I'm sure by now most folks have read the news on the collaboration agreement between Novell and Microsoft. If not, you can read more up on the Microsoft interoperability site: http://www.microsoft.com/interop (Novell's press release is here)
There are a number of really cool pieces to this (Jason Matusow blogged on this yesterday), and one of those directly relates to the Office Open XML file formats. With this announcement Novell has said they will do the development work to allow OpenOffice to support the Office Open XML formats. This plug-in will be directly distributed with their edition of OpenOffice, but it will also be provided back to the OpenOffice.org organization so that everyone can leverage it.
Another great piece is that they are going to start participating in the Open XML Translator project. It's an open source project we helped start back in the summer that will translate from Open XML to ODF and from ODF to Open XML. It's a really sweet project because it could be plugged in just about anywhere. You can read more about it on the blog that the developers of the project set up (http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/blog/index.php).
Here is some more information from the FAQ up on Novell's site (http://www.novell.com/linux/microsoft/faq.html):
Document Format Compatibility. Microsoft and Novell have been focusing on ways to improve interoperability between office productivity applications. The two companies will now work together on ways for OpenOffice and Microsoft Office users to best share documents and both will take steps to make translators available to improve interoperability between Open XML and OpenDocument Formats.
As you know, Novell has been working with us the past year on the Ecma standardization of the Office Open XML file formats. Jody Goldberg, who works on both Gnumeric as well as Open Office was a huge help with SpreadsheetML. One of the key things that Novell was focused on was ensuring that the formats were fully documented and interoperable so that they could support them as well.
I also really liked reading Michael Meeks' blog on this subject. Michael is a distinguished engineer from Novell who works on OpenOffice (and he's Jody's manager):
It's really cool to see that there will be a number of office applications (Corell, OpenOffice, older versions of MS Office) that will have support for these formats. I've personally been even more excited about the smaller 3rd party non-"office-type" applications that can also now get involved in consuming and generating rich office documents. It continues to raise the value of office documents, as they are no longer just a black box, but instead every office document can serve as a data source. I'm like the possibilities for the developer community that keeps growing here. There is obviously a ton of valuable information that's going to be made available via solution providers. The fact that to both consuming and generating documents has become so much easier is huge.
The translator project is particularly interesting though as it makes it easier for folks to choose the format they want to work with. The Office Open XML formats clearly have customer needs that they were designed to solve; and the OpenDocument format had customer needs that those folks were trying to solve.
P.S. Michael, Tristan and Krista are still on track for the wedding (and it will actually be Wedding 2006, not 2007 :-)