Though Microsoft has held a sturdy grip on the throat of government and corporate software for quite a while, the Dutch government is looking to pry away the bony fingers of Microsoft’s restrictive formatting; Dutch parliament will discuss mandating Open Document Formatting this Wednesday…hello, OpenOffice!
If the legislation passes, Microsoft will be granted a temporary stay; however, it would have to demonstrate a move (and timeframe) towards implementation of Open Document Formatting or risk being completely discarded by the Dutch government, says MacWorld.
Though Microsoft’s OpenXML formatting does provide an open formatting, the format hasn’t received the approval of the International Organization for Standardization.
So, if no Microsoft products make the cut, then what’s going to be used? Products like OpenOffice, that’s what. Is Microsoft a tad nervous? You bet your britches they are; they’ve been lobbying in an attempt to destroy the legislation since its inception, arguing that Microsoft’s OpenXML formatting complies with the same standards as ODF.
Regardless, it is high time for change. Formats like ODF promote easy integration of software across multiple platforms, and will force the global eyes, now blocked with Microsoft blinders, to recognize the way that Microsoft’s software only prohibits innovation and interoperability.
I certainly expect to see some bending occur, whether it takes the shape of Microsoft working towards compliance, or the Dutch government making a few choice “exceptions,” that allow Microsoft’s software to stick around a bit longer in government computers. Someday Microsoft will have to bend towards flexibility and interoperability; will that be Wednesday? We’ll have to wait and see.