Archive for the ‘OOXML’ Category

January

22

by Kaj Kandler

I just discovered Tomahawk Gold from Native Winds of Montana. It looks like an attractive software package to print booklets from a variety of formats such as ODF, OOXML, txt, RTF, and XML.

This application does include its own editor to correct potential import glitches and reformatted files ready for printing in various formats, such as 1up, 2up (booklet) and 4up so proof your layout while saving paper. It allows you as well to produce PDF files directly for electronic distribution and printing by the end-user. The product sells for $36, download only.

The same company also produces a document converter from MS-OOXML or ODF to RTF. This is a freeware program, just to download from their website. Freeware Genius thinks the Converter is worth its money

October

31

by Kaj Kandler

OpenDocument Format (ODF), the standard accepted as ISO 26300 norm, has been mired in some controversy. The OpenDocument Foundation, a group formed to promote the standard format across different applications and platforms, has now denounced its support for ODF. The reasons cited is that Sun Microsystems, in control of OpenOffice.org/StarOffice the largest application supporting ODF, does not allow more compatibility to legacy formats such as .doc or MS OOXML. Sun favors supporting legacy document formats in the application, with appropriate import/export filters, while the ODF Foundation thinks it should become part of the format itself.

Recently, Sun has come under scrutiny for its policies surrounding OpenOffice.org and ODF. Some have even speculated if Novel instituted a fork of the OpenOffice.org project. It should come at no surprise that standards, as open as they may be, are a business tool. The ODF standard and the fact that it offers transparency which enables safety in archiving documents and having access centuries into the future forced Microsoft to rethink its own document formats. Now the ODF Foundation is surprised that Sun does want to keep out direct compatibility with the rival format(s).

However, having witnessed the discussions of ODFoundation members on some mailing lists, there also seem to be some strong personalities at work. Or is it the rivalry between MS Office Plug-in developments from the ODFoundation and Sun Microsystems that is causing all the bad blood?

The sad fallout of this is that the ODFoundation wants to morph itself into a CDF Foundation, CDF being another document format proposed by the influential standard body W3C. It will stop developing its MS Office plugin to seemlessly read and write ODF documents.

October

26

by Kaj Kandler

Apple releases tomorrow its latest version of Mac OS X called Leopard. It’s build-in text editor TextEdit now supports ODF and MS OOXML. This means it can exchange text documents with OpenOffice.org Writer, NeoOffice Writer and also with MS Word 2007.

Many Mac OS X fans now hope that Apple will soon support the ISO standard ODF in the iApplications such as iWork.

September

18

by Kaj Kandler

Today, IBM released Lotus Symphony, its version of OpenOffice.org as a free offering to business, government and consumer users.

The productivity suite is free to download. Interestingly the website only presents three applications, “Documents”, “Presentations” and “Spreadsheets.” The Database functionality of OpenOffice.org is apparently missing. The Suite supports Windows XP or Vista and Linux RedHat or Novell SuSE. A discussion about MAC OS X support has already started in the support forums.

Lotus Symphony does naturally support ODF and also can read and write the Microsoft Office formats most of the time. The latest MS OOXML is not yet supported.

Unfortunately this is another species in the jungle called Open Office eco-system.

P.S.: If you are PC veteran, you might remember the Lotus Symphony for DOS, which included Lotus 1-2-3. This is not the same!

September

06

by Kaj Kandler

I blogged yesterday that ISO rejected the MS OOXML application for fast tracking this proprietarily developed format as an ISO standard. The Electronic Frontier Finnland has an interesting article on their website, stating a strong correlation between the ‘YES’ vote for MS-OOXML approval and the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

While not all correlation can be interpreted as a causal relationship, all causal relationships should show near perfect correlation.

Interesting in this context is also recent research into why “myth” are hard to defeat. It states that ignoring the myth gives it a stamp of approval, because nobody does claim its falsehood. However, correcting a myth does often reinforce the false statement in the human mind instead of reversing it.

I leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions.

September

06

by Kaj Kandler

Yesterday, the International Standard Organization rejected the wholesale acceptance of MS OOXML also known as ECMA-376 as a new ISO standard.

The relevant comittee did not reach the 2/3 approval rate nor did it stay below the 25% objection threshold. This is not a final decision but a request to study the matter in more detail. The 26% “No” votes of participating committee members have mandatory comments attached and these will be discussed at an assembly February 2008. Presumably then remedies will be worked out and the standard draft will be improved and voted on again.

Approving MS OOXML as a second ISO standard for Office documents, after ODF (ISO 26300) has increased interest in such matters dramatically. Many countries did upgrade their membership in the relevant comittee from observes to participants in oder to have an actual vote. Many obeservers of the process allege that Microsoft is lobbying with such countries as Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ecuador, Jamaica, Lebanon, Malta, Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela to become participating and voting members. Interestingly, all new participating members did vote in Microsoft’s favor for fast tracking the approval.

August

28

by Kaj Kandler

NeoOffice just announced its latest release 2.2.1. All over the net is praise for NeoOffice’s new features, such as

  • Support for the native Mac OS X spellchecker
  • Support for the native Mac OS X address book
  • Support for high resolution printing
  • Reading and writing many Microsoft OOXML (Office 2007) Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents
  • The latest features from OpenOffice.org 2.2.1

While OpenOffice.org announced a native version for the Mac OS X and its user interface, and Sun Microsystems committed two full time developers to the project, NeoOffice has obviously worked hard to stay ahead. The integration of native features such as the address book and spell checker are certainly welcome. It makes working on a Mac much more consistent.

However, some report issues with this version of NeoOffice 2.2.1. I have no way to verify that.

The competing effort from the mother project seems to make good progress with frequent OOo Mac OS X port developer snapshots. However, I don’t think the upcoming release as part of OOo release 2.3 will be as comprehensive as NeoOffice yet. I guess competition does improve the product(s) for consumers. I applaud both efforts.

August

17

by Kaj Kandler

Michael Brauer clarifies the status of OpenOffice.org’s work on MS-OOXML (aka ECMA-376).

He says that OpenOffice.org does work on supporting the format with input and output filters. this means you will be able to open a document from MS Office 2007 and to save it for Office 2007 users. Office 2007 is currently the only application that supports the new format our of the box. Older MS Office versions can be upgraded.

Michael reports that the current status is reading text from OOXML documents and that there is still a lot of work to do to reach satisfactory compliance. However, he remarks that as the format is now looked at by the International Standard Organization (ISO) for further standardization and that there are many complains from interested parties about incomplete definitions and contradictions of other standards. So he expects the format to evolve and undergo changes.

Michael also points out that OpenOffice.org will fully continue to support ODF (ISO 26300) as it’s default document format.

July

12

by Kaj Kandler

I’m curious if anybody of my readers can point me to non Microsoft OO-XML implementations?

I stumbled today over Linspire’s press release with this rather controversial paragraph.

The Open XML format is an open standard file format for office applications that can be freely implemented by multiple applications on multiple platforms. The Open XML format was standardized by Ecma International on December 7, 2006 and is also being implemented by multiple applications on multiple platforms. It is now under consideration for ratification by ISO/IEC JTC1. Open XML is the default format for the recently released Microsoft Office 2007. The Open XML format is also available through free updates to past Microsoft Office versions.

It claims that OOXML is open and can be implemented by anybody. However there is a raging discussion in the ISO standardization community and the open source community at large, that MS-OOXML is neither open nor worthy a standard, due to various contradictions and secretive parts.

I wonder if I’m just misinformed, or if there are more than some beta attempts from Novel, that so far are limited and buggy.

June

27

by Kaj Kandler

The campaign for MS-OOXML as ISO standard has been pushed forward by Microsoft for a while. Now the opposition does collect signatures to say No to MS-OOXML’s adoption as an ISO standard.

The critics do not want two standards and they do not want standards that have no reference implementation, do not make use of other ISO standards or do not fully describe what actually is the standard. The later point preventing anybody from complying