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

From: Chris Croughton
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] E-envoy and Open file formats
Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2003 22:11:06 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.2.5i

On Sun, Aug 03, 2003 at 09:20:49PM +0100, ian wrote:

> Ok, As for OO.o rc2. Just check the site. Of course you can download it
> in binary, and you can get it on CD for a nominal cost from a number of
> sources worldwide, there are mailing lists giving comprehensive support
> etc etc.

Hmm, no mention of what the differences are that I can see.  And does it
really work with any version of X (none is mentioned)?  I can't use the
binaries, though, because they are linked with glibc2.2 and I'm running
with 2.1, so I can't see if it will work with whatever version of X this
machine is running (3.3.6, I think; Mozilla binaries won't, I know).

> There is an iso project so you can get it to auto install on
> Windows to try and lower barriers further. Frankly, I'm amazed at the
> negative attitudes to this. If you can't understand why getting a free
> and open file format onto Government web sites is good for free software
> there really is no hope and I'm wasting my time here.

See my last paragraph.  OO is indeed /a/ "free and open format", what is
disagreed about is whether it is the best one (it certainly isn't the
only one available) to have on Government sites.  I favour the one which
is totally 'free' (in all senses) and maximally usable whatever platform
you're working on -- plain text.  Or HTML if you really want to see
pretty fonts etc. (I'll still see them as plain text, via lynx, several
friends will only hear it as text, again via lynx).  If you want
something to be returned, edited, have it as a small plain text file
(and link to it from the HTML).

KISS.  Keep It Simple, Stupid.  Asking someone to install and learn a
large 'office' suite before they can read Government documents is better
only than asking them to install a proprietary package.

If a site said "only viewable by <some-free-package>" (Mozilla or
whatever) it would be just as bad, all Government sites need to be open
to everyone, including someone running some obscure OS on hardware
you've never heard of, if it can access and render the web site in any
way then it should be able to access and view all documents on that site
(modulo things like graphics, if it's a non-graphic or text-only

As someone else wrote, if Government gets the idea that you are using
this to 'push' free software then there will be a backlash.  The point
is to push for a format open to all, and that will benefit free software
by taking away the MS advantage and making it a "level playing field".

Chris C

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