Although OOXML (Open Office XML) was approved by the International Standards Organisation on 1 April , it continues to face impediments to widespread adoption.
Last week, it was revealed that South Africa is appealing ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) approval of the standard. And earlier this week, New York state officially promoted ODF (OpenDocument Format) as a standard file format based on customer demand as it launched a new initiative for technology openness and open standards.
"If all that proprietary vendors are waiting for before they directly support ODF is a 'broad based customer request' then they should be aware that such a demand already exists in New York State," according to the report, which has been posted online.
Even Microsoft has delayed full support of the current OOXML specification, yet will support ODF in Office in a service pack to be released early next year, a move the company announced Wednesday. Office will not natively support the current OOXML specification until its next version code-named Office 14, a release date for which has not been announced.
Jay Lyman, an analyst with The 451 Group, said Microsoft coming out in favor of supporting ODF first shows that Microsoft, "is being steered toward greater support for open source, open standards and interoperability" by customers, "which in this case are primarily governments in the US and around the world."
While OOXML will certainly be adopted and used in the future, ODF has a head start because it was approved by the ISO first and is not plagued by lingering questions or doubts about its merit as an international standard.
"Governments that must move now on their format plans are seeing benefits in ODF, which is approved, backed by a number of large vendors and being adopted around the globe," Lyman said.
The decision to appeal casts doubt on OOXML as a viable alternative to the already approved ODF, said Andrew Updegrove, an open-source advocate and attorney with Gesmer Updegrove in Boston. "No one can now say, until this is resolved, that OOXML 'is a global standard,'" he said.
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