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Supporting OOXML in LibreOffice

Jan 20, 2011, 20:35 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"The formation of the Documentation Foundation and the launch of the LibreOffice project have created a user and developer community which has few parallels elsewhere in the free software world. This community is huge given the newness of the project, and it appears to include many people who have not engaged with free software development in the past. As a result, the Foundation's mailing lists sometimes host conversations that wouldn't be found in other projects. An extensive and sometimes bitter debate on whether LibreOffice should write files in the OOXML format is a good example of differing views of how this project (and free software in general) should work.

"OOXML, of course, is the Microsoft-driven "standard" alternative to the ODF format. Given its sponsor and the dubious means by which it attained "standard" status, OOXML was always going to be controversial. The simple fact of the matter, though, is that, if Office writes OOXML files, then those files will proliferate. Whether we like the format or not has little influence on the final result.

"Just before the end of the year, Larry Gusaas called on the LibreOffice community to refuse to support the writing of OOXML files. Standard OpenOffice.org is able to read such files, but will not write them; that is, according to Larry, how things should be."

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