Novell, ODF and Castles in the Sand

Posted by Andy_Updegrove on Dec 5, 2006 3:53 PM EDT Standards Blog; By Andy Updegrove
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Things are changing very fast in the ODF landscape right now: Last week, Corel announced it would provide limited support by mid-2007 for ODF (open, view and edit of text only – but not save), and greater support for OOXML – presentations and spreadsheets as well as text.  Yesterday, Carol Sliwa at ComputerWorld released a detailed story on Microsoft's anti-ODF lobbying in Massachusetts.  Later this week, Ecma will formally vote to adopt OOXML and submit it to ISO for consideration (expect things to pick up on a number of fronts when that happens).  And now we have the Novell announcement. What, as they say, does it all mean?

The Novell announcement was greeted with great hostility by many in the open source community who were already incensed over Novell's recent collaboration agreement with Microsoft. There are understandable reasons for that reaction, but I'd like to put this latest news in the broader context of all of the ODF developments we have witnessed since August a year ago, when Massachusetts announced the inclusion of ODF in the latest version of its Enterprise Technical Reference Model. If I pan back and look at this series of events, what I see is an inexorable march of progress by ODF, and the Novell announcement as just the latest in a series of concessions to ODF's importance by companies that might otherwise prefer to see it die rather than flourish. 

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