Document Format Interoperability Means We Can All Get Along

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After announcing that it will support adding Open Document Format for XML (ODF) to ANSI standards, Microsoft now is also planning to work with the Beijing Information Technology Institute and sponsor an open source project with the goal of designing a converter for Ecma Open XML and Unified Office Format (UOF), a Chinese standard, says silicon.com.


Haven't heard of UOF? Maybe not, but Sun Chairman Scott McNealy says it's in the top three document formats, so that's good enough for us. We're guessing that may be based on sheer number of users.


Other projects to convert between Office apps and corresponding non-MS desktop apps should be available in beta soon on SourceForge, too, according to the article.


After being slammed in the media for its statements on possible action against vendors and users for alleged patent violations in open source software, Microsoft says its position on ODF as a standard alongside OpenXML is all about interoperability.


Critics say we should be watching for pressure from Microsoft for OpenXML to be made a global standard (as opposed to the already listed ODF) by the ISO later this year, although how exactly that would be done isn't clear. But if you believe Microsoft sees open source and open formats as its enemies, that would explain why it'll work to keep them close.