Novell is beginning to reap some of the initial benefits of their recent partnership with Microsoft. In a plus to office interoperability, Novell will be soon including compatibility with Microsoft Office, allowing users to edit and save documents in the Office Open XML format. This is the default encoding for documents generated in Office 2007. While Microsoft is putting this format into the public arena and many other software suites will be able to incorporate it, Novell definitely has a leg up for a short time. Novell produces a custom version of OpenOffice, and plan to have their version equipped with this new compatibility by January.

On one hand, this is great. Often OO users must wait months or even longer before newer Microsoft products are even partially supported, much to the chagrin of those who maintain mixed-OS desktop environments. What would be a truly sad state of affairs is to see Office Open XML become de-facto, and then Microsoft changing their minds on just how “open” it should be. You can read the press release from Novell in the comments section below.