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Most people don't think too much about the format that they are saving documents in, that is, until they receive a document that they can't open or they send one that the recipient can't open.
For many years now this has been the way it is in business, whether one is sending documents created in different office suites or in different versions of the same office suite.
This problem has led to the push for open document formats, and by far the most mature solution in this area is ODF or the Open Document Format. ODF is ISO approved and is used in suites such as StarOffice and OpenOffice and also in Google's web applications. However, the ODF alliance, a group formed to help promote and spread the use of ODF, has found itself in a battle to get states and governments to use its format.
The main competition has come not surprisingly from Microsoft, the king of office suites. Recognizing the push in goverments and many businesses to support open formats, Microsoft has been pushing its OOXML or Office Open XML format. Microsoft has maintained the openness of its format and has gotten some states to recognize it as an open format but recently OOXML ran into a big roadblock when it lost a key vote towards becoming an ISO standard.
Today I am speaking with Marino Marcich, Managing Director of the ODF alliance, about this recent ISO vote, what effect it will have on OOXML, and its effect on the spread of the ODF format.