Norway says yes to Open Standards in IT

Following on from the very recent announcement from the Netherlands, the government of Norway has also stipulated that all public documents MUST be available in open standard file formats. [The English translation below is from Groklaw but not directly linkable]

Everyone should have equal access to public information: Open standards become compulsory within the government

The government has decided that all information on governmental websites should be available in the open formats HTML, PDF or ODF. With this decision the times when public documents where only available in Microsoft’s Word-format is coming to an end.

– Everybody should have equal access to public information. From 2009 the citizens will be able to chose which software to use in order to gain access to public information. The government’s decision will also improve the competition between suppliers of office applications, says IT-minister Heidi Grande Røys. This is the decision of the government:

* HTML should be the primary format for publication of public information on the Internet.

* PDF (1.4 or newer, or PDF/A – ISO 19005-1) is compulsory when you wish to preserve the original layout of a document.

* ODF (ISO/IEC 26300) must be used when publishing documents that are meant to be changed after downloading, eg. forms that are to be filled in by the user. – Norway’s Ministry of Government Administration and Reform

So, now two European (I know Norway is not truly part of the EEC but, like Switzerland, it is in Europe) countries have mandated Open standards for electronic documentation. I wonder how stupid the UK’s National Archive feel now? Or perhaps, because their management are Microsoft puppets, they didn’t really have a say in the first place…


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