The Belgium government has decided to adopt the open source Open Document Format (ODF) across its operations.
The decision means that every federal government service must be able to read ODF files by September 2007. ODF is set to become the standard exchange format a year later if analysis shows no adverse impact from the move.
ODF was approved as an international data format standard by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) last month, in a significant boost for the open source format.
Governments have become increasingly interested in ODF because of fears that they could become “locked in” by proprietary software that could limit the ability to access, retrieve and use official records and documents in the future.
In the US, the Massachusetts state government is also considering a switch to ODF, with migration envisaged by January 2007.