US state finalizes plans to phase out Office

Massachusetts has finalised plans to move to an open format for office documents

The state of Massachusetts has finalised a proposed move to an open format for office documents, a plan that involves phasing out versions of Microsoft's Office productivity suite deployed in the state's executive branch agencies.

Massachusetts released a final version of its Enterprise Technical Reference Model on the state's website on Wednesday. According to the site, the new version, effective that day, "incorporates a new discipline for data formats within the information domain." As part of this new discipline, the state going forward will support the newly ratified Open Document Format for Office Applications, or OpenDocument, as the standard for its office documents.

Developed within the standards body OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), OpenDocument is an XML (Extensible Markup Language)-based file format that covers the features required by text, spreadsheets, charts and graphical documents.

Microsoft Office and other productivity suites such as Lotus Notes and WordPerfect that Massachusetts government agencies currently use support proprietary document formats. Suites that support OpenDocument include OpenOffice, StarOffice, KOffice and IBM Workplace.

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