A blog for the enterprise open source community
The ODF story – one year laterJay Lyman, April 30, 2009 @ 3:53 pm ET
My how time flies when it comes to standards battles. This week brought a flurry of news, issues and opinions involving Open Document Format (ODF), starting with Microsoft’s support for ODF in the latest Office 2007 SP2. This comes a year after Microsoft was criticized for its Office Open XML (OOXML) standardization campaign and subsequent turnabout tosupport ODF in Office 2007.
For its part, Microsoft says its integrated support for ODF, as well as its own OOXML, PDF and other formats is a response to customer demand for industry collaboration and interoperability. It may also have something to do with Microsoft’s efforts to address anti-trust entanglements with the European Union.
ODF supporters are calling Office 2007 native support for ODF a victory and it’s true it represents a true departure from Microsoft’s previous indications for Office 2007. ODF supporters also highlight the fact that Microsoft did go ahead and push for and receive its own international standard status for OOXML. They caution ODF users and organizations to make sure Microsoft’s software will work with other software already using or working with ODF, too, but in general take a positive view of the Office 2007 support. They also indicate ODF continues to win government endorsement and application support.
However there are also those who doubt the significance of Microsoft’s support and even the long-term viability of ODF, which indeed seems to have less momentum now than a year ago. The thinking goes that OOXML has already attained standard status and begun gaining enterprise use, while ODF has been limited to mostly government endorsements and use. Even if the number of governments and agencies supporting ODF continues to grow, it is Microsoft’s standard that is winning adoption in the enterprise.
There is still something of a wild card in all of this: the impact of Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems. The fate of OpenOffice.org (which originated at and has since been sponsored by Sun) is one of the biggest questions I have in regards to the impact of the deal to open source software. There has already been some speculation Oracle could leverage OO.o to work against Microsoft. Following some of my initial thinking on Oracle-Sun, I had feared OO.o would be largely overlooked and left to its own community to continue. I also thought OO.o might make a decent consolation for IBM, which bases its Lotus Symphony enterprise office software on the same code. Now I’m wondering what we might see from Oracle, which has been among the largest and most significant backers of ODF, and IBM together on furthering and promoting both OO.o and ODF. As is often the case with standards, it seems the fight may be continuing even after we thought it was done.
Comments (1) Categories: Software