The OpenDocument Fellowship has released a white paper titled “OASIS/ISO OpenDocument Format: Using open standards to promote competition and close the Digital Divide”, available in OpenDocument (ODT) and PDF formats, from http://opendocumentfellowship.org/government/proposal.
This white paper explains why governments should support OpenDocument. It makes two proposals:
* Government agencies should publish public documents in ODF
* Government agencies should accept documents stored in ODF
The white paper quotes relevant international agreements and policies and explains the situation clearly in a way that will be accessible to most government officials.
Proprietary formats, those controlled by a single vendor, are generally designed to be used by one product and hence mean that users of the formats are tied or ‘locked-in’ to the one vendor. Open international standard formats are publicly available and implementable and are agreed upon by many interests. They can be used by many products and are designed to be vendor-neutral.
The OpenDocument format (ISO 26300) is the only open international standard intended or suitable for office documents.
This paper looks at the need for such a standard, the history behind the creation of ISO 26300 and the support for it by both applications and governments worldwide. This paper focuses on how OpenDocument meets government policies to increase access to digital information and to close the digital divide. It then suggests policies for the support of ISO 26300 in government agencies, in accordance with the government mandate to support international standards.