Surviving in a DOC infested world

Rodney Peters rpeters at
Thu Nov 7 14:26:18 EST 2002

On Tue, 5 Nov 2002 23:14, you wrote:
> Message: 13
> From: Tomasz Ciolek <tmc at>
> Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2002 23:12:32 +1100
> To: Michael James <michael at>
> Cc: linux at
> Subject: Re: Surviving in a DOC infested world
>  This is a very odd story you tell me. I have been usinf OpenOffice on
>  X86 and PPC with no craching/problems on a large selection of .doc
>  files, up to and including those form office XP-SP2
> I have openoffice 1.0.1 installed, as a net based install, not a full
> install.
>  Regards
>  Tomasz Ciolek
> On Tue, Nov 05, 2002 at 10:52:30PM +1100, Michael James wrote:
> > How do you experienced Linux desktoppers deal with Word documents?
>Support might be emerging outside the Linux world.  Full marks to Griffith 
Uni, for providing their staff with StarOffice (even if they are running it 
on Windows).

> > I haven't had a particularly brilliant introduction.
>> > Word document arrives on my brand new linux desktop in with orders,
> >  "Review this and sign off by 2".
>> > The word that generated it was recent, Office 2000 or XP.
>> > Fired up OpenOffice,
> >  didn't think running off the net would work for a standalone
> > workstation, couldn't figure why I needed 200Meg of files dumped in my
> > home dir either but what the heck, loaded them up.

The "net" install is perhaps a misnomer - it also works effectively as a 
shared, workstation install.  StarOffice suggest a "net" install, even for a 
standalone workstation - the advantages being that multiple users of the 
workstation can set their own defaults in their home directories (takes up a 
few meg of home directory) and that printers only need to be set up once for 
all users.

OpenOffice requires a different switch for a net install - the command line 
help will give this.  One caveat, if done as "root", net install results in 
users having no permissions for OO.  After amending permissions, I've had 
good results from net installs of OO beta 633 and OO 1.0.  

One constraint is that  OO 1.0 barfs at LANG=en_GB at euro or even LANG=en_GB - 
I have to live with LANG=en_US.  This appears to be a minor incompatibility 
with SuSE 7.2.

> > Opened doc, OO declairs an irremedial error
> >  and segfaults itself out of existence.

A possible cue is that an auto-saved .doc can be inordinately large for the 
data it contains - like a meg for a one or two pager.  Only cure there is to 
show your correspondent how to click "file" -> "save".

> > Try again, same problem. Don't have another (gentler) doc.
According to the "save as" in OO, Word97/2000/XP are 
same format.  I had no difficulty opening several two page Word 2000 docs 
this week using OO 1.0.  These consisted largely of tables and the column 
widths displayed correctly.

> > Found abiword, it fires up much more calmly and open the document.
> > Prints it even, but munges the tables to contents-of-1-cell-per-line.
>> > So give abiword a point.
>> > Score 2 points for being able to see it and print it as it appears on
> > Windows. 
> > Score 3 for being able to edit it and get it back readable to windows.
>> > Score -1 for crashing out of existence. (OpenOffice)
>> > Score -1 and a bent paperclip if it takes out your Mac with it.
> > Which is what I'm used to with Office 98.
>> > I hate DOCs

Yes - I take your main point.  OO automatically compresses each document as 
an .sxw, but to be able to forward your work to MS Office users you need to 
save a .doc as well. 

> > michaelj
>> > --
> > A right not exercised is a privilege
> > a privilege not exercised is illegal.
>> > Michael James                 michael at
> > 8 Brennan St                  Phone: +61 2 6247 2556
> > Hackett, ACT 2602             Mobile: +61 4 1747 4065
> > AUSTRALIA                     Fax: +61 2 6278 0011

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