Oasis forms ODF committee

The body that maintains the OpenDocument Format has formed a committee to promote interoperability

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (Oasis) has formed a committee to promote the OpenDocument Format standard.

The ODF Interoperability and Conformance (OIC) committee will comprise representatives from IBM, Oracle, Sun, Google, Novell, Red Hat, the US Department of Defense, Belgian Fedict, the South Africa Department of Science and Technology, and other companies, Oasis announced on Monday.

"As more and more software providers around the world are basing their office productivity products on ODF, the need to support conformance and interoperability has become extremely important," said Rob Weir of IBM, the convener of the Oasis OIC committee. "We invite and encourage participation from all ODF stakeholders — commercial and open-source publishers of ODF applications, testing and certification labs, people responsible for purchasing ODF-related tools, and regulators who specify the use of document standards."

Oasis has been overseeing the development of ODF, which is an open-source, XML-based international standard document format for use in office-productivity software such as word processing and spreadsheet applications.

The OIC committee will analyse the interoperability of the document standard and make recommendations for activities it believes will advance conformance and interoperability. As part of this, it will compile a body of ODF interoperability test documents and host multi-vendor interoperability demonstrations showcasing products that conform. The group will also define ODF profiles designed to increase interoperability among implementations in specific areas, such as in archiving, pervasive devices and browser-based editors.

The International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) requested at the beginning of October that ODF maintenance work be aligned between Oasis and ISO, in a move that Groklaw's Pamela Jones described as "a takeover attempt of ODF". Groklaw alleged that ISO's SC34 committee, which oversees the development of Microsoft's rival OOXML format, was "tilted by Microsoft employees". SC34 would be in charge of ISO's ODF work.

However, Alex Brown, the convener of SC34, told ZDNet UK at the time that Jones's post was "chock-full of misinformation and spin". ISO/IEC standards have to be managed and published by ISO/IEC committees even if they are created elsewhere, Brown said.


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