Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president of standards and open source, is urging computer users to pressure software suppliers, company executives and governments to support the OpenDocument format, a standardized file format for word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. Widespread use of OpenDocument could undermine one way Microsoft keeps people coming back to its dominant Office product, whose file formats are proprietary.
In his blog last week, Sutor urged people to take several actions:
"Insist today that the provider of your office applications is committed to support the OASIS OpenDocument...by January 1, 2007.
"Insist today that the office applications you deploy allow users to easily set the OASIS OpenDocument standard as the default 'save' format.
"Ask your CIO (chief information officer) when you will be able to use office applications that support the OASIS OpenDocument standard.
"Ask your local and federal governments when they will be supporting the OASIS OpenDocument standard."
The open-source OpenOffice.org effort begun by Sun Microsystems was the launching point for OpenDocument. The project's fifth anniversary was last week, and the new OpenOffice.org version 2.0 is imminent. Sun and Google pledged to help boost OpenOffice distribution earlier this month.