By Vittorio Bertola, Head of Policy & Innovation at Open-Xchange
A few days ago, OASIS finally approved and released a new version of the Open Document Format – ODF v1.3.
This is yet another milestone in the long story of open document formats, which, in its modern form, dates back to almost twenty years ago, when people from multiple projects and backgrounds felt the need for an alternative to a single dominant commercial office suite and to its proprietary files. By adopting a common, open format for documents, users could avoid being locked forever into a single application and vendor, and alternatives could emerge, creating competition, innovation and user choice.
The availability of an open document format was also a key for the establishment of open alternatives to Microsoft Office. Where many software corporations failed, the free software community succeeded; the OpenOffice and LibreOffice projects allow hundreds of millions of people to use open document formats for all of their needs.
Open-Xchange, as a proud open source company, is always supportive of open formats and open standards. As part of OX App Suite, OX Documents is an office suite conceived since the start for online use and collaboration. It is created by members of the former OpenOffice development team, it incorporates years of work in making it modern, complete, effective and optimized for the web, and it is fully interoperable with the ODF format.
When, a few months ago, we learned that a crowdfunding effort had been launched to enable the publication of the next version of ODF, we felt compelled to give our contribution. We thus decided to donate to the COSM project – the community of ODF specification maintainers. Together with all the other donors, we contributed to pay for the professional work necessary to formalize and shepherd the new specification throughout the official standardization process at OASIS.
We congratulate all the people that put significant effort into getting this done, including a lot of volunteers throughout the planet. We have now started to look into the new specification, as we want to keep OX Documents interoperable with ODF as far as our features are supported by the format. We will continue our commitment to open formats and open source applications, and we will work with the ISP and telecommunication industries to make open alternatives to the closed platforms available to as many users as possible. We think that this is the only way to build a better Internet for everyone.