Lodahl's blog: The format war in Denmark

24 March 2007

The format war in Denmark

Here is a short summary from your local 'war correspondent'. The war about document formats in Denmark is heavy fire.

Last summer the parliament (Folketinget) agreed on a resolution (B 103) proposing that Denmark should use open standard formats in public governement. This resolution was proposed by the opposition.

In february the The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation revealed the implementation plan for B 103. This plan consist of several implementations including standard formats for documents. The plan defines open standards quite close to what we normaly do:
...that a standard is open implies that:

- the standard must be fully documented and publicly available,

- the standard must be freely implementable without economic, political or legal constraints on its implementation and use, now or in the future, and

- the standard should be managed and maintained in an open forum via an open process (standardization organization).

But in the implementation plan is given a choice: ODF or Office OpenXML. It is very important to remember that the resolution was proposed by the opposition and that the governement actually don't like it.

The democratical process in Denmark has given everybody the chance to answer to this implementation plan.

Several answers has been given so far:

  • a group of NGOs (including OpenOffice.org)
  • OSL (The Danish Open Source Business Association) known from the famous Ramboell report
  • Danish IT-Political Organisation.
The answers given so far is basicly to two things:
  1. Why do we need two standards ? One is enough
  2. How can Office OpenXML be classified as 'open' when we know that there are several dependencies indicating that the format is NOT an open standard.
The war continues...


Folketinget Resolution B 103 (unofficial english translation) http://itpol.dk/sager/offpol/b103_eng/

Implementation plan (english summary) http://itst.dk/static/nyhed/English%20summary.pdf

Answer from several NGOs (danish) http://www.oooforum.dk/viewtopic.php?t=2622

Answer from OSL (danish) http://www.osl.dk/hoeringssvar_aabne_standarder/

Answer from Danish IT-Political Organisation (danish) http://itpol.dk/sager/nyheder/horingssvar-om-abne-standarder

I'm trying to get English translations of the above answers as well as a complete overview of all given answers. There has been more than fifty answers to the plan.

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