Today, while I was going through my usual tech news feeds I came across the OpenOffice 3.2 RC2 release announcement. I thought this was pretty cool and decided to have a look at what new features we could expect from the next release of OpenOffice. Nothing unusual. Yet.
Perusing through the 'What's New' section, something caught my eye. What's that? "Initial implementation of docx export." Nothing ironic. Yet.
Now those of us who like to keep up with tech news will know that Microsoft lost a patent infringement suit against XML specialists i4i, and then lost again after appealing. Basically, what this means is that Microsoft is banned from selling Microsoft Office from January 11, 2010, until the code that infringes on the XML patent is removed. And this code is what provides support for Microsoft's new XML formats which includes the infamous .docx format. Are you beginning to get the picture?
Now Microsoft already has plans to replace this infringing code in the next release, Microsoft Office 2010. As of now, MS Office 2010 is in the Beta stage of development and the final release date is set for some time in the first half of 2010. But OpenOffice 3.2's final release date is set for sometime this month. Getting clearer?
Thus, it follows, if you need support for Microsoft's .docx format right now, your only legal option is to use OpenOffice! It makes me warm inside :) Open Source FTW! Or am I missing something that is painfully obvious... Let me know.