Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th Dec 2006 22:26 UTC
Novell and Ximian The first fruit of the recently announced Novell/Microsoft interoperability agreement arrived on Dec. 4, with Novell's announcement that its version of the OpenOffice productivity suite will now support the Microsoft Office Open XML format. The release candidate of Novell's modified version of 2.02 is now available for Windows for free download by registered Novell users.
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Thanks for this very illuminating series of posts and links. It makes the facts of the situation very clear, and the strategy behind Open XML equally clear. It reminds one a bit of the saga of Office on the Mac. You've always had Office for the Mac. You can swap Word and Excel documents with your co-workers. At least, you've had quite a lot of Office.

What you cannot get is just enough to stop the platform being a viable business competitor to Windows. But evidently not enough to stop people claiming that Office is multiplatform, which in the important sense, it is not.

The strategy is the same. Its disappointing that the standards bodies didn't grasp the point, which is a very clear and simple one.

You don't have to be any kind of zealot to be attached to the ability to move your documents from one vendor's application to another. I've had three totally convincing experiences. One was with two versions of Access, another with multiple versions of Word, a third with a proprietary database package which shall be nameless, which was implemented in a way that put any sort of usable data exports beyond the ability of anyone who couldn't write code. In each case the suggested solution was upgrade. In two cases you couldn't just upgrade the package, but were trapped into a cascade of upgrades.

There is really no excuse for claiming that documents saved in Open XML are being saved in any sort of open format. It is just false.

Now, whether Novell or OpenOffice should support this new closed standard? Probably. Just don't claim its open, its not.

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