Great news today for fans of OpenOffice.org and the OpenDocument Format (ODF) as industry giants IBM have pledged to funnel resources into development of the open source office suite. Big Blue has backed OpenOffice.org from a distance for some time now but has never got involved with any actual development of the product before, so does this mark a change in the tide of office formats? I don’t know about that but it certainly marks a change in stance from IBM who have traditionally pushed their own solution Lotus Notes and it can only be a good thing.
IBM Press Release: “IBM has seen that the marketplace is beginning to demand ODF in a big way. Approximately 100 million people use the product, and governments everywhere are turning to it. A point has been reached in the popularity of both ODF and OpenOffice.org where IBM and OpenOffice.org believe more can be accomplished by collaborating,“
It seems that the growing popularity of ODF is the main reason IBM have made this move, the ongoing war between ODF and Microsoft’s OOXML for international standardisation is far from over but hopefully this is a sign of things to come. MS have been putting all the pressure they can on governments around the world to back them and it seems they may underestimated the enthusiasm and grass-roots activism of the open source community. It wouldn’t be the first time would it?
I can’t see how any right minded government could actually claim that a costly proprietary format is good for it’s people but then Microsoft don’t spend all those dollars on lobbying for nothing. I suppose the real question is do any of these officials actually get to hear the facts about ODF or only what their Microsoft “friends” tell them? Sadly that’s a question I fear I know the answer to already. I’ll let you make up your own minds though.
IBM has assigned 35 developers from it’s Beijing office to OpenOffice.org and it will be interesting to see what they come up with in the future. Hopefully it will help the package to go from strength to strength and seriously challenge MS Office.
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