Novell to continue using OpenDocument in upcoming distributions

Novell has announced that it will continue to use the OpenDocument format (ODF) in future distributions of SUSE Linux. Short for OASIS Open Document Format, ODF is a standard XML file formation for office application programs. SUSE has used ODF since March 2005 and Novell says this will continue with the next version due sometime this year.

ODF's main competition is the proprietary format of the popular Microsoft Office suite and over the past year a few companies and governments have switched away from MS Office to ODF. While proponents of ODF say this prevents vendor lock-in, companies also benefit by not getting hit with potentially costly MS Office licenses.

Massachusetts has been the latest battleground for ODF as Microsoft has squared off against open source advocates. The software giant wants the state to continue using MS Office and has proposed on making their Office format a bit more open with their "Office Open" XML formats. Despite Microsoft's gesture, Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance Thomas H. Trimarco announced last week that the state will stick with their ODF transition.