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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Novell and Microsoft Staff Up Interoperability Lab

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Linux-Watch Magazine

When Novell and Microsoft announced their unlikely partnership, a part of the arrangement that got little attention at the time was that they'd create a joint research facility, where both company's technical experts would collaborate on new joint software solutions. Now, they're staffing up. According to Sam Ramji, Microsoft's director of platform technology strategy, the companies are looking for a few good program managers and software engineers to populate that joint research facility. The Lab will focus on interoperable virtualization between the Windows and SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) and will be part of the product engineering teams for both companies. In particular, the Lab will focus on several areas: "Virtualization, Office OpenXML/ODF interoperability, WS-Management interoperability, and directory federation." Ramji, and his Novell colleagues, are looking for program managers and software design engineers. Depending on the particular job, one might work for Novell, while another would draw his or her pay-checks from Microsoft. The job descriptions make it clear, though, that virtualization is at the top of the priority list for the two companies. Specifically, Microsoft wants a "Software Design Engineer in Test, Linux Interoperability" and a "Program Manager, Linux Interoperability," while Novell is seeking a "Software Design Engineer in Test, Windows Interoperability." [Note: WS-Management was contributed to DMTF in August 2005 and ratified as a Preliminary Standard at DMTF in August 2006.]

See also: WS-Management

Open XML Translator for Microsoft Word Available

Companies have completed the first phase of a Microsoft Corp.-sponsored project to convert Microsoft Word documents between Open XML and Open Document Format (ODF) for Office Applications file formats. According to the Microsoft announcement, "OpenXML Translator (ODF Add-in for Word) Release 1.0 supports the current industry-standard document formats of both Open XML and ODF. It has been tested on Microsoft Office 2007, Office 2003 and Office XP and has been localized into Dutch, French, German and Polish. In addition, Novell has announced that the Translator will be natively implemented in its next version of OpenOffice. The completed Open XML Translator enables conversion of documents from one format to the other and is available for anyone to download and use at no cost. When plugged into Microsoft Office Word, for example, the Translator provides customers with the choice to open and save documents in ODF rather than the native Open XML format. The Translator may also be plugged into competing word processing programs that use ODF as the default format to open and save documents in Open XML. Microsoft Corp. announced its support for the open source project to build a technical bridge between Open XML and ODF in July 2006 to provide interoperability between formats. Since inception, it has remained among the 30 most active projects on and has been downloaded more than 50,000 times." Microsoft funded the work on the translator but did not contribute any code to the project, according to Jason Matusow, senior director of intellectual property and interoperability at Microsoft. The company provided architectural guidance and management to the project. A French company called CleverAge contributed the code and built most of the Open XML Translator, while Aztecsoft Ltd. in India and Dialogika in Germany did the quality assurance and testing.

W3C Proposed Edited Recommendation: XForms 1.0 (Third Edition)

The W3C Forms Working Group has published a Proposed Edited Recommendation (PER) for "XForms 1.0 (Third Edition)." The document responds to implementor feedback, brings the XForms 1.0 Recommendation up to date with second edition errata, and reflects clarifications
already implemented in XForms processors.

Comments on the PER are welcome through 31-August-2007. Forms are an important part of the Web, and they continue to be the primary means for enabling interactive Web applications. Web applications and electronic commerce solutions have sparked the demand for better Web forms with richer interactions. XForms 1.0 is the response to this demand, and provides a new
platform-independent markup language for online interaction between a person (through an XForms Processor) and another, usually remote, agent.

XForms separates presentation and content, minimizes the need for scripting and round-trips to the server, and offers device independence. XForms is not a free-standing document type, but is intended to be integrated into other markup languages, such as XHTML or SVG.