Anyone wondering why Microsoft is on the open source warpath need look no further than Norway’s recent decision to mandatory government use of the Open Document Format (ODF) for an explanation.
While not directly related to the patent issues, Norway’s move is an example of yet another country moving toward rejecting a proprietary Microsoft format in favor of the open source alternative.
Norway’s proposal is somewhat more lenient than other proposals in that it doesn’t explicitly disallow OOXML (Microsoft’s competing format) so long as any document available in the MS format is also available in ODF.
Additionally, according to the press release, Norway would like to see the convergence of ODF and OOXML in order to avoid having “two standards covering the same usage.”
Other recent adopters of ODF include Japan, which, on July 1, will become the first Asian nation to declare a formal policy giving priority to technology based on open standards.
In other ODF news, Poland has just approved the National IT Agenda (link in Polish) as a new law. It is the first law in Poland officially recognizing open standards. According to the announcement Poland hopes to achieve technology neutrality of the state by implementing “open and publicly available IT standards.”
All in all not a good time to be peddling overwrought file formats that seemingly no one is interested in.