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I read with interest Peter Coffee’s article “Zero Tolerance for Microsoft Office,” as we are midway through a transition away from that suite [Sept. 11]. However, as this is a transition not to another suite but to a [file] format, I was concerned about Coffee’s comment, “Open XML-based formats are years away from giving enterprise sites truly vendor-neutral suites. …”

An ISO standard [document format] does exist, and at least three office suites read/write it fully interchangeably, with two others having only minor issues with layout; others with such support are in the pipeline. This is not years away but present now.

There are even several plug-ins in development for Microsoft Office to allow read/write of ISO26300, and rumor has it that the Open Document Foundation plug-in is pretty good.

Was Coffee specifically referring to Microsoft Open XML? If that’s the case, years is probably right. Or never?

Chris Puttick


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