Microsoft sweetens open source offer

New partnerships focus on OOXML, user interfaces

Microsoft continued telling the open source interoperability story it began crafting last month by adding partnerships around support of document formats and user interface technology.

The company made the announcements Tuesday during the Open Source Business Conference in the US. The partnerships include efforts around support in Apache open source Java libraries for the ECMA Office Open XML (OOXML) document format.

The move comes just five days before the final ISO vote on standardization of OOXML.

Last month, CEO Steve Ballmer pledged to make Microsoft's software more open in an effort to foster greater data portability and allow for better interoperability with open source software and platforms.

The company also opened public access to some protocols and APIs surrounding its core enterprise software and said many of the moves were in response to antitrust legal issues with the European Commission.

Microsoft Tuesday added a trio of announcements to its open source interoperability dialogue, including a partnership with Sourcesense, a European open source systems integrator, to develop open source libraries and to create a developer community supporting OOXML.

The two plan to develop a new version of Apache POI, a project for developing pure Java ports of file formats based on Microsoft's OLE 2 Compound Document Format. The new version of Apache POI will support OOXML

In addition, Microsoft is teaming with JasperSoft to optimize the JasperSoft open source Business Intelligence Suite for Windows Server 2008 and other Microsoft software. JaperSoft also released a new version of its ODBO Connect software that allows Microsoft Excel to be used as a front-end for the JasperAnalysis data analysis server.

Microsoft also made freely available more documentation on its Extensible Application Markup Language formats used for creating interfaces to clients and servers. The intent is to help developers create interfaces to non-Microsoft technologies. Microsoft is making this documentation available under its Open Specification Promise.

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