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Germany May Require ODF

Heise Online reports “Governing coalition to push for the adoption of open IT standards” in which they cover a Linux Tag presentation where “Dr. Uwe Küster, the party whip of the parliamentary group of the Social Democrats (SPD) in the Bundestag, the lower chamber of Germany’s federal parliament, said that the governing coalition would within the next two weeks submit a motion that would make open formats mandatory for the information technology of the federal authorities of the Federal Republic. This, Mr. Küster declared, would boost competition on the software market and strengthen the position of small and medium-sized enterprises.

“The focus would be on office software, where with the OpenDocument Format (ODF) an ISO standard had been created that would foster competition between office applications, he declared. During the discussion, which was organized by the team of the Open Source Annual, Dr. Küster compared the step about to be taken to the regulatory measures adopted with regard to the telecommunications market, which, he said, had improved the competitive chances of small suppliers vis-à-vis the “hegemony of the major players.”

Germany, the most populous country in the EU, seems poised to move its government office standard to ODF–this is a huge step forward for open standards, ODF, and marketplace competition. It also could be a boon for (as well as KOffice, AbiWord, and all the other ODF-compliant applications).

Europe is rapidly becoming ODF territory! The more countries adopt it around the world, the better our case for it here in the USA too (admittedly, this didn’t work with the metric system, but I remain hopeful).

We may have lost this round of open file format legislation in the US states where it was proposed, but when a country with a population of 82 million picks it up instead, that more than outweighs those temporary setbacks.

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