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An OpenDocumentFormat (.odt) story with a sad ending November 25, 2006

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Definitions, Linux, Software, Ubuntu, Working with Linux.

ODF = Open Document Format. For more information on ODF format, see this post.
= Open Document Text… the document file extension for ODF.

Well, working with Linux certainly brings up interesting issues. To give the backstory; in my Windows system I have Word 2003, Wordperfect X3, StarOffice 7 (all academic licenses). As a result, I’m certainly spoiled for choice. I do my quick work on MS Word, I use StarOffice 7 to exchange documents with other StarOffice users (most of the college I work at uses StarOffice)… and I use WordPerfect for my own research assignments (since I find WordPerfect more robust and flexible than MS Word).

Well, now that I was trying to do everything on Ubuntu, I realised that many (most) of the files I need to work on were in WordPerfect .wpd format. No fret, I went to Synaptic and downloaded the .wpd reader plugin for OpenOffice and voila! I could read all my .wpd files.

I really couldn’t believe that WordPerfect hasn’t still supported Open Document Format and only of the big players only StarOffice 8 supports it

But now, the question remains: on what format should I save the subsequent files (since OpenOffice doesn’t support .wpd saves)? My first and obvious choice was the open document format (.odt). And I was feeling all kicked with myself for using the new open format et al… until something made me check whether WordPerfect, or MS Word, or even StarOffice 7 support .odt… and to my surprise no one did… not even StarOffice 7! As a result, I had to choose between the .swx file (which is StarOffice compatible, but closed to everything else)… or the ‘generic’ .doc format. And guess what, I felt compeled to use .doc for all Linux based writing.

I really couldn’t believe that WordPerfect hasn’t still supported open document and only StarOffice 8 supports it. Of course, MS Word has promised a plugin late this year… but still, it’s really irritating that this open document format actually needs software vendors to agree to support it. Well, that was my grouse, but I had to live with it.

Apart from all this… I must also say that I’m using my LinuxShare drive (a 5GB FAT32 partition) as the default location to save all my files. That’s because I can then work on them using Windows too. (I guess on the back of my mind, I don’t think I’m thinking I’m doing without Windows in the long run). Perhaps I should have mounted the /home directory onto that partition as well. But now it may be too late… or is it?



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