brainstorming: which formats to use and which to avoid

E L Tonkin py7elt at
Wed Jun 13 02:45:47 UTC 2001

You have a good point there ;-)

Everybody /can/ use LaTeX... (barring office rules and
restrictions/compatibility issues) but then, the vast majority of the
human race is at least as physically capable as I to take a Debian install
disk and do the honourable thing. 

I was just wondering how far the average person would actually go in one
step. I haven't seen the Ogg Vorbis stuff for Windows, so I can't comment
on its interface and general niceness/user-friendliness, but I have
historically found it difficult to persuade anybody other than scientists
to try LaTeX (journal publications are sometimes required in LaTeX). And,
well, speaking for myself I'd rather see people using slightly nasty
formats than the sort of thing that's absolutely unreadable without using
the latest build of everybody's favourite monopoly's OS.

Plus, bear in mind that a lot of businesses' IT departments constrain
themselves to the sort of options I described below. In short, installing
and teaching anything radically new to over a thousand users is not an
option. We had this once with MS Word files over an intranet; finally the
decision was made that teaching people how to convert to PDF was an
attainable goal - so, whilst this didn't mean we got to use a free format,
we at least got as far as an 'open' format with some crossplatform

I like lofty ideals - and certainly it is best to state the whole of those
ideals at the outset - but to get best results it is probably also
advisable to give second, third, and fourth best options too.


// OLDSIG "All bad art is the result of good intentions." - Oscar Wilde 

/* START NEWSIG */ Processor: (n.) a device for converting sense to
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First Computer Dictionary

On 12 Jun 2001, MJ Ray wrote:

> E L Tonkin <py7elt at> writes:
> [...]
> > should they store their music in MP3, Windows Media Format, or Real
> > Audio...? or their documents in Word, WordPerfect, WordPro, RTF?
> Minor nits: I could have sworn I'd seen Ogg Vorbis downloads for
> Windows too, and everyone can use LaTeX... ;-)
> -- 

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