The father of the Linux kernel has praised Microsoft for its announcement that it is to open up its APIs and protocols to third parties – including open source developers.

One of the main announcements was that new file formats can be plugged into Office 2007 – and even set as the default format to be used. Linus Torvalds told Silicon.com that the move was a “step in the right direction”.

"Could it have been even more? Sure. But give them credit for at least seeming to open up a little, even if it probably was at least partially pushed upon them by the EU rulings."

The move by Microsoft was part of its ongoing battle with the European Commission and in particular a judgement against it dating from September last year.

Google not so impressed

However, Google isn’t so happy with Microsoft’s approach. Yesterday a post appeared on the official Google blog that criticised Microsoft’s Open Office XML (OOXML) document format – used in Office 2007 and Office 2008 for Mac. The format is set to go before the International Standards Organisation (ISO) again after being defeated last September.

Google called for Microsoft’s efforts to be merged with the Open Document Format (ODF) used by both GoogleDocs and OpenOffice.

In a post on the Official Google Blog, open-source programs manager Zaheda Bhorat urged that readers “heed the call” to support ODF. “A document standards decision may not matter to you today, but as someone who relies on constant access to editable documents, spreadsheets and presentations, it may matter immensely in the near future.”

And he doesn’t mince his words as to why the world should dump OOXML.“Google believes OOXML would be an insufficient and unnecessary standard, designed purely around the needs of Microsoft Office,” wrote Bhorat.

We’ll know whether Microsoft is successful by the end of March.