In his reply to the Massachusetts decision to use only documents in OpenDocument format, the Microsoft manager Alan Yates writes:
(paraphrased) Star Office, Open Office, KOffice and IBM Workplace are all derivatives of the same codebase. Thus there is only one program that supports Open Document, and that is illegal.
This is, of course, not true, and here is an open letter written by KOffice Marketing Coordinator Inge Wallin on behalf of the KOffice team which clarifies these facts.
Open Letter to
Dear Mr Yates,
It is with great interest that I have followed the debate that started
with the Massachusetts decision to
only exchange data with other parties in an open format, namely Open Document.
I must say that personally I find the reasoning behind the decision to
be sound, but I fully support your right to disagree with this
In your rather long, and doubtlessly well researched, reply
to the declaration, you make many points which I will not address
here, since others,
better suited than me, have already
so. There is, however, one point where I feel that you have been
gravely misinformed by your research staff.
That point is the following. On page 7, and continuing on page 8 you
The draft policy identifies four products that support the
OpenDocument format: Sun's StarOffice, OpenOffice.org, KOffice, and
IBM Workplace. In reality, these products are slight variations of
the same StarOffice code base, which Sun acquired from a German
company in 1999. The different names are little more than unique
brands applied by the vendors to the various flavors of the code
base that they have developed. In essence, a commitment to the
OpenDocument format is a commitment to a single product or
technology. This approach to product selection by policy violates
well-accepted public procurement norms.
I understand your worries, but fortunately I am able to put your mind
to rest: KOffice is in fact
not related to StarOffice or OpenOffice. It is a completely
separate product, and a very fine one at that. One of our team
members, David Faure, was an active party in the creation of the OASIS
OpenDocument standard, and KOffice was the first office suite that
publicly announced support for it.
Just to add a bit to your knowledge of KOffice, I would like to
mention a few points:
- KOffice is the most comprehensive of all office suites in
existence, comprising no less than 11 different components in one
- These components include core office applications like KWord,
KSpread and KPresenter, but also creativity applications like Krita
(an advanced pixel based drawing tool), Kivio (flowcharts), Karbon
(vector based drawing) and Kexi, an integrated environment for
database applications not unlike to your own Access.
- KOffice is very well integrated into KDE, the multiple award
winning desktop environment on Linux, Solaris and other UNIX
- KOffice is fully network-transparent and all components can send
documents as mail, print to PDF files and store and load documents
from countless different network servers.
- Last, but not least: Within a year, KOffice will likely run on
Windows as well.
In case you think that even two competing products will not be enough
to satisfy the "well-accepted public procurement norms", I can assure
you that they will soon not be alone. The fine word processor
AbiWord and the spreadsheet program Gnumeric, will
also soon support Open Document due to an independent effort by a Nokia research lab.
I am sure that you are now much calmer, and if you want to know more,
you can always go to the KOffice
website. You can also write to the KOffice mailing list and ask your
On behalf of the KOffice Team