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HI :)
Hmm, ok so i have read the Open Standards Consultation web-page on

They claim they want ... 
Background: The cost of the Government’s IT is
currently too high and needs to be reduced. There is a lack of market
diversity in existing government contracts. A more diverse market and
level-playing field for access to government IT contracts is needed to
improve competition, reduce cost and improve public service outcomes.


From a user perspective, it is difficult to transfer information and
data across government boundaries and systems due to a lack of
interoperability between products and services.


Citizens, businesses and delivery partners must be able to interact
with the Government, exchanging information/data across in the software
package of their choice and not have access costs imposed upon them by
the IT choices which the Government makes.


A lack of interoperability also makes it difficult for the Government
to reuse components, switch between vendors and products or to deliver
efficient public services that leverage the value of government
information, for instance through the provision of interfaces that
allow delivery partners to build on government information services,
delivering more innovative solutions.


Government is therefore seeking to:
give citizens and businesses a choice in the software they use when accessing government 
information and servicesreduce lock-in to a particular vendor or product;reduce the cost of IT 
through a more competitive and diverse market and sustained commercial leverage; andimprove 
software interoperability and sharing of data and documents across government boundaries."  

Interestingly the full booklet is only available in English (Uk? or US?) and only as a Pdf.  
So, it's probably better to deal with their stated goals rather than just do a rant or a ramble 
like mine.  In fact now i re-read mine i'm a bit embarrassed about it.  

Regards from
Tom :)

--- On Fri, 30/3/12, Tom Davies <> wrote:

From: Tom Davies <>
Subject: Fw: 'Open' Standards dependant on a single company?
Date: Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:35

Hi :)
I have forwarded a long rambling rant i just sent to the "Open Standards" agency.  Short and sweet 
might have been better.  Please feel free to write your own or perhaps modify bits of mine.  The 
marketing list had a great post a few weeks ago from someone in Thailand or Vietnam or somewhere 
and some of the comments from that would be superb.  

I would really like to see "e-letter" write to them because it's one of the things he is fantastic 

Please, even if you don't live in England (or the rest of the UK) or/and are not English please 
write in to the "Open Standards" office to express dissatisfaction about the Microsoft formats.  I 
guess it wouldn't work if your email address clearly places you in a different country but .com or 
.org addresses would be great.  

Regards from

--- On Fri, 30/3/12, Tom Davies <> wrote:

From: Tom Davies <>
Subject: 'Open' Standards dependant on a single company?
Date: Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:24

Dear Sirs,

I heard that an American company is trying to push their exclusive formats as an "Open Standard".  

The format as used in their programs apparently differs according to which version of their 
operating system is
 being used and which version of their product is used to view the format.  While they have managed 
to get a format granted ISO status and the format they use in their programs has the same name it 
seems there are significant differences between any of their implementations and the ISO version.  
Other companies are kept out-of-the-loop about variances so agreeing to use their formats means 
being tied in to constantly buying their latest products.  

Interestingly they attempted to do this before with a format called .Rtf (= "Rich Text Format").  
The newer format seemed to magically appear just after
 they lost a court-case involving the Rtf format and they have withdrawn development support for 

Meanwhile all other programs and office suites continue to happily use the ODF format that has been 
an ISO standard for so long.  The upgraded 1.2 version of the ODF standard has recently been 
released after extensive testing out in the field with many programs on many different platforms.  
The older ODF format will continue to be supported for many years.  Most other programs and office 
suites allow add-ons that can provide support for specific formats.  Such add-ons are usually 
maintained by various companies or individuals.  

So, unlike the American company's format the ODF standard does not depend on a single company to 
maintain and develop it.  If one company withdraws from developing and supporting it the others 
carry on and new ones join the umbrella organisation.  

Also from a security
 point of view the American company's format makes a lot of noise about security but keeps getting 
compromised.  Just this week my company has had trouble with a few machines running their office 
suite.  Microsoft seems to blame the user after their formats have been compromised and then sell 
them their latest product.  

By contrast the ODF format has never been compromised out in the wild (ie "in the field").  Indeed 
a huge fuss was recently made when someone noticed a theoretical possibility of a potential problem 
and a patch applied far before anyone could take advantage.  

Perhaps Microsoft don't keep records of how often their various products get compromised and so 
they can claim "there are no problems on record".  I would try google or any other search engine to 
test the validity of such claims.  

Regards from
Tom Davies

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