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ODF group a year old, but format still unproven

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Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the ODF Alliance, an international group of organizations dedicated to promoting Open Document format for XML (ODF) as an international standard for document formats. But while the group has encouraged public agencies across the world to enact policies to support open IT standards over the last year, ODF supporters have more work to do to increase the adoption of alternatives to Microsoft Corp.'s Office suite, industry watchers said.

In the past year, the alliance -- which counts IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. as members -- has helped ODF gain momentum in government agencies across the world and even in the U.S., which has been traditionally resistant to replacing Microsoft software with open alternatives.

The latest win for the technology was on Tuesday when Oregon legislators joined government officials in Texas, California and Minnesota in proposing bills that would make it mandatory for the state's government agencies to base their technologies on open standards such as ODF.

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