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Use Open Document Format as the Government standard

Comment 2nd July 2010

Establish the Open Document Format as the standard for use in all Government departments rather than continually upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft Office at a cost of many millions of pounds.  This is a process which is already taking place in other European countries and one which should be started in Britain at the earliest opportunity.

Why does this matter?

Within the last couple of years the British Library had to spend many millions of pounds having Microsoft convert MS Word documents from the last century into the latest version of MS Word so that they could be read by modern PCs with current Windows operating systems.

Unlike the Open Document Format, Microsoft Office uses proprietary binary formats.  At any time in the future, anybody will be able to convert old documents written in Open Document Format into the latest version, because the specification of ODF is open for all to see and copy as necessary.

Many millions of pounds are spent annually in Government departments upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft Office.  This is a waste of taxpayers money.  There are a number of Office Suites available free of charge which would do the job just as well as MS Office.

(The same could be said about the annual expenditure on purchasing licences to use the Microsoft Windows operating system.  There are many Linux distributions available for virtually no cost which would do the job equally well as MS Windows.)


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