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New OpenDocument Alliance Could've Helped MA CIO

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A group of more than 35 U.S. and international IT vendors, organizations, academic institutions and industry bodies is due to announce the formation of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) Alliance Friday.

The new body, whose initial members include IBM, Oracle and Sun Microsystems, will focus on further evangelizing the OpenDocument electronic file format.

Open Document Format for Office Applications, also known as OpenDocument, is being developed by the OASIS standards body as an XML (extensible markup language) file format. The format covers text, spreadsheets and other document types created by office productivity suites. Supporters of OpenDocument include offerings from open-source players and Sun's StarOffice and IBM's Workplace software suites.

The ODF Alliance has formed under the auspices of trade association the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). Other IT vendors in the alliance include Corel, EMC, Novell and Red Hat. The initial member roster lists a variety of organizations from France, India, Japan and the U.K., according to Ken Wasch, SIIA president.

If such a body had existed last year, it's possible the organization could have provided much needed support to an embattled U.S. chief information officer (CIO), Wasch said in a phone interview Thursday.

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