IBM and Sun are rallying industry support for OpenDocument, a spec that standardises documents and which is intended to take on Microsoft Office.

The two IT giants are hosting a prviate meeting with other technology companies tomorrow, aimed at discussing ways to advance OpenDocument's adoption. "The meeting is for those industry partners who are interested in implementing and advancing the OpenDocument specification," said an IBM spokesman.

According to an invitation for the meeting posted online, topics and questions "that need immediate attention" include the idea that vendors supporting OpenDocument could form a foundation around the technology, or create a reference implementation that companies can use to test their software for compatibility.

OASIS currently oversees the OpenDocument specification, the full name of which is Open Document Format for Office Applications.

IBM's vice president of standards and open source, Bob Sutor, will co-chair the meeting with chief open source officer at Sun, Simon Phipps. Companies already confirmed as attending include Novell and Red Hat.

OpenDocument has been a closely watched standard lately due to a high-profile proposal by the state of Massachusetts to support the standard for all of its government documents beginning in January 2007. Its chief information officer Peter Quinn is also expected to attend.