News today that KDE’s open source “KOffice” will be coming to Windows next year. The situation continues to get more complex for OpenOffice, which saw forks to both IBM Lotus Symphony and Go-OO in the past few weeks. The future of OpenOffice.org as the premier open-source office productivity distribution may be in doubt.
But things can’t be better for OpenDocument, the open standard for sharing information that was pioneered by OpenOffice and is the default format of OpenOffice, KOffice, Go-OO, and Symphony. By standardizing on what a document is, the artificial monopolies around word processors, spread sheets, and presentations are torn down, allowing the competition to center around what-is-best and not merely what-was-possible.
I first fell in love with an early version of OpenDocument while working on my computer science thesis, taught it in classes to college seniors, and even use it to save and export from GoogleDocs. Whatever the fate of OpenOffice.org itself, the ISO and OASIS standard OpenDocument format that it pioneered is the future of infoworker data interchange.