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Novell Announces OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office Interoperability

To Create Bi-Directional Open Source Translators for Word Processing, Spreadsheets and Presentations

Novell has announced that the Novell edition of the OpenOffice.org office productivity suite will now support the Office Open XML format, increasing interoperability between OpenOffice.org and the next generation of Microsoft Office. Novell is cooperating with Microsoft and others on a project to create bi-directional open source translators for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations between OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office, with the word processing translator to be available first, by the end of January 2007.

The translators will be made available as plug-ins to Novell’s OpenOffice.org product. Novell will release the code to integrate the Open XML format into its product as open source and submit it for inclusion in the OpenOffice.org project. As a result, end users will be able to more easily share files between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org, as documents will better maintain consistent formats, formulas and style templates across the two office productivity suites.

“Novell supports the OpenDocument format as the default file format in OpenOffice.org because it provides customer choice and flexibility, but interoperability with Microsoft Office has also been critical to the success of OpenOffice.org,” said Nat Friedman, Novell chief technology and strategy officer for Open Source. “OpenOffice.org is very important to Novell, and as our customers deploy Linux desktops across their organizations, they're telling us that sharing documents between OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office is a must-have. The addition of Open XML support reflects Novell's commitment to providing enterprise customers the tools they need to be successful, from the desktop to the data center.”

Chris Capossela, corporate vice president, Microsoft Business Division Product Management Group, said, “This is further evidence to our mutual customers that Novell and Microsoft have the same commitment to document interoperability and customer choice for document technology. As a leader in the open source community, Novell can help us make sure the Open XML translation technology works well across different applications and platforms. Novell has already provided contributions to the Ecma Open XML standard, and this commitment to support the Open XML format via their product makes it work for customers.”

The Open XML format is an open standard file format for office applications that can be freely implemented by multiple applications on multiple platforms. The Open XML format was originated by Microsoft and standardized by the Ecma International organization’s technical committee, TC45. It is presented for Ecma General Assembly approval on December 7, 2006, with the intention to offer the specification for formal ISO/JTC1 standardization. Open XML is the default format for the recently released Microsoft Office 2007. The Open XML format is also available through free updates to past Microsoft Office versions.

With an estimated 100 million users, OpenOffice.org is a full-featured, open source office productivity suite with word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and database applications. OpenOffice.org currently supports the OpenDocument (ODF) file format, which is an ISO-standardized, XML-based file format specification for office applications maintained by the open source community. The OpenDocument format ensures information saved in spreadsheets, documents and presentations is freely accessible to any OpenDocument-supporting application. OpenOffice.org is available free of charge at http://www.openoffice.org. Novell provides and supports OpenOffice.org for both Linux and Windows as part of its SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and Novell Open Workgroup Suite offerings, respectively.

The open source Open XML/ODF Translator project can be viewed at this internet location: http://sourceforge.net/projects/odf-converter.

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