Group: 2008 progress shows ODF will prevail

It was a good year for Open Document Format (ODF), which gained support from governments across the world in 2008 as its backers continued to promote it as an international standard for XML-based document exchange, according to the ODF Alliance.

Despite the fact that ODF's rival, OOXML -- a format created by Microsoft for its Office 2007 suite -- was also approved by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) earlier this year as an international standard, ODF Alliance Managing Director Marino Marcich believes that ODF will eventually win out as the dominant standard for document formats.

"I think that we're dealing with two formats to accomplish the exact same task," he said Tuesday. "At the end of the day, two formats for the same task just generates confusion and cost."

Marcich cited progress ODF made in the year and outlined in the as proof that ODF will eventually beat OOXML. Governments around the world are currently setting interoperability guidelines for the technology used in their agencies, and are standardizing file formats a part of that decision.

ODF has now been approved as a technology standard for document exchange in 16 countries, including Brazil, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Russia, and Germany, according to the report. In the Netherlands, government agencies must select ODF-supported products in technology purchases of €50,000 (US$69,920) or more, and in Brazil ODF also has been mandated for use in government agencies.

OOXML, on the other hand, is only being piloted alongside ODF in Denmark, and only the U.S. state of Massachusetts has approved OOXML as a standard, he said.