OpenDocument alliance 'optimistic' about ISO certification

The popular open file format is likely to become an international standard, according to the group championing it

The recently formed OpenDocument Format Alliance has expressed its confidence that the file format will be approved by International Organisation for Standardization next month.

The Alliance, which was launched last month to promote the use of the OpenDocument standard in governments, said on Tuesday that it has been lobbying various organisations to ensure that the standard achieves ISO certification.

"The ODF Alliance is now actively supporting adoption of the Open Document Format as a worldwide standard of the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)," the group said in a statement. "The ODF Alliance and its members have contacted various national voting entities recommending approval and are optimistic of a positive outcome."

Andy Updegrove, a lawyer at Gesmer Updegrove LLP, has been closely following developments around the standard in his blog. He commented on Wednesday that his sources are also optimistic that ISO approval will be granted.

"From what I understand from other sources, a favourable vote, perhaps involving the participation of an unusually high percentage of eligible members, is not in doubt," he wrote.

ISO certification is thought to be key to the wider adoption of the standard by governments.

The Alliance also announced on Tuesday that it has more than tripled in size since its launch last month. It now has a total of 138 members, including government bodies such as the City of Bloomington in Indiana, the National Archives of Australia and Bristol City Council.

The OpenDocument format is supported by a number of productivity applications including the open source productivity suite OpenOffice 2.0, Sun's StarOffice 8 and IBM's Workplace software. Microsoft has declined support for the standard and is instead hoping to achieve ISO standardisation for its Office Open XML file formats.

Last month, Microsoft joined a group involved in the ISO standardisation process for OpenDocument, but claimed its presence in the group would have "no impact" on the voting.