China launches UFO document software

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Mainland China's government will promote home-grown office productivity software in at least six ministries this year that uses a uniquely Chinese document format standard.

China calls its new document format standard the Uniform Office Format. The office software uses XML and has been developed entirely within mainland China. It is available in two software packages, Evermore Software and Redflag 2000.

Although China's new office document "standard" uses XML like the already ISO-approved Open Document Format (ODF) standard and Microsoft's still unimplemented (and very likely unimplementable) but wanna-be ISO document format standard Office Open XML (OOXML), it is not an internationally documented or accepted (much less ISO approved) standard.

So, rather than calling it UOF, we'll just call it UFO, as in, Unidentified Flying Office documents.

The first three Chinese government bureaus that will deploy China's as yet nonstandardised UFO document software are the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPC (roughly, China's Foreign Ministry), the Ministry of Commerce, and the State Archives Administration.

Ren Jinhua, an Information office director, described some of the Chinese government's bureaucratic machinery for deploying the UFO software. He reportedly also said that it might in the future become mandatory for other Chinese users.

Readers are welcome to speculate about why mainland China's government has apparently supported the development of, and is deploying, this UFO office documents software, which does not implement an ISO-approved document formats standard, is not easily translatable into any standard document formats, will likely tend to further the continued isolation of its Chinese users from international commerce, and will probably never gain much if any user base outside mainland China. (c) 2010 Incisive Media

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