OpenOffice support for the OpenXML formats

I just saw that the Novell folks have released a version of OpenOffice with support for the Ecma Office Open XML formats ( They announced this work awhile ago, but this is the first chance folks have had to actually download the builds and try it out. Very cool stuff.

So at this point we now have a few options for applications that support Open XML on a couple different platforms. We'll see more popping up over the summer too (for example Corel as well as the Mac version of MS Office).

I think at this point we can really move onto more productive and collaborative discussion and admit that we are no longer in any sort of "file format war." If we ever were really in a war, it's now over, and both sides are winners. Over the past few years, we've had two important file formats come into the market, OpenXML and ODF. Both were designed for different purposes, and both have been valuable additions to the market. Now we can also say that we have multiple implementations of both formats.

When discussing file formats, there are a number of things that can set one apart from others such as performance; file size; security; accessibility; extensibility; and support for different types of functionality like formulas, formatting, drawings, etc. Before looking at any of those things though, there are some fundamental issues that may be important to see addressed. These issues have recently been called out by various government bodies (like departments within Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas, and now California).

The big reason people are excited about both ODF and OpenXML is that they enable the following:

  1. Long term availability – You want to know that 100 years from now, you'll still be able to access your data. This is a complex problem, as it can affect everything from the software you use to the hardware you use that software on. The key in terms of file formats is that everything in the file format is fully documented, and the stewardship for that documentation belongs to an independent standards body. ISO, Ecma, OASIS, and the W3C are all examples of organizations people feel comfortable trusting with the stewardship of that documentation.
  2. Freely available – You want to make sure that you don't need to worry about someone else holding rights over your documents. If there is IP behind the format technology for instance, you want to make sure there is some type of license available that will work for you. Not only that, but you want to make sure this will work for anyone else that you want to have access to your documents. All formats out there take slightly different approaches here (PDF, OpenXML, ODF, HTML, etc.), so it's important to pay attention to this.
  3. Fully interoperable and accessible – You want to know that people on other systems can still work with your files. This means that the format needs to be fully documented, and there is nothing in the format that would prevent it from working on a different system. A great indicator here is to look at the number of applications that support the format, and what systems those applications run on. HTML is a great example of an interoperable format. OpenXML and ODF are also both fully interoperable, but are also much younger. So while you don't see as many applications support OpenXML and ODF as you do HTML, you'll clearly start to see more and more pop up as time goes by.

It's those three points that really make, both OpenXML and ODF interesting formats. You now have OpenXML supported by multiple applications on multiple platforms, and you have the same with ODF. There are definitely still some growing pains to go through. The tools that support the ISO ODF standard aren't yet fully compliant, but I think we're heading in the right direction. The same will be true for the OpenXML support.

Let's keep the momentum going and focus more on what we can do with the formats. I'm going to start pointing out solutions that other people are building around Open XML using the "3rd party tools" tag:


Comments (66)
  1. hAl says:

    I think you are a bit optimistic if you think that supporters of ODF (whether IBM/Sun or a large aprt of the FOSS communities) will now stop their actions against OOXML.

    I think only a breaktrough in the MS Office 2007 sales might effectivly put OOXML on the map in such a way that other applications even that of opponents that try to hold that off need to consider support.

  2. Yesterday I posted a pointer to Novell’s OpenXML translator for OpenOffice . I see Brian Jones has also

  3. Francis says:

    I wonder–with the file format war nearing an end, will the ODF and OpenXML camps be able to lay down their differences and collaborate?

    They should have common ground, as ODF and OpenXML are similar in many regards. Indeed, they may grow even more similar with the passage of time: as major software packages increasingly support both formats, the pressure to do the same things (i.e., represent documents full-fidelity) in both formats will only rise. We reach the point where it is irrelevant which format one chooses–perhaps the formats might even converge one day?

  4. says:


    I really do hope that we are nearing a point where the anti-OpenXML folks will spend more time being pro-ODF instead. I’d much rather read the IBM blogs to find out interesting things you can do with ODF rather than all the supposed flaws in OpenXML.



    I don’t think it’s likely to see the two converge given some of the fundamental differences in the architectures. I do think there is room to come together in terms of interoperability and translation though. That’s why the ODF -> OpenXML project is so cool. It’s an open source project that allows the community to participate in translations between the two formats.


  5. The last time I posted on this topic I claimed the controversy over the two applications was no longer interesting. Unless you have to deal with standards organizations’ politics this is still true. However this does not mean that there…

  6. I don’t see why anybody will use either.  If you want someone to read it, just Print/Export as a PDF.  If you want someone to edit it, just send over their favorite file format so they don’t complain too much.


  7. NoKoolAid says:

    Is the Novell converter compliant to the specifications? With a 6000 page standard who the hell would be able to check? It’s moot anyway, since, in practice, the only thing that matters is conformity to Microsoft’s implementation of OpenXML. If there is a discrepancy between the spec and Microsoft’s implementation, the latter will be the de facto adjudicator.

    Perhaps more importantly, the Novell converter almost certainly does not implement the many ‘optional’ and unspecified extensions that implement features of previous Office products (e.g. Word 2003). So, even if it conforms to the requirements of the standard, it *still* couldn’t hope to be interoperable with documents produced by OpenXML since they can (and will) implement these unspecified extensions.

    Finally, the deal struck recently between Novell and Microsoft called for help with interoperability. This may be part of that help. And if the only possible non-Microsoft implementation of OpenXML required Microsoft’s help, it isn’t effectively an ‘open’ standard now is it?

    For the reasons outlined above, the only de facto conformant implementation OpenXML is Microsoft’s; OpenXML does not satisfy any of 1,2 or 3 of your points above in practice.

    So yes, the ODF vs. OpenXML discussion is still relevant.

  8. says:

    I think you’re drinking someone else’s KoolAid…

    I had a post a couple weeks ago that talked about the various document settings and helped disprove this myth that ODF is somehow better in terms of interoperability:


  9. twitter says:

    Too little too late, Bubba.  I’m not counting on any client reliably implementing the 6000 page Microsoft Office XML spec.

    Why didn’t you just use ODF to start with?  What mystical purpose is there for yet another format to do the same thing?  If it’s to continue supporting your own formats, why not just do that? If you wanted your old formats to translate well to the new one, why not make better translators to ODF yourself?

  10. Andrew Hamilton says:

    "To widen the market and to narrow the competition is always the interest of the dealers… The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted, till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention."

    -Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

  11. says:


    Please read through the many previous posts on my blog dealing with this issue. It should become very clear that there were vast differences in design goals between the two formats. In addition to that, ODF and OpenXML were both designed over the same period of time so it wasn’t like ODF was already widely in use before we started to work on OpenXML:


    That’s a great quote Andrew, thanks!

    I definitely agree that we should be very cautious when new laws or regulations are proposed dealing with specific technologies or implementations.


  12. bmw says:

    So, when can we expect to see first class support of ODF in Microsoft Office then?  And by first class I mean File Open and Save As and an option to set it as the default format.

  13. Nix says:

    I don’t see how you any organization can duplicate the functionality.  The documentation is lacking; which would prevent full interoperability.  Here is a quick quote from the spec:

    "This element specifies that applications shall emulate the behavior of a previously existing word processing application (Microsoft Word 6.x/95/97) when determining the placement of the contents of footnotes relative to the page on which the footnote reference occurs. This emulation typically involves some and/or all of the footnote being inappropriately placed on the page following the footnote reference.

    [Guidance: To faithfully replicate this behavior, applications must imitate the behavior of that application, which involves many possible behaviors and cannot be faithfully placed into narrative for this Office Open XML Standard. If applications wish to match this behavior, they must utilize and duplicate the output of those applications. It is recommended that applications not intentionally replicate this behavior as it was deprecated due to issues with its output, and is maintained only for compatibility with existing documents from that application. end guidance]"

    These are token gestures in your patch to ISO certification.  

  14. Stephane Rodriguez says:

    Since Novell’s "translator" is actually CleverAge’s translator, I don’t know how it makes life better.

    The CleverAge plugin is a piece of shit. Just try it.

    Sure, details like this don’t matter. The war is over.

  15. Via Brian Jones’ (Office Program Manager) blog: "I just saw that the Novell folks have released a version

  16. fnord17 says:

    M$ sucks.

    use odf as it is standardized.

    "open"XML was an attempt to catch an open-source development by patenting the "one-big-xml-file-approach" in stead of having style and data in different files, which is better in means of performance and modifying data.

    kind regards.

    Use gentoo and have fun

  17. ISO Standard ODF says:

    There never was a war between ODF and OOXML.  To declare that the war is over is therefore disingenuous. ODF was designed to be a comprehensive standard for document interchange.  To that end, it has been adopted as an ISO standard and mandated by a growing list of organizations and governments around the world.

    OOXML, on the other hand, was designed to fit a particular niche.  It does that reasonably well, although even a cursory reading of the spec will reveal its poor design and even poorer architecture.  There is little likelihood that it will be adopted as an ISO standard.

  18. says:


    If there was enough demand from our customers to have built in native support for ODF (ie if they thought the translator wasn’t good enough), then we could look into doing that for a future version of Office. That would mean we wouldn’t have the added benefit the tranlator brings in that it’s an open source project that folks can leverage in other areas (like how Novell has now used it in OpenOffice). It’s all just code though, so as with any feature we’d have to way the cost of building with the demand/value we’re seeing from our customers.



    Please read this post in response to the particular issue you raise:

    The vast majority of document settings are fully defined in OpenXML (unlike ODF), and if people really feel those extra handful of legacy properties are important enough to fully define, the Ecma TC can look at taking that on.

    In general though, you should read through both specs a bit more. A file format specification is a language definition, not an application definition. There are many places in both specs where the property is defined, but the behaviors used for rendering that property aren’t. That could end up preventing folks from innovating in things like superior layout algorithms, etc. Look at all the people that like to use tools like LaTex for their writing. You don’t want to force those tools to change their layout optimizations just to use the spec.


    ISO Standard ODF,

    Like I said, for those folks who had viewed this as a war, it’s now over. I never thought of is as a war. In my mind they were just two file formats with very different design goals. They both exist, and now there are tools for translating between the two.

    If you view OpenXML as a poorly architected format, then you have the option to not use it. I’m not going to stop you…


  19. Iridiyum says:

    In a nutshell:  Microsoft’s OpenXML standard is simply an attempt to justify to the world a reason for them to buy something they simply do not need.  

    "Buy (a license for) our ‘New & Improved’ product because it has the new (S. Ballmer crosses fingers) ISO format that anyone (at Microsoft) can implement.  All your documents are belong to us… Forever…"

  20. G Fernandes says:

    [QUOTE]If you view OpenXML as a poorly architected format, then you have the option to not use it. I’m not going to stop you[/QUOTE]

    How gracious Brian! Thank you very much. That is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past 3 years. And that is exactly what many have begun to do now.

    I’m glad it is with your approval that the world moves to a real standard – as opposed to IE specific JavaScript for example that your old pal Billy boy’s been (in)famous for. Wasn’t that an ECMA "standard" too? Wonder why it always broke on NetScape…

    Remember? Embrace-extend-extinguish?

    Come now Brian…. who do you think you’re fooling?

  21. Stephane Rodriguez says:

    The Novell translator is just as "complete" as the CleverAge plugin I guess…Of course I have to make a joke of it because the Novell translator IS the CleverAge plugin.

    Therefore it’s just as useless. Half-assed, Word-only, does not support many core features, does not respect actual semantics, …

    Speaking of file format war, the only war I can think about is the one YOU and your partners in crime have started by breaking file formats in Office 2007.

  22. David Miller says:

    So now that the "war" is over, is 1900 a leap year or not? I get so confused. I have these functions I wrote over 10 years ago and they still think that 1900 is NOT a leap year. What can be done? Should we all change the calendar so we can be Microsoft OOXML compliant?

  23. says:


    It’s pretty well documented in the spec that the first 60 days of the year 1900 are off by one. There is no attempt to change the calendar, it’s just a compatibility bug. I have a post on this if you’re interested in more details:

    It has no impact on the future, just the first 60 days of the year 1900.

    If you don’t want to live with that compatibility issue, than you can use the other date system that is also defined in that spec.


  24. Stephen Norton says:

    You’re off your fucking head.

    The purpose of standards for documentation is that there is one format that can be read by any relevant wordprocessing package etc.  By deliberately creating a second M$ has sought to undermine this whole principle for its own commercial interests (which seem to be ‘undermine any potential competition, anytime it raises its ugly head’).

    Ye Gods!! – if I read one more article by a Microsoft lackey purporting to give a reasoned argument on why Microsoft should be allowed to act in this way, I will visit North America to attempt to insert their computer into that place where the sun doesn’t shine.


  25. Markus says:

    It is recommended that applications not intentionally implement OpenXML as it was deprecated due to issues with its output, and is maintained only for compatibility with existing documents from that application. end guidance.

  26. Frank Daley says:

    Brian, it must be hard keeping up appearances to support your employer’s massive campaign of deception.

    You are clearly a talented developer, who unfortunately works for an organization that is a ruthless monopolist, hell bent on killing its competition.

    Surely a person of your talents is able to find a better employer?

  27. David Miller says:


    Thanks for the link. I was already aware of the background and origin. I also understand your rational to continue this bug, its the same rational that was used twenty years ago when Excel copied it from Lotus 123. Now we are twenty years down the line, Lotus 123 is dead and gone, and we are dealing with the same thing. I do have a hard time calling it a bug when it is intentionally being perpetuated. Let’s just call it a feature. But it is exactly a "feature" such as this (no matter how well documented) that should not be enshrined in standards. A person should be able to use something as simple as the WEEKDAY() function and not have to do a lot of research to see if it works correctly and consistently.


  28. Frank says:

    So OpenOffice will support OpenXML, and thats proving exactly what??? They supported .doc, and obviously not because they thaught .doc was as good as ODF and just "designed for a differnt purpose". The purpose is the same: make it as hard as possible to anyone except Microsoft to implement the format. Do you honestly think OpenXML is what people want? Another format nobody except Microsoft can implement properly. I do not see any benefit in developing a second "open" format.

  29. marc says:

    >I do not see any benefit in

    >developing a second "open" format.

    i agree, 95% of people don’t care about this XML thing, they want to save, attach and email his .DOCS, .XLS and .PPT !!

    with my respect, this are my recomendations to MS, having seen the recent ISO NB’s negative comment "avalanche" ( ):

    i) leave the OOXML game, resume the .DOC default save in Office 12( better: make the new improved binary format the default save format )

    ii) implement native ODF support in Office ( remember: you sell software, not formats, if the government wants openness, give them ODF, it won’t hurt your numbers($$), you still have the best office software [better GUI, better response, more functionality, etc] ). If people want an open format, they can choose "save as ODF" ( may be the document will be downgraded, but this is a trade off )

    iii) document the binary formats ( i mean, put this in a web site accesible to anyone, example: )

    this ISO game is a waste of resources, you have too much "perceived" bad reputation, you will not make it

  30. RobBrown says:

    marc has some good points to make.

    Brian, the "war" is not over, and it is by no means certain that OOXML will even survive.

    OOXML is not Open, it is not interoperable, it is not fully documented, it is not implementable, and it is encumbered with "IP" issues. To suggest that it is the equal of ODF is Microsoft "mischief" at its finest.

    People will work with OOXML despite Microsoft’s efforts, but that does not make it a good, Open, format.

  31. says:

    Rob, can you please provide some more data here? I’d like to respond to your comment, but am not sure where to start.

    How is it not open? What are you wanting to do with it that is currently not possible?

    What features would you want to see more documented? Do you have examples where the ODF spec has more complete documentation that I can use as a reference?

    What are you trying to implement that doesn’t work?

    What are the IP issues you’re seeing? How is the ODF specs approach to IP better?



  32. G Fernandes says:

    [QUOTE]How is it not open?[/QUOTE]

    A binary to XML dump is open? Perhaps in Microsoft parlance. Not in the real world.

    If you really want to world to believe you ARE interested in OPEN standards, why don’t you join the ODF process and contribute to a COMMON and REALLY OPEN standard?

    Why do you insist on going the same route you went with JavaScript and Java? Remember browser incompatibilities Brian? Remember the Sun suit that forced Microsoft to desist from using the "Java Compatible" logo?

    Is it because the E3P (Embrace-Extend-Extinguish Policy) still holds strong in Microsoft?

    Of course it is! E3P is the sole reason for Microsoft pushing this binary to XML dump. And of course, this is the real reason why the "purpose" of OOXML is different from the purpose of ODF – OOXML is designed to perpetuate vendor lock-in. ODF is designed to be vendor neutral.

    You’re not fooling me Brian.

  33. Segedunum says:

    <blockquote>If there was enough demand from our customers to have built in native support for ODF (ie if they thought the translator wasn’t good enough), then we could look into doing that for a future version of Office.</blockquote>

    Yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda. I assume that all your customers were screaming for a new OOXML format, which is why you oh so gracefully added support for a totally new and incompatible format into Office 2007?

    If you’re talking about customer demand then there has been demand for a defined, probably XML based, office format recently which is how interest in ODF has come about. There is not a scrap of evidence anywhere as to why Microsoft couldn’t have supported ODF and why OOXML was needed. The backwards compatibility claims are laughable because OOXML is a new format. It is up to an application to convert from one format to the next. You can’t somehow build backwards compatibility into a new format because……….it’s a new format. If you’re trying to build support for elements of the old format into the new, then it simply isn’t a new format and all it is is a dump of the old into a new and incompatible format for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

    <blockquote>That would mean we wouldn’t have the added benefit the tranlator brings in that it’s an open source project that folks can leverage in other areas (like how Novell has now used it in OpenOffice).</blockquote>

    What added benefits would these be exactly, or is this another sound bite?

  34. says:

    G Fernandes,

    What are you talking about? Where is there a binary dump? Is this something you’ve just read somewhere, or do you have more information?



    We’ve been progressing towards XML formats since back in the late ’90s. ODF and OpenXML both came along in parallel. It wasn’t like ODF was out there as a full blown standard before we started working on OpenXML. Look into the history a bit more:

    There was a ton of customer demand for an open format where solutions could be created outside of the Office products. That’s why we first built the SpreadsheetML format in Office XP, and continued to invest in XML going forward from there.


  35. rmorgan says:

    Yeah, the war is over and Open Office won, moron.  

    WTF?  This just shows that F/OSS software is infinitely more flexible.  Anybody can hack the code to support a format if they feel the need.  Next time you want to waste a few minutes of your life, compare how many document formats Open Office supports compared to how limited Microsoft Office is.  I’ll consider this a "victory" for both sides when MS brings their Office product up to the level of broad document support that Open Office has had for years.

  36. marc says:


    i) be polite ( we are a lot of people in this world, we can disagree )

    ii) i must say that brian attitude in his blog is an example for others. Rob Weir only show the comments "he likes", Firefox´s Asa Doztler, at least in one of the Fireflicks blogs: ( ), stopped the site feedback when people began to send negative comments , etc, etc.

    and to @brian: i adhere Frank Daley’s comment ( the link is mine ):

    "[Brian y]ou are clearly a talented developer, who unfortunately works for an organization that is [ ] a ruthless monopolist, hell bent on killing its competition.

    Surely a person of your talents is able to find a better employer?"

  37. David Miller says:

    I have to second marc’s call for people to be polite. rmorgan: There is no need for personal attacks or name calling. Brian is gracious and civilized in his discourse, the least we can do is the same!!

  38. Miguel de Icaza says:


    My understanding from talking to developers in the community (beyond Novell) is that there is an interest in building native support for OpenXML into OpenOffice.

    Just like there is superb support for the older file formats, they want to have superb support for the new file formats.

    After all, open source shines at this particular kind of development.   I remember when Linux in 1995 or so was considered the best network server as it was the only thing that could talk NFS, SMB, NCP, CODA and a handful of other files systems all in one machine and was able to route any network to any other network (newspapers in Mexico used to have ARCnet networks, and we used Linux to bridge the ARCnet users, ethernet tcp/ip users, appletalk users and setup the modems on a couple of Linux boxes).

    That being said, I think it would be a nice sign if Microsoft distributed also ODF support in Office or distributed Sun’s ODF plugin or linked to it from their pages, it would be a nice gesture.


  39. Stephane Rodriguez says:

    Hey Miguel,

    So Michael and you helped ship the "Novell translator" (in fact the CleverAge plugin with a bootstrap). But that only works with a specific Novell build of OpenOffice. Brian Jones passed that "detail" under silence (though, I did not expect him to tell the truth after all).

    I tried it with my Ubuntu box (OpenOffice preinstalled) and also with Windows running OpenOffice. And the UNO bootstrap did not even install.

    In other words, isn’t Novell a trojan horse against OpenOffice, the really open source project?

    That would not be a surprise though, given that it is documented already that the CleverAge plugin was designed since day one as a tool to destroy Sun’s native ODF translator. My French peers of CleverAge have been the "idiots utiles" of this sad story.

  40. says:

    marc and David,

    Thank you for the kind words, I really do appreciate it. I also really love my job here at Microsoft, so I’ll probably stay around a bit longer 🙂

    I’m very proud of the work we’ve done. I was able to play a direct role in the move one of the most widely used applications (MS Office) from binary formats to fully documented (and now standardized) XML formats. This is a massive migration and is a huge deal. Even if you are a bigger fan of ODF, you have to see that in the big picture we are in a much better point now in terms of interoperability than we’ve ever been before. I understand some people will find OpenXML preferable and some will find ODF preferable. I’m hoping we can all now focus on appreciating both formats and focusing on how translation can be improved.

    If there are other changes folks would like to see made to the formats, let me know. I can discuss them in the Ecma TC, or you can e-mail the Ecma TC directly with feedback. Even better, you can join the Ecma TC, and we can work together. 🙂



    It would be really interesting to see OpenOffice investigate direct support for OpenXML. Obviously the translator work you guys are doing is great, and Michael and Jody have already been a tremendous help with pulling together a great v1.0 of the spec. Any additional projects around OpenXML will help that much more though in identifying if there are other areas where we need to improve the documentation.


  41. Novell has announced support for the Open XML file formats in their version of OpenOffice. Word-processing…

  42. Doug Mahugh says:

    Cairo University’s Mohammad Nour El-din Marwan has a great post on "Generating Dynamic OpenXML Docx Files"

  43. Sam Hiser says:

    "Peaceful coexistence"

    That’s German wishful thinking in the middle of the Dresden firestorm.

    You’ve been pasted, Brian. The War has just begun.

    I personally declare it.

  44. Hello,

    I do not know enough about how our OpenOffice builds exist or not, so I can not comment on how this is supposed to work.

    All of our work is open source, all of our patches are public, and every Linux distribution uses our OpenOffice patches, they are I believe hosted on Gnome’s CVS repository (I have posted a link before to it on my blog).

    The translator required some fixes to Mono, so probably your dependencies are not correct in Ubuntu?

    The easy fix of course is to use OpenSUSE, and you will get access to all the nice new developments we are doing.


  45. Stephane Rodriguez says:

    "The easy fix of course is to use OpenSUSE"

    Are you serious? Do you imply people out there have to use not just a specific version of OpenOffice, but also a specific version of operating system?

    What is the message you are sending here, other that only in your dreams are users going to use this thing.

    If that is the case, I hope your changes are taken off the OpenOffice dev branch.

    And I’ll stick to my initial guess : it seems to me Novell is just a Trojan horse against OpenOffice itself.

    Keep up the good work.

  46. Miguel de Icaza says:


    What I said is that you probably do not have your proper dependencies installed.   I have no way of knowing since I do not use Ubuntu, I ventured a guess.

    Since you are unable to fix this issue, I suggest that you use a user friendly distribution that has everything done for you so you do not have to go hunting down for those problems yourself.

    You can do that, or you can request the Ubuntu folks to ship our changes, or to look into whatever it is that you have to look.   I can not provide tech support for things I do not use.

    But it seems that you are not interested in solving the problem.  At this point am not even sure that there is a problem.   Considering your previous posts in my blog I would not be surprised if you have no interest on even using the software and probably have not even downloaded it.


  47. Miguel de Icaza says:


    I just checked the Novell package, and the Novell package contains no external dependencies on Mono, it statically links Mono.

    The only issue that Stephane might have is that the RPM package that Novell distributes installs the various mime types in /opt/gnome and /opt/kde.

    So the filter should work out of the box.   The only thing that might not work is the automatic registration of mime types for your desktop environment.

    Am sure you can ask your local tech support to fix the mime types for you.


  48. W^L+ says:

    I haven’t downloaded the package, but if it is in RPM, Ubuntu (being a DEB distro) may not be able to use it.

    Personally, given the poor reviews the Windows / Microsoft version got, I would not be interested in using the plugin on either Windows OOo or Linux OOo.

    Instead, MSFT really should implement full native-peer support [direct conversion to/from memory to/from disk] for ODF and use a patch (the same way they did a "critical" update to Office 2003 to replace a font).  With an internal view of the data and metadata, they should be able to create a very good, compliant implementation relatively quickly.

    Likewise, if OOo is going to implement OOXML, it should be a full native-peer format, directly translated from memory.  If you won’t (or more likely, can’t) do that, it is better to drop it entirely.  

  49. omz says:

    Miguel said

    "…I think it would be a nice sign if Microsoft distributed also ODF support in Office"

    i agree and believe lot of people ( including governments, i.e: ) agree too

    Brian, any plan at MS to do it in the "near future"?

  50. Stephane Rodriguez says:


    You have to understand that the "Novell translator" must work out of the box.

    You don’t expect users to do anything beyond installing it to get it to work right? Otherwise, again, only in your dreams are users going to use it.

    But that’s besides the point. I am a "user" here. Don’t tell me to use a specific version of OpenOffice just to use this plugin. Don’t tell to me use a specific operating system just to use this plugin.

    As for my interest in it, you might want to know that I am not the typical user and I have a lot of interest in this stuff :

  51. Miguel de Icaza says:

    Hello Stephane,

    If you install the RPM with "Alien" in your Ubuntu system, you can use the odf-converter command line (it has a statically linked Mono).

    If you want complete integration you are going to have to wait for your distribution to make packages for you.  All of our changes are open source, so you should be asking your distribution maintainer to do the work.


  52. Sadly it&#39;s come to this. Responding to a post on Brian Jones&#39; blog about Novell&#39;s release

  53. With all the talk last week of the OpenXML support that is now in OpenOffice , I thought it would also

  54. I cannot believe what I am reading here.  

    When people refer to the creation and agreement of documents that describe a bunch of buckets that data can be dropped into in the same breath as the Dresden bombings, our perspective has been completely lost.  Checking Stephen McGibbon’s blog and finding out that this was the Vice President of the OpenDocument Foundation was absolutely astonishing.

    Not only is there the good vs evil debate raging, but also the conspiracy theories abounding.  It seems like there are many who see Microsoft like SMERSH, for the James Bond films, sitting round a desk plotting world domination.  

    The truth is considerably more mundane than that.  

    As is usual in these cases, the obvious explanation is the correct one.  Microsoft aren’t going to increase shareholder value by plunging massive resources into supporting a competing standard, nor are they going to hack away most of the feature set that has been developed over many years to conform to a decidedly slim standard that was based on a different, less successful office applications suite.  What would Microsoft’s investors think about them trying to make IBM and the open source people happy, at the expense of building out their own products?  People need to wake up and remember we are in a capitalist economic system and maybe try getting involved in politics instead of technology if they abhor the idea of companies trying to make money so much.  How is everyone here feeding their kids, manna from heaven?  Who pays these open source people anyway, I doubt they live off social security? Is there a list of the companies people who want to stand on the open source soapbox are allowed to take money from?  let me know. I would also like to join Marc and David Miller in asking to stop personal attacks on Brian.  It’s just a bunch of UTF-8 text, in the end.


  55. Sean Hatfield says:

    The title of this post seems misleading.

    "OpenOffice support for the OpenXML formats"

    I don’t see any support for OpenXML in OpenOffice.  From the download link provided, it appears that Novel have released a plugin that works within their fork of OpenOffice, which is available on only a couple of platforms.  It also appears to only support word processing documents.  

    Am I missing something, or should the title read "Novel support for OpenXML-formatted word processing documents"

    I do hope a GPL’d bidirectional reference implementation of an ODF/OOXML translator emerges someday.  But lets be realistic,  just on the OOXML side you have 6000 pages of specification, plus the unspecified behavior of the backwards compatibility tags, and we haven’t even begun to address standardizing or translating spreadsheet functions, macros, or scripting.  We have a long way to go.  


  56. G Fernandes says:

    [QUOTE]G Fernandes,

    What are you talking about? Where is there a binary dump? Is this something you’ve just read somewhere, or do you have more information? [/QUOTE]


    I said "binary-to-XML-dump". Not binary dump – which of course means something completely different. The Microsoft Office XML format is an XMLisation of the Microsoft binary format. In not using XML standard naming conventions or existing standards for various representations (don’t give me the "real standards are optionally supported" line – real standards should be the ONLY ones supported and there should be generic provisions for non-standard extensions a-la ODF). Codifying 1900 as a leap year in a purported standard is a good thing? Come now Brian.

    In not doing that, you’ve simply codified your binary format as XML.

    Thats not an XML standard to me.

    Just as MS-JScript is not standard javascript to me. And just as the MS HTML DOM is not standard HTML DOM to me. And just as the MS Java VM never was a standard Java VM to me. And just as the MS WINS standard is not a network name resolution standard to me.

    An open standard is one that is vendor-neutral. Show me one alternate, complete implementation of MS-OOXML Brian. Then talk about your silly theories of MS OOXML being a real standard.

  57. G Fernandes says:

    [QUOTE]What would Microsoft’s investors think about them trying to make IBM and the open source people happy, at the expense of building out their own products?[/QUOTE]


    While it is absolutely true that we live in a capitalist society, one must keep in mind the distinction between a free market economy and a market economy encumbered by monopolies and cartels. A free market thrives in innovation and value to the customer. Vendors in a free market survive by innovating on value additions forced by the level playing field.

    On the other hand, an economy encumbered by monopolies and cartels do not provide the customer value or innovation because the monopolies and cartels have the customers locked-in to their products/services. They do not have to innovate. There is no level playing field.

    You seem to have missed the distinction.

    While I agree with you that personal attacks should be avoided, I can understand where the personal attacks come from. You have probably never invested in anything that Microsoft has had a direct interest in destroying to preserve their monopoly. You therefore seem to have no knowledge of the tactics that Microsoft has employed to preserve their monopoly in the sole two profitable areas for them – the Office franchise and the Windows franchise.

    For example, Microsoft fined the IBM PC division a huge amount for pre-installing OS/2 and Microsoft delayed in providing them the Windows 95 OEM CDs thus making them loose money and loose market share to other vendors who reached the market with Windows 95 pre-loaded before IBM.

    The DoJ anti-trust case against Microsoft will give you more details of the tactics employed by Microsoft to deter and stifle innovation by other competing vendors.

    The entire PC industry has suffered at least 10 years of innovation setback directly attributable to Microsoft’s anti-competitive practices.

    You may not have been directly affected. Count yourself lucky.

  58. It’s good to see the latest news out of Malaysia , where they have decided to take a step back from the

  59. I was having lunch with Jean Paoli today and he told me about this press release that came out this morning

  60. HP just announced their support for the OpenXML file format as a standard in a position statement on

  61. Please see the links below regarding Novell’s support for OpenXML Novell’s download page for the OpenOffice

  62. Please see the links below regarding Novell&#39;s support for OpenXML Novell&#39;s download page for

  63. Last spring, we saw some positive developments in the file format world. We started to reach a critical

  64. Last spring, we saw some positive developments in the file format world. We started to reach a critical

  65. I’m sure many folks have seen the news by now that Open XML has been approved as an ISO/IEC standard

  66. Al fin… el James podrá descansar ( 1 , 2 , 3 ). La guerra de los formatos ha sido terminada y OpenXML

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