Feeds

Microsoft to ODF, PDF - let's get it on together

ODF champion says 'put your tongue away'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A Microsoft pledge to support current and future versions of Open Document Format (ODF) in Office has been greeted with skepticism by the industry group leading ODF.

Microsoft said Tuesday its planned Office 2007 Service Pack 2 will add support for ODF 1.1 - the industry backed document format Microsoft has challenged with Office Open XML. SP2 will also add Adobe Systems' Portable Document Format, PDF 1.5 along with XML Paper Specification (XPS), which Microsoft had been attempting to push as a page display alternative to PDF.

Microsoft, meanwhile, said it's joining a technical committee at the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) to work on the next release of ODF.

Don't get too excited by this outbreak of peace. SP2 isn’t due until the first half of 2009, meaning you've got a good year before you can save an Office 2007 document using ODF. Ahead of that lies SP1, due at the beginning of June.

There is also no word on if, or when, SPs will be delivered that bring ODF and PDF to the vast install base of customers and developers working with older versions of Office.

Accordingly, the ODF Alliance, the group of vendors and national bodies leading ODF, has warned against premature celebrations saying we should wait and see what Microsoft actually delivers in SP2. ODF Alliance managing director Marino Marcich said the proof of Microsoft’s commitment to openness would be whether ODF support is on a par with Open XML.

He pointed to Microsoft's promise two years ago to support ODF, when it backed an existing BSD project for an Open XML Translator. The project, to deliver an Office add-on to save documents in ODF, is also due in the first half of 2009. That software has not been finished, and it’s not clear whether today’s announcement for support will use the translator.

“Until Microsoft enables Office users to create and save in ODF by default as easily and fully as in Microsoft's own formats, governments will continue to adopt a 'buyer beware' attitude,” Marcich said in a statement.

Significantly, Microsoft is not quite ready to give up on its ODF rival, Open XML, that it's been busy railroading through standards bodies across the globe.

Microsoft said its employees would join an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) working group to maintain Open XML, in addition to working to improve interoperability between ODF and Open XML and "other ISO/IEC recognized document formats".

Microsoft said it would also participate in on going standardization and maintenance work around PDF and XPS.

Chris Caposella, senior vice president of the Microsoft Business Division, said in a statement that Microsoft is creating opportunities for developers and competitors, including those in open source, by "increasing the openness of our products and participating actively in the development and maintenance of document format standards."

Microsoft's embrace for ODF comes just two months after Open XML was ratified by the ISO/IEC as a standard.®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.