Monday Jul 30, 2007

eWeek reviews Sun's ODF plugin for MS Office

    I'm on way too many email lists, and several of them are for notices from eWeek on news, etc. Mostly I delete them, but not until after a quick check for anything of interest. And today's had this item, Sun Plug-in Brings ODF Support to Microsoft Office, listed as a highlight. Overall, a reasonable review of the ODF plugin, particularly when compared with the Microsoft sponsored Open XML to ODF translator. Free, available now, support available, and is complete in itself (it doesn't require .NET or other add-ons) make it worth a look for anyone with ODF and Microsoft Office compatibility needs. Of course, I just use StarOffice :-)

    There is also mention of Massachusetts ITD effort to move to Open Standard formats, to help make documents more accessible by the citizen's of the state, as well as to protect access to the documents in the future, as proprietary formats fade away or loose compatibility. Over the years that Sun has been working with Massachusetts, I have helped out with some trouble shooting of the plugin, mostly from an installation perspective. I'm a bit more local than the StarOffice developers in Germany, and I've had enough Microsoft experience that I have a clue what they are talking about as I act as their ears and eyes over the phone. I enjoy those opportunities when I get to do hands-on, technical stuff, particularly when puzzling out an interesting problem.

Wednesday Nov 08, 2006

OpenDocument and Palm - a start

    I support open formats and standards, and use one in particular on a daily basis. The OpenDocument format is an open, ISO standard for the usual Microsoft Office app formats like word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, etc. The format is currently supported by a variety of applications, including StarOffice, OpenOffice, Google's Docs & Spreadsheets, etc. There is even work on several plugins for MS Office to allow reading and saving in OpenDocument format. There are a growing number of organizations that have joined the ODF Alliance, including Sun, IBM, Novell, Oracle, EMC, Google, Red Hat, et al.
    I'm also a big Palm OS user, considering my Palm Tungsten T3 my second brain. So I was thrilled to see support for OpenDocument finally starting to come to the Palm platform, in the form of .odt support in PalmFiction. I found this when reading TamsPalm-the Palm OS Blog, and this entry in particular. I immediately downloaded PalmFiction and tried it out on a couple of .odt files I updated from older versions of StarOffice (.sxw). It read them off of my SD card in their native .odt format fine, although it looks like it currently supports basic access to the text, since one of the documents was a form using tables, and the text came through fine but none of the table formatting or form layout was displayed. For now, this is fine for me, as I tend to be an LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) kinda guy and tend to prefer to stick with plain, old fashioned ASCII text.
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A place where Perley Mears sounds off on topics relevant to his work at Oracle.

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