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ODF standard editor calls for cooperation with OOXML

The teams developing ODF (OpenDocument Format) and OOXML (Office Open XML) standards should work together, evolving the two in parallel, the editor of the ODF standard said Tuesday in an open letter to the standards-setting community. The Microsoft-sponsored OOXML document format is just days away from a critical meeting that will influence whether the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) will adopt it as a standard as its rival ODF was adopted in May 2006. Relations between supporters of the two formats are, for the most part, combative rather than cordial.

Patrick Durusau, ISO project editor for ODF, or ISO/IEC 26300 as it is known there, thinks supporters of the two formats would be more productive if they allowed the formats to co-evolve, he wrote in his open letter . Durusau thoughtfully avoided the ODF and OOXML formats for his letter, choosing instead PDF, itself adopted as an ISO standard in December.

"If we had a co-evolutionary environment, one where the proponents of OpenXML and OpenDocument, their respective organizations, national bodies and others [sic] interested groups could meet to discuss the future of those proposals, the future revisions of both would likely be quite different," Durusau wrote.

"Peaceful co-evolution will mean better standards at lower costs in a more timely fashion," he said.

ODF, based on a file format used by Sun's StarOffice application and the open-source productivity suite, won the support of OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, which fast-tracked it through the ISO standardization process.

Microsoft offered its OOXML file format to ECMA International, which adopted it as one of its standards before proposing it to ISO for the same fast-track process.

Read the complete article by Peter Sayer, IDG News Service, in InfoWorld. Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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