OpenOffice at Four Years

Speaking of late anniversaries yesterday, OpenOffice turned four
on 13 October 2004. OpenOffice is now in version 1.1.3 with
work progressing towards version 2.0 (According to the
roadmap v2 will be released RealSoonNow. Just like Firefox…
– ed.).

I hope OpenOffice is successful in becoming the “free
productivity suite compatible with all major office suites.”
The problem is OO is not not compatible with WordPerfect,
which is still used by many offices in the legal profession.
Over the years, people have become expert in and comfortable
with WP.

Hence, even if I were to switch to OpenOffice (or
StarOffice for that matter), I would have problems opening,
editing, and saving documents in WP format.

Let me list some examples:

  • OO can’t open WP documents without the help of
    something called WriterPerfect.

  • OO can’t save in the WP format regardless of
    installing WriterPerfect.

  • WP documents, opened in OO have at least the following

    • Bullet lists are not imported.
    • Formatting of text directly after bullet lists is
    • Parts of paragraphs after bullet lists
    • Numbered footnotes are shown twice and in different
      font sizes.
    • Indent formatting is lost.
    • Headings disappear.
    • Hard page returns before tables disappear.
    • Table formatting is lost.

These are not minor problems nor are these rarely used WP
features. Particularly worrisome are the problems where text
is not imported. If you didn’t know what the original WP
document looked like you would probably not know text was
missing. To me, this is a show stopping incompatibility.

In any case, while OO has a long way to go if it wants to
meet its goal of being compatible with all major office
suites, I hope it gets there because I would love to switch
to something else other than Word or WP.

Speaking of belated anniversaries, Happy Birthday to
fellow Daynoter John



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