In an important development last week, Open Document Format (ODF) version 1.2 was adopted as an OASIS standard after four years of hard work. And it was approved with a strong 'yes' vote and no negative votes.
As IBM's Rob Weir observed in his blog, “When work first started on ODF 1.0, back in December, 2002, the idea of having an open standard for office documents was radical. Every word processor had its own format, and most formats were undocumented or had documentation available only under anti-competitive licenses. ODF challenged that status quo and shook the palace walls of companies whose business models relied on ensuring that your documents were the source of their vendor lock-in. In some places the walls crumbled. Today having an open standard document format is considered to the norm. We’re all open standards supporters now, at least in words.”
As governments and other enterprise customers look at how to avoid lock-in, the hard work put into this comprehensive standard is a reflection of a strong and global commitment to open standards and the enablement of document control.
It is especially noteworthy that ODF v1.2 includes a number of significant enhancements, most notably, as this story in PC world indicates, the newly built spreadsheet support. As Michael Leenars points out in the story, it reflects "a complete clean room implementation of the spreadsheet formula" as a response to the demand of these items that are “critical for business use."
Hats off to the many, many contributors, vendors, users and community organizations that made this effort successful!