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Open XML gets Ecma blessing


The race to establish the first widely-used product-neutral open standard for office documents continues. Ecma International has approved Office Open XML as a standard, Ecma announced last week.

Microsoft Corp. first developed Office Open XML (or Open XML as it is more widely known) set of formats, though the work to make it an Ecma standard was fleshed out by an additional 20 organizations.

This group has also submitted Open XML for consideration as a standard for the International Organization for Standardization. In this regard, Open XML must catch up with the Open Document Format, which was ratified as a standard earlier this year.

Both ODF and Open XML are based on the Extensible Markup Language, a plain-text encoding format that can be read by any simple text editor. By using such an open format, agencies can assure that the documents they create won't require any one particular application to view and edit.

Microsoft uses Open XML as its default formats for the recently-launched Office 2007, while ODF is the primary set of formats for the open-source Open Office office productivity suite, as well as its commercial offshoot, StarOffice from Sun Microsystems Inc.

Already, the lines between the two formats have started to blur. Novell Inc., recently announced that its own branded version of Open Office would natively support the Open XML formats. Microsoft is sponsoring work on a plug-in that would allow ODF documents to be manipulated in Microsoft Office 2007. And Corel Corp. recently pledged to support both ODF and Open XML in its Word Perfect Office suite.

Posted by Joab Jackson on Dec 11, 2006 at 9:39 AM


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