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Open Document Plugin for Word 97-2007 proves Microsoft wrong

Why can't we live in a magical world where the document you email on this end can be opened on the other end, regardless of whether the recipient runs MS Word or OpenOffice or any other standards based word processor? Want to know a secret? We could. ODF, the Open Document Format is an XML based file format designed to do just that. Microsoft claims they can't guarantee ODF can handle the full and rich feature set available in MS Word, and have balked several times at making Word fully compatible with the open format. In fact, Mike Champion, of Microsoft's XML team says "there is not an official standard for one that represents all the features supported in the MS Office binary formats and can be efficiently loaded and processed without major redesign of MS Office." In line with that logic, Microsoft has proposed yet another document standard which would be incompatible with ODF, ECMA 376.

Developers at the Open Document Foundation have managed to prove Microsoft wrong. They've released a plugin for MS Word versions 97-2007 which allows Word to open and save in the ".acme" format, an ODF compatible format which can retain all the information contained in any ".doc" file, without losing formatting and, more importantly, without a "major redesign of MS Office." They've essentially destroyed Microsoft's argument as to why they can't fully support ODF, and in the process given us the basis for a universally compatible document format with actual working support across platforms.

You can download the "Acme 376 Compatibility Kit" from the Open Document Foundation and, if you're not cross-eyed from the long and tedious explanation of why we don't live in a universally compatible world, you can read more on this nerdy but uniquely important battle in several places around the web.

Tags: Acme 376, Acme376, ECMA 376, Ecma376, ODF 1.0, Odf1.0, Open Document Format, OpenDocumentFormat, Word 2000, Word 2003, Word 2007, Word 97, Word2000, Word2003, Word2007, Word97

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