Is anyone else encountering the same problem?

This is a discussion on Is anyone else encountering the same problem? within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; I don't think there are too many people arguing whether or not the OP should have used a more portable ...

  1. #46
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    I don't think there are too many people arguing whether or not the OP should have used a more portable format... he clearly should of, but he didn't. The argument most of the people are making is that you really shouldn't be complaining about not being able to read a file format which you can freely read in the first place. Everyone is arguing for "pdf," but as far as I know Windows doesn't come packaged with a PDF viewer... you'd have to at least download Acrobat reader or a third party alternative. That said, why couldn't someone with a minimal version of Windows make the argument that they don't want to go through the trouble of installing a PDF viewer?

    I recognize that one format is closed source and one format is open-source... but the fact is that the content of the document uploaded by the OP could have been read freely on any operating system as long as the end-user wished to install the dependent software. I say this having already viewed the document in OpenOffice in Linux. The case is no different for PDF.

    The point is, there really isn't a reason the OP should have to change what is comfortable for him simply because some users don't want to be bothered opening the document. I mean... geez, imagine if everyone that viewed this and didn't respond for another valid reason complained about it.

    "Why did you make it an attachment? I don't want to be bothered downloading an attachment."

    "Why did you make this thread? I don't want to be bothered reading..."
    Last edited by SlyMaelstrom; 12-18-2009 at 11:15 AM.
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  2. #47
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
    If you publish a DOC file, you are lazy!
    If you don't want to install a program to convert your DOC file to an open format so it's accessible by everyone, you are irresponsible!
    Absolutely. Or a measure of that. But then, what are you going to do when you DO get a word file?

    Whine like a baby with your head inside your buttocks, it seems.
    At least spare us the drama and do it in your privacy.
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  3. #48
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    Absolutely. Or a measure of that. But then, what are you going to do when you DO get a word file?
    I open it with OpenOffice, which is often not pretty and require some fixing. If the document is beyond repair, I kindly ask the sender to send it in another format, after explaining the situation. At the same time, I try to make the source of the DOC file aware of the issue, like what I am doing now. Most aren't quite as unreasonable. They are just not aware of this issue.

    Nowadays, when I send documents to other people, it's always in 3 formats - PDF, ODT, DOC, with a disclaimer that the DOC version may not be accurate because it's generated by OpenOffice. Still, they can choose the one most convenient to them. Some of our profs have adopted this approach, too, but with just PDF and DOC. Sure, it takes me an additional 30 seconds to send my documents, but I want it to be easily accessible by everyone. That's if I REALLY need the text formatting. 90% of the time I use plain text and image files.

    I recognize that one format is closed source and one format is open-source... but the fact is that the content of the document uploaded by the OP could have been read freely on any operating system as long as the end-user wished to install the dependent software. I say this having already viewed the document in OpenOffice in Linux. The case is no different for PDF.
    OpenOffice support for DOC is not perfect. For simple documents like this it's fine, but it won't work for more complex documents. Of course that's not OO's fault. Microsoft didn't publish the format because it's exactly their intention to lock people into Windows and MS Office.

  4. #49
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserlight View Post
    *renames the .doc to .txt ... tada!*
    Even better the other way around tho . Taking "readability" as a concern.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffcobb View Post
    OpenOffice has been able to *write* PDFs for free far longer than any other tool...
    ps2pdf was around before OpenOffice even existed. And postscript is more or less open source, they are used natively by groff.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffcobb View Post
    As a member of this forum I would rather not use disparaging words to describe those who disagree with me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidP View Post
    I agree that everyone should be able to open a Word file regardless of whether you are using Windows, Mac, or Linux. With the widespread popularity of the "doc" format for about 20 years now, it's about time that you have at least an ability to read a "doc" file, if not write.
    That is what ps and pdf files are for. Since there are such things as ps and pdf viewers, this also makes more sense -- why should you have to open a word processor just to view a document? "rtf" files have been around for more than 20 years, I do not see why that means they require universal support. Why not wordperfect files then too? Or some apple format? Those extensions were intended for use with specific software, not portability. I am sure the reason THEY ARE NOT PORTABLE is because of Microsoft. In other words, they are that way BY INTENTION, so it is ridiculous to argue "that everyone should be able to read them". MS does not want that, which is why they use a proprietary protocol there. And I'm sure their rational is the same: there are already 100% portable document formats, like postscript and pdf, so why should we provide another?

    I never even bother trying to read .doc files. I consider it unprofessional to use them for this purpose and just move on (no offense).
    Last edited by MK27; 12-18-2009 at 11:53 AM.
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  5. #50
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    Even if there is a FREE Microsoft Office for Linux, there is still an inherent danger in using proprietary formats like DOC. Since Microsoft controls the format, there is no guarantee that it won't start charging $1000 for the next version of Office, and make the file format slightly incompatible, like it has been doing for the last few versions. What are you going to do if Office 2012 costs $1000, and introduces a few extensions to the DOCX format?

    In this regard, the availability of a free reader doesn't really matter. It's a matter of who controls the format, because that ensures FUTURE accessibility.

    PDF is an ISO standard.
    JPG and PNG are ISO standards.
    OpenDocument is an ISO standard.
    Plain text (Unicode) is an ISO standard.

    DOC is... a Microsoft unpublished and proprietary standard that changes with every release of MS Office.

  6. #51
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    I never even bother trying to read .doc files. I consider it unprofessional to use them for this purpose and just move on (no offense).
    There is nothing proprietary about the DOC format. I think maybe you are clueless as to what proprietary means. If it were proprietary there would not be open source readers and writers.
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  7. #52
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abachler
    There is nothing proprietary about the DOC format. I think maybe you are clueless as to what proprietary means. If it were proprietary there would not be open source readers and writers.
    If I remember correctly, the formats were proprietary, but are now open. However, even when they were proprietary, open source readers and writers could still exist by "reverse engineering" the formats. Nowadays I think the incompatibilities are just due to bugs in the various office suite software.
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  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserlight View Post
    If I remember correctly, the formats were proprietary, but are now open. However, even when they were proprietary, open source readers and writers could still exist by "reverse engineering" the formats. Nowadays I think the incompatibilities are just due to bugs in the various office suite software.
    Indeed! I just checked Wikipedia and apparently Microsoft has published the specifications for Office binary formats in Feb 2008, as well as the XML formats. I didn't know that. I was under the impression that the binary formats are still closed.

    That's good news, then, assuming the published specifications are accurate.

    So now only the practical problem remains - MS Office is currently the only program that has near perfect support for the format. It costs an arm and a leg and only runs on Windows and Mac. OpenOffice is the second most compatible, but still FAR from perfect.

  9. #54
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
    Indeed! I just checked Wikipedia and apparently Microsoft has published the specifications for Office binary formats in Feb 2008,
    Okay, so I would adjust the "been around for 20 years figure" substantially: up until 18 months ago, Microsoft was not interested in seeing portability for .doc files.
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    Current ISO draft standard
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  10. #55
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
    In this regard, the availability of a free reader doesn't really matter. It's a matter of who controls the format, because that ensures FUTURE accessibility.

    PDF is an ISO standard.
    JPG and PNG are ISO standards.
    OpenDocument is an ISO standard.
    Plain text (Unicode) is an ISO standard.
    Exactly.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  11. #56
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Interesting debate!
    I would just go with docx. It's even smaller than pdf.
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  12. #57
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Who cares about future accessibility? The file has already been written. Unless Microsoft figures out a way to take old format DOC files off of every website on the internet and reupload them in the new DOC format, the attachment in this thread will always be readable by OpenOffice. Perhaps I'm just not understanding the concern here.
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  13. #58
    Registered User jeffcobb's Avatar
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    Formats

    @MK27: You got me there; I was thinking of office suites but chose my words poorly.

    .DOC has been a proprietary format for far longer than it has been published and the fact that open source coders have been able to reverse-engineer the format as much as they have still doesn't make it open. Ironically MS "opened" the .DOC format right about the time it came up with another standard that only they can achieve by purchasing the standards committee. IOW I hope they don't bruise themselves patting themselves on the back over that one....

    The funny (!) thing about this whole argument is that professional programmers who live and die by language standards are actually arguing for closed proprietary formats. What's wrong with this picture?

    I will stick with ODF and other formats that can be read from and written to by more than one company.

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  14. #59
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffcobb View Post
    The funny (!) thing about this whole argument is that professional programmers who live and die by language standards are actually arguing for closed proprietary formats.
    The funny thing is that you believe anyone here is actually arguing for the DOC format.
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  15. #60
    Registered User QuestionKing's Avatar
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    I can't believe that so many of ......y o u...... were so quick to flame up over a comment (lightly put) of an undesireable format.... after all of the CROSS PLATFORM!!!! CROSS PLATFORM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! arguments i have seen posted here, supported by so many...
    shame on you :/
    ....sigh.....
    Asking a question you already know the answer to might teach you something you did not know...

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