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Novell OpenOffice to Support Microsoft Office Open XML

One of the major contributors to the leading open source alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite announced early this morning it will be offering additions to OpenOffice enabling it to support Office 2007’s new XML-based Office Open XML format, not as the default, but as an alternative for reading and writing .DOCX files.

For its share of this morning’s statement, Microsoft began referring to its suite’s format without the word “Office,” using instead the designation “Ecma Open XML.” Last Wednesday, a version of that format was submitted for general approval by the ECMA standards organization – the same one which helped Microsoft institute its version of Netscape’s JavaScript as a standard. A vote on approval of Ecma Open XML is scheduled for this Thursday, and today’s announcement of Novell’s support most likely all but assures its passage.

In order to make OpenOffice — not really a Novell-branded product — support Office (Ecma) Open XML, it plans to release the code for “translators” for .DOCX into the open source community next month, most likely through the OpenOffice.org Web site. Translators for other Office 2007 default formats will follow soon thereafter.

Novell CTO Nat Friedman this morning acknowledged that it will continue to support OpenDocument Format (ODF) as OpenOffice’s default “because it provides customer choice and flexibility.”
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Novell, OpenOffice, Microsoft Office Open XML

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