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Why the Office Format Wars are Not Over

Filed under
OSS

Gone are the days when free software could blithely ignore what was happening in the world of proprietary code. The two approaches are now inextricably intertwined as more and more users and companies choose to run both. One paradoxical consequence of this is that as free software becomes more widely deployed, Microsoft's impact on it becomes greater. Against this background, a recent shift in Microsoft's public statements about open source assumes a particular importance.

Although you still come across the odd veiled threat against open source, the general approach seems now to be more conciliatory. Perhaps the clearest manifestation of this new policy of cohabitation is the creation of Microsoft's Open Source Software lab under Bill Hilf, and the CodePlex open source repository.

Another example of the gentler, kinder Microsoft came from Brian Jones in the context of office file formats:

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