Microsoft Sponsored ODF plugin

by Kurt Cagle

Some very interesting ice thawing out there, and I'm not talking about the arctic tundra (though that's melting too at a rather disturbing rate ...). Gerald Bauer, a friend and noted expert in the XUL space twigged my attention to a recently deployed Source Forge project to develop an Open Office ODF plugin for Microsoft Word 2007 ( While there are a number of participants involved, what I find most interesting is this entry:

Microsoft (Funding, Architectural & Technical Guidance and Project co-coordination)

While this may be simply a tacit recognition of the writing on the wall, I find it fascinating nonetheless that this is being done 1) as a source-forge project, 2) with both funding and apparent blessing from Microsoft, and 3) that it seems to be a very real effort to reach out to the OSS community in a meaningful way on a technology that could be seen as directly competitive.

Watch that space closely - I sense that there are shifts and strains going on at the intermediate management level within Microsoft that may prove to be critical for the evolution of the company in the next several years, and this quiet little project may be simply the vanguard of this approach.


M. David Peterson
2006-07-06 11:02:29
WOW!!!!! I'm WAY TOO STUNNED to say much else, but I'll be honest... As you already know, this is an area that I have been watching unfold for a while, and is something we have both been a bit skeptical, yet also curious as to where some of these "signs of life" would lead.

I think we have the subject set for our next podcast :D (and yes, to those of you wondering, Kurt and I VERY MUCH still plan to keep the Explorations show going... We have both been COMPLETELY slammed with other projects, and because of its "for fun" nature, it has taken the back seat to other projects because of this.)

Kurt... How's tonight look for you?

2006-07-07 06:49:06
It's a smart move to satisfy the government customers. If they developed it in house without visible oversight, MS would be accused of hijacking it. By doing this in the open, as an issue, it evaporates. The improvements of their local product can continue without disruption and the competition is won or lost without the web pundits having power to fix the game.

Adaptive. MS usually is.

2006-07-07 15:19:07
Hey, as soon as I saw this I thought "That looks like an eXplorations podcast!" - Looking forward to this one, and thanks for the preceding ones...
M. David Peterson
2006-07-10 10:25:53
Hey piers,

Just reading this now. I'm afraid to actually say this outloud, hence to jinx any possibility of future occurences, but I believe you have now officially become the VERY FIRST fan of the eXplorations podcast. :D


Okay, I think that last bit pretty much solidified the jinx. :D

Yo Kurt! I see you're online... I'll ping ya here in a sec... We'd better get crackin', as if we lose piers, I think any hope of rebuilding a "fan club" "base" is less about hope, and more about hopeless. :)

M. David Peterson
2006-07-10 10:27:40

I love reading your perspective on things, as I can honestly state that there are some things that would never even occur to me that you bring to the surface that offer a whole new level insite I've never considered.

Thanks! :D