ISO standards go toward open source

Some good news for data that wants to last beyond the next version of Microsoft Office…  The recent International Standards Organization (ISO) vote on whether to adopt Microsoft’s “Open XML” file format as a standard has narrowly failed for now.  In part they failed due to questions about the long term viability of a format controlled by one company:

Microsoft has also faced resistance from some government bodies worried that by storing documents in the Office format, they’ll be forever locked in to buying Microsoft software to decode them. Microsoft has pressed for the new format’s acceptance as a open standard in part to defuse these concerns.  – WSJ

It is good to see governments veering off a privately controlled file format standard, albeit for near-term economic reasons.  It is most interesting that (at least in the quoted article) no concerns were raised about the much longer horizon of government data, and that in fact Microsoft may not always be around to support it at any cost.

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