Demand OpenDocument: Tell Microsoft You Want It

by Jean Hollis Weber

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The OpenDocument Fellowship, a volunteer organisation with members around the world, has called on everyone who uses MS Office, or who has an interest in open standards, to sign a petition at

The petition, available in several languages, states:
"I request that Microsoft fully support the OASIS (Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) OpenDocument Format for Office Applications in its MS Office product. This should include the ability to read, edit and write OpenDocument files reliably, according to the format specification."

Microsoft has stated that the company will support the OpenDocument format in MS Office if there is customer demand. This petition will demonstrate that customer demand already exists.

OpenDocument (short for OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications) is an open, XML-based file format from the OASIS standards group. It's been a hot topic recently because of the controversy over a decision by the State of Massachusetts to require it as an office format for the state's internal archives. Less noticed has been the fact that the European Union has stated that OpenDocument fulfills its criteria on open standards for office documents.

OpenDocument is designed not just to handle all office type files but also to integrate with the Internet. Users whose data is stored in OpenDocument format will never again face the problem of not being able to access data because the application that created it is no longer supported.

Open standards already enable users of different computer systems (both hardware and software) to access the Internet and communicate with each other. ODF enables users of different computer systems and software to freely exchange and use files. Vote for ODF!

For more information, see the Fellowship's website,

What's your take on this campaign to demonstrate public support for OpenDocument?