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Bloch
July 6th, 2006, 01:26 PM
Here is the BBC report
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/5153350.stm

(edit) I've just found a better article here, with the titl: Microsoft Bows to Pressure to Interoperate with ODF
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1985186,00.asp
This is about built-in support for OD in office 2007.
The move comes hot on the heels of news that the OpenDocument Foundation planned to present Massachusetts with an Office plug-in that would allow Office users to open, render and save to ODF

Some of you will remember the Massachusetts "war" where the state decided to use only open formats. They came under alot of criticism, some of it from dubious "citizen's" organisations and Fox News.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument_adoption

I think the author of that BBC report above doesn't realise the full implications of this shift in Microsoft. The whole world is not tied in to using .doc formats any more. The shift to open formats looks unstoppable now that the single main barrier has been broken: MS's refusal to support the format.

"Can you send us that again in open doc format" will be heard a lot from 2007 on.

mishranurag
July 6th, 2006, 01:50 PM
That seems like a good news!
Anurag

nocturn
July 6th, 2006, 01:51 PM
Let's wait and see... I read it and it is true, but I still expect MS to, well, pull an MS on it.

Something in the lines of breaking the plugin at every update of Office, or sneak some formatting in that isn't documented...

BWF89
July 6th, 2006, 01:58 PM
I might have read that wrong but isn't the plugin that saves files ad ODF made by a third party?

nocturn
July 6th, 2006, 02:05 PM
I might have read that wrong but isn't the plugin that saves files ad ODF made by a third party?

Yep, sponsored by MS

Kimm
July 6th, 2006, 02:08 PM
I understood that it would be made by Sun, am I wrong?

pchr
July 6th, 2006, 02:12 PM
They'll "support" ODF in the same way Internet Explorer 5 "supports" CSS! :rolleyes:

nocturn
July 6th, 2006, 03:06 PM
I understood that it would be made by Sun, am I wrong?

There are several plugins being developped in parallel, this one is sponsored by MS and will be under the BSD license.

Sun is also working on one and there will be at least one commercial plugin.

Bloch
July 6th, 2006, 03:27 PM
I edited the first post to add a link to a better article on the matter in eweek.com

I see this as a huge blow to MS office's monopoly. A huge number of PC users used to pay extra for MS office just to be able read documents and the very occasional excel sheet.

I think that soon consumers will be offered a free office suite on their new computers - either OpenOffice or some commercially-produced product. Perhaps MS Office will be free. But at least we won't be paying more $$ to MS just to read & write documents.

And there will bbe a knock-on effect on linux. Lots of businesses stick with windows because they need 100% ability to open .docs (OpenOffice will not recognise certain advanced feature & macros)

atoponce
July 6th, 2006, 03:30 PM
The ODF killer, or so it is being labled. They are attempting the same thing with PDF and Adobe. Groklaw has an interesting article on this same subject (http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20060706064747376).

Microsoft needs this ability, or they will lose their share in the office arena, and they know it!

BWF89
July 6th, 2006, 03:56 PM
I think were getting a little ahead of ourselves. It's just an open source project sponsored by Microsoft. The plugin isn't actually going to be included with MS Office.

rcarring
July 6th, 2006, 04:15 PM
I have downloaded and installed the ODF plug in. It requires Word 2007, Net 2.0 and while it works (I was able to open the sample documents supplied by the project), Themes don't work with the converted document.

The plugin allows users to open odt files as read-only docx files that can be saved as docx files and edited.

The installer is an msi file and is under 900K in size. the Net 2.0 support package is 22MB.

If Word 2007 is already installed, then Net 2.0 Programmability support has to be added to Word 2007.

The project may be found here:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/odf-converter

Bloch
July 6th, 2006, 04:36 PM
The plugin isn't actually going to be included with MS Office.
That situation may also change.

The EU commission and several governments within the EU are currently moving towards OD formats.
Consider this: All tax forms, social benefit forms etc will be offered in OD format. Just as currently there are links to download Acrobat reader, the user will be given links to download the plugin, or download alternative freeware / oss. (OpenOffice and lighter weight alternatives)

Every office in Europe will have to be able to open these. And once they are confident they can open and use the format, it will be accepted without comment for all communications.

Nobody expects an overnight change. But very soon - within a year here in Europe - word will get round to new computer buyers "Don't let the salesman persuade you to buy MS Office"

curuxz
July 6th, 2006, 05:49 PM
This will be great news if MS do not FUBAR the whole system. Currently Doc files are far inferior size wise (and in formating complexity) to openoffice documents. A while back I was trying to send an ODT file to a friend and he was like WTF? and then I sent the doc rememebering he was a noob (ie windows user) and when he noticed the file was suddenly twice the size he wanted Oo. If ms uses Oo formats then people will see this and realise DOC should be canned. But you know microsuck.....embrace and expand. Lets see how they expand/ruin Oo's formats.

atoponce
July 6th, 2006, 06:15 PM
I think were getting a little ahead of ourselves. It's just an open source project sponsored by Microsoft. The plugin isn't actually going to be included with MS Office. Getting a little ahead of ourselves? You didn't read the Groklaw article, did you?

forrestcupp
July 6th, 2006, 08:04 PM
I think were getting a little ahead of ourselves. It's just an open source project sponsored by Microsoft. The plugin isn't actually going to be included with MS Office.

The plugin is going to be downloadable for anyone who already has current and older versions of Office. From the way I read things it will be included in future versions. This isn't going to change anything, though. Doc will still be the default, and everyone in the world who doesn't know or doesn't care will just keep using the default.

Bloch
July 6th, 2006, 08:47 PM
Doc will still be the default, and everyone in the world who doesn't know or doesn't care will just keep using the default.

Gosh, you're a bit resigned to MS dominance. As is the author of that Groklaw article.

People are welcome to continue using .doc format. But new users will soon no longer feel compelled to purchase MS office. That's a great boon.

Don't you see the logic? If governments departments communicate in OD format to their clients, then every business will quickly acquire the ability to use these formats.
Then when Joe Average sends in his CV, or letter of complaint etc to a company in OD format it will be accepted without comment. Joe Average won't have chosen OD - it will be the default on the office suite he downloaded for free.

I don't see government departments consistently converting OD to MS WORD in dealings with business. They are lazy and will begin sending out communications in OD format.

BWF89
July 6th, 2006, 09:15 PM
The plugin is going to be downloadable for anyone who already has current and older versions of Office. From the way I read things it will be included in future versions. This isn't going to change anything, though. Doc will still be the default, and everyone in the world who doesn't know or doesn't care will just keep using the default.
That's why if it isn't included with MS Office by default while it is going to be good it isn't going to change things as much as it would otherwise. Firefox is a free download to anyone who wishes to use it also but that doens't stop Internet Explorer from dominating the browser market share.

But mabye comparing the IE/Firefox struggle to the MS-Office.doc/ODF one is flawed. Firefox is a completely new browser for someone to download and some of the banking sites won't work with it. This ODF plugin on the otherhand lets MS Office users keep all of their existing features but adds the ability to read and write in new file formats which makes the product even more useful.

ubuntu27
July 7th, 2006, 08:21 AM
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/07/06/microsoft_odf_interoperability/

homerhomer
July 7th, 2006, 09:16 AM
If you can't beat them, join them!

The community will create it if it doesn't exist! (Remember the Broadcom driver?)


So what does microsoft do to prevent this?

They create the plugin themselves and make it work 75% of the time. This percentage will me the community happy but will also make IT not want to swith because of the possibility of flaws with existing documents. Nothing like an accounting error becaues of a document formating error.


BTW - I was watching X-files earlier


:D

Polygon
July 7th, 2006, 09:35 AM
im still confused here

i read in the eweak article and it says something about a openxml format, and that its not the same format as the ODF format that like openoffice uses..

so does this mean that Microsoft is creating a new open source format that is NOT odf, but it will open odf files?

raldz
July 7th, 2006, 09:53 AM
Mmm.. this doesn't make sense, if you want to save a file in ODF format, then why not use OpenOffice instead? It's free.. if you have MS Office installed, perhaps installing a true ODF standard suite like OpenOffice along side MS Office is better than a plugin..

Bloch
July 7th, 2006, 09:55 AM
Governments wanted a format for which the specs and source code were public. That way developers could design software to retrieve data from such files, interact with them etc.
Many began to propose OD format - the only generally accepted such standard.

In response Microsoft proposed its own open source format Open XML.
However though the code will be publically known, it is not free of restrictions in the way OD is.


A Microsoft spokesman has stated that Open XML will be subject to the same "covenant not to sue" as the Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas.[1] However, the wording employed in that document is far more restrictive of developer rights than the wording used in covenant provided by Sun Microsystems for Open Document Format (ODF); moreover, a public draft license for packaging conventions to be used with the Open XML formats has raised further concerns.[

atoponce
July 7th, 2006, 04:35 PM
im still confused here

i read in the eweak article and it says something about a openxml format, and that its not the same format as the ODF format that like openoffice uses..

so does this mean that Microsoft is creating a new open source format that is NOT odf, but it will open odf files? Microsoft is creating the OpenXML format to compete with ODF. Typical, however, OpenXML is ridden with licenses. Because governments, like the State of Mass., are switching over to ODF, Microsoft feels the need to respond. However, OpenXML isn't cutting it, so programmers have written a plugin for the new Microsoft Office to fully support ODF, and it is completely transparent. Microsoft has announced now, that they will support ODF natively, but as has been brought to our attention, it is read-only. You cannot save an ODF file, only Microsoft's proprietary OpenXML. To me, this looks like an attempt by Microsoft to minimize if not shut down the ODF initiative, and make OpenXML the "standard". If you ask me, however, it won't go far.

Yossarian
July 7th, 2006, 06:09 PM
I think this a good move. I'm a packrat with documents, so one of these days I would like to convert all my files to one format. Right now they're a hodgepodge of msword, rtf, open office 1, and ODF. I use word, open office, and abiword on a regular basis. Word and abiword are probably my favourites.

Until now there hasn't been a best format. DOC isn't terrible, but the support for it outside of msword sucks. I've heard ms keeps changing the specs for rtf. ODF is nice, free, cats ask for it by name, etc, etc, but 90%+ of computer users don't have a program to open them. But if that changed, I'd probably convert all my old files to ODF.

blastus
July 8th, 2006, 07:37 PM
I think this is good news. It's not a solution to the problem, but it's a step in the right direction. It's probably better that the open source community is involved with this, as they have no reason to embrace-extend-extinguish ODF.


ODF is nice, free, cats ask for it by name, etc, etc, but 90%+ of computer users don't have a program to open them. But if that changed, I'd probably convert all my old files to ODF.

There isn't any reason (save not actually being able to because of compatibility issues between MS-Office file formats and ODF) not to convert your stuff to ODF. You can always convert back to .doc or .xls or whatever for those that absolutely demand them (like having to submit your resume in .doc format for example.) For everyone else, tell them to download an ODF reader or OpenOffice.org or whatever. By doing so you can support the ODF initiative.

There is software that can read and write ODF documents on practically every platform out there. Furthermore, software can be made to be 100% compatible with the ODF standard because the specification is fully understood. In contrast, the only program that can possibly be 100% compatible with Microsoft Office's secret file formats is Microsoft Office itself--that will never change.