Office 2007 SP1 is now available

SP1 for Office 2007 is now available for download. One of the interesting fixes we made was based on some problems we found when you tried to use the ODF translator that Sun has built for Office. Malte Timmermann pointed out on his blog back in the summer that there were some major issues when you tried to run their translators on Office 2007:

I had some folks look into it a bit, and it turned out there was a bug where we assumed any file that used ZIP as its container format was an Open XML file (even if it was an ODF file). This meant the ODF file would fail to open as it never was handed off to the translator. Thankfully Malte pointed this out and we were able to make some changes that have fixed the problem.

Today Malte says that he's had a chance to download SP1, and everything is working, so that's great news:

If you haven't tried out their translators yet, give them a try (download SP1 first). They took a different approach from the other ODF translator project that's up on sourceforge.


Comments (9)
  1. says:


    Microsoft obviously broke this on purpose for their own nefarious reasons.  Steve Ballmer ordered this personally, with Bill Gates breaking out Visual Studio for the last time before leaving Microsoft to cut the offending code personally, with an evil grin on his face.  The entire Open XML team at Microsoft witnessed the scene, cackling maniacally.

    It’s only due to pressure from benevolent, super-ethical organizations with only our best interests at heart such as IBM and Sun that this enormous evil undertaking was uncovered and Microsoft forced to remove Bill and Steve’s unholy work.


  2. Mike Brown says:

    >> we assumed any file that used ZIP as its container format was an

    >> Open XML file (even if it was an ODF file).

    Too delicious!  Really, you couldn’t make this up; nobody would believe you!  Congrats for getting it fixed though.

    I’m also curious about the following warning message, that somebody posted on that same blog entry:

    "The file needs to be opened by the ODF Text Document text converter, which may pose a security risk if the file you are opening is a malicious file. Choose Yes to open this file only if you are sure it is from a trusted source"

    Where’s this warning coming from?  The poster says he was using "Off2003 with the Compatibility pack for Off2007".  I’m using Word XP with the Sun ODF plugin and the MS Compatibility pack installed, and I’ve seen no such warning message.

  3. says:


    Mike, I’m not sure about that one. I know we have typical warning messages we throw up if the file is opened through a converter, but I’m not positive if that’s the message.

    For folks interested in how this happened, the short of it is:

    Word doesn’t look at file extensions when determining what the file types is. In fact, the work we did to differentiate .docx from .docm and to actually enforce that .docx was indeed a macro-free file was actually a bit of new work. We’ve always just sniffed the files that get handed to us and try to determine what kind of file it is. There we ways for example you can open a plain text file that we accidentally think is XML, so you’ll get an error message saying it’s not valid XML (same for HTML). We fix those issues when we find them, but it usually just means we try to be smarter about sniffing.

    Turns out that the way we were determinging that a file was a .docx/.docm (the differentition between those two happened at a deeper level) was to just sniff the first set of bytes and see that it was a ZIP file. We never went further to see what was in the ZIP.

    I can’t remember if the fix we made was to actually sniff the ZIP further, or just look at the extension (special case). Easiest way to find out would be to rename the .odt file to .doc and see if we call the converter properly.


  4. Simon Phipps says:

    Nice work, Brian, thank-you.

  5. Rick Schaut says:


    The relevant part of the text of the string resource for that error message reads:

    "This file needs to be opened by the 1600 text converter, which may pose"

    The "1600" is a text substitution marker where the name of the converter is programatically inserted into the message.

    Does that answer your question?

  6. Doug Mahugh says:

    The last week has seen some interesting discussions and useful how-to posts on Open XML blogs … Three

  7. mikeM says:

    I am not a programmer just a user, but I have a question.

    One of things I hate about Outlook 2007 is the calendar.  In 2003 the formatting options were more flexible.

    I could put Saturday and Sunday in one box, now I cant (at least I cant figure out how).  I could control bold and standard size text.  

    This version just seems a step backward.

    Any help?

  8. Dave S. says:

    "Word doesn’t look at file extensions when determining what the file types is."

    I think that was the source of a nasty way into a computer via Outlook. The attachment list shows a .jpg or .txt extension, but the email header had been manipulated to cover the fact that it’s an executable. The sniffer would determine the attachment was executable and run it. Because Open means ‘Run’. Great vector for an attack.

    It’s been in Risk’s before – asking a human to validate data and then operating on the basis of different data is just asking for trouble. Sigh. It’s also why kings had food testers.

    Why not just unzip the file first and determine if the structure is OK? It’s going to get decompressed anyway.

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