It was ten years ago that the CIO of Massachusetts rattled the desktop world by announcing that the Executive Agencies of the Commonwealth would henceforth license only office suite software that complied with the OpenDocument Format (ODF) – which Microsoft Office did not. Yesterday, the UK Cabinet Office blew life back into the embers left behind by what went on to became one of the most epic standards wars in history.
Frances Maude, a senior UK government minister stated that the UK government must free itself from control by the ???tiny oligopoly??? of software vendors that dominates the marketplace. The way to achieve that end, he explained, would be through mandatory compliance by vendors with specific standards:
“Technical standards for document formats may not sound like the first shot in a revolution. But be in no doubt: the adoption of compulsory standards in government threatens to break open Whitehall’s lock-in to proprietary formats. In turn we will open the door for a host of other software providers.”