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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: Is there consensus on latest MS Office formats?
Date Wed, 09 Jan 2013 00:07:56 GMT
On Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 4:59 PM, Hagar Delest <> wrote:
> Hello all,
> I'm back on the dev mailing list because there are some interesting topics
> sometimes. But no further involvement in the AOO project anymore.
> Before AOO starts to try such OOXML filter, I think it would be interesting
> to have a global consensus about what is intended about OOXML.
> The OOXML compatibility was a rather frequent question in the Google
> Moderator session, same in the forums.
> If AOO offers the possibility to save in OOXML, what is the future of ODF
> then? Why users should bother with a still rather unknown format if they can
> save in OOXML for compatibility with MS Office users?
> So what is exactly the rationale to implement the export filter?

There was a time, back 5 years ago, when it was not certain whether
OOXML would survive or not.  I, and many others, spent a lot of energy
trying to prevent that from happening.  We knew that if OOXML was
standardized and accepted that it would perpetuate Microsoft's lock-in
advantage and make extra work for competitors like OpenOffice.  We
knew that if OOXML survived we'd waste resources implementing it,
rather than other, more useful features that users want.   We were
right to have this concern, but we lost that battle, and these things
have now come to pass.  IMHO it is time to make the best of the
situation we find ourselves in.

OOXML is the default format in MS Office 2007, 2010 and 2013.  Office
2003, which defaulted to the binary formats, hits end of support next
year.  So, whether we like it or not, our users will be receiving
OOXML documents from people, and when they collaborate they will want
to be able to return modified OOXML documents.

OOXML is the new DOC format.  We wouldn't think of not supporting DOC,
would we?  But even as we support DOC we know that ODF, as the native
format for OpenOffice, will give the best fidelity and preservation.
Everything else other than ODF is a "foreign language" to OpenOffice
that we speak imperfectly.

> Do we really want to go this way and then handle the users ranting because
> of the glitches of such a format?

This is an excellent point.  We don't want users to be frustrated by a
partial implementation.  So maybe it could be exposed as an
"experimental" feature?

> I guess that it is still easy to get a pirated copy of MS Office nowadays.
> So if someone wants MSO for free, this should not really be a big deal (and
> MS would certainly let it be so that its OOXML still expands). And the
> numbers show that AOO has not lost its leverage compared to LibreOffice for
> example (the only other to propose the OOXML export filter). So the
> sub-question is: do really our users need that OOXML export filter?

As we saw in the Google Moderator counts, this feature was near the top.

> This is a political question. The previous OOo team took a decision. What is
> the AOO team position on that now? This could have long term consequences.

I hope we can avoid the politics.  For example, with the license we
have taken a pragmatic view rather than follow the copyleft purists.
Where other projects have stripped all non-GPL extensions from their
extensions repository, we're happy for our users to have a choice and
decide for themselves.

So maybe a good compromise would:

1) Aim to provide the industry's best support for ODF

2) Continue to explain the value and advantage of ODF to our users

3) Support whatever formats that our users need to be productive with
OpenOffice in real-world work.

> And by the way, what flavor of the OOXML would be supported? Transient or
> ISO?

Presumably we would implement "Microsoft OpenXML", what they actually can read.



> Hagar
> Le 08/01/2013 22:17, Andrea Pescetti a écrit :
>> On 07/01/2013 Andrew Douglas Pitonyak wrote:
>>> I can read these formats in AOO, but I cannot write them. Although I
>>> remember seeing discussion on this, my current understanding is that
>>> there are no current plans to add this capability into AOO, is this
>>> correct? (or did I totally miss something and it is currently available).
>> I've heard for a long time (since version 3.3, and perhaps earlier) that
>> OpenOffice does contain OOXML-writing code, but that it is commented out
>> (not simply disabled at build time). Is this correct?
>> If the code indeed exists and can be compiled, maybe we could start by
>> compiling it and doing some tests to see how (in)complete it is...
>> Regards,
>>    Andrea.

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