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Last modified: July 05, 2007
Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument)


The OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) Technical Committee was chartered to create an open, XML-based file format specification for office applications. Its goal: to produce (1) a set of XML DTDs/schemas setting the vocabulary, constraints and semantics of the file format in question, and (2) a set of written specifications that describe the elements and attributes of the DTDs/schemas in plain English.

The file file format targeted for developement was designed to meet the following requirements: (1) "to be suitable for office documents containing text, spreadsheets, charts, and graphical documents; (2) to be compatible with the W3C Extensible Markup Language (XML) v1.0 and W3C Namespaces in XML v1.0 specifications; (3) to retain high-level information suitable for editing the document; (4) to be friendly to transformations using XSLT or similar XML-based languages or tools; (5) to keep the document's content and layout information separate such that they can be processed independently of each other; (6) to 'borrow' from similar, existing standards wherever possible and permitted."

Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0 was published as an OASIS Standard on 1 May 2005. The document "defines an XML schema for office applications and its semantics. The schema (three Relax-NG Schemas) is suitable for office documents, including text documents, spreadsheets, charts and graphical documents like drawings or presentations, but is not restricted to these kinds of documents. The schema provides for high-level information suitable for editing documents. It defines suitable XML structures for office documents and is friendly to transformations using XSLT or similar XML-based tools."

In January 2007, OASIS opened a ballot for the approval of the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) Specification v1.1 as an OASIS Standard. The OpenDocument v1.1 specification represents "a minor update to the OpenDocument v1.0 OASIS Standard. Compared to the OpenDocument v1.0 specification, the OpenDocument v1.1 specification contains a couple of accessibility-related enhancements, error corrections and clarifications, and very few other minor enhancements."

OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee

The OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) Technical Committee was originally chartered in November 2002 as the OASIS Open Office XML Format TC. The TC's chief goal is to "create an open, XML-based file format specification for office applications. The TC members envision that the technical activities will be of interest to: makers of office applications; makers of XML or office document processing or editing solutions; document managers, records managers, and archivists using office document formats for long-term digital preservation; representatives of other office document use cases; other specification writers that need office document content or parts of it."

As part of the TC's Standing Rules, it was declared that "under no circumstances shall the TC accept, during any phase, contributions that are not granted to all under perpetual, royalty free, non-discriminatory terms. This TC shall not finalize or approve a specification if it believes that the use, distribution, or implementation of such specification would necessarily require the unauthorized infringement of any party's rights known to the technical committee, and such party has not agreed to provide necessary license rights on perpetual, royalty-free, non-discriminatory terms." In 2006, the TC operates under the RF on Limited Terms Mode of the OASIS IPR Policy. The TC has formed a public, unmoderated mailing list 'opendocument-users' that provides an open forum for developers and users to exchange ideas and information on implementing and adopting OASIS OpenDocument.

The OASIS OpenDocument Formula Subcommittee was formed to work on a specification for recalculated formulas (e.g., spreadsheet formulas) in office documents. The goal is to create a specification for a formula language that should be used in OpenDocument spreadsheet documents as value of the table:formula attribute specified in section 8.1.3 where apropriate... OpenDocument already supports the inclusion of arbitrary formula languages for spreadsheet documents. Furthermore, it already uses XML namespaces to uniquely identify the formula language used within a certain formula. The purpose of this SC therefore is not to define a formula language that covers all, sometimes very application dependent, aspects of existing formula languages, but to define an application independent and, compared to existing formula languages, possibly restricted formula language that can be used in all cases where non of the application dependent aspects are required. The primary deliverable will specify a grammar for formulas, specify a well defined processing model and basic function set, define a method to reference implementation-defined extension functions, provide a list of implementation-defined, unspecified and undefined behaviors in the processing model, and be friendly to conversions from and to existing office application spreadsheet formula languages." The SC Chair as of 2006-02 was David A. Wheeler.

The OASIS OpenDocument Accessibility Subcommittee was formed to liaise with the disability community to gather accessibility related feedback on the OpenDocument v1.0 specification, to gather accessibility related feedback from implementors of accessible applications that implement OpenDocucument v1.0, and to produce a formal accessibility evaluation of the OpenDocument v1.0 file format. Its goal is to ensure that OpenDocument schema allows to store the information that is required by applications aimed at allowing people with disabilities to access properly the content of OpenDocument documents." The SC Chair as of 2006-02 was Nathaniel Borenstein.

The OASIS OpenDocument Metadata Subcommittee is supported by a group Wiki. The SC was formed to (1) "gather use cases for the application of metadata in OpenDocument documents and OpenDocument aware applications, (2) classify the use cases, (3) derive metadata related requirements for future versions of OpenDocument from the use case classes, and (4) propose metadata related enhancements for OpenDocument for consideration by the Opendocument TC which address these requirements. The SC will produce a list of metadata use cases for OpenDocument documents and OpenDocument enabled applications, together with a classification of the use cases; it will create a list of metadata related requirements for future versions of OpenDocument, which will be prioritized by the OpenDocument TC, as well as proposals for OpenDocument enhancements which address the requirements identified." See OpenDocument Metadata Subcommittee (MDSC) Draft Charter.

OpenDocument Specification

Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0 was approved as an OASIS Standard by vote of the membership in April 2005. It includes, in addition to the 706-page prose specification, three RELAX-NG Schemas: Main Schema, Manifest Schema, and Strict Schema.

OASIS has submitted the OpenDocument Format OASIS Standard to the ISO/IEC JTC1 (International Organization for Standardization International Electrotechnical Commission's Joint Technical Committee) for further approval as a de jure standard.

OpenDocument defines an "XML-based file format suitable for office applications. It covers the features required by text, spreadsheets, charts, and graphical documents. It was developed as an application-independent format by a vendor-neutral OASIS Technical Committee with the participation of multiple office application vendors. The basis for the OASIS OpenDocument TC's work was the XML file format, but even the XML file format was developed as an application-independent file format that is not usable by the application only... It provides a vendor- and application-independent open document format for office applications protects content — whether it is an 800-page airplane specification or a legal contract — preventing it from being locked into an application- or vendor-specific file format. Additionally, OpenDocument lets application users participate in the benefits of XML file formats without having to change their habits and without requiring additional knowledge or education..." [FAQ]

Chapter 1 of of the OpenDocument V1.0 Standard "contains an introduction to the OpenDocument format. The structure of documents that conform to the OpenDocument specification is explained in chapter 2. Chapter 3 described the meta information that can be contained in such documents. Chapters 4 and 5 describe their text and paragraph content. Text Fields are described in chapter 6, text indices in chapter 7. Chapter 8 describes the table content of an document in OpenDocument format, chapter 9 its graphical content, chapter 10 its chart content, and chapter 11 its form content. Content that is common to all documents is described in chapter 12. The integration of SMIL animation markup into the OpenDocument schema is described in chapter 13. Chapter 14 explains style information content, chapter 15 specifies formatting properties that are can be used within styles. The data types used by the OpenDocument schema are described in chapter 16. The OpenDocument format makes use of a package concept. These packages are described in chapter 17."

Communities Supporting OpenDocument

OASIS Open Document Format Adoption Technical Committee (ODF Adoption TC)

The purpose of the OASIS OpenDocument Format Adoption Committee is to create awareness and demand for a new class of applications and solutions designed specifically to support and leverage OpenDocument XML. The Adoption Committee will dedicate its energy and resources to create wide scale understanding of the benefits of OpenDocument format support within organizations and governmental bodies through education and promotion. The Adoption Committee will align and support the activities of the OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee by providing market-based requirements. These requirements will help guide future development of the OpenDocument specification by the OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee.


ODF Alliance (OpenDocument Format Alliance)

On March 3, 2006, a diverse coalition of more than 35 organizations from a wide range of countries around the world joined to form the OpenDocument Format Alliance (ODF Alliance). Its goal is to enable the public sector to have greater control over and direct management of their own records, information and documents, the ODF Alliance seeks to promote and advance the use of OpenDocument Format (ODF). The alliance works globally to educate policymakers, IT administrators and the public on the benefits and opportunities of the OpenDocument Format, to help ensure that government information, records and documents are accessible across platforms and applications, even as technologies change. The ODF Alliance, which is primarily focused on public policy, is a separate and unaffiliated initiative that is complementary to the ongoing work of OASIS on the OpenDocument Format."



In September 2006, OASIS announced the formation of the "OpenDocument" web site as a "community gathering place and information resource for the OpenDocument OASIS Standard (ISO/IEC 26300). OpenDocument provides a format that enables users of varying office suites to freely exchange documents. The standard is advanced through an open process by the OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee and the OASIS ODF Adoption Committee. Both groups encourage new participation from developers and users. The public is encouraged to contribute content to OpenDocument The site may be used to: (1) Learn: Knowledge Base pages provide reliable background information on OpenDocument; (2) Share: OpenDocument Today serves as a community bulletin board and directory where readers post news, ideas, opinions, and recommendations; (3) Collaborate: Wiki pages let users work with others online and add new pages to the site."

References: ODF Toolkit Project

"The scope of the ODF Toolkit project is: (1) To improve the ability to use as a programming framework for creating and processing OpenDocument (ODF) documents rather than to use it as a desktop application. This will be achieved by transforming an appropriate subset from the source code basis, and by adapting it to the new purpose. (2) To provide a home for components that can be used for processing ODF documents and that are either based on the new ODF Toolkit, or complement it. The ODF Toolkit is a toolkit for ODF document creation and processing. This toolkit shares its source code with the desktop application where ever this is reasonable. That is, based on the source code, there is the suite, and an ODF Toolkit, which is tailored to processing ODF documents outside traditional office desktop applications."


OpenDocument Fellowship

"OpenDocument Fellowship is a volunteer organisation with members around the world. Our goal is to promote the use and development of the OpenDocument format. We believe that open standards can create a level playing field where all software products can compete fairly. The mission is to support the work of community volunteers in promoting, improving and providing user assistance for the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) and software designed to operate on data in this format."


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General: Articles, Papers, News

  • [July 02, 2007] "Linspire Joins Microsoft in Developing and Deploying Open Source Translators between Document Formats. Future Versions of Linspire to Include Open XML Bi-Directional Translators Between ODF and Open XML." — "Linspire, Inc., developer of the Linspire commercial and Freespire community desktop Linux operating systems, today announced it will join the current efforts to improve the ability of users to work with the Office Open XML format by increasing the interoperability between ODF and Open XML. Linspire is joining with others who have signed on to this effort, including Novell and Xandros, to create bi-directional open source translators for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations between ODF and Open XML. All future releases of Linspire and Freespire will include the bi-directional translators between ODF and Open XML. As a result, end users of Microsoft Office and will be able to more easily share files, as documents will better maintain consistent formats, formulas and style templates across the two office productivity suites. 'For Linux to gain acceptance beyond the server, it must interoperate within the broader desktop computing ecosystem,' said Kevin Carmony, CEO of Linspire. 'Interoperability with Microsoft Office documents is critical, and Linspire is pleased to join this ongoing effort with Novell and Microsoft to bring document interoperability to our mutual customer base.' The Open XML format is an open standard file format for office applications that can be freely implemented by multiple applications on multiple platforms. The Open XML format was standardized by Ecma International on December 7, 2006 and is also being implemented by multiple applications on multiple platforms. It is now under consideration for ratification by ISO/IEC JTC1. Open XML is the default format for the recently released Microsoft Office 2007. The Open XML format is also available through free updates to past Microsoft Office versions... With an estimated 100 million users, is a full-featured, open source office productivity suite with word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and database applications. currently supports the OpenDocument (ODF) file format, which is an ISO-standardized, XML-based file format specification for office applications maintained by the open source community. The OpenDocument format ensures information saved in spreadsheets, documents and presentations is freely accessible to any OpenDocument-supporting application. The open source Open XML/ODF Translator project can be viewed [online]..."

  • [September 12, 2006] "OASIS Launches OpenDocument New Web Site Enables Community to Share, Track, and Monitor Information on the OpenDocument Format." - OASIS announced OpenDocument as a "community gathering place and information resource for the OpenDocument Format (ODF). An international standard approved by OASIS, ISO and IEC, OpenDocument enables users of varying office products to freely exchange documents. 'There is so much excitement and momentum behind OpenDocument right now,' said Don Harbison of IBM, co-chair of the OASIS ODF Adoption Committee, which provides editorial guidance for the new site. 'We wanted to offer the community a central location where they can easily find reliable information on the technology and the marketplace.' [And] 'OpenDocument also provides a genuine community experience, connecting implementers with users, and making it possible for people to learn from one another and contribute to a growing knowledge base,' added Erwin Tenhumberg of Sun Microsystems, co-chair of the OASIS ODF Adoption Committee. 'The site supports a wiki interface, blogs, forums, and other interactive methods of communication.' All OpenDocument pages are accessible by the public, and readers are encouraged to contribute content. In addition to technical and educational background material on the standard, the site features a community bulletin board and directory where readers share news, events, product and services listings, information on deployments in the public and private sectors, case studies, testimonials, and recommendations on books, white papers, and other useful resources..."

  • [August 25, 2006] ITD Mid-Year Statement Regarding ODF Implementation. Response to concerns raised by the community of people with disabilities. By Louis Gutierrez (Chief Information Officer, Information Technology Division). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance Information Technology Division. August 23, 2006. "... we plan to implement ODF, using translator technology plugged in to Microsoft Office, in a group of early adopter agencies, including the Massachusetts Office on Disability, by January 1, 2007. Thereafter, we plan to migrate all Executive Department agencies to compliance with the standard, in phases, by June of 2007. These target dates are not set in stone; they are dependent on a number of factors, including the adoption by the OASIS standard setting organization of ODF Version 1.1 (which will address minor accessibility issues related to the format itself), the timely delivery of completed translators by one or more of the multiple vendors that are currently developing this technology, and the validated accessibility of the translators themselves. In order to meet our implementation timetable, the Commonwealth requires delivery of a translator suitable for use by early adopters by November of this year. At each stage of this implementation, accessibility will be our first priority. When the alternative, ODF-supporting office suites become more accessible in the future, they too will provide a means by which the Executive Department can meet its long-term goal of implementing open document standards. ITD intends to revise the Enterprise Technical Reference Model (ETRM) Version 3.5 so that its language is consistent with the implementation process described in this letter. We further plan to review the ETRM every six months thereafter to take into account changes in information technology, evolving standards, and new accessibility concerns, any one of which may warrant changes to the ETRM..." [source PDF, possible HTML]

  • [July 29, 2006] Openness, ODF and Accessibility." By Andy Updegrove. ConsortiumInfo Blog (July 29, 2006). "On July 27, [2006] the OASIS announced that the first draft update of ODF (version 1.1) has been posted for public comment. This draft is more than usually significant, since it seeks to make it easier for those that implement ODF to make their applications more accessible to those with disabilities. If you are interested in accessibility issues or have been following ODF, then you probably already know that concerns over accessibility have factored strongly in the ODF story since last August, when the first public objections were made by the community of the disabled in the context of Massachusett's proposed adoption of ODF. ODF, it became clear at that time, did not offer the same degree of accessibility to those with disabilities as did Microsoft Office, when used in conjunction with a number of third party developer tools. This differential (not surprisingly) has been much commented on not only by those directly affected, by also by Microsoft and others who are not proponents of ODF. Over the last year, however, there has been a great deal of effort expended, both within OASIS and elsewhere, on closing the gap between applications that support ODF and the composite Microsoft Office accessible desktop, further to a commitment by those involved to not only equal, but exceed that desktop in accessibility. Those efforts included formation of an accessibility subcommittee within the OASIS ODF Technical Committee charged with addressing accessibility needs within ODF..."

  • [July 17, 1006] OpenDocument Opinion Letter. By Eben Moglen (Software Freedom Law Center - SFLC). July 12, 2006. "I represent the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Apache Software Foundation (Apache). I write, with their permission, to convey the content of legal opinions given our clients by the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) under my direction. The Software Freedom Law Center has examined whether there are any legal barriers to the use of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) in free and open source software arising from the standardization process. We have reviewed only publicly-available material; in order to reach conclusions freely available to all interested parties, we have relied upon no information obtained under attorney-client privilege in the conduct of this inquiry. We have independently verified all statements of fact material to our conclusions. Certain additional reservations concerning this opinion are set forth below. On the factual basis described, and subject to reservations, it is our opinion that ODF, as standardized and licensed by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information (OASIS), is free of legal encumbrances that would prevent its use in free and open source software, as distributed under licenses authored by Apache and the FSF..." [PDF, cache]

  • [July 17, 2006] "Software Freedom Law Center Clears OpenDocument Format for Free Software Use. File Format Software Can Be Used With Impunity." July 12, 2006 announcement. "The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), provider of pro-bono legal services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), today released an opinion assuring developers that they can legally implement OpenDocument Format (ODF) in free and open source software. OpenDocument Format is a free file format for saving and exchanging editable documents, spreadsheets, databases and presentations. In the current climate of uncertainty surrounding patents, FOSS developers have been reluctant to implement programs if compatibility with GPL is in question. These concerns about ODF recently prompted a number of the Law Center's clients to seek a legal opinion before implementing the format in free and open source programs. The Center researched the issue and has now published an opinion assuring developers that there are no legal barriers to using ODF. 'A number of our clients asked us to determine whether ODF is truly free of patent, copyright and trademark encumbrances. We looked into the issue, and are confident that developers can use ODF in free software,' said James Vasile, SFLC Legal Counsel. 'ODF is GPL-compatible.' OpenDocument Format is a truly open standard that can be implemented by free and proprietary software alike. It is quickly becoming the standard file format for people that want to avoid becoming dependent on any particular software vendor..."

  • [July 6, 2006] "Microsoft Expands Document Interoperability. Company to Sponsor Open Source Project for Open XML-ODF File Translation to Deliver More Choice for Government Customers and Their Constituents." Microsoft announcement 2006-07-05. "Microsoft Corp. [has] announced the creation of the Open XML Translator project. The project, developed with partners, will create tools to build a technical bridge between the Microsoft Office Open XML Formats and the OpenDocument Format (ODF). This work is in response to government requests for interoperability with ODF because they work with constituent groups that use that format. In addition to being made available as free, downloadable add-ins for several older versions of the Microsoft Office system, the translation tools will be developed and licensed as open source software. The translation tools will be broadly available to the industry for use with other individual or commercial projects to accelerate document interoperability and expand customer choice between Open XML and other technologies..." With references.

  • [July 6, 2006] "Microsoft Office to Support ODF: The Q&A." By Stephen O'Grady. Blog entry. "I've got some early commentary on the news that Microsoft has announced support for the Open Document Format. This analysis was made possible by the folks from Microsoft who were good enough to brief us on this news last week. With the advance notice, I've had both the opportunity to ask some questions as well as think on the answers I received. The news is this: Microsoft is announcing support, via a non-bundled, third party application, for the ISO standard Open Document Format (ODF). To make things more interesting, the third party application is an open source project, governed by the BSD license and hosted externally at SourceForge. It's Microsoft's contention that they are still not seeing any notable traction or interest for ODF from their enterprise clients, but events within the public sector (e.g. in Belgium, Denmark, France, etc) have led to ODF being an RFP type requirement for many governmental bodies. The achievement of an ISO standard applies here as well, because Microsoft believes that governments that have even a single citizen exchanging documents in ODF would be obligated to serve that citizen given the standardization. ODF support, therefore, became important for one of their larger customer bases, making this announcement a very logical decision. A fait accompli, almost. Having reached the conclusion that ODF is not going away, Microsoft likely felt obliged to support it to guarantee access to the widest possible market..."

  • [July 05, 2006] "ISO/IEC 26300 OpenDocument Format Ballot Comment Responses." OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) Technical Committee. June 19, 2006. Response to comments from the United Kingdom, Canada, Hungary, Japan, Egypt, Germany, Israel, and China. "This document collects the responses of the OpenDocument Technical Committee (TC) to the comments that where submitted to the TC as part of the ISO/IEC 26300 balloting process. The TC appreciates all comments it received from the national bodies, and considers them to be very helpful for improving the OpenDocument specification. In response to these comments, the TC has created an updated OpenDocument v1.0 specification where those comments are resolved that were accepted by the TC, and where the TC agreed that they could be addressed by an editorial change to the specification. This updated specification has the name Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) 1.0 (Second Edition). At the time this document is written, it has the status of a 'Committee Draft'. A public review of the changes is scheduled, and the TC intends to vote for the specification as a 'committee specification' after the public review has been successfully conducted..." [source]

  • [June 19, 2006] Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0 (Second Edition). Patrick Durusau and Michael Brauer (eds). Committee Draft 4. June 05, 2006. Public Review. Produced by members of the OASIS OpenDocument TC. OASIS announced a 15-day public review for the OpenDocument Version 1.0, 2nd Edition. "This is the specification of the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) format, an open, XML-based file format for office applications, based on XML. The document defines an XML schema for office applications and its semantics. The schema is suitable for office documents, including text documents, spreadsheets, charts and graphical documents like drawings or presentations, but is not restricted to these kinds of documents. The schema provides for high-level information suitable for editing documents. It defines suitable XML structures for office documents and is friendly to transformations using XSLT or similar XML-based tools. See the announcement. [source]

  • [May 08, 2006] "ISO and IEC Approve OpenDocument OASIS Standard. International Standard Delivers True Data Interoperability for Office Applications." — "The OpenDocument OASIS Standard, a format which enables users of varying office suites to freely exchange documents, has been approved for release as an ISO and IEC International Standard. OpenDocument was balloted through the Joint Technical Committee on Information Technology (JTC1) of the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The OASIS OpenDocument submission has been given the designation ISO/IEC 26300. OpenDocument defines a genuinely open XML file format for office applications. Suitable for text, spreadsheets, charts, graphs, presentations, and databases, the standard frees documents from their applications-of-origin, enabling them to be exchanged, retrieved, and edited with any OpenDocument-compliant software or tool. The standard will facilitate access, search, use, integration, and development of document content in new and innovative ways. 'ISO/IEC 26300 is a shining example of what partnership in standardization can achieve for the business community. Its publication underscores the importance of partnership among ISO and IEC and standards developing organizations such as OASIS to craft a common set of standards, and reflects the international community's recognition of the importance of open formats in enabling business interoperability,' said Alan Bryden, ISO Secretary-General... In May 2005, OpenDocument was ratified as an OASIS Standard and subsequently submitted by OASIS to the ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology, subcommittee SC 34, Document description and processing languages. As ISO/IEC 26300, the standard will continue to be maintained and advanced by the OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee and the recently formed OASIS ODF Adoption Committee, both of which remain open to participation from users, suppliers, government agencies, and individuals."

  • [May 08, 2006] "ISO and IEC Approve OpenDocument OASIS Standard for Data Interoperability of Office Applications — "The OpenDocument Format OASIS standard that enables users of varying office suites to exchange documents freely with one another has just been approved for release as an ISO and IEC International Standard. OpenDocument, submitted by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), was balloted as an International Standard in ISO/IEC's Joint Technical Committee 1 on Information Technology. The standard has been given the designation ISO/IEC 26300. Most of today's electronic office documents have been created by a few commercial software programmes and more often than not each one has its own format. In order to process a document, users need the same programme (and corresponding versions) or a filter that allows the document to be opened and modified. OpenDocument Format does away with this need. The newly approved ISO/IEC 26300, Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0, has been designed to be used as a default file format for office applications with no increase in file size or loss of data integrity. It will allow users to save and exchange editable office documents such as text documents (including memos, reports, and books), spreadsheets, databases, charts, and presentations — regardless of application or platform in which the files were created. Organizations and individuals that store their data in the open format avoid being locked in to a single software vendor, leaving them free to switch software if their current vendor goes out-of-business, raises its prices, changes its software, or alters its licensing terms. Billions of existing office documents will be able to be converted to the XML standard format with no loss of data, formatting, properties, or capabilities. This will facilitate document contents access, search, use, integration and development in new and innovative ways..."

  • [May 05, 2006] "OpenDocument Format Plug-in for Microsoft Office Suite." Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Information Technology Division (ITD). RFI 06-1 ODF Plug-in for Microsoft Office Suite. May 3, 2006. 6 pages. "On September 21, 2005, the Commonwealth's Information Technology Division (ITD) issued Version 3.5 of its Enterprise Technical Reference model (ETRM 3.5). A copy of ETRM 3.5 is available at ('Policies, Standards and Legal' and then 'Enterprise Architecture'). The Information Domain section of ETRM section 3.5 creates a future requirement for Executive Department agencies to create and save office documents in the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards' (OASIS') OpenDocument Format ('ODF'), now international standard ISO/IEC 26300. Microsoft Office currently does not support ODF. Through this Request for Information, the Commonwealth seeks information pertaining to the existence or development of a 'plug-in component' or other converter options to be used with Microsoft Office that would allow Microsoft Office to easily open, render, and save to ODF files, and also allow translation of documents between Microsoft's binary (.doc, .xls, .ppt) or XML formats and ODF. Respondents responding to this proposal need not be on state contract... Information requested includes [examples]: (1) Existence of Parties, Projects, and Status [What is the present state of efforts to create ODF plug-ins or converters for Microsoft Office, whether undertaken by respondent or others through projects with which the respondent is familiar? Whether an open source project, an independent developer, a vendor, or a group of vendors is currently developing, planning to develop, or interested in developing an ODF plug-in or converter for Microsoft Office 2000, Office 2003, and the upcoming Microsoft Office 2007, capable of reading and saving ODF documents. Please provide the identity of such open source project, independent developer, vendor or vendors, their address, names of principals, and a description of their experience in projects of similar technical difficulty.]; (2) Mode of Operation; Ease, Transparency, Economy of Use [Whether such a plug-in would be capable of exchanging textual (Word), spreadsheet (Excel) and presentation (PowerPoint) documents, whether in legacy or XML formats, to and from ODF, and rendering such documents using Microsoft Office.]; (3) Timeframes, Level of Effort, Resources, Technical Details, Risk..." [source PDF, from]

  • [May 03, 2006] "ODF Alliance Hails Top International Standards Body's Approval of OpenDocument Format." - "The OpenDocument Format Alliance (ODF Alliance), a broad cross-section of associations, academic institutions and industry dedicated to solving the problem of improving access and retrieval of electronic government documents, today congratulated the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for its sweeping approval of the OpenDocument Format as an international standard... 'Approval of the OpenDocument Format by ISO marks an important milestone in the effort to help governments solve the very real problem of finding a better way to preserve, access and control their documents now and in the future,' said Marino Marcich, Executive Director of the ODF Alliance. 'There's no doubt that this broad vote of support will serve as a springboard for adoption and use of ODF around the world. At the same time, it also represents a milestone for the ODF Alliance, which in just weeks has seen a groundswell of support and continues to grow everyday.' The OpenDocument Format emerged from work done at the open source project. This work was later submitted to, and further developed at, OASIS, where it was accepted as an official OASIS standard in May 2005. The six-month approval ballot for its adoption as a standard by the International Standards Organization and the International Electrotechnical Commission ended on May 01, [2006]. In May 2004, the then European Commission's IDA (Interchange of Data between Administrations) Management Committee 'TAC' had publicly encouraged OASIS to submit the OASIS ODF standard to ISO once it had completed its work on the standard. The ODF Alliance believes that approval of ODF by the ISO standards body as an international standard will thus have a particularly strong impact in Europe where ISO standards enjoy official recognition under European Union Directives..."

  • [May 03, 2006] "OpenDocument Standard Ratified." By Dawn Kawamoto. From CNET (May 03, 2006). "OpenDocument was ratified as a file format standard Tuesday night by an international standards group, setting the stage for greater worldwide adoption of the open-source file format technology. Members of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) ratified the file-format standard with no opposition among the 31 votes. And because only seven members submitted comments for review, the closely watched OpenDocument standard may be published in fast order. Although Microsoft sits on the ballot resolution committee that will have a chance to review the ISO/IEC's comments on OpenDocument, competitors such as Sun Microsystems are not worried that Microsoft will affect the publication of the newly ratified standard. 'It would be hard for Microsoft to now interfere with the process,' said Simon Phipps, Sun's chief open-source officer, noting that the standard was ratified with no opposition. 'We know we have the strongest validation as possible for this file format.' Microsoft said it will support interoperability with OpenDocument file formats and not oppose its standardization or use by any organization..."

  • [May 03, 2006] "All Eyes on Office as ODF Gets the Nod." By Elizabeth Montalbano. From InfoWorld (May 03, 2006). "The International Organization for Standards (ISO) this week gave formal approval to the Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF), paving the way for office suites based on ODF to be more broadly adopted, proponents said Wednesday. The move comes as Microsoft's rival standard for its own Office productivity suite, OpenXML, awaits the same approval by the ISO. The ISO is an international consortium that works with the United Nations to maintain and approve international technology standards. ODF is a standard for office documents overseen by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) and supported by Microsoft rivals IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc., among other companies. They want to see ODF adopted internationally as the standard for office documents and software that creates and manages these documents, such as Microsoft's popular Office suite and rivals such as Sun's Star Office. The government of Massachusetts in the U.S. already has put in motion a plan to migrate its documents to ODF from proprietary formats, a process it hopes to implement beginning in January 2007. According to Andrew Updegrove: 'With adoption of ODF by ISO/IEC now assured, software that implements the standard will now become more attractive to those European and other government purchasers for whom global adoption by ISO/IEC [International Engineering Consortium] is either desirable, or required. Offerings such as OpenOffice and KOffice therefore should receive a boost in appeal and usage, as well as for-sale versions, such as Sun's StarOffice and IBM's Internet-based offering'..."

  • [May 03, 2006] "OpenDocument Approved by ISO/IEC Members." By Andy Updegrove. From Standards Blog (May 03, 2006). "The six month voting window for ISO/IEC adoption of the OASIS OpenDocument Format (ODF) standard closed on May 1, and at midnight (Geneva time) last night it was announced internally that ODF had been approved by the ISO members eligible and interested in casting a vote. The vote passed with broad participation and no negative votes (there were a few abstentions), and ODF is now ISO/IEC 26300. While there are still some procedural steps internal to ISO/IEC that are required before the official text of the standard will be finalized and issued, these steps (described below) are formalities rather than gating factors. With adoption of ODF by ISO/IEC now assured, software that implements the standard will now become more attractive to those European and other government purchasers for whom global adoption by ISO/IEC is either desirable, or required. Given the ongoing unhappiness in Europe with Microsoft over what the EU regards as unacceptable bundling and other practices, this may be particularly significant, especially when taken with the desire of many European and other purchasers to use open source products whenever possible. Offerings such as OpenOffice and KOffice therefore should receive a boost in appeal and usage, as well as for-sale versions, such as Sun's StarOffice and IBM's Internet-based offering. Microsoft's Open XML specification, also headed for consideration by ISO/IEC, is still in process within Ecma. Upon completion, it would be submitted to the same voting process..."

  • [April 20, 2006] "OpenDocument Movement Gains Steam." By Peter Galli. From eWEEK (April 20, 2006). "Membership in the OpenDocument Format Alliance has almost quadrupled over the past month. The Alliance, a coalition of organizations from across the world whose goal is to enable governments to have direct management and greater control over their documents, was launched on March 3 with 36 initial members, but that has now grown to 138 members worldwide. The Alliance is trying to promote and advance the use of the ODF (OpenDocument Format), which it says will allow the exchange of documents to take place without regard to the application or platform in which the document was created — both now and in the future. The Alliance has also appointed Marino Marcich as managing director, and he will work to educate policy makers on the benefits and opportunities around ODF and push its use by governments. Prior to this position, Marcich was vice president of Dutko Global Advisors, an international strategy and management firm. He was also previously an official at the U.S. State Department, working in Brussels advising companies on global strategies relating to regulation, standardization and trade issues. The ODF Alliance is also actively supporting the proposed adoption of the Open Document Format as a worldwide standard of the ISO (International Standards Organization) and the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). The six-month approval ballot began Nov. 1, 2005, and ends May 1, 2006..."

  • [March 7, 2006] "OASIS Backs OpenDocument Group." By Clint Boulton. From (March 7, 2006). "OASIS is already credited with bringing the OpenDocument Format (ODF) to the market last May. Now, in an effort to drive ODF product development, the standards body has created the ODF Adoption committee, which is tailored to boost the number of products based on ODF. Members of the committee include IBM, Sun, Novell and Oracle. ODF allows text, spreadsheet and presentation files to work with one another even if they were created with different vendors' applications. ODF addresses the concern that, as documents and services are migrated from paper to electronic form, governments and other public agencies may not be able to read important documents if they are not all using a common file format. The new committee is not to be confused with the OpenDocument Format Alliance, which Sun Microsystems, IBM and others announced last week to promote the technology as an alternative to formats used in Microsoft's Office software. An OASIS spokesperson said both the ODF Alliance and the OASIS ODF Adoption committee will work together in order to avoid overlap: 'We'll be coordinating our activities with the ODF Alliance, but where they will concentrate on influencing public policy for ODF, our group will work to increase the demand for and availability of ODF-conforming products'..." See the announcement of 2006-03-07: "Governments, Users and Providers of Office Applications Unite to Advance Adoption of OpenDocument Format (ODF) OASIS Standard. IBM, Novell, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems Join with Government Agencies and Other Users to Build Support for Open XML Format for Office Applications."

  • [March 4, 2006] "Push to Create OpenDocument Standards." By Steve Lohr. From New York Times and CNet (March 2, 2006). "With government records, reports and documents increasingly being created and stored in digital form, there is a software threat to electronic access to government information and archives. The problem is that public information can be locked in proprietary software whose document formats become obsolete or cannot be read by people using software from another company. To cope with the problem, [some] 30 companies, trade groups, academic institutions and professional organizations are expected to announce on Friday the formation of the OpenDocument Format Alliance, which will promote the adoption of open technology standards by governments. "The goal is to ensure that the largest number of people possible are able to find, retrieve and meaningfully use government information," said Patrice McDermott, deputy director of government relations for the American Library Association, a member of the alliance. The problem, she said, is bad and getting worse. She noted that the National Archives and Records Administration was engaged in a costly project so the electronic documents it saves from federal agencies can be opened and read. The alliance supports a particular solution, called the OpenDocument Format, for standard office word processing, presentation and spreadsheet documents... The alliance includes professional groups like the library association and universities like the Indian Institute of Technology. Its membership also includes many rivals to Microsoft in the software business, including IBM and Sun Microsystems, which offer office software that uses the OpenDocument Format..." See the announcement of 2006-03-02: "Alliance Formed to Promote Improved Access to and Retrieval of Electronic Government Documents. ODF Alliance Includes Diverse Industry Partners, Associations, NGOs and aCademic/Research Institutions."

  • [March 01, 2006] "Bristol Switches to StarOffice." By Jono Bacon. From O'Reilly Linux DevCenter (February 23, 2006). "In southwest England lies Bristol, England's eighth most populous city. With more than 390,000 residents, Bristol is well populated with strong local government representation. The Bristol City Council, a large and comprehensive administration, runs the town. The council uses thousands of computers for a variety of tasks, one of the most fundamental being office productivity and document creation. As a user of a range of software solutions, Bristol's council has always committed itself to finding the right solution for the right problem and trying to deliver that solution at the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) possible. The council decided to move over to Sun's StarOffice suite. Based on the open source suite, StarOffice provides a complete, supported, cross-platform office solution. Although StarOffice itself is not available under the same Open source license as its brethren, the move to StarOffice signaled a key win for open source supporters. StarOffice and's support for the OASIS-standardized Open Document Format (ODF) and adoption of that software in Bristol eliminates vendor lock-in. Gavin Beckett, Bristol City Council's IT strategy manager: 'We recognized the value of avoiding proprietary lock-in, and saw the XML file format used by StarOffice/ as a key to this. We think that the move to Open Document Format and the support for XForms within StarOffice 8 will provide significant opportunities for integration and interorganization messaging over the next couple of years. We didn't make this a key part of the business case, unlike Massachusetts, but their arguments make sense to us too. Government bodies are not the same as commercial organizations — we have far greater and longer lasting responsibilities to the public for the information we hold on them'..."

  • [February 23, 2006] ODF Workshop. On February 10, 2006, the Open Document Fellowship and the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) hosted a workshop on open standards in government at the SCALE 4x conference. "The goal was to focus on the use of OASIS OpenDocument Format for Office Applications (ODF) and document accessibility standards in state and local government. The goal of this event was also to foster a discussion about choice in software and open standards at all levels of California government. Topics: (1) Benefits of open standards versus their proprietary counterparts; (2) Technical merits of OpenDocument and XML-based file formats; (3) Avoiding vendor lock-in: The importance of choice in software for government organizations and their constituents; (4) The security benefits of heterogeneous software environments... OpenDocument (ODF) is a file format developed by OASIS, a standards body focused on structured documents and XML. ODF is intended as an open, cross platform, and vendor independent standard for editable office documents including: text documents, spreadsheets, charts, graphical documents, and databases. The format competes with Microsoft's Office 2003 and Office 12 XML file formats. ODF is supported by a wide range of software companies, government organizations, and open-source projects including: Sun Microsystems, IBM, Novell, Adobe, Corel, The National Archives of Australia, and others. Applications which currently support ODF include:, KOffice, Sun's StarOffice, and IBM Workplace. The royalty free and open license under which ODF is released will allow any individual or organization to develop competing products based on this format, without restrictions. This openness prevents vendor lock in, increases marketplace competition and provides consumers with a wide variety of choices in office suites..."

  • [February 13, 2006] "Former Mass. CIO Advises Partnering on ODF Projects." By Carol Sliwa. From ComputerWorld (February 13, 2006). "Citing his experiences as the CIO for the state of Massachusetts, Peter Quinn encouraged would-be adopters of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) to seek out partners willing to put 'skin in the game.' Quinn, who left the CIO post last month, was the keynote speaker here at a workshop Friday on the use of the XML-based ODF in government. Quinn had spearheaded the state IT Division's controversial initiative to save government documents using ODF, a standard that was approved last May by OASIS. Quinn suggested that Engelbach [Systems Safety Manager, Virginia Beach-based Kalman & Co.] reach out to the speakers at the event, which included officials from IBM and Sun as well as the founder of the recently incorporated Open Document Foundation, a nonprofit focused on improving and enabling ODF. The event speakers were hard-pressed to offer examples of ODF implementations outside of the state of Massachusetts. Quinn also mentioned that the Massachusetts IT Division got a lift when the Library of Congress stated that documents should be saved in open formats. The Open Document Fellowship, a volunteer organization formed in September to promote the use and development of the ODF, co-produced Friday's workshop with Southern California Linux Expo Inc..."

  • [January 11, 2006] "Moving to OpenOffice: Batch Converting Legacy Documents." By Bob DuCharme. From (January 11, 2006). "Most people know that you can use OpenOffice 2.0, the open source alternative to Microsoft Office, to open up a Microsoft Office file and then save it in OpenOffice's native format — a zipped file that includes the document's contents as an XML file conforming to the OASIS OpenDocument standard. This works for Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations... After opening one of these file types, you can even export them to an Acrobat PDF file. Like a lot of single-file conversions, this involves opening up and filling out various dialog boxes. If you have hundreds of files to convert, this isn't very practical. What if you want to load XML versions of a large collection of Word files, Excel spreadsheets, or PowerPoint files into an XML-aware database where you can query the collection? What if you're the State of Massachusetts or IBM? Like its Microsoft counterpart, OpenOffice has a macro language. You can start up OpenOffice from the Linux or Windows command-line prompt with instructions to to run a particular macro, and you can even pass a filename as a parameter to that macro. Adding the -invisible switch to the command line tells OpenOffice to start up without the graphical user interface (GUI). Put all these together, and you've got a command line that converts a Microsoft Office file to an OpenOffice file (or an Acrobat file) with no use of the GUI. To convert a hundred files, you can use a Perl script or other scripting language to create a batch file or shell script that has the hundred commands necessary to convert those files..."

  • [October 21, 2005] Free 2.0 Office Suite Supports OASIS OpenDocument Format. Cover Pages news story. October 21, 2005. The Project is an open source community dedicated to building a leading international office suite which is free, will run on all major platforms, and provides access to all functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format. The developers recently announced the release of Version 2.0 as a "productivity suite that individuals, governments, and corporations around the world have been expecting for the last two years... Besides a powerful new database module and advanced XML capabilities, natively supports the internationally standardised OpenDocument format, which several countries, as well as the U.S. state of Massachusetts, have established as the default for office documents. More than any other suite, 2.0 gives users around the globe the tools to be engaged and productive members of their society."

  • [October 10, 2005] "OASIS Submits OpenDocument as Standard." By Martin LaMonica. From CNET (October 10, 2005). "OASIS said it has submitted the standard to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). OpenDocument is a set of document formats for storing desktop applications, including word processors, spreadsheets and presentation software. The first version of the standard was ratified earlier this year by OASIS and is used by the OpenOffice open-source product suite. Late last month, OASIS said it had submitted the OpenDocument specification to the Electrotechnical Commission's Joint Technical Committee at ISO (ISO/IEC JTC1) for approval as a standard. OpenDocument will continue to be developed and maintained within OASIS, but the group is seeking the ISO standardization to make the document formats more accessible, according to an OASIS representative. 'We believe OpenDocument's approval by ISO/IEC JTC1 will serve as a gratifying endorsement, making OpenDocument even more accessible to adopters — particularly those implementing business solutions for governments — who look to ISO for assurance of long-term viability,' said OASIS representative Carol Geyer..." See the ISO bookstore.

  • [October 04, 2005] Sun Patent Non-Assertion Covenant for OpenDocument Offers Model for Standards. Cover Pages news story. October 04, 2005. On September 30, 2005 Sun Microsystems published a declaration of non-enforcement of its U.S. and foreign patents against any implementation of the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0 Specification or of any subsequent version of ODF. This non-assertion covenant is being praised as a creative mechanism for patent management in the OASIS open standards development context — a "model for patent protection that doesn't involve the glorification of software patents." Sun's public non-assertion declaration may be summarized unofficially as an irrevocable covenant not to enforce any of its enforceable U.S. or foreign patents against any implementation of the OASIS OpenDocument specification; however, this commitment is not necessarily applicable to any individual, corporation, or other entity that asserts, threatens, or seeks to enforce any patents or patent rights against any OpenDocument Implementation. Clarification of terms governing the use of the OASIS OpenDocument Standard is especially important because the final version of the Enterprise Technical Reference Model Version 3.5 published by The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and made effective on September 21, 2005 features the OpenDocument specification.

  • [September 26, 2005] Massachusetts Supports OASIS OpenDocument in Final Reference Model V3.5. Cover Pages news story. September 26, 2005. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts announced publication of its final version of the Enterprise Technical Reference Model Version 3.5, which became effective on September 21, 2005. Most of the Reference Model remains unchanged from the draft Enterprise Technical Reference Model Version 3.0 released in March 2005. ETRM Final Version 3.5 incorporates a new Discipline for Data Formats within the Information Domain, including Open Formats. The decision of the Commonwealth's Information Technology Division (ITD) has been watched closely in recent weeks, given the expectation that other jurisdictions may follow the lead of Massachusetts in its definition of Open Format and in requiring the use of non-proprietary, open data formats for official documents and archives. The ETRM Open Formats Technology Area "addresses open standards and specifications for the presentation of data as office documents, text, numbers, maps, graphics, video and audio. Three Open Format Technology Specifications are identified in ETRM Version 3.5: [1] OASIS Open Document Format For Office Applications (OpenDocument) v. 1.0; [2] Plain Text Format; [3] Hypertext Document Format v. 4.01.

  • [May 23, 2005] "Members Approve OpenDocument as OASIS Standard. IBM, Sun Microsystems, and Others Develop Royalty-Free Standard for Office Applications Document Format." - "OASIS announced that its members have approved the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0 as an OASIS Standard, a status that signifies the highest level of ratification. OpenDocument provides a royalty-free, XML-based file format that covers features required by text, spreadsheets, charts, and graphical documents. Future plans for the OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee include extending the standard to encompass additional areas of applications and users, as well as adapting it to incorporate ongoing developments in office applications. All those interested in advancing this work, including governments, open source initiatives, educational institutions, and software providers, are encouraged to participate in the Committee. OASIS hosts an open mail list for public comment and the opendocument-dev mailing list for exchanging information on implementing the standard."

  • [January 04, 2005] OASIS Releases OpenDocument 1.0 Committee Draft Specification for Public Review. Cover Pages News story. January 04, 2005. OASIS announced the release of Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) 1.0 Committee Draft Version 2 for public review prior to consideration of the specification for approval as an OASIS Standard. The second revision of the OASIS OpenDocument CD specification, previously called the Open Office Specification, contains revised definitions in response to new developments in the office application space, as well as error corrections and clarifications. The 723-page Committee Draft includes three embedded Relax-NG schemas. January 04, 2005.

  • OASIS Open Office XML Format TC Approves Committee Draft Specification

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