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"A document standards decision may not matter to you today, but as someone who relies on constant access to editable documents, spreadsheets and presentations, it may matter immensely in the near future."
So says a post this week on the Official Google blog.
- A renewed wish for open document standards, by Zaheda Bhorat, Google Open Source Programs Manager, Official Google Blog, Feb 25, 2008.
There is a battle going on over open document formats that can affect the long term accessibility of government information. The battle is being waged by Microsoft, which wants its OOXML format to be adopted as an international standard instead of the truly open ODF format.
This week Google weighed in on the issue and summed up the complex issues quite succinctly, noting that:
Google believes OOXML would be an insufficient and unnecessary standard, designed purely around the needs of Microsoft Office.
…We join the ODF Alliance and many other experts in our belief that OOXML doesn’t meet the criteria required for a globally-accepted standard.
Why? because OOXML attempts to make the functionality of Microsoft Office into the "standard." That would be bad because it elevates the importance of the software over the importance of the document. Of course, the question about whether or not the government should release information in the form of "editable documents" at all is another question, but since it does, the issue of open formats for editiable documents is an important one for government information.