IBM Endorses OpenDocument

It's good to see IBM's official and public support [via Sean] for the forthcoming OpenDocument standard at OASIS:

"IBM views the OpenDocument standard as one of the most crucial enabling standards for IBM Workplace, and we are embracing it deeply and enthusiastically."

OpenDocument, of course, is the XML format pioneered at OpenOffice.org and used in StarOffice, as well as in a number of other document processing packages such as the open source AbiWord and KOffice. Already we're seeing people finding the OpenDocument format valuable - there's a plug-in for Google's desktop search that allows searching inside OpenDocument files (about time that became a core feature rather than a plug-in though - how about it, Google?), and I just found a Mac desktop application that searches inside OpenDocument files.

Document processing tools have clearly become commoditised (witness Microsoft's desperate measures calling their customers "dinosaurs" if they won't engage in the unnecessary 'upgrade' to the latest version of Office - that's 'dinosaurisation', the spread of software for fear of incompatibility). It's about time. We have all been held hostage to the upgrade arms race on document tools for too long, with its side effect of older documents becoming harder and harder to use and of organisations having a mix of incompatible versions even of the monopoly product. As OpenDocument becomes the accepted enterprise standard we'll finally see competition based on the value derived from the software and not on file format lock-in and abusive dinosaurisation.

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