Group launched to promote OpenDocument in government

But only one public sector organisation is a member of the new group
Written by Ingrid Marson, Contributor

A number of companies and industry associations have joined forces to promote the use of the OpenDocument standard in the public sector.

The OpenDocument Format Alliance, which was launched on Friday, aims to promote OpenDocument and open standards in general.

"The ODF Alliance will work to enable governments around the world to have greater control over and direct management of their documents, now and forever," said Ken Wasch, the president of the Software & Information Industry Association, which is a member of the alliance.

The founding members of the alliance include companies such as IBM, Sun and Novell; and organisations such as the UN's International Open Source Network and the American Library Association.

But, Andy Updegrove, a lawyer at Gesmer Updegrove LLP, pointed out that the alliance includes only one public sector member at present.

"The new group is focused on government adoption of ODF — notwithstanding the fact that there is only one government member — the Information and Communications Technology [department] for the City of Vienna — so far," he wrote, in his standards blog.

Despite the current lack of government support, Updegrove seemed positive about the impact the alliance could have on public sector organisations that are considering a move to OpenDocument.

"The proposed activities of the ODF Alliance will provide useful support that those who wish to implement ODF at the municipal, state and government level can draw upon," he said.

Updegrove claimed that such support is even more important, after the resignation of Massachusetts' former chief information officer to avoid mudslinging over the state's move to OpenDocument.

"Periodic shows of force and determination are vital to maintaining ODF momentum in general, and to reassure [US] State CIOs in particular that ODF is a safe option, in the wake of the resignation of Massachusetts State CIO Peter Quinn late last year," said Updegrove.

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