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Oregon Eyeing Open Formats

by Candace Lombardi, CNET

Oregon has a bill up for vote that would recommend the use of open- source format documents for state agencies. While the bill would foster open formats in the state if passed, the wording is much less specific than other proposed state bills that mandate the use of a specific type of electronic document. House Bill 2920 by Representative Peter Buckley proposes that state agencies "disclose public records in electronic form in certain circumstances and, when practicable, in open formats for which freeware is available." If passed, the law would also require libraries to offer freeware for viewing and printing copies of public documents, but only if the requirement "does not incur additional administrative or operational expense." Though the XML-based Open Document Format (ODF) supported by IBM, Sun Microsystems and others, could be used to fulfill the requirements, the bill's wording as it stands now would not make ODF mandatory. The bill does say that the open format chosen by the agency or library must be open-source and guided by one of the major standards organizations such as the American National Standards Institute, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which supports both ODF and Microsoft's proposed Office Open XML formats.

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