15/06/2009 09:00

Netherlands government and OpenDoc Society host technical plugfest

Over sixty representatives of forty companies, open source communities, the public sector, research organisations and civil society gathered in The Hague on June 15/16 2009 to work on better interoperability between office applications. The first so called 'ODF plugfest' took place in the Royal Library, in The Hague, and brought together for the first time such larger market players like Microsoft, Google, IBM and OpenOffice.org - and including upcoming players like ZCubes, KOffice, and Abiword - to unilaterally test and discuss implementation issues of ODF with each other. The event was organised by the Netherlands government programme NoiV together with OpenDoc Society.

ODF is the next generation exchange format for word processors, spreadsheets and presentations, providing a drop-in replacement for vendor-specific file formats as well as many exciting new possiblities and ease of use. "The market has chosen to support ODF across the board because it offers so many advantages to them and to the end user", says Bert Bakker, president of OpenDoc Society, "now we need to work together to support ODF in the best possible way in all those applications. Its a landslide move in IT which will finally create room for many long-awaited innovations."


Frank HeemskerkThe companies and communties received a personal invitation by the Netherlands minister for Foreign Trade, Frank Heemskerk, who also opened the event. Many governments including the Dutch have actively been adopting an open standards policy, with ODF being one of the prime drivers.

"Clearly, the Netherlands government is committed to open standards and to ODF in particular", says Ineke Schop, programme manager NOiV, "The ODF policy forms one of the three pillars of the government action plan 'Netherlands in Open Connection'. This is why we took the initiative for this event together with OpenDoc Society. We strongly support the idea vendors, open source communities and users coming together to improve ODF interoperability."

Group photo from The Hague ODF plugfest

Besides the testing activities the program includes a rich number of interesting plenary talks, speakers include Bart Hanssens (FEDICT), Rob Weir (OASIS ODF TC chair), Patrick Durusau (ODF editor), Marino Marcich (ODF Alliance), Doug Mahugh (Microsoft), Sander Marechal (Officeshots.org), J. David Ibáñez (Itaapy), Bert Bakker (OpenDoc Society) and Ineke Schop (NoiV).

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