...importance of working with upstream projects and initiatives for a government like the UK Government.
Public interest and software freedom are not always aligned, in the sense that software freedom grant rights to users of Free Software but does not imply users will get what they want; in this case however, these two notions could become very much aligned. The same holds true for Open Standards: if major chunks of the UK’s public sector’s pool of documents is migrated to ODF, there is something close to a liability – and an opportunity- for this Government to ensure the format continues to thrive and be improved.
First of all because the support comes way too late. Secondly because its not even close to be good.
Back several years ago Google was politically supporting the process of getting odf approved as an open standard but they never really bothered. The business was clearly to keep both odf and ooxml/docx out of their products and keep their own proprietary document format.
Implementing good and solid interoperability is actually not difficult but it is a huge task. Google could have done this three or four years ago if they wanted to. But they didn't. Both proprietary software vendors has been busy making interoperability difficult while the providers of true open standards has been improving interoperability month by month.
Google (GOOG) may soon be taking open OpenDocumentFormat (ODF), the native file format in virtually all modern open source word processors, like LibreOffice and OpenOffice, more seriously. That's according to a statement from Google's open source chief speaking about the future of the company's cloud-based app suite.
At the ODF Plugfest in London, Google’s head of open source told the audience that work once once again in progress extending OpenDocument support in Google’s products.
At the opening of the event, Magnus Falk, deputy CTO for HM Government, told the audience that the decision to adopt ODF (alongside HTML and PDF) as the government’s required document format is now well in hand. When asked by an audience member about various government agencies that currently require submissions from the public in Microsoft-only formats, Falk said that all such departments must make a migration plan now for how they will achieve use of the required formats.
The work for LibreOffice never stops and this is actually one of the perks of being open source software. The application is constantly improved and the users can easily see what is being done in this regard. Usually, new major updates for a new branch will have several devel versions before the stable one is released, and that means we are still pretty far away from that milestone.
Hackathons in Toulouse (France), Munich (Germany), Woerden (the Netherlands) and Bologna (Italy) involving software developers and public administrations, are providing input for the ODF Plugfest taking place in London on 8 and 9 December. The first four meetings involve developers working on the Open Document Format ODF and the LibreOffice suite of office productivity tools. The ODF Plugfest brings together multiple implementers and stakeholders of this document standard. The plugfest is aimed at increasing interoperability, tests implementations and discuss new features.