Noting Adoption of ODF

IBM announced that the next version of Lotus Notes (minimally clever code name “Hannover“) will support the Open Document Format (ODF) by embedding OpenOffice components into the Notes client. This will allow users to save documents (word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail messages, etc.) in a portable, open format. It also sounds like Notes / Domino will expose this capability via API for both Notes and Domino (Web) applications.

This has one interesting note and one virtue. The interesting note is that Notes now creates some competition for Microsoft Office by offering OpenOffice functionality. It’s hardly enough to replace Office as a suite, but 1) it lets cost-conscious companies escape Office licensing fees and 2) most users don’t employ the full range of Office functionality anyway. This will probably have only a minor impact.

The virtue is that it moves Notes towards open standards in terms of document format. States such as Massachusetts are increasingly concerned about being locked into proprietary formats (which both Office and Notes employ natively) for files. Massachusetts has started to move towards ODF, a laudable move. This could have a significant impact, especially if Notes moves towards some sort of open standards object store for the Notes database itself.

Disclosure: I used to work for Lotus, and still use Notes by choice. I own IBM stock, which is currently so far underwater there’s coral growing on it. So, I’m not unbiased here.

One Response to “Noting Adoption of ODF”

  1. […] [UPDATES: (1) an important caveat I should have included at the outset — assuming, of course, that the original document was created with a version of Word that is compatible with the version with which the user is attempting to open it. One of the major complaints about proprietary software in general, and Word in particular, has been that current versions of Word cannot open documents saved with earlier versions of Word itself beyond a certain point. (2) Derek noted the introduction of ODF support in Lotus Notes here. […]