Advocating FDL University-courses

Alexandre Dulaunoy alex at
Tue Jul 16 09:28:10 UTC 2002

On Tue, 16 Jul 2002, Tomasz Wegrzanowski wrote:

> On Tue, Jul 16, 2002 at 10:44:22AM +0200, Guillaume Ponce wrote:
> > > Microsoft Word format is completely ok as transparent copy.
> > > You can use it with many Open Source word processors and other
> > > utilities.
> >
> > No, no ,NO!
> >
> > The definition of a transparent copy as in the FDL (not "Yet Another Definition
> > of Transparent Copy"):
> >
> > A "Transparent" copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy, represented
> > in a format whose specification is available to the general public, whose
> > contents can be viewed and edited directly and straightforwardly with generic
> > text editors or (for images composed of pixels) generic paint programs or (for
> > drawings) some widely available drawing editor, and that is suitable for input
> > to text formatters or for automatic translation to a variety of formats suitable
> > for input to text formatters. A copy made in an otherwise Transparent file
> > format whose markup has been designed to thwart or discourage subsequent
> > modification by readers is not Transparent. A copy that is not "Transparent" is
> > called "Opaque".
> >
> > I do not now if ".doc" specification is available, I doubt it is fully.
> IIRC .doc specification is available somewhere. There are obviously
> some minor incompatibilities between standard and Microsoft implementation,
> but that's true for every other format.

	I'm not sure of that. I have made some search (on and found only the RTF specification. Could you
provide an url ?

	minor incompatibilities ? minor for proprietary software... not
for Free Software.

> > But I am sure it connot be edited directly and straightforwardly with generic
> > text editors (as GNU Emacs, Vi or... say Notepad).
> Generic text editors doesn't mean *plain text* editors.
> That would be silly - 99% of population uses WYSYWIG for such things.
> You can edit it in OpenOffice, AbiWord, KWord and ton of other
> *formatted text* editors.
> > Word format is THE archetype of what is an opaque one, specificly designed to
> > trap users' data.
> It's not. It was designed with single program in mind but there's
> nothing in it that prevents other people from implementing the standard.

	It's not ? Have you tried to import old word format into current
word version or third-party Free Software supporting word format ? I don't
agree with you at all regarding the Word file format, It's a an opaque one
and for multiple reasons :

	- There is some patent owned by Microsoft regarding Office. I
think some description could be valable for Word format description.
	(did you remember the silly trick of Microsoft regarding the
CIFS license ?) So we could have a restruction of using the description.

	- The format is not described anywhere from a standard
place/organization (please provide an url, if you can found one).

	- The evolution of the format is linked to one company/product.

	- The evolution of the format is linked to proprietary software.


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