"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."