Open Letter to Microsoft

Today, we have decided to follow yesterday’s Microsoft announcement with an open letter to the company. This is my translation into English of the text (unfortunately, some of the extra care put in each word gets lost, but the meaning is there).

Welcome, Microsoft.

Following yesterday’s announcement, we are ready to co-operate at the promotion of open formats in order to support this new endeavour in the area of office suites. We are ready to co-operate, but we will criticize you for every uncertain or false step.

Inside interoperability there isn’t any space left for tricks: interoperability means that you have chosen to be on the same side of the users.

We believe in your good faith more than the European Commission does, as they have told the world that this is the fourth time that Microsoft makes an announcement about interoperability, without any impact – until today – on the company strategy.

We sincerely hope that this time, for a number of reasons – including our proactive opposition to the fast track standardization of Office 2007 file formats, which will go on until all the necessary changes will be made, the chances that mere words are going to translate into facts are higher than in the past.

At the same time, we invite all the companies that support the ODF format together with us – and those that belong to the OpenOffice.org community: Sun, IBM, Novell & Red Flag – to work for a full interoperability, as the technical and legal obstacles are going to disappear soon.

Users should be able to exchange transparently Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org documents, in both directions.

The software industry, which is not based just in Redmond, must demonstrate a true commitment to make ODF a more widespread format.

If this will happen, users will win, and the market – i.e., all of us – will win.

Associazione PLIO (Italian National Linguistic Project OpenOffice.org)

We know that many inside the community have a different opinion. Of course, we have carefully evaluated the pros and the cons of such a statement, and are quite sure that this is the right attitude for this specific time in the history of computing.

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