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Google Promises Better Compatibility with Open Source Documents

The VAR GuyGoogle (GOOG) may soon be taking open OpenDocumentFormat (ODF), the native file format in virtually all modern open source word processors, like LibreOffice andOpenOffice, more seriously. That's according to a statement from Google's open source chief speaking about the future of the company's cloud-based app suite.

Google already supports ODF to a certain, meager extent. It's possible to import some ODF files into Google Docs, and very limited support for ODF export is available as well. But the conversions in their current form don't work particularly well, and the compatibility with only certain types of ODF documents means that integrating Google Docs into workflows is not realistic for people who work primarily with ODF.

That can pose problems not only for users of an open source operating systems, like Linuxs, but also, increasingly, for workers in various governments around the world. Many governments are now requiring ODF as a way to avoid vendor lock-in and other concerns associated with Office Open XML, the file format created by Microsoft (MSFT) for use in current versions of Office and other applications.