ODF is a file format for electronic office documents such as spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents.
Might not sound big, but if you look at the adoption of ODF in governments and other organizations around the world it's become huge. These are some of the "small things" that governments like Maldives chooses to ignore but will have a major impact financially and technically.
Among the governments who have adopted ODF include India.
Chandershekhar, India's secretary of Ministry of Information and Technology, said, "We are glad to note that with formation of a National ODF alliance, India too would be playing a pivotal role in spearheading the ODF revolution. Further, considering the huge potential of eGovernance in the nation as well as the need to adopt open standards to make our data systems more inter-operable and independent of any limiting proprietary tools, we feel that ODF is a great technological leap and a big boon to further propel IT right to India's grass root levels. I congratulate this initiative of leading private & public organisations and wish them all the best in this endeavor."
- from WikipediaOther countries in Asia include Japan and Malaysia who have made the use of ODF mandatory within the public sector from April 2008.
In Europe countries like Belgium, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden and United Kingdom.
NATO with its 26 members (Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the USA) uses ODF as a mandatory standard for all members.
Other nations include Australia, Argentina and Brazil.
One objective of open formats like OpenDocument is to guarantee long-term access to data without legal or technical barriers, and some governments have come to view open formats as a public policy issue. OpenDocument is intended to be an alternative to proprietary formats, including the commonly used DOC, XLS, and PPT formats used by Microsoft Office and other applications. Up until Feb 15th 2008, the specification for the Microsoft Office binary formats were only obtainable by writing directly to Microsoft Corporation signing a license to use the formats. As of Feb 15th 2008, the specifications for the Microsoft Office binary documents are available for download. Microsoft will support the use of OpenDocument in Microsoft Office 2007 starting with Service Pack 2. Several plugins allow use of Opendocument in earlier Microsoft Office versions. - From Wikipedia