As I noted recently, OpenDocument v1.1 is now an OASIS standard. Yesterday evening the press release went out. I'd like to quote a bit from it.
Curtis Chong, president of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science said (my emphasis):
We are thrilled with the progress to date... OpenDocument is no longer a thing to be feared, as we once thought. The OASIS process exemplifies what should be done if true accessibility to both a document format and the tools to manipulate it are to be achieved.
Dave Pawson of the Royal National Institute of the Blind said:
OpenDocument 1.1 is a practical XML format that is readily transformable to the DAISY digital talking book standard for people with print impairments. The clear specification of OpenDocument v1.1 will remain usable long after commercial and proprietary formats have been condemned to the dustbin.
Technology News Daily said in their article:
OASIS members have approved version 1.1 of the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) as an OASIS Standard, a status that signifies the highest level of ratification. The result of a unique collaboration between advocacy groups for the disabled and open source and commercial software vendors, this new version of the standard provides key accessibility enhancements to ensure that the OpenDocument format (ODF) addresses the needs of people with disabilities.
And in related news, last week while I was in Washington DC for the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee meeting number 3, Sun put out a press release announcing our OpenDocument Format Plug-in for Microsoft Office. It's formal name at the moment is "StarOffice 8 Conversion Technology Preview" - technology built using the OpenOffice.org codebase for reading/writing Microsoft Office and ODF files, turned into a plug-in for MS-Office to place ODF open/save functionality into MS-Office. The technology preview will be available for free download later in February, with the final version slated for April.
Sun CEO and president Jonathan Schwartz describes the plugin (complete with a picture) in his blog earlier this week. He writes:
Whether you're an oil company or a high school student - ODF will enable seamless interoperability between open source and closed source environments - for as long as the standard, not the technology or product, exists. From a corporate perspective, this also allows a very natural migration to occur across large institutions - front office staff might stay on Microsoft Word, but the rest of the organization can move to an interoperable alternative (say, Google's word processor or OpenOffice - or both). Affordability and interoperability are a good thing for the internet - and for the successive generations we expect to use it.
And while I'm on a quoting binge, let me quote Sun executive vice president, software, Rich Green (from the Sun press release):
Organizations can now consider switching to ISO/IEC 26300 OpenDocument Format while protecting employees needing assistive devices only supported by legacy Microsoft software. ODF is important because it ensures documents will still be readable long into the future while allowing a wide choice of proprietary and open source software choices to work with the documents.
After all those excellent quotes, I can't think of a thing more to add myself!