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Denmark chooses open formats

Science Minister satisfied.

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As of April next year, Danish state communication will be in open formats that fulfill set principles for open standards.

After four years of discussion, Parliamentary parties have decided to use open formats and to produce a list of acceptable document types.

A previous suggestion that this immediately precludes Microsoft's OOXML format proves not to be the case.

“My ambition is that in the future we will only communicate using open standards,” Science Minister Helge Sander told Parliament.

But he later rejected as 'ridiculous' media reports that the decision excluded Microsoft's products.

"Parties have agreed that document formats that fulfill determined principles in 14 months time can be used by the state, wherever they come from. The list of products will be continually added to," Sander says in a news release.

Microsoft says in a news release that it is satisfied that criteria for open formats have now been laid down.

"We are happy that the politicians have laid down criteria that the ISO-approved OOXML format fulfills," says Microsoft Technology Director Jasper Hedegaard Bojsen.

The criteria for open formats are said to include:
- Documented and public access.
- Freely implementable without economic, political or legal limitations in implementation and use.
- Approval by an international standards organisation such as ISO and standardised and maintained in an open forum in an open process.
- Demonstrable that the standard can be implemented by all directly in its entirety on several platforms.
- Interoperability within functionality requirements with other standards on the list.

ISO
According to Microsoft, the ISO standards organisation has approved both the ODF and OOXML formats as open document standards. ISO is a global network of national standards institutes from 157 countries. It has a current portfolio of more than 17 000 standards for business, government and society.

According to the version2 website, a Norwegian report says that the OOXML format is not open or stable enough yet. The Norwegian state has been using ODF 1.1 since the New Year, but the report is said to say that ODF 1.2 is not yet acceptable.

Initially, the decision to move over to open document standards in Denmark will only affect national institutions. Councils and regions are expected to come later.

This item has been updated

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