Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ode to ODF

One of the big advantages to OpenOffice is that it stores documents in OpenDocument Format.  Unlike the various formats used by Microsoft products, ODF is free of restrictive license requirements, and can be used to store almost any kind of computer document.    
Could ODF be the Net's new, frictionless document DNA?
Posted by David Berlind @ 11:41 am

Between the way the recently OASIS-ratified OpenDocument Format (ODF) was approved as the Massachusetts standard file format for productivity applications, and the way it was submitted for consideration as a global standard to the International Standards Organization (the ISO) and the way the thin-client discussion has suddenly moved front and center again, could we be on the verge of an ODF-inspired document revolution?  Could ODF serve as the frictionless DNA that allows any thick or thin  authoring tool to create, edit, and exchange documents of all types? [...]
The reason that the State of Massachusetts formally adopted ODF is that they can be sure that ODF documents will be accessible forever.  They do not have to rely on one vendor to supply applications that can read those documents.  They do not have to worry about a vendor dropping support for a document type at some point in the future.  

The article quoted above suggests another possible reason that ODF might be preferable.  For various technical reasons, it may be the ideal format for documents that are edited collaboratively.