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24 June 2009, 09:35

"Productive" Open Document Plugfest

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The first ODF Plugfest has brought together both corporate and independent developers to test the interoperability of Open Document Format (ODF) documents. As Microsoft showed earlier this year, it is possible to comply with the ODF specification but not offer useful interoperability with other software that reads ODF. The Plugfest, held in the Hague, Netherlands, was initiated by the Dutch government which is promoting the "Three Os", Open Standards, Open Content and Open Source, and is pushing for the adoption of ODF as an open document format. The Plugfest opened with a speech from Frank Heemskerk, the Netherlands' Minister of Foreign Trade, who asked the attendees "to go beyond compliance and help achieve broad-based open standards".

The two day event, with participation from IBM, Sun, Microsoft and Google, community members representing Koffice, AbiWord and OpenGoo, government agencies and research institutes, looked at the low level interoperability of the various ODF implementations. Reports from the participants are now appearing, although details of the tests and results are limited because according to Microsoft's Doug Mahugh, the event was held under the Chatham House Rule. More details on the testing scenarios used though can be found on the Plugfest Wiki. Videos of talks are available on Vimeo,

The event also saw the launch, in closed beta, of Officeshots, a new cloud based service for ODF implementers and users to test compatibility. Officeshots allows a user to upload an ODF document and then have it rendered, or just read and saved as a "round trip" by other ODF implementing applications. At the moment, this list includes AbiWord, EuroOffice, Go-oo and OpenOffice, but it's hoped more will be added in the future.


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