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On 07/21/2011 08:47 AM, e-letter wrote:
On 21/07/2011, Andrew Douglas Pitonyak<>  wrote
I am more comfortable in OOo than I am in MSO, so, I have created many
MSO deliverables in OOo and LO. The only time that I make an exception
is when I believe that I am not able to seamlessly move between formats
because of incompatibilities. So, if I intend to create a large document
with multiple images, links, and fields, I begin and end with MSO.

That is your prerogative, but it is preferable to see writer used to
create such large documents in the native odt format, at least to
demonstrate the power of LO.

The problem is that the final deliverable to the client is an MSO document and the complicated structures that I frequently use do not properly export to the MSO document format. It is very time consuming to work through a 250 page document full of cross-references and text frames that do NOT export to the format required by the client. I lost many hours fixing up the document in MSO so that it would be ready for final delivery.

Suppose a user wrote to a m$ forum to
complain that m$word cannot create a good document in odt format. A
likely response would be to go and use LO (or another odf compliant

MSO is able to create a nice document. Certainly there are constructs that I use in my ODT files that are not easily supported in MSO (say items related to page styles), but things that are supported by both do not always carry over.

While writing a book on OOo, I worked in OOo on a Linux platform and
some of the editors worked in MSO. We moved documents back and forth
seamlessly with no problems. They had no intention of using OOo or LO.
Or you sure? Or maybe the fact that you were able to work to m$ format
provided no incentive for them to change...

People are usually more productive with the product with which they are familiar. Based on our interactions, some did switch, including the owner of the publishing company. I think that for him one of the main selling points was that the ODT file (that I always included with the DOC file) was much smaller in size (because an ODT file is really a ZIP file).

When my deliverable is a PDF, however, I only use OOo / LO because historically PDF generation has been much better than from MSO. One thing that MS is good at, however, is incorporating other people's ideas, so I believe that they now support PDF export. I have never used it so I cannot comment on how good it is at this point. Truth of the matter is that I am far more adept with LO than MSO so MSO is never my first choice.

Many companies have balked at moving from MSO to LO or OOo because of issues moving between document types, macro compatibility, and lack of support. The irony is that for almost all of their documents, compatibility is not an issue and they really have zero support from MS for MSO. They are correct for the groups that make heavy use of macros, however.

If MSO support were removed, then I would have been stuck with using
MSO. As a side note, the owner of the publishing company was so
impressed with how well this worked, that internally they moved to OOo
and then published their templates in ODF format.

That is excellent news. Do you think this could have been achieved if
for example they saw that creating an ott template was superior to m$
and this reason was sufficient to change? Or maybe the ability to work
with m$ was the initial point of gaining interest and curiosity about

At the time, LO did not exist. The mail selling point was the final file size and the fact that there were no problems moving files from OOo to MSO. Note that the file structure was simple, internal links were not used, sequential fields were not used, and text frames were not used. These are items that traditionally cause me problems, so, when they are used, I try to not move between formats.

I download numerous MSO files from numerous sources. if LO is not able
to read these files, well, then I need to purchase MSO (and a Windows
computer) so that I can read them.

Do you ever have reason to open an MSO file? Ever try to send an ODF
file to a neighborhood or club mailing list? I receive the same reaction
as when someone sends out a MS Publisher file that is not supported
outside of MS Publisher. "Hey, what is that file that I cannot open?"

Seems this is an education issue. If the benefits of LO are explained
before sending that "unknown file format", recipients would be more

To some extent you are correct, but the real issue is that many of the "average" users have difficulty downloading and installing software. They use what they have and know. If I send a document that they cannot read, then it will simply not be read by the majority. Ironically, one person was sending MS Publisher files that no one else could read and the only person to complain was my wife... Then the others said "uhhh, yeah, we could not read them either". The document was simply ignored.

I have moved many people to OOo. The selling point has typically been. Hey, don't spend the money, you can do that with a free product that is mature and stable. Usually that involves my traveling to their house and installing it, however. At the end of the day, it also means that I just became their first line of defense for tech support for all things computer. I have sent numerous download links to people that have then downloaded it (much easier for me for those slightly more technical).

I do believe that MSO now supports ODF files, so perhaps...

Try creating an odt file in writer, then open it via word. Repeat vice
versa (i.e. create odt file in word, open in writer); m$ performance
is shockingly (and deliberately, no doubt) poor, perhaps to give the
impression that odt is an inferior format that should not be used.
I was sent an ODT file. I modified the file and sent it back. The web mail server that was used inserted two spaces before the actual file began. After that, the only program that was able to open the "damaged" file was MSO. People were hooting it up and laughing hysterically over that little snafu. I had to obtain the the original file to demonstrate that the file itself was not damaged on creation.

I actually expect MS to purposely produce a poorly performing version. Of that we are in agreement.

I am of the opinion that good inter-operability with MSO products makes it easier to attract new users and that poor inter-operability with MSO products makes it more difficult.

Andrew Pitonyak
My Macro Document:

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