Open Source

Should Microsoft open source old file formats?

NLet Foundation, a dutch not-for-profit organization, has called for the opening up of older file formats from Microsoft.

NLet Foundation, a dutch not-for-profit organization, has called for the opening up of older file formats from Microsoft.

An excerpt from iTWire:

Michiel Leenaars, strategy manager at NLnet Foundation and the longest sitting member of the Netherlands national standards body committee responsible for both ODF and OOXML, said: "Surely no-one can make - or judge - a decent re-archiving standard if the original file formats are unknown to them...Currently Microsoft provides part of the specifications under a non-disclosure agreement but these are vastly incomplete, illegible, and available only under very restrictive conditions — and therefore of little use to either standards bodies or to the software community. "

The request is to enable independent access to files in the older formats and also for integration of Microsoft's products with the Open Document Format.

Interoperability of Microsoft's file formats with ODF, especially in the light of the controversy over Microsoft-backed OOXML, makes quite a case for the requirement. At the same time, there is the problem of the discontinuation of support for older formats in future products.

Considering the Redmond giant's approach to open source, will the formats ever be open?

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