The International Department of the Central Committee of CPC, the Ministry of Commerce of China, and the State Archives Administration of China have started to promote the Chinese-made Uniform Office Format standard, and it will be promoted in at least six ministries in China before the end of 2008.

UOF is a standard document format for the new generation of China's office-related software and it uses XML contained in a compressed file container. It competes with the OpenDocument format, which was developed by the Open Office XML technical committee of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards.

UOF has been recognized as a national standard in China and is currently applying to become an international standard, but a merger of UOF and ODF seems difficult to accompish because of structural and markup differences. At present, ODF is promoted by IBM and SUN, while another standard called Office Open XML is promoted by Microsoft.

Ren Jinhua, an office director from the Information Center of the International Department, Central Committee of CPC, said at a press conference that the International Department, Central Committee, the Ministry of Commerce and the State Archives Administration has promoted the UOF through administrative measures. The UOF office software used in these three ministries are provided by two office software packages, Evermore Software and Redflag 2000.

Ren said that the International Department, Central Committee received notices from the Ministry of Information Industry, whose name has since been changed to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, in November 2007 and became a trial unit for UOF at that time. In addition, the International Department, Central Committee is responsible for the establishment of the e-government project of the National Development and Reform Commission, which includes an e-government demonstration project of the National Development and Reform Commission, a demonstration project of the Party and government organizations of the State Secrecy Bureau and an office project of the State Archives Administration. Therefore, the UOF standard is also used in these units.

Ren predicts that the UOF standard will be promoted in at least six ministries in China by the end of 2008 and then might become compulsory among other Chinese entities. This should ruffle some feathers at Sun, IBM, and Microsoft.

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