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French Co. Writing MS Plugin for ODF Support Found - Updated
Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 12:37 PM EDT

Remember yesterday, Dan Farber interviewed Ray Ozzie of Microsoft, and Ozzie said that Microsoft is not opposed to supporting ODF and is working with a French company to see what would be involved? There is a bit more than that happening. I believe a functional prototype is already available.

Two readers in France, Thierry Stoehr and Jean Roc Morreale, found the Paris company, Clever Age, that is writing the plugin to convert ODF to Word. And here's the project on Sourceforge. It is licensed under the BSD license, and runs only on Windows. Microsoft loves the BSD license, because they benefit from openness that works in one direction only. From the site:

This project aims at providing a plugin for Microsoft Word 2003 XML to open OpenOffice XML documents.
* Development Status: 3 - Alpha
* Intended Audience: End Users/Desktop
* License: BSD License
* Operating System: WinXP
* Programming Language: C#, XSL (XSLT/XPath/XSL-FO)
* Topic: XML, Office Suites, Word Processors
* User Interface: Win32 (MS Windows)

The project lists one developer, Denis Delangle, who is a member at Sourceforge since September 26, 2005. Well, Ozzie did say it was a matter of resources. Evidently they are not spending all their billions on this task.

September 26. Hmm. What happened then? Well, September 16 was the public meeting we all got to listen to; September 23 was the day Massachusetts' decision to go with ODF was announced officially. Now my memory is that Microsoft told us it would not support ODF. It wasn't until October 16 that the company began saying maybe they would, if there was enough customer demand. Meanwhile, there was work afoot.

Here's what Clever Age says on its website (it's in French, so a computer translation follows):

Clever Age a donc réalisé un prototype de convertisseur de documents OpenOffice intégré à Word, sous la forme d’un add-on. Ce convertisseur repose sur : un composant écrit en C#.NET qui ouvre un document OpenOffice dans Word, lance la transformation XSL et effectue les post-traitements ; une feuille de transformation XSL convertissant (en partie) un fichier OpenOffice en WordML (le format XML de Word). Le prototype est fonctionnel et permet d’ouvrir des documents OpenOffice dans Word ; cependant, tous les attributs du document initial ne sont pas restitués (sont préservés notamment : le contenu, les styles, les images, les tableaux et les attributs du texte). La procédure d’installation du plug-in utilise la procédure standard d’installation de composants Windows.

Clever Age thus produced a prototype of converter of OpenOffice documents integrated into Word, in the form of a add one. This converter rests on: a component written in C#.NET which opens a OpenOffice document in Word, launches transformation XSL and carries out postprocessings; a sheet of transformation XSL converting (partly) a OpenOffice file into WordML (format XML of Word). The prototype is functional and makes it possible to open OpenOffice documents in Word; however, all the attributes of the initial document are not restored (are preserved in particular: contents, styles, images, tables and attributes of the text). The procedure of installation of plug-in uses the standard procedure of installation of Windows components.

Here's a better, human translation:

Clever Age has made a prototype of an OpenOffice document converter integrated in Word; this converter is an add-on. It is based on: a component written in C#.NET which opens an OpenOffice document in Word, starts the XSL transformation and post-processes the result; an XSL transformation sheet converting (partially) an OpenOffice file in WordML (Word XML format). The prototype is working and it is possible to open with it OpenOffice documents in Word; all the attributes of the original document are not preserved (among others contents, styles, images, tables and text attributes are preserved). The plug-in installation procedure uses the standard installation procedure of Windows components.
The plugin works like this then, I gather:
- open an OpenOffice.org document in Word
- use XSL
- convert it to WordML

Their prototype is apparently functional but for the moment doesn't convert all the attributes of OO.o's documents but only these: tables, styles, content, image, text attibutes.

Morreale writes: "WinXP is the only system mentioned but the fact the sources are available should allow someone with knowledge in C#.NET/Mono to give a try."

Hilarious Update:

A Microsoft spokesman has issued an offical denial that the company is making plans to support ODF, according to TGDaily. Here's the statement, and note the careful use of words:

"We have no plans to directly support the OpenDocument format at this time," reads the statement, e-mailed to us this afternoon. "Our standards-based formats for Office 2003, as well as our announcement that XML will be the default file format in Office '12,' have been extremely well received by customers and partners, including over 330,000 developers who are leveraging Office's XML support already. We fully expect partners, independent companies, and competitors to provide converters between our Open XML formats and the OpenDocument formats, and are aware of a few projects along these lines already."

Also, I have learned that so far at least, no taping will be allowed on Monday, and Senator Pacheco has decided not to invite any vendors. So it is beginning to look like the showdown at the OK Corral is fizzling. Shining the light on FUD tends to have that effect. However, disability groups will apparently be there. You will also find David Berlind's latest article interesting.


  


French Co. Writing MS Plugin for ODF Support Found - Updated | 227 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here
Authored by: MathFox on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 12:43 PM EDT
Don't complain about the computer translation.

---
When people start to comment on the form of a message, it is a sign that they
have problems to accept the truth of the message.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off topic thread
Authored by: MathFox on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 12:46 PM EDT
Other legal and Open Source news here.
Make HTML links if you know how...

---
When people start to comment on the form of a message, it is a sign that they
have problems to accept the truth of the message.

[ Reply to This | # ]

French Co. Writing MS Plugin for ODF Support Found
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 12:51 PM EDT
Anyone happen to notice that this is a one-way tranlator? You can read ODF
files in Word, but it doesn't say anything about being able to write ODF files.

[ Reply to This | # ]

But does it *save* in ODF?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 12:54 PM EDT
That is the question.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Unofficial translation (I'm French though)
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 01:01 PM EDT
Clever Age realized a prototype of an OpenOffice document converter integrated
in Word; this converter is an add-on. It is based on: a component written in
C#.NET which opens an OpenOffice document in Word, starts the XSL transformation
and post-processes the result; an XSL transformation sheet converting
(partially) an OpenOffice file in WordML (Word XML format). The prototype is
working and it is possible to open with it OpenOffice documents in Word; all the
attributes of the original document are not preserved (among others contents,
styles, images, tables and text attributes anre preserved). The plug-in
installation procedure uses the standard installation procedure of Windows
components.

Loïc

[ Reply to This | # ]

shenanigans
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 01:04 PM EDT
Is there any way to bring these series of articles to Judge Colleen
Kollar-Kotelly's attention?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why you won't see a FOSS/BSD-licensed converter
Authored by: cmc on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 01:07 PM EDT
People are (justifiably) wondering about saving in OpenDoc format. I think that
will only come once governments (state or national) force Microsoft's hand to
it. For example, opening OpenDoc won't be good enough for the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, because they need to be able to save to that format.

But my comment is really about converters. I haven't looked at the SF page yet,
but from what PJ wrote, this is simply a plug-in for MS-Word. Legally, it
cannot be any other way. No one can make a converter that will convert an .SXW
file to a .DOC file, for example (assuming the XML version of the .DOC file).
At least not a converter that's licensed under any OSS license or the BSD
license. Why? Because of Microsoft's patent on their XML. Those who read the
patent license from MS will remember that it cannot be sublicensed, so even a
program licensed under the BSD license would not be able to use MS's XML
schemas.

So, in effect, you won't see any (legal) converters under any kind of OSS
license.

cmc

[ Reply to This | # ]

Come Watch Them Squirm
Authored by: TheBlueSkyRanger on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 01:09 PM EDT
Hey, everybody!

I'm writing this on the assumption there's more than one politician involved
here.

Is anyone going to be bringing a video camera to the MA hearing on October 31?
There are several instances where I would love to see the look on the face of
the politicians involved in the hearing:

1) The turnout of people who are voting and paying attention. Always a brown
pants day for a pol.

2) The budgetary analysis

3) The stuff about "handicapped" access to ODF being nothing more
than a ploy

4) All this information was already out there, they could have gotten off their
duffs and read it. I mean, it doesn't bode well when they're in the dark on a
open debate they should be involved in.

5) Intelligent well reasoned arguements vs. the M$ angle, which amounts to,
"I'm your mother, I know what's good for you, trust me and eat your
peas."

6) The availability of ODF converters and projects for Office 12 to handle ODF
pretty much renders any of M$' arguments moot, whether they had a hand in the
development or not.

There are elections coming up, and pols know how fast the Internet spreads
things. If the crowd acts like they're selling them out, they lose their cushy
jobs. Plus, there are opponents willing to use whatever they do to generate bad
press.

These guys probably thought this would be a piece of cake, just reprent M$ and
everyone's happy. Assuming they have been ignoring any e-mails or complaint
letters, they are in for a very rude awakening.

Dobre utka,
The Blue Sky Ranger

"Only a total genius or a complete idiot can pull this off. Lucky for us,
he's both!"
--Bud
"Rocketman"

[ Reply to This | # ]

French Co. Writing MS Plugin for ODF Support Found
Authored by: Nick Bridge on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 01:22 PM EDT
Why would you want to use Mono to run a plugin for MS Word?

[ Reply to This | # ]

French Co. Writing MS Plugin for ODF Support Found
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 01:51 PM EDT
This project aims at providing a plugin for Microsoft Word 2003 XML to open OpenOffice XML documents

And M$ is going to provide support for exporting in pdf.

So OpenDocument is a read only format and pdf is a write only format. Is this supposed to be the new M$ filing system?

Alan(UK)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The "official" support request method
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 02:43 PM EDT
Use the following e-mail address to request feature changes... mswish@microsoft.com

[ Reply to This | # ]

OpenOffice vs Open Document
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 03:04 PM EDT
I think there is confusion here between the current OpenOffice 1.0 formats
(which are not Open Document Format) and the OpenOffice 2.0 formats (which are
ODF).

The converter from OOo to MS Word, being worked on by Clever Age, is probably
just meant to convert OOo 1.0 not ODF.

Anyone know the facts here?

Tomy

[ Reply to This | # ]

French Co. Writing MS Plugin for ODF Support Found - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 03:19 PM EDT
Do You have to bash the BSD license? Your vitriolic hatred of everything
Microsoft really takes away from an otherwise wonderful site. Microsoft is not
evil. Linux is not perfect. Richard Stallman is not the pope. The GPL is not
perfect, it is a better license for somethings, BUT NOT FOR EVERYTHING.

[ Reply to This | # ]

No Taping!?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 03:25 PM EDT
Based upon You are *entitled* to record things. how could taping be denied in this case?
Perhaps those who would deny taping for this meeting are not aware of the rights of the citizens?

[ Reply to This | # ]

French Co. Writing MS Plugin for ODF Support Found - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 03:26 PM EDT
PJ, i respect your opinions but with the statement you made, it sounds like
BSD is a license which is not suited for open source at all. Is this what you
meant, or was it more a remark of the fact that the BSD license allows more
freedom than other licenses available?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Showdown fizzling?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 03:27 PM EDT
"Also, I have learned that so far at least, no taping will be allowed on
Monday, and Senator Pacheco has decided not to invite any vendors. So it is
beginning to look like the showdown at the OK Corral is fizzling."

Or could Senator Pacheco and others just want to not get the whole story? Just
invite a few people who they can trust to say what they need to be said to
justify an agenda maybe?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not a BSD License
Authored by: AdamBaker on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 03:41 PM EDT
sf.net requests authors to categorise licenses into one of a few broad
categories but if you actually read the license text on this one it isn't
actually BSD.

Significantly rather than just requiring attribution as the old BSD license did
this one actually requires that any copies including modified copies carry this
license. It doesn't make clear if terms may be added to the license for modified
works - in fact there are lots of issues it doesn't make clear, for e.g. what is
displaying a license in "verifiable" form?

The license also reveals that although CleverAge may have done the work MS hold
joint copyright with them in the work.

The license says that the non GPL compatible MS XML license also applies to this
software so they probably couldn't have chosen the GPL even if they wanted to.

[ Reply to This | # ]

EULA when handing out OO copies.
Authored by: darkonc on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 03:43 PM EDT
If people take on handing out copies of OpenOffice at the monday hearings, may I suggest that, for the princely sum of $.50 (or even $1) you have them sign an EULA along the following lines.

I ________________ to hereby ackhnowledge that I have paid $____ to <name>, and in return will recieve a CD with a copy of Open Office.

I acknowledge that the CD is to include the source code and that I have the right to

  1. make and install unlimited copies of this CD for my personal use and the use of my organization, that I have the right to
  2. modify this source code to my hearts content (either before or after redistribution), and that I have the right to
  3. distribute copies to anybody else that I please subject to the license information distributed with the code.
Name: _____________________
Signature ___________________
_ _ _ _ _

Make sure to leave them with a copy of the agreement.

---
Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Better yet - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 06:32 PM EDT
So they want customer demand for OpenDocument.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 04:17 PM EDT
Let's put customer power into practice with a campaign for
OpenOffice users to send out email office document
attachments in ODF format only, whenever possible rather
than in MS Office format, with a note under the signature:

Free OpenDocument reader/writer/converter download:
http://www.openoffice.org

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft PR
Authored by: Samari711 on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 04:58 PM EDT
It sounds like they've hired the Iraqi Information Minister...

"The Open Source Infidels have not been gaining any market share. As we
speak OfficeML is beating back the ODF armies."

---
IANAL
IAASEWTHKS (I Am A Systems Engineer Who Thinks He Knows Something)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Completely missing the point
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 06:49 PM EDT
Leaving aside the fact that this needlessly drags the whole .NET environment into matters (making it useless to many), and the fact that it's not going to save to ODF, it's a converter, something no one but Microsoft is likely to show any interest in. Who said anything about converting to Word? I'm pretty sure that's exactly what Massachusetts doesn't want. They want Word to be able to handle these documents "natively", just like Word does with other formats. This would just be an attempt to "ghettoize" ODF on Microsoft's part if this is the "solution" they have in mind.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • one phrase - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 08:07 PM EDT
Open Source Victoria and PhaseN working on OpenDoc plug-in for MS Office users
Authored by: zcat on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 08:37 PM EDT
OpenDoc plug-in for MS Office users

I don't see the point in it myself; The filter only allows MS Office to read OpenDocument files. You can't save them again so I guess there's little point editing them either. If that's all you need then there's already a small, Free ODF document reader which would do the job.

Thanks, but no thanks! I'll stick with OpenOffice2 which can read and _write_ multiple formats including ODF and MS Office.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft loves the BSD license
Authored by: Pogue Mahone on Friday, October 28 2005 @ 03:03 AM EDT
Microsoft loves the BSD license

Only insofar as other people use it. Microsoft themselves wouldn't be caught dead releasing their own source under such a license.

[ Reply to This | # ]

XML != MS "Open" XML
Authored by: Matt C on Friday, October 28 2005 @ 10:34 AM EDT
This is kind of a technical question, but

"XML will be the default file format in Office '12,' "
is ... um, false, right?

my wik tells me "An XML document is text, which is a sequence of
characters. The specification requires support for Unicode encodings UTF-8 and
UTF-16 (UTF-32 is not mandatory)."

I could be wrong, but this looks to me like an attempt to blur the line (which
is in fact easy-to-see) between the unencumbered XML standard and their format.
Which, of course, they intended to do by calling it "Open XML" in the
first place.

[ Reply to This | # ]

BSD license
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 28 2005 @ 01:10 PM EDT
"Microsoft loves the BSD license, because they benefit from openness that works in one direction only."

PJ, you disappoint me! How do you explain FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD if the openness is "only in one direction"?

You must think there's only One True Alternative to Windows (ie Linux) and only One True License (ie GNU License).

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • BSD license - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 28 2005 @ 01:15 PM EDT
  • Baloney - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 28 2005 @ 09:32 PM EDT
  • Simple explanation - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, October 29 2005 @ 01:23 AM EDT
French Co. Writing MS Plugin for ODF Support - License Text
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 31 2005 @ 08:17 PM EST

http://sourceforge.net/projects/ooo-word-filter/

Project: OpenOffice filter to Microsoft Word XML: Summary

This project aims at providing a plugin for Microsoft Word 2003 XML to open OpenOffice XML documents

license.txt, from OpenOfficePlugin_src_0_1

Redistribution and use of this program in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the conditions below are met.
These conditions require attribution to Clever Age (Author) and to Microsoft Corporation.

1. Redistributions of source code, in whole or part and with or without modification (the "Code"), must prominently display this license text in verifiable form.

2. Redistributions of the Code in binary form must be accompanied by this license text in any documentation and, each time the resulting executable program or a program dependent thereon is launched, a prominent display (e.g., splash screen or banner text) of attribution information, which includes:

Copyright © Clever Age, Inc. and Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Permission to copy, display and distribute documentation of Microsoft XML schemas relied upon by the Author in producing this program is available at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/odcXMLRef/html/odcXMLR efLegalNotice.asp?frame=true.

This product may incorporate intellectual property owned by Microsoft. The terms and conditions upon which Microsoft is licensing such intellectual property may be found at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/odcXMLRef/html/odcXMLRefLegalNoti ce.asp.

3. Neither the name nor any trademark of the Author or Microsoft may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

4. Users are entirely responsible, to the exclusion of the Author and any other persons, for compliance with (1) regulations set by owners or administrators of employed equipment, (2) licensing terms of any other software, and (3) local regulations regarding use, including those regarding import, export, and use of encryption software.

THIS FREE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR OR ANY CONTRIBUTOR BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, EFFECTS OF UNAUTHORIZED OR MALICIOUS NETWORK ACCESS; PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

Satisfactory for writing a MS Office Plugin that writes ODF? It's got all the calls for reading and then converting to Microsoft's Own "Standard"; Microsoft does publish the Application Programming Interface for MS Office after all, however badly it's implemented.

I think it is entirely possible for people to write a plugin that will save MS Office in ODF format, and you can quote me to the relevant authorities in Massachussetts on that matter! It's just that Microsoft obviously doesn't want to hog the glory of solving the problems brought about by its own malfeasance! Obviously! ;)

Wesley Parish

[ Reply to This | # ]

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