Australia mandates Microsoft's Open Office XML

 

Must have "write" capability.

Australia's Department of Finance has released a desktop policy that required all agencies to adopt Office Open XML as the standard document format - a move that in the short term ensures Microsoft's Office suite remains embedded in government.   

The Whole-of-Government Common Operating Environment (WofG COE) Policy [pdf] mandates that an agency's productivity suite "must have the ability to read and write the endorsed file format" that complies with the ECMA-376 version Office Open XML (OOXML) standard.

That particular OOXML standard was rejected by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) because it was littered with Windows-platform dependencies, according to its opponents.

The ODF Alliance, backed by IBM and Google, has warned about the adoption of the ECMA-376 standard by governments.

"The use of ECMA-376 essentially ties the adopter to Microsoft Office," the lobby group warned in October last year in a document entitled "What Government's Need to Know".

That standard, it pointed out, contained "many Windows-platform dependencies" that Microsoft was forced to remove under the ISO process in order to get it approved as ISO-29500 -- a standard that the Microsoft Office 2010 product has so far failed to comply with.

While Microsoft may already dominate public sector productivity suites, the directive issued by Australia's Government Information Management Office [AGIMO] may severely limit agency choices.

Many rival productivity suites have the ability to read and import Microsoft's OOXML format documents, notated by the .docx extension in the case of Word files, but few have the capacity to write in that format.

Unlike a 2009 UK open document format policy which made room for both the OpenDocument Format (ODF) standard and OOXML, AGIMO's policy document made no mention of the ODF standard -- the format supported by IBM, Sun Microsystems and Google.

ODF was also the format selected as standard by the National Archives of Australia in 2006.

AGIMO explained that it was settling on OOXML to "facilitate the exchange of information between agencies."

However it appears to leave some room for flexibility, adding that its decision "does not preclude the use of other file formats."

The demand for write capability may hinder Google's future cloud efforts, should it attempt to woo  Canberra's agencies to its cloud-based platform as it has in the US.

Applications that only support .docx read capabilities include Apple's iWork, IBM's Lotus Notes, Oracle's OpenOffice.Org and Google Docs, amongst others.

However, some developers have built productivity suites that offer read and write capabilities that support the OOXML format.

The latest release of the non-Oracle version of OpenOffice.org, LibreOffice, for example can read and edit Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 formats.

LibreOffice was created by the Document Foundation, which is supported by Google, Novell, Red Hat, Canonical and BrOffice and has on its board longtime OpenOffice.org contributor Charles Schulz.

According to Schulz, that same read-write functionality in Novell's OpenOffice.org was intentionally scuttled between 2007 and 2008 when Microsoft co-opted it to support its OOXML lobbying efforts. 

According to Schulz, Microsoft's own productivity suites, Office 2007 and 2010, have yet to meet the ISO-29500 standard -- a fact that may explain why AGIMO has not mandated the more stringent version of the OOXML standard.

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


Australia mandates Microsoft's Open Office XML
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Another phone with Telstra's Blue Tick: The Samsung Galaxy S5
Apr 8, 2014
Samsung's latest flagship phone joins Telstra's list of recommended handsets for customers in ...
Run an online shop? This might be worth bookmarking
Mar 28, 2014
Things like Australian safety standards are probably the last thing on your mind, but just ...
Vodafone switches on 4G in Tasmania: list of locations
Mar 28, 2014
See a list of locations in Tasmania that now have access to 4G via Vodafone's network.
Samsung Galaxy S5 on sale from Telstra next month for $912
Mar 27, 2014
It's not cheap, but if you are looking to upgrade your phone then the Samsung Galaxy S5 could be ...
What Australian workplaces actually rely on tablet computers?
Mar 14, 2014
If you're curious about where tablets are being used at work, here are three examples.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1428

Vote