Novell is to provide a plug-in for its edition of the open source OpenOffice.org productivity suite to support the Open XML format, in a move to boost interoperability with Microsoft’s Office 2007.
The open source distributor is working with Microsoft and others on a project to create two-way translators between OpenOffice, which uses the OpenDocument format (ODF), and Microsoft Office, which uses Open XML. The word processing translator will be available from the end of January as a plug-in to Novell’s OpenOffice product.
The translators will allow users to share files between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice more easily, with more consistent formats and templates across the two productivity suites.
Nat Friedman, Novell’s chief technology and strategy officer for open source, said users had told Novell that interoperability to allow documents to be shared between OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office was “a must-have”.
The move follows last month’s controversial patents tie-up between Novell and Microsoft, which will see the two firms provide each other’s customers with patent coverage for their respective products. It will also see Microsoft officially recommend Novell’s SuSE Linux distribution.
The deal has come under fire from the open source community, and Novell was forced to publicly distance itself from claims by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer that Linux uses his company’s patented intellectual property.
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