OFFICE 2007 SP2 – ODF Support

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

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Will says:

    Here’s to hoping that some people out there will soon be putting MS Office 2007’s ODF support through a compatibility torture test to make sure that MS Office plays nicely and uniformly with the many other ODF implementations out there. Because we all know how much MS is committed to making ODF look good…

  2. openbytes says:

    “ODF support through a compatibility torture test to make sure that MS Office plays nicely and uniformly with the many other ODF implementations out there. Because we all know how much MS is committed to making ODF look good…”

    Agreed, and if they think this in any way makes them Opensource friendly, then (IMO) they are mistaken.

    I personally think that Microsoft complying to open standards will actually benefit them. I think as more people discover alternatives such as Open Office it will be more important for Microsoft to worry about being compliant with them, not the other way around. (IMO) People have already shown a desire to take an alternative route. We see it with GOOGLE we see it with Firefox, XVID and the many other FOSS solutions users are now offered (Ive also personally seen an increase in popularity for OGG aswell)

    1. Will says:

      Yeah. We’re both in agreement that the time has long been overdue for open standards. Let all data reside in open, non-patent-encumbered, democratic standard formats that all parties can and will support. Then let the individual programs (FOSS and proprietary) fight out based on features.

      As for OGG, one problem I see holding OGG back is lack off support from the portable music players. Some of the Sanza devices (like the Fuze) support it natively with their latest firmware, but outside of that, most devices that I’ve seen require firmware hacking to play OGG and FLAC.

      Also, have you happened to see any indication if/when the OSX MS Office will support ODF?

  3. openbytes says:

    “As for OGG, one problem I see holding OGG back is lack off support from the portable music players.”

    Very true. Having not got a portable music player (Ive never been into “music on the go” its not really been an issue for me.

    It will be interesting if the rumored “international Zune” will have OGG support, since the EU is on Microsofts case, it wouldnt surprise me.

    “Also, have you happened to see any indication if/when the OSX MS Office will support ODF?”

    Pass, but Im sure Ive read a rumor about MS office will soon not be developed on the MAC. If anyone can confirm or deny this Id appreciate it.

    Id say if the above rumor is true then Microsoft wont bother.

  4. Will says:

    You know that compatibility test I talked about earlier. Looks like PJ over at Groklaw has taken Office 2007’s ODF support for a spin, and the results are not encouraging:

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20090503215045379

    You know that saying, “Never assume malice when incompetence will suffice.” ? With Microsoft (IMO) it’s usually a bit of both.

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