The first fruit of the recently announced Novell/Microsoft interoperability agreement arrived on Dec. 4, with Novells announcement that its version of the OpenOffice productivity suite will now support the Microsoft Office Open XML format.
The release candidate of Novells modified version of OpenOffice.org 2.02 is now available for Windows for free download by registered Novell users.
In addition to all the usual OpenOffice.org features, this version includes support for the Open XML document format, plus the ability to e-mail any document as a Microsoft Office file from the systems default e-mail application. It also enables users to migrate Excel VBA (Visual Basic Application) macros to OpenOffices Calc. This version also includes AGFA fonts that mimic Microsofts default TrueType fonts.
Novell is also working with Microsoft and others on a project to create bidirectional open-source translators for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations between OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office. The word processing translator is coming first and currently is expected to be available by the end of January 2007.
The Open XML/ODF Translator project is hosted on SourceForge and is licensed under the BSD open-source license. The first component, the ODF Add-in for Microsoft Word 2007, which allows users to open and save ODF documents in Word, is now available as a 0.3-M1 beta.