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

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 …

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Warnings while saving ...

"Saving this file as ODF may cause the loss of formatting information, rainforests and endangered species. Click No to save in Microsoft's universally approved standard OXML, or Yes to save in the Communist ODF format and help fund terrorism, people trafficking and child pornography rings."

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Unhappy

ODF? What about Office 2007 formats....

I spent two hours this morning trying (and eventually succeeding) to open a simple word document sent to me by a student - my university has recently converted to Office 2007 / Windows Vista. As I run Linux and OpenOffice, this was a bit of an issue, to say the least! As Word defaults to saving in 2007 format, I guess I'm gonna be stuffed at least until OOo 3 comes out in the Autumn.

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Gates Horns

Embrace, Extend, Extinguish...

So, once more on the merry-go-round. Here we have the Embrace phase beginning; "let's Embrace the open standard".

Next will come the MS-specific modifications, they will want to change the standard to Extend it into the usual horribly bloated kludgeware we've all come to know and hate.

Finally will be the "let's bury it under our new super-bloatware release standards", and pop! another open standard Extinguished under the spray of Microsoft's insatiable greed and powerlust.

ODF Standards board, beware! Don't allow Microsoft ANY say whatsoever in defining "upgrades" to these standards. It will be your death knell.

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Gates Horns

If this is on par with their HTML standards...

...then support will buggy, incomplete and years late to the game. Looks like my Linux OpenOffice will continue to save in .doc format :(

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Joke

A Microsoft pledge?

A Microsoft pledge. That is like saying a dishonest promise.

Anyway as for paying people to use their stuff, I remember when you had to pay Microsoft. Times have changed. That said, they are still not paying enough for me to use them. If they put $100 in my account each week, then I might use their stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

@Paul Slater

Paul, at the expense of sounding argumentative (I'm not, by the way,) if your university is using Office 2007 you're the one not complying with their standard. The student is just using the tools supplied by the college, from what you're saying, and unless asked to do otherwise it's not unreasonable to save in the default format used by the program. Nor is it unreasonable for Word to default to it's own format. Why shouldn't it, even if it can default to another format? Presumably all official stuff from the college is going to be in MS format too. You could be a real meanie like one of the lecturers in my college (years ago, when Win 95 was new and the college was using WP,) and insist that students' theses be submitted in LaTex :)

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Coat

Quelle surprise !

"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."

Quelle surprise ! I'd be wary about the sanity of the folks at ODF, had they applauded to that.

Mine is the one with the PDF printer and last Open Office CD in.

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Bronze badge

@ Paul Slater

Send it back - ask for a real document.

Students should be taught that M$ formats are not valid methods for sending data around.

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Trust?

Does anyone really trust MS to implement this properly? News prediction for 2009: "Microsoft say it's not their fault that ODF documents created with Office 2k7 don't open properly in any other program, recommend OOXML instead".

@Paul Slater: You can always try out OOo 3.0 beta, available now ;)

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Only ODF v1.1

How typical of MS to support an unreleased standard. V1.1 was never released. OO.o is moving to support ODF v1.2 with the release of v3. Why doesn't MS support that instead?

Andy

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Stop

Office SP1 out for months

"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."

Office 2007 SP1 has been out since December 2007. It's only in June that it becomes an automatic update (rather than an optional one).

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Microsoft's non-portable PDF's

The Microsoft Office 2007 "Save as PDF" add-in offers a number of options when saving PDFs, including an obscure tick box:

PDF options: ISO19005-1 compliant (PDF/A)

which is unticked by default. However, unless the box is ticked, the resulting documents are unreadable on a number of non-Microsoft platforms (e.g. Adobe Reader 7 or 8 on Fedora 7 or 8).

Why am I not surprised that by default Microsoft generates PDF's that aren't portable ...

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Anonymous Coward

Just on a quick read: two misleading statements already..

"Microsoft said its employees would join an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) working group to MAINTAIN Open XML"

Excuse me, it hasn't been formally released in an acceptable format. Until all the corrections are brought in it is AFAIK not maintaining (which suggests some acceptable baseline to start with), it's still "workign towards compliance with our own commitments as required per ISO process, broken by us or not ".

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

I think we still have to be careful with words here. "Ratified" here means "voted in after the voting process was subverted to the point of rendering the relevant ISO branch inoperable, an operation of which the true scale of damage yet has to be properly assessed". Let's not forget that MS principally BROKE ISO in its desire to subvert government procurement processes.

Lastly, PDF and ODF beware. Does "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" ring any bells?

I think it requires a whole lot more than promises and press releases to undo the damage MS has caused to their own reputation. Show me anyone who trusts MS now..

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Embrace and Extend.

Oooooooh just can't wait for the obvious ODF+ and then ODF++ with all those lovely MS only extensions.

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Gates Horns

Why announce now - because of Lotus Symphony!

You may wonder why announce this now. Could it be that the imminent release of the free Open Office based Lotus Symphony with support for ODF and Office formats is imminent! Microsoft releasing a spoiler news release

Keep your eyes on http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony

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IT Angle

OOXML is a migration format

A reason has occurred to me why M$ are doing this. ISO have taken a lot of flak over the approval process, not least because they are not supposed to approve competing standards.

My undersanding was that OOXML was accepted into the standards process because M$ convinced ISO that a standardised migration format for legacy documents was required and that ODF wasn't suitable for this. This effectively implies that OOXML isn't intended for new documents, which should therefore be using ODF. In order to prove that they really meant this to ISO, M$ might have had to agree to implement ODF in Office so that it could be used for new documents.

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Tom
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Vapor ware

The last thing microsoft wants is for interoperability.

A company only need one up to date version of MS office with an ODF export/import and the whole company can run free software on all other machines.

If they say they're gonna write one then its to stop others doing it.

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Gold badge

@Tom

Er, WTF?

Why would you want to? Far simpler (and cheaper - saving, as it does, the Microsoft license) would be to either open the things directly in OpenOffice or convert them using OpenOffice.

If you need to then send your documents to someone not able to read ODF (MS users, obviously) you can always save in Word format with that specialist conversion tool, er, OpenOffice.

This approach also has the advantage of being available to implement right now, rather than some time in 2k9!

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Boffin

Re: @Paul Slater

Supposedly-not-argumentative but unsurprisingly Anonymous Coward:

> Presumably all official stuff from the college is going to be in MS format too. You could be a real meanie like one of the lecturers in my college (years ago, when Win 95 was new and the college was using WP,) and insist that students' theses be submitted in LaTex :)

When I went to University there was official stuff and official stuff: the campus-wide network was predominantly Windows, and the Computer Science department was -as far as undergrads were concerned- *totally* Unix. You can't insist the recipient of the file should have been running Word, he may not have been provisioned with a Windows box!

As for your point about LaTeX and theses, unless Word has got better at storing and representing equations since I graduated, the insistence on *any* more-suitable format is the way it should be. We were advised that publishers would have had the same objection.

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