Novells Is Not a Fork

Opinion: It's pretty hard to fork something when it's all out in open source and it's an add-on anyway, isn't it? (Linux-Watch)

Wakey, wakey, lets look at the facts, shall we? Ive heard from several people in the last day say that Novells support for Open XML in 2 represents a fork in the code. Ah ... no, I dont think so.

What Novell is actually doing is throwing its support behind the Open XML/ODF Translator project. This project is under the BSD open-source license.

These translators can then be used to read and write to Microsofts Open XML format.

Novell has also said that it will make these translators available as plug-ins to Novells version of its OO.o ( product. The company will also release the code to integrate the Open XML format into its product as open source and will submit it for inclusion in the project. Thus, all end users will eventually be able to share files between Microsoft Office and, as a result of the documents maintaining more consistent formats, formulas and style templates across the two office suites.

So, lets see. The translators themselves are under the BSD license, which is about as open as you can get. The "glue" code will be submitted to, so it will end up under the LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License) with the rest of OO.o.

Now, you can argue that Open XML, the standard itself, isnt enough of an open standard. While Open XML does come with a Microsoft patent covenant that the boys from Redmond "will not seek to enforce any of its patent claims" that may be connected to Open XML, Microsoft didnt go as far as Sun has with its own patent promises about ODF (Open Document Format).

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