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Re: A World Without Microsoft

  • Subject: Re: A World Without Microsoft
  • From: "Larry Qualig" <lqualig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: 25 May 2006 19:34:48 -0700
  • Complaints-to: groups-abuse@google.com
  • In-reply-to: <f9qhk3-2oc.ln1@dog.did.it>
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  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
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  • References: <1716383.l9Pad6TFF6@schestowitz.com><f9qhk3-2oc.ln1@dog.did.it>
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  • Xref: news.mcc.ac.uk comp.os.linux.advocacy:1112761
Roy Culley wrote:
> begin  risky.vbs
> 	<1716383.l9Pad6TFF6@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
> 	Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> writes:
> > Imagining a day without Microsoft
> >
> > ,----[ Quote ]
> >| "[Microsoft] didn't establish [its standards] in a nice sort of way, but
> >| they are the basis for a lot of things that we use and do with computers."
> >|
> >| Today you can send a Word document to anybody in the world and expect them
> >| to be able to open it. According to Meadow, it takes forever for people to
> >| agree to these kinds of standards.
> >|
> >| Josh Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting, says,
> >| "Downloads for [StarOffice] would bring the Internet to a screeching halt."
> > `----
> pdf is all but the de-facto standard these days. Go back a few years
> and it was MS Word. All quotes I recieve or new product release docs
> are pdf. Why is that if MS Word is available to 90% plus of the
> business community? One reason is that it may look ok on the senders
> desktop but looks like shit on the recipients. Another is that word
> docs may contain embarrassing 'deleted' text. With the recent zero day
> exploit Word docs may be dangerous.
> For whatever reason pdf has been adopted as the document interchange
> format in spite of MS's office domination. Clearly MS Office is
> seriously lacking in some aspect. I would suggest it is because it is
> lacking in interoperability between versions of MS Office itself. Why
> else would businesses use a format which is alien to office itself?

PDF is becoming a de-facto standard but I'm not sure it has much to do
with MS Word and it's ubiquity or lack thereof. The .doc file format is
essentially a format developed for data storage. The PDF format on the
other hand was developed specifically for data presentation.

There are *lots* of MS Office and OpenOffice installations but they are
both "heavy" applications if all you want to do is *view* a document.
PDF viewers are much lighter and can be implemented as browser

There are also other reasons that PDF is better for this. For starters
it is completely cross platform and like PostScript, it's
display/resolution independent. It was designed to render documents on
everything ranging from a PDA to the highest resolution systems. Most
word processors for example don't embed the fonts into the document.
Use a strange font, open the doc on another computer and the document
won't render properly unless the font is also on the remote system. PDF
is able to embed the font definitions into the document so that it can
be displayed on any system.

PDF was basically designed not as a data storage format but
specifically to render documents across a wide range of devices with
varying display capabilities. In this capacity it works very well and
should be used for this purpose.

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