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UK government formally adopts ODF, PDF, HTML

UK government formally adopts ODF, PDF, HTML

The UK government has announced that it is standardising on ODF, PDF, and HTML document formats, despite lobbying by Microsoft for its own proprietary equivalents.

The UK government has formally announced a shift to open standards for its electronic documentation, adopting the Open Document Format (ODF) for editable files and a mixture of Portable Document Format (PDF) and HTML for display files.

The announcement follows considerable lobbying both from groups encouraging adoption of the open formats and those like Microsoft with a vested interest in pushing proprietary equivalents. The new standards, all of which are free from licensing restrictions and can be both created and viewed using free and open-source software, will be rolled out across all government departments as quickly as possible.

'Our long-term plan for a stronger economy is all about helping UK businesses grow. We have listened to those who told us that open standards will reduce their costs and make it easier to work with government,' claimed Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude at the announcement. 'This is a major step forward for our digital-by-default agenda which is helping save citizens, businesses and taxpayers £1.2 billion over this Parliament.'

Existing documents will not be transferred to the new formats, the government's guidelines state, unless there is a request for an editable version. All new documents, however, will need to be in one of the listed formats.

'We had a huge response to this proposal, both from the standards community and the public as a whole. I want to thank everyone who took the time to comment,' added Government Digital Service executive director Mike Bracken. 'Their feedback made it clear just how important choosing the right way of publishing documents is. Using an open standard will mean people won’t have costs imposed on them just to view or work with information from government. It’s a big step forward, and I’m delighted we’re taking it.'

7 Comments

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Maki role 23rd July 2014, 12:56 Quote
Holy crap, no way, did they just do something useful to do with technology for once? That's a good shift.
Corky42 23rd July 2014, 13:03 Quote
How does this tally with the proposal to adopt Office 365 after the next election ?
I'm guessing 365 supports ODF, or have they abandoned the idea of using 365.
Phil Rhodes 23rd July 2014, 13:09 Quote
Why does this matter in any sense?

I do almost everything in Word 97 files.
rasmithuk 23rd July 2014, 13:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
How does this tally with the proposal to adopt Office 365 after the next election ?
I'm guessing 365 supports ODF, or have they abandoned the idea of using 365.

Both office 2013 and 365 support ODF.
When you first open 2013 it asks you which format you want to default to.
There's setting in 365 where you can pick which you want to default to OOXML/ODF.
Corky42 23rd July 2014, 13:28 Quote
Let's hope the PICT department sets that as the default then.
These MP's aren't to bright when it comes to computers. :D
Gambler FEX online 25th July 2014, 12:10 Quote
Yes! We must free ourselves from the yolk of the nobles! ...er I mean the corporations.
JohnRogers24 25th July 2014, 16:39 Quote
This is good news. I'm actually surprised they hadn't already.
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