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Open Season: OpenDocument gets boost; Microsoft lets users share some code

OpenDocument gets support from Alfresco; Malaysia looks at national ODF standard; Microsoft lets users share source code with CodePlex.

Alfresco backs OpenDocument Format

The OpenDocument file format received a boost this week after Alfresco Software Inc. said it will offer full Open Document Format (ODF) support through its ODF Virtual File the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland, Ore.

More Linux news:

Open or closed? The ODF debate spills into LinuxWorld

The open source year in review

ODF is an open, XML-based file standard suitable for office applications and designed for managing features in text, spreadsheet, charts and graphical documents. Based in Berkshire, U.K., Alfresco is the first provider of an open source enterprise content management application.

Alfresco's ODF Virtual File System offers a shared drive interface to any office application. Both Microsoft Office and users can save or drag content into intelligent drop-zones, where rules and actions convert incoming content into the ODF vendor-neutral format. Documents can also be sent through a controlled review and approval process and have records management rules applied to them.

ODF Alliance praises Malaysia's endorsement of OpenDocument Format

The OpenDocument Format Alliance has applauded Malaysia's decision this week to propose ODF as an official Malaysian standard. The ODF Alliance is a consortium of organizations, academia and industry dedicated to promoting the use of the ODF file format. The vote by Malaysia's standards body followed the recognition in May by the International Standards Organization of ODF as an international standard. After a public comment period that ends in October, Malaysia's Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is expected to formally endorse ODF by year's end, recommending the format for use by the public sector.

Since its inception earlier this year, the ODF Alliance has grown to nearly 280 members in more than 40 countries.

Microsoft CodePlex: Blowing smoke or sincere effort?

Is Microsoft running a fever?

In the second open source announcement in as many weeks Microsoft has announced a collaborative development portal called CodePlex that will allow users to share source code. In an earlier announcement, Microsoft said it would collaborate with XenSource on Xen-related Linux virtualization.).

Wayne Kernochan, the president of research firm Infostructure Associates, said the announcement was noteworthy not only because it demonstrated Microsoft's newfound interest in tapping into open source software and markets but also because it delivered to the world's largest developer community a tool for more flexible and global collaborative programming.

"While the benefits of offshore and around-the-world collaborative programming and of open source development have often been overplayed, they represent significant value-add in many cases for large enterprise IT and ISVs of all sizes," he said.

Kernochan said CodePlex could supply the key ingredients -- version control, communications and sharing mechanisms, and a development platform – for a successful portal.

"If developers take full advantage of Microsoft's new portal, they will be able to reap the full benefits of collaborative programming, including development cost reduction, better alignment with the needs of end users, and often speed to market," he said.

Open Season is a weekly feature from the staff that highlights open source news briefs.

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