It seems that just when we're getting used to enjoying Microsoft twist in the wind over some big-business style uproar, it does something to take the wind out of our sails. Sadly, Wednesday was no different, as Microsoft once again proved that it has a bit of consumer interest and open-standard love at heart: Office 2007 will have support for ODF files.
I'll insert a dramatic pause here while the users of the ever popular Open Office pick their jaws back up.
Yes, Microsoft is not only accepting an open standard, but embracing it as a step forward to Open XML in general. Office Programmer Brian Jones had this to say
on the matter:
There has been a push in Microsoft for better interoperability and this is another great step in that direction. We already have the PDF and XPS support for Office 2007 users that unfortunately had to be separated out of the product and instead offered as a free download. There will be a menu item in the Office applications that will point people to the downloads for XPS, PDF, and now ODF. So you'll have the ability to save to and open ODF files directly within Office (just like any other format).
A very interesting (and unusual) feature of this plugin is that MS will host it on Sourceforge as completely open-source, in an effort to stick with the Open XML concept. That means it can be maintained and evolve as Open Office does, so that the plug-in does not become out of date with each new revision of OO.
It's times like these that make me want to just go hug someone, what with all the free love and respect for other software and all. Oh, nevermind, I'm over it now, but the announcement is still pretty cool.
Got a thought on Microsoft's embrace of the Open XML standard, or an idea on the standard itself? Write it in our now fully compatible forums