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OpenDocument Gets ISO Approval

Mark one up for cross-platform standards: the OpenDocument format, an XML-based file format originally derived from work on OpenOffice.org (and Sun’s StarOffice) has been officially approved as an ISO standard.

There are numerous announcements of the approval—this eWeek article, which initially alerted me; this press release at the OpenOffice.org web site; and this blog entry by Andy Updegrove, a participant in the standardization committees.

Of course, Microsoft continues to push its Open XML format as an alternative to ODF. The push for ODF was never really about taking power away from Microsoft, though; it was really about moving documents and records and information into a format that isn’t controlled by a single vendor. With ODF as an ISO/IEC standard (and likely to see much broader adoption now as a result), organizations don’t have to worry about changes in file formats suddenly wreaking havoc with years of accumulated documents. If the application(s) they use with ODF are Microsoft Office, StarOffice, KOffice, or OpenOffice, who cares? It’s not really about the application, it’s about the data.

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