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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ODF 1.2 Support in Microsoft Office

Anyone who has tried to move Open Document Format (ODF) documents to Microsoft Office, has probably encountered fidelity problems. This is especially apparent when loading a *.ods spreadsheet in either MS Office 2007 SP2 or MS Office 2010.

Formulas simply don't get migrated over, and spreadsheets effectively turn into flat files when used in Excel.

The fix for this will come with the arrival of functional ODF 1.2 import and export support.

Microsoft has obviously been aware of the problem for quite a while, and while they are sympathetic, they haven't yet released a fix to this problem and won't until ODF 1.2 is finalized. This of course raises some interesting questions; like what degree of "finished" will be required before an implementation will be made available, and what software packages will receive support when it finally does become available.

My hope is that Microsoft Office 2007 SP3 (if this is scheduled, 30 seconds on Google gave no hits yet) and Microsoft Office 2010 SP1 take serious stabs at implementing this, but for that to have any hope of happening the ODF 1.2 standard will need to be finalized "enough" for Microsoft to be willing to set it in stone (or easily malleable software, as the case may be).

Recently (just last month), the ODF TC approved ODF 1.2 as something known as a committee specification, which as I understand that OASIS rules means we're nearing official OASIS blessing.

So, will Microsoft consider this finalized "enough" to get their office suite ready to support it? We'll see. I certainly can see their business case for holding off for something even "more" finalized like an ISO specification.

A completed ODF implementation in MS Office is not exactly conducive to the long term market dominance of their office suite, and I would be willing to bet the longer they can hold off releasing an ODF 1.2 compatible implementation, the longer they will feel at ease with the proliferation of ODF centric office suites such as Lotus Symphony and the poorly named LibreOffice. Competition will only really have a possibility of becoming fierce when documents can be tossed between office suites with little to no loss in fidelity.

Anyway, the usability experience gap between Microsoft Office and it's competitors is still so incredibly substantial (Although Lotus Symphony is very good), that I doubt the company needs to worry any time this decade. LibreOffice is no Firefox in my opinion.

If I had to hazard a guess, I would bet that Microsoft Office 2007 will never get ODF 1.2 support, and that Microsoft Office 2010 will get it by Service Pack 2 in 2012 (or whenever it is released). Then again, maybe they'll surprise me; maybe behind closed doors Microsoft has been readying ODF 1.2 support and is just awaiting OASIS certification.

1 comment:

  1. 그러나 지역 기술 강국으로서 위상을 가지고 아프리카의 ‘실리콘 사바나’로 불리며 아프리카 대륙 최초의 모바일 뱅킹 서비스, 엠페사(M-Pesa)를 탄생시킨 케냐만큼 열풍이 극심한 지역은 그 어디에도 없다. 케냐의 모바일 뱅킹 혁명은 저축 장려와 금융 접근성의 대중화 역할을 잘 수행해왔으나, 엠페사는 베팅과 관련하여 역설적인 모습을 일부 보여준다. 오늘날, 경제적으로 취약한 사람들이 모든 것을 탕진하는 일은 그 어느 때보다 쉽다.