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The French want to BAN .doc and .xls files from Le Gouvernement

Ditch Office for more open standards, says DISIC

Microsoft could get the boot from the French government if a new recommendation from an official advisor is adopted.

DISIC (Direction interministérielle des systèmes d'information et de communication de l'État) has recommended that French authorities ditch Microsoft Office tools in favour of the Open Document Format (ODF).

DISIC is responsible for harmonising and reducing the costs of all state computers, including government ministries, state and regional departments and local authorities, and sees ODF as the best way to make them all interoperable.

According to sources, an initial draft of the report envisaged outlawing Microsoft’s Open XML altogether, although with some agencies using tools specifically developed for use with Open XML, DISIC relented.

However, the final version strongly encourages the phasing out of Microsoft’s ware in favour of ODF.

Unsurprisingly, the Free Software Foundation Europe – which supports all aspects of the free software movement – welcomed the text, and vice president Matthias Kirschner said its publication “highlights the problems with Microsoft's OOXML format”.

“We hope this will be another incentive for Microsoft to implement newer versions of ODF as default format in its office suite, so its customers can also benefit from the advantages of true open standards. DISIC wants to enable choice between vendors and technology solutions and in the long run, this will benefit all French citizens,” said Kirschner. ®

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