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Following a related ministerial decision in December 2011, the Hungarian public administration, as of April 2012, was to use open document standards for all electronic documents; all public organisations were also encouraged to move to open source office tools.
Consequently, the Hungarian Government is investing 370 million HUF (approx. € 1,23 million) in a three-year project to improve applications which use the open document format (ODF). The funds are shared between the Software Engineering Department of the University of Szeged and Multiracio, an open source IT specialist developing EuroOffice, office applications based on LibreOffice and OpenOffice.
This project aims to ensure the quality of the ODF tools, result in new ways to collaborate on documents using this open standard file format and improve tools for mobile computing devices that can create and use ODF, explains Kázmér Koleszár, one of the software developers at Multiracio.
The University of Szeged will conduct the quality assurance and usability related research and tool development. The University will work on improving ways to analyse the software source code and come up with ways to visualise and report on the quality of the code. Research will also focus on a tool to test the usability of the user interface.
Multiracio will develop the office application and work on several extensions. It will start working on a version of EuroOffice that can run on tablet computers and improve EuroOffice's collaboration functionalities.
In addition, the subsidy enables ODF specialists like Koleszár to participate in international networks on ODF development, including meetings on ODF organised by the OASIS standardisation organisation and the ODF Plugfests. During these events, implementers and stakeholders test their ODF implementations and work on new specification features.
One such ODF Plugfest was held in Brussels on 19 and 20 April 2012.
On 20 April 2012, Koleszár presented the upcoming version of EuroOffice. The company develops several specialised commercial extensions, including handling various languages, using formulas and managing map charts. "Most of our customers are in Germany and the US, but we have clients all over the globe", he added.
All Hungarian public administrations must change to open document standards for their electronic documents by the end of 2012. "This policy gives us much hope", Koleszár says. "The central government is very committed to open standards", he concludes.