Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 6th May 2006 22:05 UTC
Microsoft A group of software developers have created a program to make Microsoft Office work with files in the OpenDocument format, a move that would bridge currently incompatible desktop applications. Gary Edwards, an engineer involved in the open-source project and founder of the OpenDocument Foundation, on Thursday discussed the software plug-in on the Web site Groklaw.
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RE: Worse news yet
by MechR on Sat 6th May 2006 23:47 UTC in reply to "Worse news yet"
Member since:

I disagree with your assessment. Without perfect format compatibility, switching away from Office can be too risky; You're at a comparative disadvantage because transactions with the outside world go less smoothly.

So, you want perfect format compatibility so that using, say, OpenOffice doesn't put you at a disadvantage. But it's tough for OO devs to get Office format handling just right. And as long as MS keeps its format obscured and doesn't have ODF support, OO has to dance to MS's tune.

The beauty of this plugin is, it gives OO an opening to turn the tables. The way things currently are, a person has to download and install a couple hundred megs of extra, unfamiliar software to read ODF. I cannot reasonably expect this out of just anybody I send an email attachment to. But if the plugin is considerably smaller than OO, I'd definitely feel better about sending people .odf files and telling them how to open them.

IOW, ODF evangelism becomes a more realistic option. Perfect compatibility is attainable, and on ODF rather than on MS format. And by extension, switching away from Office becomes more realistic. A win for ODF is a win for OO.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Worse news yet
by g2devi on Sun 7th May 2006 08:07 in reply to "RE: Worse news yet"
g2devi Member since:

Even better. Microsoft has been trying to frame the "standardize on ODF" debate as a "Defacto Superior and familiar Microsoft Standard versus Inferior Scary Unknown OpenOffice" debate. It's never been about OpenOffice. It's been about choice and freedom to use whatever word processor (MS Office, OpenOffice, KOffice, Abiword, IBM Office, Corel Office? ....) that suits your needs best and be confident that your documents will be readable (in it's original form) a 100 years from now. It's about interoperability with other WWW standards. It's about free access to government documents that does not require supporting any monopoly or purchasing of additional software (although you can if you want to).

This plugin pulls the rug out of any FUD Microsoft has in store for ODF and will make OfficeXML a lot harder to sell (especially since the choice will be to use an existing for a cross platform industry standard solution now or to wait for a possible Office-specific solution some time in the future while your competitors eat your lunch).

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Worse news yet
by raboof on Sun 7th May 2006 10:39 in reply to "RE[2]: Worse news yet"
raboof Member since:

This plugin pulls the rug out of any FUD Microsoft has in store for ODF and will make OfficeXML a lot harder to sell

I'm starting to fear the MSOpenXML stuff might turn the tables on us if (and that's a big if, but I spoke to a MS employee who seemed quite positive about it) it really turns out to be sufficiently Open.

OOo and friends should then obviously implement MSOpenXML support, but that might well ODF abandoned. From what I've seen ODF is technically superior, but will that be enough to counterweight the massive use of MSOpenXML? OOo will remain vitally important in the Linux market and for users with a tight budget, but will it be able to continue to penetrate MS's space? I hope so....

Reply Parent Score: 1