OOXML remains but is not recommended
The French government has updated the interoperablity guidelines (RGI – Référence Général d’Intéropérabilité), replacing version 1 published in 2009. In this v2, officially published on April 22, 2016, ODF is now considered as a recommended standard to manage exchange between administrations and citizens.
The RGI's choice for ODF is a second major endorsement for the open document format. In July 2014, ODF was made the standard for editable documents in the United Kingdom.
In the first version of the RGI, both ODF and Microsoft’s alternative, the OOXML document format, were listed as “under observation”. With the current update v2, OOXML’s status has not changed, which means that the format must be used cautiously "because of its complexity and its lack of openness in terms of governance."
RGI v2 states that when exchanging of information formatted as tables, OOXML could be "considered an alternative. However, it is a practice to watch carefully."
“The DINSIC (the IT department of the State) has demonstrated that it acts in the long term interest of all French citizens and their governments”, says Frederic Couchet of April, a French free software advocacy group. “The terms used in the RGI are clear but the criticism against OOXML is unambiguous”.
“The RGI won’t solve all the problems; some work will remain necessary”, Couchet says.
The RGI v2 introduces interoperability profiles to classify standards according to use cases. The document lists nine profiles: Foundations known as “Etat Plateforme” (the French government's system for information exchange), Web Services, office productivity software, archiving, geomatic engineering , interoperability of social security organisations, process management, system design and digital signatures.
“An interoperability profile organises a group of standards and recommendations around defined use case RGI explained. This makes it easier to use this framework.”
The RGI v2 was finalised by DINSIC in 2015. A draft was opened for public comments between April and May 2015.
The RGI is one of the four standard frameworks published by the government for the French administration. The others are :
- the RGS (Référentiel Général de sécurité) which aims to providea trusted information exchange between administrations ;
- the RGAA (Référentiel Général d’Accessibilité pour les Administrations) aiming to improve access to information for citizens ; and
- the R2GA (Référentiel général de gestion des archives), which establishesa comprehensive and unified policy for archives.