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LinuxPlanet: The StartX Files: In-Depth With StarOffice Filters

Oct 27, 2001, 06:11 (29 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)
"Two weeks ago, I reviewed the StarOffice 6.0 Writer Beta, and last week I examined OpenOffice Build 638C's version of Writer. In both cases, I emphasized strongly (translation: gushed liked a gossipy spinster) about the fact that OpenOffice had finally managed to put together a Word document filter that carried over all of the information stored within a Word document, beyond the straight text: formatting, annotations, comments, and revision marks. This is an exceptional breakthrough, because it allows full collaboration between Those Who Use Windows and Those Who Use Linux.

Admittedly, though, I may have been caught up in my own excitement just a wee bit too much. I feel obligated to back away from this cool technology to tell you that since last week's column, I have learned quite a bit more about how these filters work within OpenOffice. It seems that the filtering tools are not perfect in what they pull over from Word to OpenOffice. Formats and styles in complex Word documents are not flawlessly brought across in every case.

And there is a tendency for documents saved in Word format within OpenOffice to actually become larger in file size than the original Word document itself--even if no changes were made in the OpenOffice file.

These two problems were brought to my attention by diligent reader Neil Cohen, who dropped using his Windows machine at his Cisco office in favor of Linux some months back, and turned to OpenOffice to collaborate with his Windows-using colleagues. Cohen indicated that some of the documents used in his office can carry very complex templates and formats, which OpenOffice does not always display properly. I did not notice this during my tests because the documents I was moving from Word to OpenOffice were, while very heavy in comments and revisions, not very complex in terms of formatting."

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