MSFT FUD Backfires In Malaysia
Sam Hiser's PlexNex blog reports that Microsoft & its allies tried to derail the Malaysian conversion to ODF (ISO-26300, the OASIS OpenDocument file Formats standard for office applications) by using a partially-compliant application (AbiWord 2.4.6 on Windows XP) to make the claim that the standard does not support bi-directional text (as would be used to blend English and Arabic in one document, for example). The Open Malaysia Blog was able to rebut this, using other ODF-compliant applications on Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX. They also suspect (as any reasonable person would) that these repeated "misunderstandings" are an intentional attempt to distort the truth long enough for MSFT/ECMA OOXML to take root in the place of ODF.
As you can see, the fidelity between the different applications which support ODF is excellent. The mix of BiDi words are recreated accurately, and no information is lost or misrepresented.
Emphasis in original. I realize that the office suite is one of only two areas where Microsoft is making money, so it does not surprise me that they are using any possible tactic to keep their monopoly going in that area. Their great fear seems to be a potential market shift to an open standard where all vendors will have an equal chance to deliver a satisfying suite of office applications. However, I believe that history has shown that they can survive and thrive, just as IBM before them once had the largest share of the market and was able to continue to be relevant and even a leader once they no longer had this.
In addition, Open Malaysia also reports that this error has been fixed in AbiWord. To make it clear, bi-directional text is supported in the standard, and as AbiWord and other applications improve their support of the standard, this support will only get better.