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19 April 2010, 17:50

Oracle start charging for Sun's Office ODF plug-in

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In 2007, Sun released the Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office, as a closed source but free application which allowed Microsoft Office users to export and import documents in Open Document Format. Although the Oracle site still, at the time of writing, offers the software for free with the tagline "Get it now: FREE", users clicking through will find that Oracle are now charging $90, per user, for a right-to-use license for the plug-in and offering support costing $19.80 per user for the first year. Oracle also requires a minimum order of 100 licenses, which means the minimum purchase is $9,000.

The ODF plug-in certainly helped in making the fledgling ODF standard popular and the plug-in has evolved alongside the Open Office office suite. The current version supports the document formats used by Open Office 3.2, the template for the upcoming ISO standard ODF 1.2. Since the release of Service pack 2 for Microsoft Office 2007, Office has been capable of dealing with documents in ODF format 1.0.

According to Oracle, the support cost is in line with Oracle's support policy of approximately 22% of the license fee and is not mandatory. But the $90 per user license fee is required. As the plug-in was never open source, Oracle has not gone back on any open source assurances it gave. Oracle would not comment on the fact that the plug-in is almost as expensive as the cheapest edition of Microsoft's MS Office suite.


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