Linux News Today: Netherlands Fighting to Replace Microsoft's OpenXML with ODF
The Dutch government is now pushing to have the Open Document Format mandatory in all the administration, a move that would make Microsoft very unhappy.
There is a real battle going on in Europe between the ODF and OpenXML. The Open Document Format is supported by the likes of The Document Foundation, the developers behind LibreOffice, and OpenXML is developed by Microsoft. As you can imagine, OpenXML has become default for Microsoft products, so they have a direct interest in having this particular format being used by administrations from all over the world.
Microsoft doesn’t make money just by selling licenses to people. The vast majority of their revenues comes from selling licenses and support in bulk to companies, city administrations, and government. When a government wants to impose the use of another format, in this case, ODF, it also means that the door towards open source alternative to their applications is also opening. And that means lost revenue.
Governments are changing their views
The Dutch are not the first ones who figure that ODF is a better choice since it’s an open format and subject to improvements from everyone, not just a company. Great Britain is also doing the same thing, and Microsoft is not sitting idly there as well.
“The Standardisation Board of the Netherlands wants to make the use of the Open Document Format mandatory for Dutch public administrations. ODF is one of the required ICT standards in the Netherlands, following a policy dating from 2007. However, the document format is ignored by most. This should change, said Nico Westpalm van Hoorn, the chairman of the standards board, speaking on Tuesday at the ODF Plugfest in The Hague,” according to a report on joinup.ec.europa.eu.
The push to make ODF the default format is going to take a lot of time and money, but the same Nico Westpalm van Hoorn thinks that once people will realize the benefits, it will become a no-brainer.