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Subject: Members Approve OpenDocument Version 1.1 as OASIS Standard

Members Approve OpenDocument Version 1.1 as OASIS Standard  

Consortium Enhances Accessibility Features of Open Format for Office
Boston, MA, USA; 13 February 2007 -- OASIS, the international standards
consortium, today announced that its members have approved version 1.1 of the
Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) as an OASIS
Standard, a status that signifies the highest level of ratification. The result
of a unique collaboration between advocacy groups for the disabled and open
source and commercial software vendors, this new version of the standard
provides key accessibility enhancements to ensure that the OpenDocument format
(ODF) addresses the needs of people with disabilities.

"The changes made in version 1.1. mean that OpenDocument now meets and even
exceeds the accessibility support provided in other office file formats, as
well as that specified by the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines," said
Dave Pawson of the U.K.'s Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB).
"OpenDocument 1.1 is a practical XML format that is readily transformable to
the DAISY digital talking book standard for people with print impairments. The
clear specification of OpenDocument v1.1 will remain usable long after
commercial and proprietary formats have been condemned to the dustbin."

OpenDocument 1.1 supports users who have low or no vision or who suffer from
cognitive impairments. The standard not only provides short alternative
descriptive text for document elements such as hyperlinks, drawing objects and
image map hot spots, it also offers lengthy descriptions for the same objects
should additional help be needed.  

"We are thrilled with the progress to date," said Curtis Chong, president of
the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science. "Our views have
changed over time. OpenDocument is no longer a thing to be feared, as we once
thought.  The OASIS process exemplifies what should be done if true
accessibility to both a document format and the tools to manipulate it are to
be achieved."

In addition to text documents and spreadsheets, OpenDocument defines
presentation format. "Navigating through slide presentations poses particular
difficulties for blind users. Often, the keyboard navigation order does not
match the visual flow of the slides," explained Don Harbison of IBM, co-chair
of the OASIS ODF Adoption Committee. "OpenDocument 1.1 adds a provision for the
author to define a logical keyboard navigation order."

Other OpenDocument accessibility features include the preservation of
structural semantics imported from other file formats, such as headings in
tables, and associations between drawings and their captions. 

The new version of OpenDocument reflects the work of the OASIS OpenDocument
Accessibility Subcommittee, which is made up of accessibility experts from IBM,
the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI), RNIB, Sun Microsystems, and
others. The Subcommittee's recommendations were incorporated into the
OpenDocument specification by members of the OASIS OpenDocument Technical
Committee, which includes representatives from Adobe Systems, IBM, Intel,
Novell, Sun Microsystems, and others. 

"On behalf of our Committee, I would like to especially thank the RNIB, the
ICI, and the other organizations and individuals who helped us analyze the
OpenDocument specification, identify deficiencies, and develop enhancements for
improving its accessibility," said Michael Brauer of Sun Microsystems, chair of
the OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee. 

"Version 1.1 is an important milestone in the evolution of the OpenDocument
OASIS Standard," said Erwin Tenhumberg of Sun Microsystems, co-chair of the
OASIS ODF Adoption Committee. "This release clears up several issues that the
OASIS Accessibility Subcommittee and the community had identified early on.
Version 1.1 addresses the features required by today's document-centric
applications while taking document formats to a completely new level."

Participation in the OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee, Accessibility
Subcommittee, and ODF Adoption Committee remains open to all. OASIS hosts
OpenDocument XML.org (http://opendocument.xml.org), a community-driven web site
on the standard.

Support for OpenDocument 1.1

"We've enjoyed positive feedback from the technical and disabled community
about many aspects of ODF 1.1, but one underlying, enabling technology in
particular has generated some excitement. I'm referring to IAccessible2,
software interfaces that are now an open standard managed by the Linux
Foundation, and which dramatically extend Microsoft Active Accessibility.  IBM
and many others were privileged to participate in the project, which enables
assistive technology to work in a more granular way with ODF applications and
many other environments."
- Richard Schwerdtfeger, IBM Distinguished Engineer, and co-chair of the OASIS
Accessibility Subcommittee

"Nokia is pleased to see the further evolution of OpenDocument to support
accessibility, providing a schema that can satisfy the needs of both public and
private organizations. Nokia is a strong supporter of open standards and sees
the standardization of ODF 1.1 as an important milestone in establishing a
truly open and useful standard for document formats."
-  Frederick Hirsch, Senior Architect, Nokia

"ODF is the default file format for users of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
and the Novell Edition of OpenOffice, and we are a strong supporter of ODF. ODF
has unique vendor and community support, Novell encourages its customers to use
ODF, and we are proud to participate in the development and evangelism of ODF."
- Nat Friedman, vice president and chief technology officer, Linux and Open
Source at Novell

Red Hat
"Red Hat is pleased to be able to see the release of the OpenDocument 1.1 OASIS
Standard. OpenDocument is very important to allow people to collaborate in an
increasingly heterogeneous and global environment."
- Dr Mark Little, Director of Standards for Red Hat

Sun Microsystems
"Sun is proud to have contributed and worked on OpenDocument 1.1, which was
developed in record time and we expect will be adopted also in record time.
This shows what happens when whole communities of interest -- in this case
commercial enterprises, open source communities and accessibility ones --
collaborate and share their vision towards reaching a common goal."
- Crawford Beveridge, Executive Vice President and Chairman, EMEA, APAC and the
Americas, Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Additional information:

OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee:

OASIS ODF Adoption Committee:

OpenDocument Accessibility FAQ:

About OASIS:

OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) is
a not-for-profit, international consortium that drives the development,
convergence, and adoption of e-business standards. Members themselves set the
OASIS technical agenda, using a lightweight, open process expressly designed to
promote industry consensus and unite disparate efforts. The consortium produces
open standards for Web services, security, e-business, and standardization
efforts in the public sector and for application-specific markets. Founded in
1993, OASIS has more than 5,000 participants representing over 600
organizations and individual members in 100 countries. Approved OASIS Standards
include AVDL, BCM, CAP, DITA, DocBook, DSML, ebBP, ebXML CPPA, ebXML Messaging,
ebXML Registry, EDXL-DE, EML, OpenDocument, SAML, SOA-RM, SPML, UBL, UDDI,
WSDM, WS-Notification, WS-Reliability, WSRF, WSRP, WS-Security, XACML, XCBF,
and XML Catalogs. http://www.oasis-open.org

Press contact:

Carol Geyer
OASIS Director of Communications
+1.978.667.5115 x209 (office)
+1.941.284.0403 (mobile)

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