

A new version of Novell's WordPerfect that supports Microsoft's Open Office XML would mean that Microsoft's standard would qualify, as well as Open Office, based on the ODF format.

Now Microsoft says, the format war is over, with the new MS Office and Open Office both supporting OOXML and ODF.

"I think at this point we can really move onto more productive and collaborative discussion and admit that we are no longer in any sort of "file format war." If we ever were really in a war, it's now over, and both sides are winners," said program manager Brian Jones.
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