Sunday, September 25, 2005

Massachusetts Finalizes Plans to Move to XML Based Document Format is reporting Massachusetts has finalizes plans to phase out Microsoft Office and move to a nonpropretary format for office documents.
Massachusetts released a final version of its Enterprise Technical Reference Model on the state's Web site Wednesday. According to the site, the new version, which became effective that day, "incorporates a new discipline for data formats within the information domain." As part of this new discipline, the state, going forward, will support the newly ratified Open Document Format for Office Applications, or OpenDocument, as the standard for its office documents.

Developed within the standards body OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), OpenDocument is a file format based on XML (Extensible Markup Language) and covers the features required by text, spreadsheets, charts, and graphical documents.

There are several office suites that support xml, OpenDocument format, including OpenOffice, which is free as in free beer, Sun's StarOffice, KOffice, which only runs with KDE in Linux or BSD, and IBM Workplace.

Microsoft Office Word 2003 does have some XML support, but not out of the box support for saving all you Word documents as xml. It appears Mircosoft is moving toward builing XML, OpenDocument standards into the next release, but it's not soon enough for Massachusetts.


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