Are proprietary formats a thing of the past?  Is the ODF support in Office SP2 a sign of more changes to come?  We can but hope!
Are proprietary formats a thing of the past? Is the ODF support in Office SP2 a sign of more changes to come? We can but hope!

A short snippet of news here.

Microsoft have released SP2 for their Office package today, much Im sure to the delight of many.😉

SP2 offers (amongst other things) support for the ODF format (Open Document Format) natively, which before could only be achieved via a plugin.

As PC World comments:

“Microsoft’s lack of native support for ODF may have also been behind fines from the European Commission, which pushed Microsoft to support interoperability with other companies’ products.”

Talking of the EU, as its been reported on manyy sites, Microsoft has been granted a “stay of execution”(IMO)  in regards to the deadline set by it.  In January of this year the EU said in regards to  IE being bundled with Windows:

“…harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.”

So encouraging times ahead?  Well hopefully so since it appears the proprietary “hooks” which (IMO) force people down the path of certain software solutions are being removed.  That can only be good for the end user.

So Microsoft has until 28th April 2009 in regards to the IE issue, its included support for ODF in its SP2 for Office 2007.  Whats next?

On a related note, Ive noticed with the podcasts I listen to that OGG is becoming the download of choice when offered with MP3.  Another good sign that its now users who are demanding open standard file formats?  We have already seen a similar “battle” between XVID and DIVX.

Regardless of what packages you use, its seems to me its getting harder for companies to force you down the route of their own proprietary formats.

If you have any doubts about the worth of Open Standards, freedom of choice or lockin, consider these words that Steve Ballmer has been reported as saying

“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches,”

If that statement doesnt give you the encouragement to stay away from proprietary file formats, nothing will!

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com