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Congratulations from FSF to UK government

ODF logoWriting yesterday on the Free Software Foundation (FSF) blog, Libby Reinish states that UK citizens will soon be able to fill out government paperwork with their freedoms intact. The British government announced last week (news passim) that Open Document Format (ODF), HTML and PDF will be the official file formats used by all government agencies.

In particular, the FSF post states:

The Free Software Foundation applauds the British government’s decision to make ODF its official file format. We are especially happy that the decision excludes use of Microsoft’s OOXML format, which is not fully free and would prevent the goal of interoperability. Now British citizens can use free software like LibreOffice without worrying that they’ll have trouble applying for a passport, reading court documents, or getting their pensions.

The British government’s adoption of ODF will make it harder for laggards to ignore the standard file format, and could inspire other governments to make the switch. After all, it’s unethical to spend public funds on proprietary software that hinders interoperability and forces citizens to use the same software or miss out on access to vital government documents.

Bristol Wireless welcomes this statement, particularly the assertion that spending public funds on proprietary software being unethical. We’d sooner see that money spent on serving the public. 🙂