German and Swiss public administrations will continue to take part in a software development project to improve the support by open source office suites for Microsoft's proprietary document format OOXML. This Tuesday, the consortium organising the interoperability project concluded the first phase, and announced the start of the follow-up.
The past year, developers working for the German open source service providers SUSE and Lanedo improved the support for the proprietary version of OOXML documents. Their contributions were accepted into the LibreOffice projects, and are currently being studied by the OpenOffice projects. Both are building free and open source office suites.
The main requirements that were defined in the specification for the first phase "have been successfully implemented and committed into the main development branch of LibreOffice", writes the OSB Alliance, the German open source trade group that coordinated the project, in a statement published on Tuesday, saying that interoperability "has again increased significantly" in the most recent version of LibreOffice.
Germany, Switzerland and France
The first phase was financially supported by several European public administrations, including the city of Munich, the Swiss Federal Court and France's Ministry of Culture and Communication. Together they funded the developers working on improved OOXML support, investing in total 160,000 euro.
The next phase will focus on improving the support for 'tracking changes' when exchanging documents in the proprietary format. According to the OSB Alliance, the cities of Munich, Jena, Leipzig, the Swiss Federal Court and the Swiss Federal IT Steering Unit FITSU have already registered to participate, paying an entrance fee of 2500 euro. The meeting is intended to result in a new specification, part of the Request for Proposal for the second phase. This RFP will be used to get bids for open source solutions.