back to article Interoperability eludes Office and OpenOfffice

The simple task of opening a Microsoft Word document in OpenOffice using Open Document Format (ODF) and moving it back without jeopardizing your hard work continues to prove elusive. Researchers have found a continued lack of interoperability between Office Open XML (OOXML), used in Word 2003 and 2007, and ODF more than a year …


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  1. MacRat

    Of course

    "The simple task of opening a Microsoft Word document in OpenOffice using Open Document Format (ODF) and moving it back without jeopardizing your hard work continues to prove elusive."

    Isn't that why M$ created it?

  2. C-N


    MS failing to play nice after having said they'd play nice? I'm shocked.

  3. Jonathan 30

    FOK US...... Surely some mistake

    Surely not a group called .....FOK-US

  4. Gannon (J.) Dick
    Thumb Down

    Stylized Content

    Reminds me of an old joke ...

    The difference between Capitalism and Communism is that under Communism Man exploits Man, the exact opposite of Capitalism.

    MS teaches that Stylized Content is just Style.

    OO teaches that Stylized Content is just Content.

    The difference is in the Meta Data which "WYSIWYG" demands be hidden.

    Paradigm slavery is the first symptom of a "Mature Industry". Any innovator, get out while you can.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Microsoft unable to implement a standard properly? Surely not...

    However, undoubtedly we'll soon see an MS-sponsored report from the Foundation for Universal Communication and Knowledge Unification claiming that it's ODF that's actually broken and OOXML works just fine, nothing to see here la-la, la, la-la-la....

  6. James O'Brien


    Just me or did anyone else read that as FUCKUS?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Microsoft's entire business model -- all the way back to its first days -- has been predicated on a LACK of interoperability. Pathetic.

  8. wsm

    Pictures and tables

    Since the advent of Word and its initial competitive target, WordPerfect, Microsoft have not been able to convert graphics and tables with their content intact, let alone format either correctly.

    Now OpenOffice and Word can't play nice. This is nothing new. Some ODF pre-loaders have been able to better convert Word documents before Writer reads them and Word can open files that OpenOffice saved into a .doc format, but that's as far as it goes.

    Is anyone capable of creating a standards body that truly has neutral standards? Apparently not, not while there is software to sell and governments want to help regulate it.

  9. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    @ Stylized Content

    Easy: MS has always been style over substance. In that aspect it's remarkably like Apple, only Apple does a bit more work on content as well as hardware.

    After all, who sells Powerpoint?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if it's an open standard

    then there should be no issues whatsoever in being able to use that to create something that converts seamlessly between the two, barring limitations in one standard or the other.

    the only reason that there could be problems is if one f them isn't really open.

  11. abigsmurf

    Why is it MS' fault?

    Love the automatic blaming of Microsoft

    Office can't open someone else's file based on an open spec - It's microsoft's fault!

    Someone else can't open Office's files based on an open spec - it's Microsoft's fault!

    Office can produce ODF documents that are 100% compliant with the spec and OO can't display them - it's Microsoft's fault!

  12. The BigYin
    Thumb Up

    Simple answer

    Don't use OOXML. Problem solved.

    And you may not be able to use it after 10/10 *sniggers*

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 07:54

    That's not the only reason, and you point out the other in the first paragraph: limitations in one standard or the other. Both standards contain elements that have no equivalent in the other. If these differences didn't exist then the two formats would be functionally identical, hence no reason for ISO to standardise OOXML.

    One way out of the mess is to standardise the representation of the otherwise untranslatable bits. The other, which may be preferable in light of the i4i patent ruling, would be to drop OOXML and concentrate on ODF.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    @If it's an open standard

    QUOTE: "the only reason that there could be problems is if one of them isn't really open."

    Or if one party doesn't implement the standard correctly. But that never happens does it? Oh, wait....

  15. James Hughes 1

    Simple tasks?

    "The simple task of opening a Microsoft Word document in OpenOffice using Open Document Format (ODF) and moving it back without jeopardizing your hard work continues to prove elusive."

    Your definition of a simple task is obviously different from everyone else's. The fact its taken over two years and still doesn't work correctly must be pretty much the definition of a 'hard' task.

    I suppose you could regard the concept as simple, in much the same way as the concept of putting a man on Mars is simple, but the actual task is really very difficult.

  16. TeeCee Gold badge
    Gates Horns

    Not surprising.

    I had the need to open a .docx the other day. Office 2k3 squirreled off and found the official M$ plugin to do so. Some considerable disk thrashing later it gave me something that I assume was similar to the original, but had a few interesting foibles (like every "@" being converted to a Japanese Yen currency symbol).

    If even M$ themselves can't build something, apart from Word 2k7, that can reliably read a .docx file I'm slightly less than astonished that the rest of the world is having a few problems here.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    No one supports OOXML anyway

    Just pointing out, even MS doesn't use the RATIFIED version of OOXML. That's because it failed to realise it's original draft, full of obscure binary blobs, wouldn't pass ISO ratification. I do believe I read here on theregister that they had announced they would never use the ratified version in it's own products.

  18. Bod

    Who uses OOXML?

    Almost everyone who needs to transfer Word/Excel files about uses their older "standard" that Open Office even supports fine. Why would you write to a format only supported in newer versions of Office when most people are still on older versions and/or use alternate products?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    @Why is it MS' fault? By abigsmurf

    "Why is it MS' fault? " Because it is, thats why. Evil M$ decided to ram through the ISO process a "standard" with their usual questionable tactics.

    Do a bit of reading of history of the OOXML "standard" ratifying process. Start at Groklaw and some googling or in your case, dinging.

  20. Mal Adapted
    Gates Horns

    Re: Why is it MS' fault?

    The default assumption of guilt reflects their history. When Sun sued them for attempting to corrupt Java, M$ payed Sun $20 million to settle, then dropped support for their own JavaVM. That's just one example.

    Their official position WRT standards is "Embrace and Extend", but that's always meant "Engulf and Extinguish".

  21. Cameron Colley

    Has anyone told Linus?

    Or is he still under the illusion that Microsoft play fair?

  22. Chris 191

    @Why is it MS' fault? By abigturd

    Because it is a deliberate attempt to put obstacles in the way of people wishing to free themselves of M$ before they lock you in once an for all with their web version. OO may not be quite there yet but I for one am trying to get to grips with it. M$ Office 2000 has all I need, everything since is bloat and designed to make you part with your money. They slowly introduce "features" which won't work with previous versions and your documents will not convert. All your documents belong to us...

    One day Office 2000 will not work and I will be stuffed. (although Win2k + Office via VirtualBox does the job)

    Once M$ Office goes online you will pay a couple of pence per access (or some other model to get you to pay through the nose) as well as being bombarded with adverts (ala Hotmail). When the whole world and his mothers documents are in the latest M$ format they will increase the price and we'll all be stuffed.

    So please go and get stuffed M$ fanboi.

    Penguin because my files are mine...

  23. A J Stiles

    Simple solution: get tough

    Standardise on using within your business. Send out documents as .odt and .ods.

    If people ask you for .doc or .xls files, just tell them politely but firmly to download It's free, and it works on anything that's got a C compiler. (And if anybody sends you a .doc or .xls that wasn't out of, shop them to FAST -- most copies of Office in existence are pirated.)

    There's simply no excuse for allowing Microsoft to hold your data to ransom through proprietary file formats -- it's probably already illegal under some country's laws anyway.

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