South African government adopts ODF

The country's government has said it will use the Open Document Format standard in an effort to improve interoperability

The South African government said on Tuesday that it is to adopt Open Document Format as its preferred standard for software interoperability.

Open Document Format (ODF) is a file format used for office documents such as as word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. It is an international standard recognised by the ISO, and a rival to Microsoft's Office Open XML (OOXML) specification.

In a report focused on interoperability, minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi wrote that ODF adoption would "ensure the enhancement of interoperability across government. To this end, this updated [report] contains an explicit definition of open standards as well as the inclusion of the ISO Open Document Format".

According to the South African government, some of the criteria for a standard to be considered open are that it should be maintained by a non-commercial organisation, that it must be possible for anyone to copy, distribute and use free of charge, and that the intellectual rights required to implement the standard are irrevocably available without any royalties attached.

OOXML failed to achieve ISO certification in September.