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Why OpenOffice.org is not the same as OpenDocument Format
Category: Libervis .blogs :
Author: charles (10:03 am)
Today I would like to explain something that is important to understand: the difference between OpenOffice.org (OOo) and the OpenDocument Format (ODF).
OpenOffice.org is the name of the international free and open source office suite project that was started by Sun and that has now grown to the success we know.
The OpenDocument Format is a document format specification that is both open and standard, and that has been developed by many parties (including mainly Sun and the community) on the basis of the OpenOffice.org native file format by a Technical Committee of the OASIS Consortium.
OpenOffice.org in its 2.0 version uses the OpenDocument Format as its default, native format, but we are not the only office suite to implement it: StarOffice, KOffice, TextMaker, Corel WordPerfect, Abiword, do implement or plan to implement the format in a near future and have even participated in the ODF development for some.
In this regard, it is now easy to understand that the OpenOffice.org project has a different focus and even a different population than the OpenDocument Format TC (Technical Committee) of the OASIS consortium, or for that matter, the OpenDocument Fellowship, a private, independent group portraying itself as "the OpenDocument community" but who is not endorsed neither by the OASIS Consortium, neither by the OpenOffice.org project itself (although they act as if they were) and who does not participate in the OpenDocument Format developement.
In this regard, it is also easy to understand that the OpenOffice.org project has almost nothing to gain from a potential OpenDocument Format alliance or foundation. The OpenOffice.org project is at best a leading force behind ODF, and we do fundamentally support this format, but we are not the "OpenDocument folks". After all, if Corel, KOffice or TextMaker implement the ODF by default, we are not the same software (some are and will remain proprietary) and we're essentially competitors on the same market.
All in all, the OpenDocument Format induces a technological revolution that I will attempt to write about in the near future, but it also does create the necessary conditions for a truly free market environment. In this free market, OpenOffice.org is for the moment the leader, and is actively competing against the others.
Signing the petition of the OpenDocument Fellowship asking Microsoft to implement the ODF is hence not a move that the OpenOffice.org project can endorse: we don't want a new competitor (or more exactly, we don't want a competitor gaining the same technology that differentiates us) and do not want to bring in Microsoft for a very simple reason: OpenOffice.org is not a pressure group designed to make MSOffice open source. And the OpenDocument Format won't make MSOffice any less close than it is now, for you can use ODF as an open standard in a proprietary software.
I hope to have clear up some misunderstandings.
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Posted: 2005/11/1 21:58 Updated: 2005/11/1 22:06
Libervis Team Admin
Thank you for this clarification. The thing is that it is easy to associate OpenOffice.org with OpenDocument format even to the extend of considering OpenDocument an OpenOffice.org "thing" which it obviously isn't. I may have had the same perception as well so I think it is definitely good that you pointed out this distinction.