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ConsultingTimes.com: The OpenOffice Rosetta Stone (Star/OpenOffice Conversions Put to the Test)

Nov 08, 2001, 14:56 (13 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Erwin Zijleman, Stephen E. Harris)

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"The question thus becomes, "Can we escape the clutches of Microsoft Office, but still communicate with the captives who are left behind?" To find the answer, we ran the StarOffice 6 beta through a series of conversion tests, to see how it handled import and export of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

If you're looking for 100% compatibility for every Microsoft format and style, stop right here. There's no way to replicate every idiosyncrasy and nuance of Big Brother's proprietary formats. That's even a questionable goal, since you'd have to replicate the flaws as well. Heck, incompatibility is the name of Microsoft's game, especially among versions of its own products. This is a real concern, say, when researchers in 2050 try to read a Word 97 document using Word XYZ.

Instead, what we're looking for is a practical level of communication between StarOffice and MS Office, including the correct translation of tables and spreadsheet formulas. How good is good enough? To help answer this question we ran a series of tests under both Windows and Linux, and summarized our findings."

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