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Sun To Ship ODF Translator for Office 2003

Sun Microsystems Wednesday took the wraps off of its OpenDocument Format, or ODF, add-in for saving Microsoft Office 2003 documents in the emerging open standard's file format.

Sun's pending release of a preview of what it calls the StarOffice 8 Conversion Technology Preview follows hard on the heels of open source developer organization SourceForge's release of a Microsoft-funded add-in of Word 2007 earlier in the week.

The early access version of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) plug-in, which is available as a free download, will allow seamless two-way conversion of Microsoft Office documents to ODF.

“ODF is important because it ensures documents will still be readable long into the future while allowing a wide choice of proprietary and open source software choices to work with the documents,” according to a Sun statement. ODF is also known by its standards designation -- ISO/IEC 26300.

The StarOffice 8 Conversion Technology Preview is primarily based on the OpenOffice.org open-source office productivity suite. Initially, the plug-in will only support conversion of text documents between Microsoft Word's .doc file format and OpenOffice's .odt format. However, full support of spreadsheet and presentation documents is expected in April.

The OpenDocument Format was signed off as an official OASIS standard in May 2005, and adopted by the International Standards Organization in May 2006.

Sun's StarOffice 8 Conversion Technology Preview is expected to be available in mid-February with the final release later this spring. When it is available the plug-in will be available here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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