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Open document standards mandatory in Hungarian public sector

ODF logoOn 23 December government ministers agreed that, by default, the Hungarian public sector will use open document standards for their electronic documents, as of April 2012. In December 2011 Hungary’s government also decided to cancel the funding of proprietary office suite licences for all schools (if only the UK government would – or could – do likewise! Ed.).

According to Joinup, the ministers’ decision on open standards instructs public sector organisations to save their documents, spreadsheets and presentations only in standard formats that are accepted by international standard organisations (that means ODF. Ed.). Public sector organisations are also required to be able to receive and handle documents sent to them in an open standard format and all official documents must be made available in such a format too.

Except for the Defence Ministry, all government ministries must complete the transition to open standards before the end of March, according to the IT news site HWSW (Magyar). Vilmos Vályi-Nagy, Deputy State Secretary of IT, quoted by IT news site IT Café (Magyar), explained that the institutions had been told of the decision months before and that many were already preparing for the changes.

The Hungarian government is now recommending that public sector organisations switch to using open source office suites, such as LibreOffice or OpenOffice.

In December the government also decided not to renew a proprietary office software licence deal for all of the country’s schools. The current proprietary licence contract will run out on 1 March. The Ministry of Education states this measure is intended to boost competition in this area. “The ministry is convinced that the needs of the educational institutions can be satisfied by using free and open source software.”

Cancelling the funding of proprietary office licences had been discussed by the government when the contract ran out in March 2011. At that time the ministry decided to extend the licence deal for one more year.