back to article Microsoft opens arms to Firefox with OXML plug-in release

Microsoft has today released a plug-in for Firefox that allows Open XML documents to be viewed within the popular open source browser. The software giant said that its new Open XML Document Viewer works within Firefox and can be used on Windows and Linux platforms without needing a local installation of MS Office. Microsoft …


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  1. Pierre

    Pushing the envelope

    "Redmond has been heavily pushing the interoperability envelope over the past 18 months."

    Damn true. A large brown envelope, fully loaded with greenbacks.

    Also, is it just me or ridiculous buzzspeak abounds in El Reg these days? Is there a secret contest about who will insert more in their article, or something? Is it linked to the recent surveys?

    In any case, please stop. It sure doesn't make you sound clever. I tend not to enjoy marketting drones' prose, so I feel the urge to stop reading each time I encounter such a stupid buzzword.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No no no no!

    I hope the Firefox team will be putting something in the next release to stop this plug-in working, just like MS has done in the past!

    To support its use is just playing into MS' game.

  3. Christoph
    Thumb Down

    What a great idea

    I make sure to use a browser that has a reasonable chance of being secure and well maintained - and then I add a plug-in written by Microsoft.

    Perhaps I could go on to improve the security of my house by installing a hook outside the front door to hang the keys on.

  4. Patrick O'Reilly
    Gates Horns

    What about the others?

    So will this wonder plugin work with Opera, Chrome, Safari, w3m, Lynx etc?

  5. John Latham

    Not ideal

    Well, it's released in the sense that if you can find the website, you can download an archive, extract and install it locally.

    But presumably that means manual updates.

    How hard can it be to "release" it online like a normal plugin?

  6. Roger Williams
    Gates Horns

    "Microsoft opens arms"

    Yep, Microsoft's philosophy has always been to open their arms wide -- at least since (MS VP) Paul Maritz used the phrase "Embrace, extend, and extinguish" in a 1995 meeting with Intel to describe Microsoft's strategy toward Netscape, Java, and the Internet. Nothing new here...

  7. Olof P

    OXML or the Office '07 format?

    Notice how MS doesn't support OXML (as defined by the specification) in Office '07, so don't hold your breath for this plugin doing so either.

  8. Mike Moyle

    So, once again...

    "The software giant said that its new Open XML Document Viewer works within Firefox and can be used on Windows and Linux platforms without needing a local installation of MS Office."

    So, once again Macintosh users are callously and cruelly locked out of the fun and joy of using Microsoft's latest...

    ...oh, wait a minute...

    I don't want or need to read Office-formatted files in my browser...

    ,,,and I've got OpenOffice installed, anyway, should some misguided soul start spreading them around.

    Never mind... Have fun; carry on!

  9. James Le Cuirot
    Gates Halo

    Open source

    Hold your horses, guys. Before you start slating this plug-in as a potential security risk, it is actually open sourced under the Microsoft Public License (MS-PL). That's not to say there aren't any security bugs but at least the code is open to public scrutiny.

    What's also interesting here is that while this wasn't primarily developed by Microsoft themselves, they have had a large hand in it and so what we have here is an open source implementation of Open XML with Microsoft's name on it. Unless they choose to deliberately break it in places (I'm a Linux user but I'm not quite that cynical) then this could prove invaluable to free software developers who are finding it difficult to provide good compability with Microsoft Office due to the ambiguous, contradictory and downright confusing specs. Unless I'm mistaken, they could possibly even swipe some of the code directly because apparently MS-PL is compatible with GPLv3.

  10. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Beware Greeks bearing gifts

    as the Trojans would say.

  11. Eddie Johnson

    Dumbest idea ever

    Wow. Who's going to be stupid enough to install an MS plugin that will undoubtedly open up numerous security loopholes?

    Any bets on whether MS manages to require a reboot for you to update this plugin? Plus it'll probably phone home every 30 minutes to WGA and warn that you are using an unlicensed copy of Firefox. "WGA was unable to verify the integrity of Firefox.exe. Are you sure you wish to allow this program to run?"

  12. P. Lee
    Gates Horns

    Smart move for MS

    They wouldn't want some other Open... office document handling plugin getting out there first would they?

    If you can get your proprietary format used on the web/intranet instead of proper standards, you can keep pushing your office suite as the default intranet/office document authoring tool. We can't have OpenOffice being used for cross-platform compatibility can we?

    Is this the embrace or the extend part of the process?

    Given the binary blob issue of ooxml, its already got built in "doesn't work as well as windows would" status. Now we're feature complete: "extinguish" all present and correct.

  13. James Henstridge


    Open XML: because its just like XML but open.

  14. yeah, right.


    This would be the "embrace" part of "embrace, extend, extinguish", or the "extend" part? Hard to tell these days with Microsoft.

    Is this the "Open"XML version they stuffed down ISO's throat, or is this some incompatible version? I was under the impression that the ISO version still hadn't been implemented anywhere?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Wow. Who's going to be stupid enough to install an MS plugin that will undoubtedly open up numerous security loopholes?"

    You do know that firefox has security issues right, its why it needs patching still here and there!

    No software is perfect, not even your precious open source stuff, get your head out of the clouds and into the real world.

  16. Robert Grant Silver badge

    @Patrick O'Reilly

    +1 for judging them for not provided a feature that was never promised!

  17. myxiplx

    OOXML ISO approved?

    You know, for an IT publication, The Register seems to be missing a lot of details these days.

    When stating that OOXML has been ISO approved, it's probably a good idea to state that this *isn't* the version that's currently shipping with Office 2007, and that Microsoft have also stated that they have no current plans to update Office to use the ISO approved OOXML.

  18. James Le Cuirot

    Other browsers

    I should add that most other browsers use the same plug-in format, which is generally known as Netscape-compatible, so it should work with them. It's only IE that does its own thing... as usual.

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