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We respond to HMG

Cabinet Office logoWith about an hour to go before the shutters came down on Friday afternoon, Bristol Wireless responded to the Cabinet Office’s consultation on file formats for sharing and collaborating on documents with government.

Our response is reproduced below.

Background: we are a volunteer-run IT co-operative which has been active in the west of England for 12 years. We run our operations using free and open source software exclusively.

We welcome this opportunity to comment on the Cabinet Office’s proposals for sharing and collaborating on documents with government.

We fully support the proposals to move away from the use of proprietary formats for the exchange of documents with government.

In the past we have experienced some difficulties with documents in proprietary formats, such as Microsoft’s OOXML (e.g. .docx) formats, which do not always render correctly in our free and open source software, in addition to which Microsoft has not ported its Office suite to the Linux operating system (which we use exclusively), thus making it difficult for us to interact with government as a good corporate citizen.

The move to the proposed open formats – HTML, TXT, ODF and CSV – will enable us to play a fuller role in civic life and present no problems to either us or the software that we use as they are fully supported by the latter.

We trust the Cabinet Office will stick to its principles as outlined above in the consultation and not bow to corporate pressure from powerful vested interests.

Steve Woods
Company Secretary
Bristol Wireless