back to article UK government officially adopts Open Document Format

The United Kingdom government has formally adopted the open document format (ODF) as the standard format for government documents. The announcement says PDF/A or HTML are now the standard “for viewing government” while ODF is now expected “for sharing or collaborating on government documents.” There's some pointed language in …

  1. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

    Cant see why you cant use HTML for collaboration and ditch paper shaped shit altogether.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

      Have you seen the horror Word produces when you save as HTML?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

        Trevor Pott - dont use Word then FFS! It will deliberately make cock-ups of ODF so you should just ditch it anyway.

      2. Primus Secundus Tertius

        Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

        @Trevor Pott

        Word used to produce horrendous text markup language (HTML). Word 2010 can produce "filtered" html which avoids most of the MS iniquities. Still far from clean, though!

        Nevertheless, I wish them luck trying to exchange odf documents produced variously by MS Word, Libre Office Word, Open Office Word, and Abiword. Spreadsheets might be fun, Access databases will be inaccessible, and nobody pays attention to presentations.

        The only compatible format is paper.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

          Nevertheless, I wish them luck trying to exchange odf documents produced variously by MS Word, Libre Office Word, Open Office Word, and Abiword. Spreadsheets might be fun, Access databases will be inaccessible, and nobody pays attention to presentations.

          Any MS format prior to that MSOOXML abomination open just fine in both OpenOffice and LibreOffice, and even MS itself can't really get MSOOXML to work because it was never written to be *used*, only to spoil adoption of the Open Document Format (and I am VERY glad that that effort has now failed, making the UK compliant with the EU standard).

          As for MS, try opening an early generation MS document. You can actually manage that with OOo, but NOT, ironically, with MS Office. A government has a need for long term data retention - with ODF this is stable, whereas it was actually an active strategy of MS to cause incompatibilities because it was the only way people would exchange a reasonably working application for a new one (that. and the hope that some things actually finally worked, although that technique was more used with Windows).

          With paper, try duplication, maintenance, long term storage.. Not a chance.

        2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: Access databases will be inaccessible

          Access databases will be inaccessible

          Yes! Win/win!

          :)

        3. phil dude
          Linux

          Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

          Why would you create an ODF from M$ word? It can import M$ word normally...

          Access databases are a M$ proprietary format, I think they can be export to SQL?

          Spreadsheets can be imported, though Excel has some quirks that have not been replicated...

          "The only compatible format is paper."

          <sarcasm>Yeah, that's what my bank thinks when it sends statements</sarcasm>

          P.

          1. F0rdPrefect

            Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

            "Access databases are a M$ proprietary format, I think they can be export to SQL?"

            But can SQL draw the user interface?

            And most Access databases that I see are using MS SQL as a back end

            "Spreadsheets can be imported, though Excel has some quirks that have not been replicated..."

            Like VBA programming?

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

          'The only compatible format is paper.'

          You've clearly never seen my handwriting.

      3. Stevie Silver badge

        Have you seen the horror Word produces when you save as HTML?

        You do know there's a switch to turn off all the inline styles, right?

        And that they are there because of an insane requirement that not only should the generated HTML "look like" the original document, but that any HTML made from a word document by default be able to be reconverted back into a word document with minimal loss of styling from the original Word document?

        It's right there in the help, or was last time I looked (MSO 2003). Turn off the switch and you'll get about what you'd expect plus a couple of meta tags.

    2. hplasm
      Coat

      Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

      "...ditch paper shaped shit altogether."

      But it's self-wiping!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: paper shaped

      Huh? What exactly is paper shaped about a document format? Paper can be cut into any shape

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

      Microsoft are by far the largest user of ODF in their products in the application market! The first thing that Office does when you start it is ask if you want to use ODF. Versus lots of competing products that can emulate (generally poorly) the Microsoft Office file formats, but have near zero or outdated support for ODF. This is win / win for Microsoft.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

        "The first thing that Office does when you start it is ask if you want to use ODF."

        That's the canned MS statement of use for office.

        However the reality is that they show you a box to choose the options, the text they place next to ODF is along the lines of "if you use this then you will be missing out on a ton of features that you paid money for are you really really sure you want to spoil your experience and waste your money" and then most people click for the MS format.

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

          However the reality is that they show you a box to choose the options, the text they place next to ODF is along the lines of "if you use this then you will be missing out on a ton of features that you paid money for are you really really sure you want to spoil your experience and waste your money...

          And you will lose functionality. The last one that caught me was a document that I wanted to be in three columns per page *except* page one which needed to be in two columns. MSWord: Easy. OOWriter: Not possible.

          You might not care about that loss of functionality of course, but it is real, just as real as the cross version problems OO warns about under certain circumstances when you use heavy-on-the-functions OOCalc.

          Not warning about this sort of stuff would be the Evil Thing To Do (in my opinion, as an educated user of the advanced functions of both OO and MSO).

          Bravo HM Govt. for making the jump. Shame the argument they use is bankrupt (if you want the message to get out you use HTML or PDF because they are universally portable - or damn near so). Let's hope this is more than just the opening move in a license negotiation.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

            And you will lose functionality. The last one that caught me was a document that I wanted to be in three columns per page *except* page one which needed to be in two columns. MSWord: Easy. OOWriter: Not possible.

            You have indeed highlighted a difference of the more advanced functions. In OOWriter this is handled though a page style instead of bollocksing up a page with manual formatting. It's IMHO a bit more anal and strict about such stuff, but if you do volume work you quickly start to appreciate the OOo approach and tools, which also include stuff like Navigator which is Word's document Map on steroids (although I have seen MS pick up the ideas in OOo now). From a functional comparison perspective, the only two issues that I miss from Word are the Shift-F5 cursor restore and the ability to just pick a colour without being forced to give it a name. *That* is annoying..

            1. spegru

              Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

              Are you sure about those incompatibilities in current versions of Libreoffice?

              I'm noticing that you keep referring to OOo and OpenOffice writer which are known to be behind.

              When did you last try? I'll have to check myself later on........

      2. Maventi

        Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

        Have you ever tried opening a simple and fully standards-compliant ODT document in Word? It ain't pretty and the resulting warning messages wouldn't inspire much confidence in the average end use.

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

          Have you ever tried opening a simple and fully standards-compliant ODT document in Word? It ain't pretty and the resulting warning messages wouldn't inspire much confidence in the average end use.

          Opening data from a competing product and making it look bad, yeah, we have never seen that before, have we?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

        Microsoft are by far the largest user of ODF in their products in the application market! The first thing that Office does when you start it is ask if you want to use ODF. Versus lots of competing products that can emulate (generally poorly) the Microsoft Office file formats, but have near zero or outdated support for ODF. This is win / win for Microsoft.

        Stop trolling. I had to fight those cretins for over a decade while they were IMHO screwing over the tax payer after the previous government let in consultants so I am personally very happy to see their efforts properly spiked for a change. It means some people have chosen for sense rather than golf course agreements, which is IMHO seriously impressive.

        My hat off to the team - I know what sort of fight that must have been.

      4. Nuke
        WTF?

        @AC - Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

        Wrote :- "lots of competing products that can emulate (generally poorly) the Microsoft Office file formats, but have near zero or outdated support for ODF. This is win / win for Microsoft."

        You either do not have a clue what you are talking about or you have some serious typos in that statement. Microsoft would not agree that it is their win - they fought tooth and nail for their Office Open XML (OOXML) format to be adopted instead.

      5. ChillyPenguin

        Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

        You're kidding, right?

        When I try saving a document as ODF, Word 2010 pops ups a dialog warning me that my cat will die a slow, horrible death if I dare proceed.

        Okay, it doesn't actually say that. What it does say is my document "may contain features that are not compatible with this format". Oh, and this for a document that contains a single word - "test" - with absolutely no formatting added to it.

        Not exactly encouraging is it?

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

          When I try saving a document as ODF, Word 2010 pops ups a dialog warning me that my cat will die a slow, horrible death if I dare proceed.

          Okay, it doesn't actually say that. What it does say is my document "may contain features that are not compatible with this format". Oh, and this for a document that contains a single word - "test" - with absolutely no formatting added to it.

          Not exactly encouraging is it?

          Yes, they've been running that scaremongering for quite a while which, incidentally, they have also done for the use of their own older formats. Someone with a sense of humour in the OOo/LOo camp has picked this one up and you now get exactly the same warning in OOo/LOo if you decide to save in MS Office formats :)

    5. Maventi

      Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

      This. We need to get out of that paper mentality as it's just so restrictive, especially for content that rarely (if ever) leaves a display.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

      Now, can we have governments disallow the use of Adobe products to build or enable functionality for websites?

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

      Cant see why you cant use HTML for collaboration and ditch paper shaped shit altogether.

      Sure. Now show me how you do a spreadsheet in HTML.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is ...really really good

      news. Perhaps as Microsoft say they love standards and interoperability, they'll release ODF 1.2 plug-ins for their older Office suites just like the recent OOXML plugin for Office 2010. Actually I bet it's just their marketing lip service as usual and they will do every fucking thing they can to derail this, to keep their vendor lock-in OOXML file format. Glad Francis Maude can see through it, he and the Cabinet IT staffers are spot on with this.

  2. Bob Vistakin
    Linux

    Yay!

    "Compliance with any of the existing versions of OOXML, the competing document format championed by Microsoft, is neither required nor relevant." it says on Slashdot, which pretty much sums up Microsofts future nicely.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Yay!

      I don't know. A format is just a format. Microsoft still make an office package that has some powerful evangelists. That takes time to chip away at. For Microsoft to lose they'd have to basically piss off the very people who have helped them build an empire over the past 30 years while producing products that the majority of individuals hate.

      Surely Microsoft is too smart for that. Look how much their executives get paid! Obviously anyone who makes that much money is incapable of making the kinds of mistakes that could be easily predicted by a commenttard on an internet site.

      Even if they were to do the above, is that enough to overcome "incentivization" of the "decision makers" in positions of power? Oracle's still around...

      1. Keef

        Re: Yay!

        "For Microsoft to lose they'd have to basically piss off the very people who have helped them build an empire over the past 30 years while producing products that the majority of individuals hate."

        What? Something like the Modern UI perhaps?

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Yay!

          pokerface.jpg

        2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Re: Yay!

          Or the Ribbon?

          1. CLD

            Re: Yay!

            I love the Ribbon - going back to the god awful file menu structure hurts.... it's archaic and was retired for a lot of valid reasons.

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: Yay!

              That's fine. You love the ribbon. I loathe it. The difference between you and me is that you seem perfectly okay with removing from me the choice to use one or the other. I don't care if you have the ribbon. Ribbon it all up. But give me the choice to disable it and re-enable my menus.

              Your way isn't the only way.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yay!

        " For Microsoft to lose... "

        But this isn't about Microsoft, it's about accessibility and restriction mandated by a government requiring that only a single (foreign) manufacturer's products be used when interacting with government, a situation which is does not appear rational. The UK gov has now corrected that situation along with the other unnecessary issues resulting from reliance on a proprietary, patent-encumbered file format. Microsoft can still play if they wish, they just can't demand that we play with their ball.

        Fantastic decision, one that I never thought they actually would take, given their "roll over and tickle my tummy" attitude with most technology companies.

        1. Northumbrian

          Re: Yay!

          Fantastic decision, one that I never thought they actually would take, given their "roll over and tickle my tummy" attitude with most technology companies.

          Yup, clearly they kept IDS out of the loop on this one.

      3. Paul Shirley
        Flame

        Re: Yay!

        "piss off the very people who have helped them build an empire"

        Well, they seem to have turned the Regs resident MS evangelist from raving fanbois to lukewarm ambivalence. If MS can do that to Orlowski the jobs half done!

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Yay!

          Once, not so long ago, I to was one of the loudest Microsoft evangelists. I still believe that they employ many of the best and brightest our planet has to offer and that they have some of the best tech.

          But I no longer believe in the company, it's leadership, or it's direction. I don't trust Microsoft. Considering how much I once did, that should say rather a lot right there.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yay!

            Once, not so long ago, I to was one of the loudest Microsoft evangelists.

            So only the loudness remains?

            /me tiptoes away :)

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: Yay!

              No boom today. Boom tomorrow. Always boom tomorrow.

      4. spegru

        Re: Yay!

        Did I detect irony? I certainly hope so.......

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yay!

      "OOXML, the competing document format championed by Microsoft, is neither required nor relevant"

      Except for the fact that OOXML has many many times more active users than ODF. And that shows no sign of changing any time soon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yay!

        Correct. And there's only one way to fix that problem, and this is a logical step in that direction.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yay!

        "Except for the fact that OOXML has many many times more active users ... "

        Did you mean .docx and friends? Last I heard MS had not managed to produce any ISO standard OOXML compliant software.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yay!

      Except for the fact that OOXML has many many times more active users than ODF. And that shows no sign of changing any time soon

      As in many more "users who have no idea what format they use so leave it default" active? Honestly, do we really need to put all the Microsoft tricks on display again before you get it?

      This decision is MASSIVELY significant, and I do indeed expect response or activity all the way from Redmond HQ, but I suspect David Cameron will not be so keen to ingratiate himself with Microsoft as Tony Blair tried (an incident, by the way, which was one of the earliest demonstrations that the right to forget was eminently possible as it has been carefully scrubbed from Google - try searching for it - so here's another link for good measure :) ).

      You see, the problem is that if one major government makes this choice, many, many more will follow, and with them their various departments, businesses and citizens.

      We are no longer talking about a single, non-English speaking city choosing to go the non-monopolistic route, and we are actually not even talking about one English speaking nation either - this UK decision harmonises it with a long standing EU directive, and thus strengthens it. This decision has the potential to cause a cascade shift in buying patterns of almost tectonic proportions.

      I actually *hope* there will be some sort of Redmond campaign, and thus anticipate collaboration with Peruvian David Villanueva Nuñez so he can write another brilliant rebuttal. Unless, of course, we go for another alternative :)

      1. Northumbrian

        Re: Yay!

        this UK decision harmonises it with a long standing EU directive, and thus strengthens it.

        Shh! or they'll change the policy without even waiting for a referendum.

  3. Forget It

    Edit the sentence:

    Quote:

    [PDF/A or HTML are now the standard “for viewing government” while ODF is now expected “for sharing or collaborating on government documents.”]

    How about the word editing in place of the touchy feel "sharing or collaborating " ?

    1. frank ly

      Re: Edit the sentence:

      It sounds like you don't want to be touchy-feely with the UK government and its various tentacles.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Gimp

        Re: Edit the sentence:

        "It sounds like you don't want to be touchy-feely with the UK government and its various tentacles."

        Who would?

        However if you must it's better you don't have to have access to a MS product to do so.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Edit the sentence:

          I wonder how long it will take for the underlings to get with the programme?

          The last official Government response I got was in .DOC format.

          That said, it was from the HSE's electrical standards person who clearly had not actually read the current electrical standards, so document standards may be unlikely.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Edit the sentence:

            The last one I got was from The Department for International Development, had a .doc extension but seemed to be some form of propriety Apple Web Archive format. The document also had embedded within it a Microsoft Word 2010 document.

            Needless to say, nothing I had could view the document but I was helpfully told that if I installed the Safari browser and MS Word 2010 I should have no problem viewing it.

    2. Anonymous Dutch Coward
      Coat

      Re: Edit the sentence:

      Nah. The government share the financial burder with you, the tax payer, and collaborate with their masters to share even more in future. Looks accurate to me ;)

  4. hplasm
    Thumb Up

    And so begins-

    The Enlightenment.

    About bloody time too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And so begins-

      "And so begins- The Enlightenment."

      Quite, and as I live in Scotland, it's a shame that as far as I can tell, the Scottish Enlightenment has not yet occurred. I have written to my MSP askig whether the Scottish Parliament is planning to follow suit.

  5. king of foo

    soon...

    "We've got this 300MB spreadsheet with macros in it a consultant from CapGemeni made us in 2002 linked to an Access database that we've been using to do business critical bean counting stuff every day for the last 12 years. It's broken. Can you fix it?"

    Becomes

    "Hello, I.T.? This consultant says we need MSAccess or he can't help us."

    "Good. Tell him to fuck off"

    1. Anonymous Dutch Coward

      Re: soon...

      Optimist.

      Even as we speak, people are prepared to "push guidance". For the initiated, that means "we'll delay actually requiring anything until the cows come home. If we need to invent far-sought exceptions for every case, so be it."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: soon...

      "Tell him to fuck off"

      Which is by a strange coincidence, exactly what the business will then tell your IT support manager to do once that message goes full circle...

  6. msknight
    Thumb Up

    Apologies but ...

    YAAAAYYYYY!!!!!!!!

    Whoop!

  7. HipposRule

    And yet again...

    ... the government is out of touch with business.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And yet again...

      judging by those downvotes someone certainly is

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And yet again...

      "... the government is out of touch with business."

      And consumers too. Pretty much no one uses ODF.

      Most likely everyone in government is going to continue to save as standard Office format, converting to ODF only to send to another department - where it will promptly be converted back to standard Office format again!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Consumers?

        It's up to document producers (also known as government bureaucrats) to lead the way.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And yet again...

        And consumers too. Pretty much no one uses ODF

        Speak for yourself. We have more or less standardised on ODF as we can get LibreOffice for all the platforms we work with, and it gives us zero exposure to licensing issues. Originally, I thought we were indeed a bit rare, but of late I have come across 3 separate organisations who were on exactly the same route, and all are over 30 people in size. It's quite nice because we could switch to native format file exchanges.

        This government mandate has the potential to amplify what we have seen.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        Re: And yet again...

        Get them all onto LibreOffice and formating issues won't be a problem.

      4. spegru

        Re: And yet again...

        When will people understand that this is not really about current market share for ODF. Market share does not indicate anything much in terms of the "right" and "wrong" way to go about things. It does not point the way to an inevitable outcome.

    3. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: And yet again...

      Why would you want your local Government to distribute important documents that business is required to read in a format that requires that they purchase specific pieces of software to peruse?

      It is always better to distribute such documentation in a format that a multitude of free and paid-for software can read and create, and that any entity can choose write their own software to read and create should they so desire.

      PDF, HTML and ODF means that your business can choose the software that is right for the rest of the business, rather than being forced into specific software that's a bad fit for what you do.

      If your particular business has no direct business use for any Microsoft software, why should you be forced to buy Windows or other Microsoft software just to read official responses or comment on official documents that affect you?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And yet again...

        "Why would you want your local Government to distribute important documents that business is required to read in a format that requires that they purchase specific pieces of software to peruse?"

        To boost profits for MS and its affiliates. Don't forget; no excessive profits means no sweeteners for procurement staff.

    4. can2002
      Meh

      Re: And yet again...

      <quote>... the government is out of touch with business.</quote>

      Presumably that business being Microsoft...

    5. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Re: And yet again...

      I think business should stop touching themselves on this one.

  8. MacroRodent Silver badge

    time for MS to

    ...improve their ODF support. It is currently quite lame. A level playing field in file formats, finally. Must be quite a new experience for them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: time for MS to

      "...improve their ODF support. It is currently quite lame"

      No it isn't - it's far better than say Libre office - and Microsoft already support the latest ODF version.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: time for MS to

        Care to back that statement up? My real world experience with both products certainly doesn't.

      2. Gordon 11

        Re: time for MS to

        and Microsoft already support the latest ODF version.

        Microsoft is a company. I can't use a company on my computer,

        As for their products, I believe their latest offering does provide such support. But most people and businesses will not have their latest version, so such support will only be available if I and they pay yet more money to Microsoft (and the licensing options for the latest version mean we will need to pay them at a higher rate than in the past).

        With LibreOffce I can run the latest version all of the time for no additional cost. And so can everyone else.

        1. king of foo

          Re: time for MS to

          Sanity.

          Now, let's get the schools and colleges to do the same thing please.

  9. Avatar of They
    Happy

    Comment

    My "ghast" is officially flabbered

  10. can2002

    Pleasantly surprised

    I honestly thought they'd cave and water down the proposal!!

  11. gerryg

    never thought it would happen, hoping it finally has

    I want to congratulate them, but I'm several times bitten, now shy.

    However, the word "must" in the official guidance is particularly encouraging.

    Let's hope...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I work in an it department in a govt agency, why do I always hear about this sort of thing from el reg before my bosses know about it!

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Why?

      You've answered your own question: I work in an it department in a govt agency

  13. billium

    Wonder if the EU will follow now.

    1. rh587 Silver badge

      "Wonder if the EU will follow now."

      They'll probably go the other way now Cameron's upset them, mandate .pages and .numbers and spend our taxes refitting the entire EU with Apple hardware.

      Except for any British staff who will be issued Win95 boxes with MS Works.

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Wonder if the EU will follow now.

      They already do: http://www.eionet.europa.eu/software/opendocument

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Damn, I've fallen asleep and woken up in a parallel universe where sensible decisions are made again!

    Seriously though a big well done to the people who made this decision I can only imagine the crap they must have put up with for not choosing MS. At the end of the day though it's the correct decision. Twenty years ago I think MS was the correct choice but the software market has matured and free versions of office suites are now more than good enough so there's no excuse to force people to buy from MS. Hopefully when the sky doesn't fall after this decision we'll see more businesses making the switch too.

    What we need now is for the rest of government to wake up to the fact that they could, with some work, move over to Linux based systems for the vast majority of what they do. Any new software they commission should be either web based or cross platform to ease the switch over. I suspect that realization is a few years off yet though.

    1. king of foo

      popular

      Get Boris to embrace Linux then the rest will follow.

      Dr pepper

  15. g e

    So UK gov will get sued by MS then

    When the TPIT or whatever it is gets ratified and (especially American) corps can sue (especially non-American) govs for doing things that injure their precious profits.

  16. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    There's less MS astroturfing in the comments than I expected.

    Well, a bit less anyway. Perhaps it's due to the wholesale conversion of El Reg. to a MS promotional vehicle?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's less MS astroturfing in the comments than I expected.

      Perhaps it's due to the wholesale conversion of El Reg. to a MS promotional vehicle?

      Fairly weak troll. Must try harder

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Best IT news for 2014 . Well done UK Government

    Good news, lets hope plenty of effort is put in to this as soon as possible.

  18. Nuke
    Holmes

    An Outbreak of Common Sense

    While, at the time of the Government consultation, there were thousands of rants on this issue on El Reg, Slashdot etc (mostly preaching ODF to the converted), I was one of the relative few who actually made a submission to The Cabinet Office in favour of ODF - one of not more than a few dozen AFAIR.

    I tore the MS (and partners) submissions to pieces, as did most of the other non-MS submissions. The MS submissions were mostly on the lines of "People should be 'free' to use MS Word to read documents if they wished". I basically pointed out that people should be free to use MS Word or any other word processor to read documents if they wished, without a particular company being Godfather and Landlord to the format.

    I did not hold out much hope, but nice to see the Cabinet Office concluding on similar lines.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another positive consequence..

    With this move they have effectively opened the door for the use of Libre/OpenOffice, which has one massive extra advantage: no license management, and thus no license risk.

    Just the fact that it has the potential to put a spike into BSA's revenue is enough to make me very, very happy (btw, irony of irony, their EMEA Senior Director of Compliance Programs and External Affairs is actually based in Munich :) ).

    It's a lovely day today, tadum tadum ..

  21. Salts

    Late to the party here...

    but well done UK

    Not for open source, MS, Apple or Google, just for giving a standard that gives UK citizens a choice of what package to use, free or paid for, though I really think it is a shot in the arm for open source, after all when the government advise on a website that these documents can be accessed using free packages available for windows, osx and linux, has to help a little.

  22. ben_myers

    OpenXML, another Microsoft oxymoron

    Just how open is OpenXML? Well, it's open when Microsoft decides to change it.

    Maybe they or a 3rd party will do the Word plugins for ODF, but I am not holding my breath waiting. Expect a lot of the EU govts to follow suit with an ODF standard, if they have not done so already.

    Microsoft has made history and made money co-opting software. They did not want to cut a licensing deal with Adobe about Postscript, so they went and bought Postscript clone Bauer and turned it into TrueType. They couldn't stand Sun controlling Java, so they cobbled up their own version, got hammered in the courts for violating their license with Sun, and were forced to exclude Java from IE and Windows. And on and on it goes.

  23. spegru

    Guidance

    Great news of course. I'm now also hoping that gov guidance to the public will include pointers to where they can get suitable software such as Libreoffice Abiword and how to "save as" from MS Word complete with assurances to ignore the MS "cat death" warnings.

    Oh and one more thing, I need some suitable software for my tablet. Come on devs!

  24. John Crisp

    Missed point

    Great news. I too argued for it on the cabinet site but thought it would be in vain.

    Now M$ will finally have to produce software that is good enough to justify the price tag.

    I might consider paying for it IF it produced documents in the correct format AND was better than its competitors (Ribbon... yuck)

    Oh, and if it worked on all my Linux machines.....

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020