Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 1st Mar 2006 18:45 UTC
Linux "As a Linux user, there are times when you have to play nicely with users of Windows or Mac OS - such as when they send you Microsoft Word files. When you receive a Word file, you can either follow Richard Stallman's advice and refuse it, or bite the bullet and work with it. Modern Linux word processors - such as OpenOffice.org Writer, AbiWord, KWord, and TextMaker - can deal with most Word files. But if you don't want to fire up a word processor in order to read or print the document, you can turn to the command line. A handful of small but powerful Linux command line utilities make viewing, printing, and even converting Word files to another format, a breeze."
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RE[5]: Stallman Stupidity
by alcibiades on Thu 2nd Mar 2006 06:45 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Stallman Stupidity"
alcibiades
Member since:
2005-10-12

Agreed on the need for pragmatism. But.

The problem with using Word as a format for communication is that it is not one format. You will find that if the documents are at all heavily styled, different versions of Word are not completely compatible. This is an actual problem I've encountered, when trying to help an author who is receiving contributions to a collective work from a lot of independent collaborators. They run different versions of Word and Windows, and some of the files are readable as written, others not.

The moderate and sensible advice is not to tell people to use pdf, because that is going to be hard to get material in and out of, and their versions of Word probably do not support it. The right solution is for the sponsoring institution to advise exchanging files as rtf, which will always be readable, and for the recipient to just open what he can open, and ask for the ones he cannot to be resent in rtf.

This is doubtless why the recent draft BECTA standards in the UK specify that Office Word Processing packages in use in the educational sector SHALL be able to save in rtf or odf. Not that documents shall be kept in those formats, just that the applications shall be able to generate them.

One can always learn awk....

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