OpenDocument is the OASIS and ISO approved international document standard. It is based on a zip file containing XML files, and so is remarkably easy to access. With the old, proprietary document standards, you were always worried that the company would change its way of creating files, giving you files that your programs could no longer open. Because OpenDocument’s standard is open and easy to implement (the zip file), that is no longer a problem.
Of course, the monopoly of a fixed and secret standard has helped Microsoft’s business a lot. So even though Microsoft Office supports old formats that others have almost figured out (doc, xcl, ppt, etc), as well as OpenDocument (albeit grudgingly, because of laws that some governments have), they have attempted to create their own incompatible version, OOXML.
OOXML is so hard to implement, even Microsoft doesn’t do it correctly!
While the full story insider deals and irregular processes is too long to go into here, Microsoft keeps meeting resistance in its attempt to create a second and incompatible uniform standard:
Slashdot | India Third to Appeal ISO’s OOXML Approval
“India is now the third country to appeal the ISO’s approval of OOXML, with their appeal arriving just before the deadline last night. According to PC World, this makes OOXML the first BRM process under ISO/JTC 1 to be appealed, which leaves us in uncharted territory. Although there was substantial confusion in the comments on yesterday’s story,
OpenDocument is currently supported by OpenOffice, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, KOffice, AbiWord, and many other office productivity applications. OOXML is supported by nobody, not even Microsoft.