From: Dom Lachowicz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Sep 03 2003 - 12:19:42 EDT
Our allegation is that this sort of news is premature
and unsubstantiated, and I still stand by that. We've
never doubted that Microsoft could do such a thing.
They haven't done it yet, though. And as such, things
like this are mere speculation.
Further, what's the purpose of posting information
like this here? Can I stop Microsoft? Do I want to
try? If and when they change their format, we must
adapt or choose to not support it. It's really that
simple. We'll deal with it when the time comes. We're
not going to remove our existing RTF and DOC filters.
Any discussion on this topic in an AbiWord context is
thus moot and pointless. We advocate "use AbiWord
everywhere." Our tune has not changed and will not
change. We're doing our part to advocate change,
though we may be feeding into the problem by giving
people a "crutch to stand on" since we're able to read
the DOC format. "Oh well."
Further more, I'd just like to say that I find the
position held by the FSF (which you most likely agree
with) here to be utterly heinous, hypocritical,
detrimental to the free software community, and
It's not so much that you and they don't like getting
proprietary documents from an evil monopoly, who may
change their formats at any time or sic their lawyers
on you. I can understand and sympathize with that. I
agree with that much.
What I have issues with is that they advocate one
proprietary, inadequately documented format (PDF) to
replace another proprietary, inadequately documented
format (DOC). That's not to mention that DOC and PDF
don't nearly serve similar purposes, and there are
*no* good PDF editors (this includes Acrobat - PDF
isn't meant to be edited, really...), while several
Free DOC editors exist. I've written one of them.
Let's not play favorites between 2 giant proprietary
1) The word format is not entirely secret. Microsoft
has published specs on it (at least word 97->2003,
word 5, word 2), which are (surprisingly) fairly
2) RMS shortchanges the Free Software Community. We
don't have to use "strings" to find out the text -
we've got a _ton_ of Free readers and writers for the
format that preserve both content and formatting. Give
the GPL and LGPL software community some credit. We do
a much better job than "not choking on some of the
documents," as the article suggests.
3) It suggests that plaintext, PDF, and HTML are
equivalent forms of the document. Plaintext cannot
begin to capture the formatting of the document, let
alone a lot of the data (images, objects, fields,
...). PDF preserves none of the semantics - all you're
left with is a vector picture of what your document
once looked like. HTML does a lot better job than
either of the before in preserving both the text and
"Why did you choose to send me 876,377 bytes in your
recent message when the content is only 27,133 bytes?"
- Uh, because there were tables, frames, columns,
images, and an embedded spreadsheet in the document.
4) Microsoft does not change the file format with
every release. The Office XP file formats are nearly
(if not entirely) identical to Office 97. That's 6
years worth of backwards AND forwards compatibility.
It is hardly "forcing people to upgrade with every new
release". In fact, MS has had office revenue
"problems" simply because they *can't* get people to
upgrade as often as they'd like.
This message would do better to advocate using Abi,
KOffice, OOo, etc... At least then the suggested
courses of action would at least be coherent. Their
underlying message is good, and I largely agree with
it. However, it's hard to agree with it with so much
garbage piled on top of it. But such is the way of
FUD, even when the FUD has a well-intentioned message
--- Rui Miguel Seabra <email@example.com> wrote:
> Microsoft Prepares Office Lock-in
> An anonymous reader writes "NEWS.COM has an article
> Office 2003's DRM features for documents. This
> will not only
> coerce those running older versions of Office to
> upgrade, which
> has been a problem for MS in the last few years, but
> it will also
> shut out competing software, such as OpenOffice. Now
> think about
> this for a second. Even if the developers of a
> competing office
> suite could figure out how to get their software to
> open an
> Office 2003 document, doing so would be a DMCA
> violation, since
> they'd be bypassing an anti-circumvention device. I
> certainly hope
> the OpenOffice team will kick development into high
> gear. If there
> was a time we need a viable competitor to Office,
> it's now.
>  News.com article: New Office locks down
> Hugs, Rui
> + No matter how much you do, you never do enough --
> + Whatever you do will be insignificant,
> | but it is very important that you do it -- Gandhi
> + So let's do it...?
> Please AVOID sending me WORD, EXCEL or POWERPOINT
> ATTACHMENT part 2 application/pgp-signature
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