What exactly is LaTeX for?

“Many people discover LaTeX after years of struggling with wordprocessors and desktop publishing systems, and are amazed to find that TeX has been around for over 25 years and they hadn’t heard of it.”
Peter Flynn

LaTeX is a free document preparation system that enables you to create beautifully typeset pages. It implements a set of commands designed to control TeX, the typesetting engine developed by Donald E Knuth. LaTeX stores the information about your documents as plain text, thus avoiding the risk of vendor lock-in and ensuring that your documents will still be editable twenty years from now. LaTeX processes the plain text data and, with pdfTeX working in the background, generates PDF output of the highest typographic quality—perfect for viewing on-screen or printing on paper. LaTeX runs on many platforms and is included as standard with most Linux distributions. Ready-to-run LaTeX systems are also available for Windows and Mac OS X.
miktex.org, tug.org/mactex

Office 2007 to gain native ODF support early next year

“Users will be able to set ODF as their default file formats under Office 2007, and Microsoft plans to continue support of the OOXML-ODF translator for those using older versions of Office.” Jacqui Cheng details Microsoft’s recent announcement to make Office 2007 compatible with OpenOffice.org.
Personally, I remain sceptical about Microsoft delivering on these promises. But genuine interoperability has to start from somewhere…
arstechnica.com

Users of Microsoft Office may also want to consider the Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office as an alternative solution.

Norway mandates open formats

“In a move to ensure equal access to public information for Norwegian citizens, the government has decided to make the freely accessible document standards HTML, PDF, and ODF obligatory.” Justin Fielding reports on Norway joining countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Malaysia, Finland, France, Japan and Germany in a drive to make government documents more accessible.
techrepublic.com.com