Linux on Windows

Stefano Maffulli stef at
Thu Nov 1 11:23:02 UTC 2001

On Wednesday 31 October 2001 7:10 pm, MJ Ray wrote:
> People must wake up and realise that having files in MS Word format is not
> a good idea.  If they do not have MS Word any more (eg MS invokes and
> enforces their termination clauses), they effectively do not have their
> data any more.  How we can make them realise that?  Suggestions, please!

I participated recently to a conference where there was one guy demonstrating 
that files saved in MSWord format contain all information of previous 
savings. He brought an example of a Word file used for describing a project 
he made some time before. The file had pics and tables, headers, footes etc. 
He printed the doc with word. Then opened the same file in Open/StarOffice 
(some version, don't remember exactly): the file opened perfectly showing the 
same header, footers ecc BUT the pictures where the very first ones he put in 
when he began editing the document. 
It was scary! Imagine sending such a "final" document, digitally signed (so 
the content is "intact") to some official body, like the customer of the 
project. Suppose he opens the document with a different software, maybe the 
newestestestest version of MSWord (that you cannot afford, for example) and 
he sees something completely different from what you see. The file is signed, 
the content is integral BUT the presentation is different from what you 
meant. That freaked me out, I will use the same example in all my next 
I knew there where "issues" with the .doc format, as I knew there where with 
AutoCAD .dwg format, but I never actually thought about it. 
I am sure that there are more and more examples out there of companies that 
have _never_ owned their data because they don't own the format those are 
stored in. Maybe a page collecting these scary examples should be done. I 
will start with the one described.


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