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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: 04 Aug 2003 09:45:07 +0100

On Mon, 2003-08-04 at 09:08, Alex Hudson wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 04, 2003 at 08:21:17AM +0100, ian wrote:
> > > Actually, most of what the government puts online could be done as
> > > HTML without too much trouble, but I suspect the idea of a structured,
> > > near-device-independent *information* format seems to give the people
> > > who spew out DTPd work headaches.
> > 
> > I was told most government documents are originated in Quark Express and
> > then exported to Word, pdf etc. 
> I would very much doubt that's the case - it makes no sense on any kind
> of financial basis.

Quote from E-mail from the DfES E-mail

"PDF, while proprietary in format, is preferable to Word as there is a
free application from Adobe that allows people to read the content
without paying. There are some unofficial Word readers, but only for PCs
so they do not offer the same cross-platform capability as PDFs. Many of
the publications available for download are produced using Quark; PDFs
are the most effective way of reproducing them for download from the
web. We are considering introducing rich text format options for
currently available Word documents if they are simple enough and would
not be adversely affected by saving in this format."

So maybe its just the DfES? I'm just relaying what people tell me who
work in the Department. I have no way of verifying the accuracy beyond

> I personally do see the benefit in getting them to produce OOo files - the
> question is only partially about what tools we have available to manipulate
> the files, but also over what tools are possible. Word processing is 
> an incredibly important topic - MS Word is basically a lot of people's 
> desktop; they write stuff in it, they do their spreadsheets it in, they
> use it to organise their files, they write emails in it. It's incredible.
> PDF is potentially useful, but isn't really an open standard as I understand
> it, although much of it is well-known. Free Software readers are also quite
> thin on the ground - any kind of advanced PDF file is basically unreadable,
> and I do know a lot of people who make use of features such as annotation.

There is currently a discussion of this on the OO.o marketing list.
Annotation could well end up as an OO.o feature i a later version.

> HTML is practically unusable, simple things like page footnotes are 
> ridiculously hard. To be honest, we're picking the best of a bad bunch here,
> and going down the semantic content route probably isn't possible.

But the main reason for getting OO.o files as an option is to raise
awareness that there is a free software replacement for MS Office for
those who might like to try it. Its marketing strategy, not primarily
technical strategy.
ian <address@hidden>

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