The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has approved the open source Open Document Format (ODF) as an international data format standard.
The ODF Alliance, a cross-section of industry associations, academic institutions and suppliers, had been lobbying for the decision.
The ODF Alliance has more than 150 members worldwide and was created to resolve the potential problem of proprietary software limiting the ability of governments to access, retrieve and use records and documents in the future.
The ODF is designed to make it easier for organisations to access and retrieve electronic government and business documents. It is seen as a possible way to prevent users from being locked into suppliers’ proprietary file formats.
“Approval of the ODF by the ISO marks an important milestone in the effort to help governments solve the very real problem of finding a better way to preserve, access and control their documents now and in the future,” said Marino Marcich, executive director of the ODF Alliance.
The ODF emerged from work by the Openoffice.org project, which has developed an open source suite of office applications to compete with the likes of Microsoft’s Office and IBM’s Notes.