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EU Politics

EU Should Switch To ODF Standard, Says MEP 111

Posted by timothy
from the so-should-the-u.s. dept.
DTentilhao (3484023) writes "The European institutions should switch to using the Open Document Format (ODF) as their internal default document format, says Member of the European Parliament Indrek Tarand. Speaking at a meeting of the European Parliament's Free Software User Group (Epfsug), last week Wednesday, MEP Tarand said: 'Moving to ODF would allow real innovation, and real procurement.'"
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EU Should Switch To ODF Standard, Says MEP

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  • Re:Innovation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Immerman (2627577) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @04:12PM (#46678485)

    It's simple enough - if you use Microsoft's formats you're limited to using Microsoft's products (nothing else fully supports the formats as they're incompletely documented and intentionally obfuscated). That means any product innovation happens purely at Microsoft's discretion - which these days seems to mostly tend toward zero except where lock-in and payment extraction is concerned. It also means procurement processes are limited to purchasing Product A from either vendor X, Y or Z, all of whome are selling at very close to the monopolist-set retail price.

    With open formats you have the option to choose between multiple supporting products to find the one that best suits your specific needs. Maybe for most people that's Libre Office. But Google Docs has much to recommend it in some situations. As does Abiword, or dozens of other ODF-supporting applications. And every one of them is developing in slightly different directions, allowing them to be mixed and matched on a case-by-case basis, and in the case of open-source applications it even becomes possible to add in organization-specific features if you so desire. All while keeping the documents themselves completely compatible with everyone else. Pretty innovative compared to a mega-corp-controlled monoculture.

    As for procurement and cost, well hopefully it's obvious that having dozens of different products optionally supported by hundreds of different suppliers gives you a lot more procurement options than in a monoculture. And when some of those products, some of the best of them even, are completely free to use (without contractual support obviously) there is far more incentive for suppliers to not artificially inflate their prices. Consider this: in a truly free market profits tend toward zero - obviously everybody still has to get paid, but any profit margin above and beyond production costs gets eliminated by competition with alternate suppliers. Now, how much did Microsoft make from MS Office last year?

  • Re:But who... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2014 @06:03PM (#46679135)

    If by "best" you mean "able to read standard ODF and write subtly broken MS-ODF that only Office can interpret correctly"... then yes, I'd fully expect them to do that.

  • Re:uhhhh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07, 2014 @11:28AM (#46684131)

    I think it comes down to the 'right to read' a document.

    If you can read a document for free (ODF is a free format, there is no cost to getting a reader once you have even a rudimentary computer) you can build on the knowledge in that document without having to pay that toll.

    The toll may not seem like much, but added up over all the people that want to read, it keeps MS afloat, which isn't the goal of a proper document.

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