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Sun Releases ODF Plugin for MS Office

CowboyNeal posted about 7 years ago | from the as-good-as-the-real-thing dept.

Sun Microsystems 166

extra88 writes "Heise online is reporting that Sun has released their OpenDocument Format (ODF) plug-in for Microsoft Office 2000, XP and 2003. The plug-in allows Microsoft Office (for Windows) users to open ODF files and save their work in ODF formats used by OpenOffice, StarOffice, and other programs. According to the ReadMe, the plug-in adds "ODF Text Document (*.odt)" as a format to Word's Open and Save dialogs and adds Import and Export options to Excel and PowerPoint."

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166 comments

Doing MS's job for them (5, Funny)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 7 years ago | (#19779671)

Wow, if this won't boost the usability of Word what will? I might even try it now.
--
Solar power that is easy to use: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Doing MS's job for them (5, Insightful)

The_Wilschon (782534) | about 7 years ago | (#19779739)

No. This isn't meant to boost Word's usability. It is meant to boost ODF's usability. Now if you write a document in OOo, you can save it to a fully-supported format (no dialog box that says "If you save to Word 2000 format, you will lose some document formatting"), send it to your boss, and he'll be able to open it.

It means that we won't have to pander to Word users any more, because they can be on an equal footing when it comes to document format support. This is much more important than getting rid of Word entirely.

Anyway, I'd rather have a third party implement the ODF support for office. I don't trust MS to go against their embrace and extend instinct, and I'd rather have Office support ODF, rather than ODF plus some closed extensions and minus some slightly esoteric, but standard, features.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (2, Informative)

dgun (1056422) | about 7 years ago | (#19779781)

Now if you write a document in OOo, you can save it to a fully-supported format

And this is a good thing because often going from OOo to Word I lose formatting and every now and then the whole document gets scrambled.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19780433)

YAY! Now there is no reason for anyone anywhere to approve Microsoft's worthless "standard" format/proposal.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (4, Funny)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 7 years ago | (#19779803)

I gave up on Word a long time ago when I had a hard time writing ascii files that didn't have non-standard characters in them. There just didn't seem to be a smooth devolution to something that worked well with a text editor with better marco capabilities (emacs in my case). So the program just didn't seem all that useful. Also the symbols were hunt and peck off a drop down. Very slow. So, to me, this development means I might try out Word again since I've been using StarOffice for simpler things like letters and such. How much does Word cost?
--
Solar power with no installation fee: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Doing MS's job for them (1)

doti (966971) | about 7 years ago | (#19780351)

LaTeX ftw!

Re:Doing MS's job for them (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 7 years ago | (#19780439)

TeX is better.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (4, Interesting)

doti (966971) | about 7 years ago | (#19780867)

If you're going low level, why not Postscript?

LaTeX is great if you accept one of the nice provided layouts (LaTeX calls them "document styles": article, book, letter, etc), and focus only on the content. Or, if you want to tweak these layout just a bit, or make even your own.

Maybe TeX can be useful if you want to make your own layout that has nothing to do with the LaTeX style, but I never had the guts to try to learn pure TeX. (LaTeX is easier than HTML).

Once I was making a Perl script to create sokoban sheets using LaTeX, and my friend told me it would be easier in Postscrip. I was skeptic at first, but let him show how Postscript works, and I was very pleased with it.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 7 years ago | (#19781059)

groff > troff

Re:Doing MS's job for them (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 7 years ago | (#19781341)

eqn

Re:Doing MS's job for them (2, Informative)

Planesdragon (210349) | about 7 years ago | (#19780431)

How much does Word cost?
$150 for a three-seat "non-commercial" license. More than that for just Word as a "do whatever you want" license.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (3, Funny)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 7 years ago | (#19780453)

Depends. Anywhere from 100 to 500 (complete Office) USD for a boxed copy (I think), or a free copy with a chance to win a federally subsidized vacation :)

Re:Doing MS's job for them (4, Insightful)

VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) | about 7 years ago | (#19779823)

I'd rather have a third party implement the ODF support for office. I don't trust MS to go against their embrace and extend instinct, and I'd rather have Office support ODF, rather than ODF plus some closed extensions and minus some slightly esoteric, but standard, features.
I wouldn't worry about closed extensions, but overall I agree. If Microsoft had been forced to implement ODF, they would have made it half-assed, incomplete, and unreliable to give the impression of inferiority. They've done this before.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | about 7 years ago | (#19779911)

ODF. ODF. ODF. All I hear is ODF. Yet for some strange reason, the extension is .odt! Ah, I get it now. A t upside down is an f. They are gonna turn Microsoft upside down on their head with this. Clever gal. Clever gal...

Re:Doing MS's job for them (5, Informative)

frogstar_robot (926792) | about 7 years ago | (#19780027)

".odt" is "Open Document Text. ".ods" is "Open Document Spreadsheet" and ".odp" is "Open Document Presentation". There are some other ".odX" extensions for things like vector drawings and "Master Documents". The entire family of XML based document formats is "ODF".

Re:Doing MS's job for them (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19781285)

So, Novell, Linspire and another Linux company signed an NDA with M$ to develop an ODF plug-in for Office, so that it can meet the Massechusette's standard for open document format. Then, Sun makes an MS office plug-in for ODF by itself, and releases it to the public. Oh the irony. Wait, it gets better.

Microsoft wants to sue over 'interoperability' with windows environments, just as their sales decline. One financial report indicates M$ inflated sales figures for last year, by selling off assets. The investors catch this, and M$ stock didn't increase in value upon Vista's release as it did when releases of 95/98/NT/2003/XP occurred. Also, for the first time, Apple's sales-to-assets ratio is higher than M$. Then Dell warns customers of Vista upgrade problems, making it a first for a hardware vendor to warn customers of M$ software issues.

Linux doesn't need M$ and further, M$ software on Linux is poison anyhow.
If you are in a mixed environment of Windows and Linux, do NOT use M$ technology for collaboration.
That's right. No SAMBA on linux for M$'s CIFS. Do NOT use active directory.
Instead, use NFS from Sun, DCE from the opengroup.org/dce or LDAP.
No MSSQL for anything, as M$ will most likely sue for using non-windows clients on ODBC.
Lastly, get rid of that crazy MONO for .asp, get rid of ASP from the server, and get rid of any activeX
functionality on your Linux desktops.

M$ has painted themselves into a corner, by pretending that the desktop monopoly would be perpetual,
and then when M$ discovered Ubuntu will be replacing that very soon, they threaten everyone,
on the grounds that M$ is everywhere and everyone gets sued. How can M$ get mad, when they rid of all competition in industries like Networking, databases, desktops, etc, and the competitor's financially ruined product is released as open source?

Ironic further is that M$ focused on copying technology again, just as their dominance in back-end computing never arrives and their desktop market share begins its long descent. I wouldn't expect anything else from Ballmer. A video of him running around on stage yelling "Yes, Yes" shows the glee in fulfilling greed's unsatiable appetite, while M$ celebrates another product that duplicates another company's software solution. One year it's Novell Netware vs NT and AD. This year it will be security software. Last year it was pathetic; M$ copied Firefox's tabbed browsing.

What a strange turn of events. M$ recognizes it's future demise in the market place, and like SCO goes for litigation. It rattles it's sabers at Linux companies, it tries to poison the waters by adding MS Office descriptors in XML format as an ISO, and lobbbies Massachusetts for MS Office proprietary formats to be used as the state's default file-format only AFTER ODF was discovered by techno-newbie politicians.

The ironic icing on the cake will be that the DOJ will allow M$ to sue anyone using MS technology that were given names that indicate at openness & pervasiveness; CIFS stands for "Common Internet File System", and ODBC stands for "Open Database Connectivity". Strange, indeed.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19779825)

Then save it as a PDF with PDF Creator. Problem solved without having to use OO.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (2, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 7 years ago | (#19780389)

..and if you have to collaborate with a client on a text document outside the office via email?

Re:Doing MS's job for them (3, Interesting)

HalifaxRage (640242) | about 7 years ago | (#19780011)

Never had an issue using Rich Text Format. Actually, only use that when I need boldfacing, otherwise ASCII is my weapon of choice.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (2, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#19780177)

RTF importing from older software can be extremely problematic. I had a number of documents written in older versions of Microsoft Works and the OS/2 IBM Works wordprocessors, and no matter what I import them into (KOffice, OpenOffice or Word), they get seriously munged, so much so that the easiest course is to remove all formatting and reformat.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#19780347)

The RTF specification is about a page long. It defines some very basic formatting. It's then extended by different vendors in a variety of different ways. If you've never had problems with it, you've either only ever used the simplest formatting, or you've used a single library for reading and writing it (very likely if you're on Windows).

Re:Doing MS's job for them (0, Troll)

RealGrouchy (943109) | about 7 years ago | (#19780087)

send it to your boss, and he'll be able to open it.

My boss won't be able to, because she uses a mac.

- RG>

MOD DOWN (-1 Offtopic) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19780315)

So you wanted us to know that your boss does not use what the article was talking about, and is not a male. Whoop-dee-fucking-do. Another useless post.

Re:MOD DOWN (-1 Offtopic) (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | about 7 years ago | (#19780905)

GP implied that now everybody can read ODF in MS Word, and I was pointing out that no, not everybody can.

- RG>

Re:MOD DOWN (-1 Offtopic) (1, Interesting)

GIL_Dude (850471) | about 7 years ago | (#19780963)

That's right; not everybody can. For example me. I have Vista and Office 2007 here and neither one is supported by this plug in (I should have read the readme BEFORE the download, but oh well). You'd think they would release it for the current versions, but nope. So you are right that not everyone can use it. I still have to boot my Ubuntu partition to do ODF stuff.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (2, Interesting)

statusbar (314703) | about 7 years ago | (#19780451)

If she uses Word, then like me she probably has problems opening other peoples Word files! Not just formatting but crashes too! Word on Mac is a PoS. I usually end up just importing doc files into TextEdit.app, it does a better job!!!

--jeffk++

Re:Doing MS's job for them (1)

hpavc (129350) | about 7 years ago | (#19780151)

Yes this was part of the anti-trust. Even though most of the formats can be preserved they choose to degrade them. Sow hy should this be any different.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (5, Insightful)

The_Wilschon (782534) | about 7 years ago | (#19780331)

Because a third party is writing the plugin, and they have no interest in protecting MS's formats, and a decent amount of interest in not making themselves look bad, so I'd expect they would try to do a good job. Sun generally puts out quality stuff.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (1)

triso (67491) | about 7 years ago | (#19780969)

Because a third party is writing the plugin, and they have no interest in protecting MS's formats, and a decent amount of interest in not making themselves look bad, so I'd expect they would try to do a good job. Sun generally puts out quality stuff.
FWiW Sun also sells StarOffice, the commercial version of OpenOffice.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19780435)

Actually it means that Office users can create nice documents, then try to save them to ODF for those poor users who only have Open Office and find that many of the features they used in their document are now gone because ODF / Open Office don't support those features. Yay! That's just wonderful.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#19780665)

I have a hard time believing that any but a few will have any such problems. Most people that use wordprocessors do little more center, bold and do a bit of indenting. A slightly more advanced user might be inserting tables and images, and so far as I've seen OpenOffice supports those at darn near 100%. As with any conversion (and that includes the imports available under Office as well) there are always going to be problems where you're dealing with complex documents, but I'd suggest that those make up a rather small minority of all the documents produced in modern wordprocessors.

Re:Doing MS's job for them (5, Funny)

HalifaxRage (640242) | about 7 years ago | (#19780067)

It looks like you're trying to be funny. Would you like some help?

The Way It Should Be (2, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | about 7 years ago | (#19779723)

Rather than complain about MS alternative to open docs, respond with a plug in that will allow MS users to choose.

This is the way to do it.

I'm sorry, OpenOffice guys, but compared to MS Office, your product is so 1995.

What the OSS groups need to do is embrace and extend and borgify MS until all the MS tools are extensions of the movement.

Re:The Way It Should Be (0, Troll)

The_Wilschon (782534) | about 7 years ago | (#19779753)

I'm sorry, OpenOffice guys, but compared to MS Office, your product is so 1995.

What the OSS groups need to do is embrace and extend and borgify MS until all the MS tools are extensions of the movement.
Funny you should say that. Sun Microsystems is behind both OOo and this borgification effort.

Re:The Way It Should Be (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 7 years ago | (#19780907)

Funny you should say that, thats what I was saying.

The sound of jets whizzing over your head must really bug you.

Re:The Way It Should Be (5, Insightful)

salesgeek (263995) | about 7 years ago | (#19779897)

I'm sorry, OpenOffice guys, but compared to MS Office, your product is so 1995.

Aside sharepoint extensions, the insidious smart tag, terrible GUI changes and the removal of Mr. Paperclip, how has the core of MS Office changed since Office 97?

What the OSS groups need to do is embrace and extend and borgify MS until all the MS tools are extensions of the movement.

Why the need? Adding tools that enable interoperability makes sense, so Sun did this one right. Extending Office? Why sell more product for MS, and why develop for MS when they'll take my extension, reimplement it as a new feature in the next version and put me out of business? I think you misunderstand OpenOffice: it's not about competing with Office on features. It's about getting things done.

Re:The Way It Should Be (4, Funny)

dgun (1056422) | about 7 years ago | (#19780071)

how has the core of MS Office changed since Office 97?

The core? That would require adding real value to a system. Microsoft's strategy has always been to rearrange some menu items and add unwanted useless features like Word's "reading view" and call it an "Upgrade".

And I think things will eventually come full circle. Office 2012, the return of Clippy (and this time...it's personal).

Re:The Way It Should Be (1)

symbolic (11752) | about 7 years ago | (#19780759)

It's about getting things done.

Well, to be honest, watching Microsoft squirm a little doesn't hurt either.

Re:The Way It Should Be (2, Insightful)

sid0 (1062444) | about 7 years ago | (#19780901)

You call the Ribbon a "terrible UI change"?

Re:The Way It Should Be (1)

salesgeek (263995) | about 7 years ago | (#19781623)

Is that what you call that total waste horizontal space for tabs that do nothing but glow when you mouse over

When did 1995 (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 7 years ago | (#19781631)

become 1997?

Re:The Way It Should Be (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | about 7 years ago | (#19780045)

I'm sorry, OpenOffice guys, but compared to MS Office, your product is so 1995.

Yes, because a fully-functional, modern, open-source, free office suite can be programmed right from scratch.

- RG>

Re:The Way It Should Be (2, Interesting)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 7 years ago | (#19780505)

You make it sound as if '95 was a bad time to be a word processor user. GUI-based word processing was just starting to take off with MSWord.

I can't wait for 5 years from now, when OpenOffice is "so 2000". After all, that's what my office is set on (and fixed to, thanks to some legacy apps).

Re:The Way It Should Be (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | about 7 years ago | (#19780523)

I'm sorry, OpenOffice guys, but compared to MS Office, your product is so 1995.

I know I shouldn't respond to barbs, but...

Sometimes, newer is not better.

Re:The Way It Should Be (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 7 years ago | (#19780927)

You're still driving a '62 Plymouth Valiant, complete with sagging headliner, right?

Re:The Way It Should Be (1)

brsmith4 (567390) | about 7 years ago | (#19781457)

How does this refute the GP's point, that sometimes newer is not better? The sound of jets buzzing over your head must be positively deafening if you cannot even read (or most likely, employ basic logic). The main point you think you made sucks and everyone knows it. Its time to abandon it and move on.

Re:The Way It Should Be (0, Troll)

blowdart (31458) | about 7 years ago | (#19780719)

And to show Sun is even more behind the times there has been a Microsoft backed ODF import/export available for well over a year. With source. On sourceforge [sourceforge.net] .

Rather an interesting piece of grandstanding from Sun I fear.

Re:The Way It Should Be (2, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | about 7 years ago | (#19781081)

And, you point out a problem that is going to take this off topic, but I'm up for the challenge.

M A R K E T I N G

When it comes to getting the word out, OSS projects really hurt themselves.

Marketing in OSS falls into some basic categories:

  • Non-existant - If the word doesn't get it, it doesn't get out, and marketing to geeks is not always the best way to get the word out, its called "Preaching to the Choir"
  • Anti-Marketing - "My Grandmother could recompile...", "RTFM you lamer", "Seriously, the command-line is not confusing and its the best UI. Oh, you forgot 3 very important switches and the 2 you used are mutually exclusive, lamer"
  • Activist - "By installing and using OSS you will bring GNU/Social GNU/Justice to the GNU/World. Now, face Berkely and Pray to the GNU/Prophey, RMS, All Holiness to His Name."
  • Non-existant - ...

At least Sun got it right.

Re:The Way It Should Be (3, Informative)

fermion (181285) | about 7 years ago | (#19780931)

Which is precisely why i use it. I need to get work done, not be wowed by new gadgets. Actually, key elements like master documents, version compatibility that goes back more than two versions, automatic PDF generation, support for nearly every format out there, and lack of licensing makes it perfect for someone who is looking for a work tool.

I can get my work done without being interrogated if I own the product. I can download updates without downloading ancillary spyware. I don't have to worry if upgrades to my hardware will mean that I am unable to work due to licensing issues. Coming from someone whose efficiency not only translates into money but also increase in leisure time, I cannot image ever using MS products a my primary mission-critical tools.

Will MS Object? (2, Insightful)

Gonoff (88518) | about 7 years ago | (#19779765)

I wouldn't put it past Microsoft to object to this.

I can think of several 'problems' they might bring up...

copyright
security
warranty

There might not be a real reason for them to object, but they don't like other people improving their stuff. I think it is somesort of perceived self interest.

What other objections might they raise?

Re:Will MS Object? (1)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | about 7 years ago | (#19779817)

There's gotta be a few patent violations somewhere.

Re:Will MS Object? (1)

dgun (1056422) | about 7 years ago | (#19780157)

There's gotta be a few patent violations somewhere.

Everything is a patent violation. If I had a patent on patent violations I could sue the crap out of all of you. And I would too.

They said it couldn't be done... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19779921)

>According to the ReadMe, the plug-in adds "ODF Text Document (*.odt)"
>as a format to Word's Open and Save dialogs and adds Import and
>Export options to Excel and PowerPoint."

Didn't Microsoft claim that it would be extremely difficult for them to put ODF support into the standard Open/Save/Save As dialog boxes?

Re:They said it couldn't be done... (1)

datadriven (699893) | about 7 years ago | (#19780003)

It is difficult for Microsoft to agree to the GPL, so yes

Re:They said it couldn't be done... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19780073)

> It is difficult for Microsoft to agree to the GPL...

A minor correction - that sentence should read "It is IMPOSSIBLE for Microsoft to agree to the GPL...".

Re:They said it couldn't be done... (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 7 years ago | (#19780519)

can you please show some proof that anything Microsoft says has any truth to it? Really, when you understand that Microsoft is a marketing company first and foremost, you'll understand that pretty much all public statements have only one purpose and that is to sell more copies of Microsoft software. So their public claims that they can't do X or doing Y is too difficult and would break the system, etc, have little to do with facts or the truth. Remember, they once told a district court justice in the 90s that they used paper and pen to keep track of financials at Microsoft.

And anybody who quotes a Microsoft employee for any purpose but to expose the lie is an idiot and is just acting as part of Microsoft PR team. Probably getting paid to do it too. And yes, I understand that they are a business but that does not mean their only option is deception and double-speak IMO.

LoB

Re:They said it couldn't be done... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19780547)

"Didn't Microsoft claim that it would be extremely difficult for them to put ODF support into the standard Open/Save/Save As dialog boxes?"

Short Answer: No, they never made any such claim.
Long Answer: No, they never made any such claim.

Re:They said it couldn't be done... (1)

blowdart (31458) | about 7 years ago | (#19780735)

The plugin [sourceforge.net] on sourceforge is a separate menu option, yes. However that's a good thing (in my opinion). Instead of getting lost as a file format under save it appears on the file dialog. Right there, in your face.

I can't tell if it is open source (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 7 years ago | (#19779955)

Looking at the download site, I see a .exe file. I can't find out more without accepting the licence agreement. Is the plug-in open source?
--
Opening our Solar Power source to all: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:I can't tell if it is open source (1)

chemicaloli (1026172) | about 7 years ago | (#19780201)

If it's open source will the licence agreement not say so?

Re:I can't tell if it is open source (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 7 years ago | (#19780427)

The license is pretty opaque to me. It does mention no decompilation or reverse engineering. It also says that it is part of the OpenOffice suite and it might contain open source components.
--
Get solar power with no permit hassles: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:I can't tell if it is open source (1)

blowdart (31458) | about 7 years ago | (#19780777)

So use a fully open source one [sourceforge.net] . BSD licensed. Code available. And 1 year old.

(Of course I believe you're posting just to raise your google hits with your cut and paste link to your little splog, so never mind, a real answer isn't much good to you is it?

Re:I can't tell if it is open source (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 7 years ago | (#19780871)

Thanks, still does not answer the question though. Sun had open sourced a number of things, but not everything. I don't know which catagory this falls in. What are google hits?
--
Solar power with no rate increases: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:I can't tell if it is open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19780917)

What are google hits? You lying little fuckwad. If you weren't spamming your link then why manually append it to every message instead of in a signature that people can turn off?

Re:I can't tell if it is open source (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19780203)

If you're concerned about only using open source software, why are you trying to download an MS Office plugin?

Re:I can't tell if it is open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19780259)

So? Accept the agreement and check out the plugin. If you don't like it, erase it and forget about it.

How lazy can you be?

Re:I can't tell if it is open source (1)

WebMink (258041) | about 7 years ago | (#19781369)

The plug-in includes some code that inserts the file format as an option in the "File Open/Save" dialog and in the rest of the file handling for MS Office so that the ODF formats appear as natural parts of Office (rather than in the un-natural way that the plug-in on SourceForge that MS sponsor tries to work). I gather that the developers are not sure if they can open that small piece of source code so the package as a whole is not under an open source license yet. The rest of the plug-in (the vast majority) is OpenOffice.org code and is open source.

An excuse... (1, Insightful)

perlhacker14 (1056902) | about 7 years ago | (#19779963)

This will create another excuse not to use OpenOffice. People will cling to MS Office (even if they are required to use ODF now) and OO will not gain users. While it is great that MS Office will support ODF through an easily addable plugin, OpenOffice will not benefit. Also, this will be heavily challenged by MS: they will claim all sorts of rubbish like Patent Infrigement and Invalid Modifications and the like.

Re:An excuse... (4, Insightful)

micronicos (344307) | about 7 years ago | (#19780117)

Don't agree - what is needed is for as many people as possible to start using Open file formats ..... OpenOffice will only become attractive to users when they NEED to work in .odt & realise they no longer have to fork out mega$$$ for MS Word. The hundred monkeys effect.

Re:An excuse... (5, Insightful)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | about 7 years ago | (#19780125)

I disagree, I think that the important thing is the use of open standards, not necessarily open office or any particular software suite. I personally like MS Office*, and OOo always pisses me off by being slow as a dog on my laptop (Ubuntu 7.04). At any rate, this is ultimately a good thing because it makes it so that you can communicate more easily no matter what software you use.

Open Source is wonderful, but in my opinion its open standards that are absolutely vital.

*As much as I like any office software, I'm a LaTeX and Matlab guy if I can help it.

So? (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 7 years ago | (#19780141)

This will create another excuse not to use OpenOffice. People will cling to MS Office (even if they are required to use ODF now) and OO will not gain users.

So? ODF isn't about killing Microsoft Office. It's about establishing an Open standard for documents that ANY word processor can support.

The reason that Microsoft is fighting this so much is that once their document lock-in is gone, anyone can use any word processor that suits them.

If Microsoft Word is the best ever word processor in your opinion, then why should you NOT have the choice to use it when working on documents? As long as the file can be edited by whomever you send it to on the word processor that they have chosen.

Re:An excuse... (2, Interesting)

psychokitten (819123) | about 7 years ago | (#19780187)

So being able to work with the superior office product with the superior file format is some kind of bad thing? There's no lack of excuses to use not use OpenOffice over MS Office - the fact that Office has a (hopefully good, I haven't tried it yet,) plugin for ODF certainly isn't one of them.

If anything, this is a good thing for OO as well as MS Office users.

Re:An excuse... (3, Interesting)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 7 years ago | (#19780573)

So being able to work with the superior office product with the superior file format is some kind of bad thing? There's no lack of excuses to use not use OpenOffice over MS Office - the fact that Office has a (hopefully good, I haven't tried it yet,) plugin for ODF certainly isn't one of them.
Whats superior about a file format. Its a FILE with TEXT in it. We are not talking about some kind of rocket science 3d gfx format here.

What makes a superior file format? One that I don't need a word processor to access my document.

Can you do that with any Microsoft format? NO! ODF is a zip file with stuff in it. I do not even need a word processor to access that document. That makes a superior file format not Microsoft's "oh your client/staff/boss/lecturer/AnyoneNotYou needs office 2007 to view that file" format.

Finally there is a format solution available to all who can now use whatever word processor they want.

Screw you and your pimping of Microsoft's lock in.

Re:An excuse... (1)

Sepodati (746220) | about 7 years ago | (#19780797)

I think you misunderstood his/her comment. The superior office suite (MS Office) with the superior file format (ODF), is how I read it. Getting your cake and eating it to, if you will. :)

---John Holmes...

Re:An excuse... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#19780223)

Nonsense. At work, I'm stuck with an all-MS shop (save for a Linux Samba server). It's a real pain when I have to convert documents to Word format at home (where I use OpenOffice) just so I can bring them into work. Having this plugin means that I won't have to do that, so I'm not complaining.

The real question I have here is can Office be set up to save in ODF format by default?

Re:An excuse... (1)

Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) | about 7 years ago | (#19780525)

All I ask for is a way to send emails in the form of binary text files with no formatting attached to a blank email and still have Microsoft Word users able to open it.

Re:An excuse... (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 7 years ago | (#19780551)

I believe one of the main reasons to do this is so that existing addons for MS Office can allow existing users to use MS Office but still exchange files with OOo users. Adaptive addons for the blind or sight impaired is probably the initial goal. This all started when MA via Microsoft lobbyists where saying they can't shift to ODF and OOo because OOo did not support/have adaptive interfaces for the sight impaired. Sun said that with the plugin, those users could continue to use MS Office with their sight adaptions while still able to exchange documents with the rest of the organizations OOo users, while OOo adaptions were built.

And the competition of another application capable of ODF formats is a good thing. IMO.

LoB

Re:An excuse... (1)

jumperboy (1054800) | about 7 years ago | (#19781091)

Having an open document format protects user data and improves portability. As long as the end result conforms to the standard, who cares what tool was used to create it? Promoting the format is a big win for the end user, as they will no longer be locked into one company's product, and can exchange documents more freely. This could even simplify electronic communications, allowing users to express themselves in whatever style they'd like, as long as they package it in a standard format that everyone agrees upon. I'd love to see government and academic institutions mandate the use of ODF, now that a free plugin for Word exists, removing one of the largest barriers to adoption.

Friendler package than the (3, Informative)

phoebe (196531) | about 7 years ago | (#19780007)

ODF Converter [sourceforge.net] plugin sets, which are separate downloads for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Just one package from a big, albeit Sun not a too popular name for most users, and no big ugly "Open ODF", "Save ODF" menu entries in Word. For some reason Excel & PowerPoint don't receive as nice integration: it gets an "Import ODF Spreadsheet" menu and new "Import ODF" & "Export ODF" toolbar.

I already have .net 2 installed so not sure if its an additional requirement like the converter suite, there is however no need to install the Microsoft Office Open XML File Format converter pack.

Re:Friendler package than the (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 7 years ago | (#19780501)

What's the problem with Sun again? When the open source guys said "gimme, gimme, gimme" Sun didn't give them everything fast enough?

What's the big benefit of being randomly angry with randomly selected organizations based on 'net advocacy? Can't we all just get along?

2007? (2, Interesting)

frogstar_robot (926792) | about 7 years ago | (#19780053)

Office 2007 is displacing the versions of Office this plugin supports. Any word when this will be extended to the latest Office? Or does is it already compatible?

Re:2007? (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | about 7 years ago | (#19780677)

Maybe you should tell about that replacing to all the people out there still using word 97...

Re:2007? (4, Informative)

SEMW (967629) | about 7 years ago | (#19780773)

http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] works for Office 2007.

The forth item in the list of contributors is thought-provoking.

Wake me... (1)

MsGeek (162936) | about 7 years ago | (#19780167)

...when there's a version of the plugin that works with Office for Mac v.X and Office for Mac 2004.

Re:Wake me... (1)

zig007 (1097227) | about 7 years ago | (#19780841)

...when there's a version of the plugin that works with Office for Mac v.X and Office for Mac 2004.
I see. Since this is no big deal to you, you just felt the urge to share that feeling with the rest of us?

BTW, wake me up when /. goes Mac-only.

Linus is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19780189)

I am with Linus on this one. I just don't trust SUN.
I will stick with GPL v2 thank you very much.

AppleWorks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19780289)

What I don't understand is the apparent lack of AppleWorks support, or even discussion of ODF. I haven't even been able to find anyone describing why it's a bad idea (if it actually is). Is there some technical issue, or does nobody even care?

MS plugin only supports MS Office 2003 and 2007 (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 7 years ago | (#19780361)

Once again Microsoft is hammering it's customers into upgrading and I just wonder if it's customers expect to be constantly hammered to upgrade and like it? The Sun plugin, supports the most popular and most used versions of MS Office, 2000, 2003, and XP while Microsoft is pushing for adoption of MS Office 2007.

I do get that their business is to sell new software but when it comes to things like this, having them skip much of the existing market should be a red flag to customers. The flag reads, Microsoft will give you what you want but you've got to bend over and take the latest version of our software before you'll get it. And the customers seem to be saying, "thank you sir, may I have another".

And it's just a guess but the state of Massachusetts is probably standardized on MS Office 2003 and that is the only reason that version is supported. Just a guess.

I hope there can be some balanced comparisons between the MS plugin and the Sun plugin. Microsoft has a very long history of pulling tricks and making these kinds of things look worst than the native Microsoft stuff so let's see how broken Microsoft makes its plugin. If not broken, I'll bet they've got a few dozen developers going over the ODF spec to find holes where they can interpret the spec in some unusual and strange way so they can implement it that way and show how bad it might be. Even though there are open source implementations showing the intended operation. I just can not believe Microsoft would do any of this compatibility with ODF correct and with the customer in mind. History says they'll do otherwise.

LoB

Re:MS plugin only supports MS Office 2003 and 2007 (1)

fractalVisionz (989785) | about 7 years ago | (#19781027)

Even with Office 2003, the plugin fails to work for Excel. Powerpoint and Word work fine though. Strange.

Sun FAQ: It doesn't work with Microsoft Word 2007 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19780425)

and Microsoft doesn't know when and if they will fix that "bug":
http://blogs.sun.com/malte/entry/sun_odf_plugin_1_ 0 [sun.com]

Office 2007 (1)

doktorstop (725614) | about 7 years ago | (#19780429)

for those too buzy to do it themselves... yes it installs and runs nicely under Office2007. Just a dialog saying that some of the doc functionality can be lost in the conversion process, otherwise seems to work just fine.
Oh, and the download is done the typical easy SUN way... first you run the Jave Download manager, which allows tou to select a file to download, then you have to start(!!!) it, then once finished, there is an installer to unpack it, and THEN finally an installer to install it. Easy, right?

By the way, for all those discussing the GPL here... I havent seen the GPL liscence during the easy install process. The plug-in liscence is a "normal" SUN Microsystems liscence.Go figure!

What I REALLY need is .DOCX plugin for OpenOffice! (1)

linebackn (131821) | about 7 years ago | (#19780603)

Yes, I know about the Novell one for Windows and SUSE Linux... but ironically I need one for OpenOffice... on Sun SPARC Solaris!

The office where I work recently switched (for whatever bizarre reason) to MS-Office 2007 on all the Windows computers and instantly Microsoft's new proprietary .DOCX and .XLSX have become the new standard for sending junk in e-mail.

We have some "public" SunRay terminals where employees from other locations can check their e-mail using Mozilla and OpenOffice, and overnight this switch put OpenOffice out of business!

I have been looking around for a good solution for making OpenOffice.org work with .DOCX and .XLSX files that works on both Sun SPARC Solaris and X86 Solaris, but I am not having much luck. And there is no chance in hell that users will save their documents in anything other than what MS-Word defaults to (I had suggested making the old .DOC format the default for everyone, but no one ever listens to me)

I never really realized how dependent we were on the MS-Word and Excel file formats until now. Very scary.

Im gonna wait for the bofh. (2, Funny)

pjr.cc (760528) | about 7 years ago | (#19780715)

While i'm quite happy that a 3rd party developed this, third party plugin's tend to be a bit of an admin nightmare... I can just imagine having a conversation with my boss after sending him an odf formatted document:

Boss comes running over: "what is and ODF? do I open it in photoshop?"
me: "no, its a document format, you have do download a plugin from sun that works with microsoft word"
Boss wanders off for 10 minutes, comes back and says "ok, i downloaded the plugin but it wont let me install it cause i dont have permissions".
I wander back to the bosses desk to find he's gone to son.com and downloaded 15 different forms of virus, 2 pieces of spyware, a keylogger and his bank is ringing him on the mobile about a "$100,000 debt that just rang up on his bank account".

I can't wait for the bofh to do a bit on this ;)

Now I love Sun (2, Interesting)

Vexorian (959249) | about 7 years ago | (#19780959)

What's great is that it also exports to PDF, what is a great reason to make people use it, I am gonna start by installing it to my parents' computer.

Defaults Matter Most (4, Insightful)

Killer Eye (3711) | about 7 years ago | (#19780981)

I think that until Microsoft's default format for Save is ODF, there will still be a proliferation of Word documents that require post-translation. Anyone have experiences convincing PC users at work to save as PDF for the benefit of Linux and other platforms? I thought so.

I don't know how Word is configured, but I hope you can tell it what the default format for Save should be. At least then, an organization can pre-configure PCs for its employees to save in ODF, and start a reasonable migration to ODF. Telling users "by the way, every time you save you have to select ODF, company policy" will NOT work.

Think of the Chairs! (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 7 years ago | (#19781085)

Somebody order another truckload -- this is going to be ugly.

Improved security? Consider also portableapps.com (1)

mattr (78516) | about 7 years ago | (#19781267)

It was my understanding that MS Word's save with password command is seriously broken, and I have told clients that. It doesn't affect their policy, in fact one uses the *same* password for all files, all employees. Just so they can say they are doing something even if it is the ultimate minimum.

But that same client sometimes has ultra sensitive documents and they still use the same thing. Some people do save in password encyrpted zip files.

Now if the Save as ODF plugin provides a really secure encryption method (which the Sun page does NOT say), that would be a very good thing to announce to people. Does anyone know about this? Even if say Word 2003 has better saving that would still be no difference as there are less than 10 machines probably with Word 2003 on it in a hundred person office I know and it would probably cost a bit to upgrade (they are used only to edit docs that have to edited in 2003).

The only problem is, this would not be good for documents that must not change. Sometimes opening a Word doc in OOo and saving back to .doc will introduce slight changes. Also I am going to have a hard time believing the metafile drawings in Word will save correctly but interested in ways to spread OOo.

Finally I'd like to mention I often install OOo on an Internet cafe machine (gets erased on reboot anyway) since the autocorrect saves me much typing. (I use an ipod but a usb pendrive would be the same). Check out www.portableapps.com [portableapps.com] , the OpenOffice on it works absolutely fabulously, no need to install on the hard disk and everything that normally goes in the windows folder stays on your usb drive! It is lightning quick and includes the Gimp and other packages too.

Ought to last them until the Web is invented (1)

gig (78408) | about 7 years ago | (#19781351)

... oh, wait.
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