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Portuguese government goes ODF only

The H Open - The Portuguese government has published a listing of open standards to be used within the country's public bodies and has decided on ODF (Open Document Format) as the sole editable document format according to a report from the Portugese Open Source Business AssociationPortugese language link.

The listing is part of the National Digital Interoperability RegulationPDFPortugese language link which activated a previous lawPDF that mandated open standards within public authorities. ODF began life as the XML-based document format for the OpenOffice.org productivity suite and later went on to become an international standard, first with OASIS and later with the ISO.

The selection of ODF means that the ISO standard OOXML, pushed by Microsoft, is not eligible to be used even though it is technically an open standard. The decision does not mean that Microsoft's Office suite cannot be used: Office is also capable of working with the ODF files. Other formats and protocols that have been approved for use are PDF, XML, XMPP, IMAP, SMTP, CALDAV and LDAP.

Portugal's open standards mandate is part of the country's ICT reform program which hopes to save €500 million a year and provide an economic stimulus to Portugal's native ICT suppliers. There are allowances in the law for when an agency says it will find implementing open standards "impossible" but that requires that the Presidency of the Council of Ministers is informed and will trigger a review of the decision.