Yes, this sounds amazing, but it be happening right now. Just like Massachusetts has decided that ODF was the format of choice for office documents, the French Document may just do the same.

It's not yet written in stone, but it's already written in the RGI wiki, where the government is asking for feedback. (RGI stands for General Repository for Interoperability). The aim of the RGI is to enable interoperability between the citizens and the administration, and between two parts of the French administration.

In this regard, the technical part of the RGI[1] features three very interesting rules:


It is RECOMMENDED to use Open Document Format for exchanging semi-structured office documents (such as word processing, presentation and spreadsheet documents).


It is MANDATORY to accept every document in Open Document Format for exchanging semi-structured office documents (...)


It is FORBIDDEN to migrate from some often used format inside an organization to any other format than the Open Document Format.

If France is going to stick to these rules, it's going to be a great step forward in terms of standards usage. This would be great news for several reasons:

  1. healthy competition (everybody could implement this well-documented format);
  2. both citizens and the administration would be technologically independent from specific vendors;
  3. As competition would be made possible, this would mean more innovation and also
  4. better prices for users;
  5. Information's future is much safer when stored using open formats. (And this is very important for governments where documents must be archived for very long periods of time).

It is to be reminded that this is only a proposal for now, and that the battle is raging between those who want open standards to rule and vendors that are not willing to give up on customer lock-in based on proprietary formats they have enjoyed for decades. Therefore, it is important to get involved in discussion in order for the Open Formats to prevail.

more details

In French

In English

Related articles


[1] Also in PDF Format.