ODF Alliance: Microsoft Support for ODF is Lacking

May 20, 2009

The Open Document Format (ODF) Alliance has analyzed whether Microsoft’s Service Pack 2 for Office 2007 fulfills the promise for compatibility with the free document standard. Their findings give little reason to hope.

The standard organization sees the conversion as a kind of litmus test to see just how serious Microsoft is regarding interoperability. Upon analysis, the enterprise has apparently not done a particularly good job of realizing this aim: "unfortunately, serious shortcomings have been identified in Microsoft’s support for ODF.“, stated Marino Marcich (director of the ODF Alliance). “A number of basic interoperability tests between Microsoft Office 2007 and various ODF-supporting software suites revealed that the level of interoperability is far short of what governments around the world are demanding”, according to Marcich. For example, simple spread sheet functions such as addition do not function under the conversion as well as page numbers, diagrams, and other objects are simply missing when opened in the tests.

In addition, the standards activist Rob Weir a couple of days ago came to a similar conclusion using Excel 2007 with Service Pack 2. Pamela Jones of the legal platform Groklaw was also of the mind that Microsoft had failed to deliver „To Microsoft, vendor lock-in is not a bug, I suspect, but a feature.” She elaborated by explaining she never expected a change of opinion regarding the enterprise, but felt for the various worldwide governments truly trying to attain electronic communication interoperability for their citizens. ODF Alliance boss Marcich also sees this goal as endangered with Service Pack 2 for Microsoft Office 2007: “Putting potentially millions of ODF files into circulation that are non-interoperable and incompatible with the ODF support provided by other vendors is a recipe for fragmentation.”

The test results are available as a Fact Sheet on the ODF Alliance Web site.

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