Melbourne -- 20 October 2005 Open Source Victoria, Australia's government-funded open source industry cluster, has formed an alliance with Phase N to develop an open source solution to bring Open Document Format capabilities to Microsoft Office users.
Called OpenOpenOffice or O3, it will allow Microsoft Office users to read and write Open Document Format (ODF) files. ODF is the next-generation standard for storing and interchanging office documents such as word processor files, spreadsheets and slide-show presentations. ODF is supported by many of the office productivity suites on the market, including OpenOffice.org, Sun's StarOffice, Corel Office, Abiword, KOffice and others.
"Through universal adoption, Open Document Format will bring, for the first time in our industry's history, the reality of friction-free interchange of office documents between different office suites," said OSV convener Con Zymaris. "The major hold-out here is Microsoft, who refuses to support ODF - a decision that seems based on self-serving reasons, to protect the near-monopoly of their high-priced Office suite. The ones who will suffer are the users."
"We believe that Microsoft Office users should have a choice as to which format they store their documents in," continued Zymaris. "To that end, we are partnering with software development firm Phase N to build a solution which will indeed give Microsoft Office users that very choice that Microsoft denies them. This is what open source is about - freedom from the control of proprietary vendors and more options for users."
"The amazing thing about the O3 concept is how simple it is," said key O3 developer Adam Kennedy. "Just take the Word-to-ODF filters from the OpenOffice.org suite, and put them into Office in reverse. Microsoft has made it trivial to write plugins for Office using .NET, and the OpenOffice.org team has put a huge effort into their document conversion filters. So all that's left is to connect the two together via some simple SOAP calls using C# and Perl, and then make sure it is easy for people to install into Office."
"By not supporting ODF, Microsoft is placing its interests ahead of its users, who will be barred from entering this new sphere of document interoperability. This is another sign that the vendor cares little for offering interoperability and choice to its customers. The open source community equates such vendor stubbornness with damage, and much like the Internet, we will route around it. If Microsoft won't offer choice to its Office users, we will do it for them," concluded Zymaris.
More information on O3: http://www.phase-n.com/openopenoffice/
About Open Source Victoria
Open Source Victoria is an Industry Cluster consisting of over 100 Victorian firms and developers which provide services and technology related to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS.) Open Source Victoria offers marketing, advocacy and information referral services, and aims to raise the profile of FOSS in Victoria and work with other similar organisations across Australia.
Contact: Con Zymaris
Phone: 03 9621 2377
Fax: 03 9621 2477