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Microsoft puts dusty, old Office code on web

ODF fans say, 'we're not simple, we're elegant'

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Microsoft has made technical information for its older binary Office document formats available for download following pressure from participants in the ongoing, somewhat fiery, standardisation debate.

Redmond's Office programme manager Brian Jones said in a blog post this week that the documentation will be accessible via download.

It will be available under the banner of Microsoft's Open Specification Promise, which allows third parties to develop software using the firm's code without fear of being hit by a flurry of patent infringement lawsuits.

Jones also said Redmond will sponsor an open source project to map its older binary document formats to Office OPen XML (OOXML), the code which it has been heavily pushing to become the international standard adopted by the ISO.

He didn't reveal which software vendors will team up with Microsoft in the project, but the plan will involve mapping a document written using the legacy binary formats to the OOXML formats.

Meanwhile, proponents of the other format vying for supremacy in the ISO race, Open Document Format (ODF), have hit back (PDF) at the Burton Group, which earlier this week came out heavily in favour of OOXML.

The ODF Alliance slammed the research firm's findings and rebuffed claims that its format was "simple" and merely used as a political statement against Microsoft.

It described Burton's handling of the contentious Office standardisation issue as "erroneously negative, unbalanaced... and quite puzzling to us". ®

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