I have just heard from the OpenDocument Foundation's Gary Edwards, with news about a plugin the Foundation is offering the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in response to the Commonwealth's request for information on any plugin that could "allow Microsoft Office to easily open, render, and save to ODF files, and also allow translation of documents between Microsoft's binary (.doc, .xls, .ppt) or XML formats and ODF."
The Foundation says it has such a plugin, it has finished testing it, and it is good to go.
Edwards tells me the following:
The OpenDocument Foundation has notified the Massachusetts ITD that we have completed testing on an ODF Plugin for all versions of MS Office dating back to MS Office 97. The ODF Plugin installs on the file menu as a natural and transparent part of the open, save, and save as sequences. As far as end users and other application add-ons are concerned, ODF plugin renders ODF documents as if it were native to MS Office.
The testing has been extensive and thorough. As far as we can tell there isn't a problem, even with Accessibility add ons, which as you know is a major concern for Massachusetts.
Now that we've had a chance to fully review their RFI document, we expect to submit a formal line by line reply, offering the ODF Plugin for immediate testing, review and implementation.
Some people might wonder why the Foundation would be interested in
"extending" the life and vested value of these Win32 bound desktops?
Our reply is that this isn't about "Windows" or MS Office. It's about
people, business units, existing workflows and business processes, and
vested legacy information systems begging to be connected, coordinated,
and re engineered to reach new levels of productivity and service. It's
also about the extraordinary value of ODF and its importance to the
next generation of collaborative computing. And it's about ODF rising
to meet the needs of key information domains as they are represented by
desktop productivity environments; publishing, content and archive
management systems; SOA efforts; and the Open Internet.
So, to Microsoft: never mind. You don't need to lift a finger.