07 April 2008


One of the most heartening developments on the UK computing scene has been the evolution of BECTA, "the Government's lead agency for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in education, covering the United Kingdom" from an organisation that was supine at best, to one that not only knows what it is talking about, but cares.

Here's further evidence of that:

During the standard approval process Becta wrote to the British Standards committee responsible for co-ordinating the UK’s response to the proposed Office Open XML standard asking that it considers carefully whether two different ISO standards was the best outcome that could be achieved in this important area. We were clear that the interests of non technical users (including most teachers and parents) would be best served by a single standard which accommodated the existing Open Document Format (ODF) specification, and any extensions necessary to provide the required compatibility with various legacy Microsoft formats.


There will remain the important practical issues of interoperability within schools and colleges in an environment of multiple ISO standards operating in the context of multiple document converters of varying effectiveness.

As I've noted before, this issue of competing standards, rather than competing implementations of a single standard, goes to the heart of the what standards are for, so it's good to see BECTA picking up on this. (Via Phil Driscoll.)

No comments: