IBM and OpenOffice Grow Pally

IBM and are growing closer, with the giant increasing its support in its Lotus collaborative software and a promise to finally contribute code. That marks a turnaround from two years ago, when IBM took source code from OpenOffice to help build its Workplace, but offered nothing back. Now it will give code from Lotus Notes to ensure the ODF format can accommodate those with handicaps.

Certainly all this activity positions Open Office, the project created by Sun Microsystems seven years ago, as the major open source contender to proprietary office software, such as Microsoft Office.

But perhaps the biggest implication in this growing closeness is that it increases the momentum that’s already been built toward Open Document Format (which OpenOffice uses as its native file format) rather than the Office Open XML (OOXML), which has Microsoft’s backing. Just last week OOXML failed to receive enough support to become an ISO standard.

“The world needs one standard for office files. ODF is already established as an ISO standard and has been adopted in a growing number of products,” said John McCreesh, OpenOffice.orgmarketing project lead. “What the technology world needs now is for Microsoft to rally behind the ODF standard, too.”