You know they've been in the works, but the Office Open XML/OpenDocument format translators for presentations and spreadsheets are now available for download. The OpenOffice.org, Novell Edition binary versions are here, and the project source and upstream versions can be found here. The word processing translator, which provides the ability to open Office Open XML-formatted documents in OpenOffice.org, has been out since last March. Now users of the Novell Edition of OpenOffice.org 2.3 can open Powerpoint (.pptx) and Excel (.xlsx) documents in OpenOffice.org.
The OpenDocument format (ODF) is used by default in OpenOffice.org, and Office Open XML is the default file format for Microsoft Office 2007. The availability of these translators is a milestone in the document format compatibility work of the Microsoft-Novell technical collaboration. Users of Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org now have an improved and higher fidelity option for exchanging data in the Open XML format. The improved consistency in word processing documents, combined with the ability to share spreadsheets and presentations, is critical for business users who need to be able to share documents with users of other office productivity software packages.
While these new translators are plug-ins to OpenOffice.org. Novell is also continuing development (with Sun Microsystems) on high-performance, native translators that will be built into OpenOffice.org and released with the next major upgrade to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop in 2009. Previews of the current state of the native translators are already available via the openSUSE project.