"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
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