Petition for ODF at the National Archive

Thanks to Russell Ossendryver for pointing this out.

Recently it was announced that National Archives are converting their stock of electronic documents into Microsoft Open XML format. This format is not supported outside of Microsoft’s own products and ties the public to purchasing Microsoft Office should they wish to view the products, which is a cost of around £80-£120 depending on version. It also ties a user to purchasing Microsoft Windows which is a cost of roughly £150 for the Basic edition or purchasing a new PC with Windows which is a cost of at around £200 for a new machine. Instead Open Document Format which is an accepted ISO standard unlike Open XML should be used. Open Document Format is supported on many major platforms and is freely available at no charge. It includes all the necessary features for documents otherwise it would not be the ISO standard. There should not be a £250 charge to use Microsoft for accessing the National Archives electronically especially in light of the companies ongoing litigation with the EU regarding its anti-competitive actions.

Since the recent vote by the ISO, the bit about OOXML not being a standard is now obsolete unless there is a formal complaint made within 2 months. Also, M$ Office can cost a great deal more than £120 if you want any of the (more useful) enterprise features. Of course, Open Source offers them for free.

Nevertheless, although I doubt it will make much difference to the choice of document format used by the UK’s publicly owned National Archive, as it seems to have been infiltrated by Microsoft’s puppets at senior levels, it may well help to raise the profile of ODF and to the UK government.

And of course, it’s just fun to be able to make your point somewhere.