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Re: [Fsfe-uk] E-envoy and Open file formats

From: ian
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] E-envoy and Open file formats
Date: 03 Aug 2003 15:10:15 +0100

On Sun, 2003-08-03 at 14:19, Richard Smith wrote:
> On Sun, 3 Aug 2003, ian wrote:
> > > For read-only documents, PDF would seem to be
> > > the way to go.
> >
> > But this isn't about read only documents or even whether downloading
> > documents for word processors is a sensible thing to do. Its about
> > taking an opportunity to further the free software cause.
> >
> > I have just downloaded a Word document from
> > www.dfes.gov.uk/elearningstrategy/strategy.stm. This is a consultation
> > document to be filled in and sent back and its in Word format. Yes,
> > there is a pdf format available but that is useless for filling in a
> > form.
> Is it not possible to create a PDF form containing input boxes for the
> user to enter data?  That would seem to be all that is required from most
> editable documents on the web.  I seem to remember filling in forms in
> this manner several years ago when I still used proprietary software such
> as Adobe Acrobat.  Is this functionality still not supported by Free PDF
> viewers?  If not, why not?  Is PDF not a fully documented format?

But that then entirely misses the opportunity to try and erode the
dependency on MS Word for file exchange. This is about a much wider
issue than the immediate one discussed. Do you want the current high
dependency on MS Word to persist or do you want to reduce that power
base? I believe the latter is good for free software, the former bad.

If they really want to collect data from the net efficiently, use a data
base with a web based front end and PHP script or something.

ian <address@hidden>

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