Supreme Court Brief – Interop

Well interoperability is becoming more of a problem as we move forward. Not to blame LibreOffice – as has already been stated many times on the web, one of the big problems is that Microsoft themselves don’t accurately stick to their own specs which can cause problems for anyone trying to use both LibreOffice and Microsoft Office. I’m still not sure what version of Microsoft Office my partner is using – I vaguely remember seeing him on a Mac so I suspect MSO 2011 for Mac. We’ve switched to docx (I sent him doc, docx, and pdf) and he returned the docx with his edits, some things I noticed:

1. TOC is very screwed up – I think that this is due to Microsoft Office and not LibreOffice though. I think they handle lower level headers (e.g., header2, header 3, etc . . .) in a different (and lamer) way than LibreOffice so the page number doesn’t go all the way to the right which is idiotic.

2. Page breaks are gone – and with them the page styles I had on. For some reason Microsoft converted all of them to “Converted” and then some #, no clue where that came from. Perhaps the biggest issue :-/

3. Not only were the particular styles lost, things like page margins went back to default instead of what we need them at.

Good news:

1. Comments are awesome and working fine – this is tremendously important for anyone trying to commingle their works and provide feedback;

2. Font was maintained;

3. My partner seems to think all of the bad news stuff isn’t that bad 😉 He’s not asking me to use MSO or any such thing, says it’s all minor that we can fix at the end.

Nothing is beyond repair with a little time.


About joelmadero

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4 responses to “Supreme Court Brief – Interop”

  1. Eugene Seidel says :

    In short, interoperability between Word and Writer is a horrible disaster, not ready for deadline-sensitive professional work. Especially not in the legal field.

    Contrary to the unsupported claims of rabid partisans, the compatibility and consistency score amongst the various versions of MS Office and their document formats (.doc and .docx) is vastly greater than that between LO and MO.

    Take off your rose-tinted glasses, Mr. Madero. LO is still not ready for use in a modern collaborative environment, i.e., one in which most of one’s clients as well as government offices require and insist on .doc and .docx formats as produced by Microsoft Word.

    • joelmadero says :

      Well – a couple points:
      1. I don’t think that I claimed that LibreOffice interoperability with MSO formats was as good as it is between MSO formats. I would expect 100% compability between formats WITHIN MSO versions – as it is a multi billion dollar company that DEVELOPED the specs. This is not what we see, we see problems between versions (and this is documented all over the place).
      2. I also think you missed the point of “who is to blame” – my point is that MSO made a ridiculously long document with specs, and didn’t follow these specs themselves until recently. So of course, since they control the specs, they make them overly complicated, and other office suites then suffer (it’s truly a brilliant marketing technique by them, make a terrible spec, then blame others for not implementing them perfectly (again, despite them not implementing them perfectly, ths documentation of this is well established), thus you get the lock in that we all know all too well).

      On the conclusion: I strongly disagree, I use LibreOffice daily for legal work. In particular, all documents which I work on alone (which is of course the vast majority) are perfect, and I find the way LibreOffice handles different styles to make it tremendously easier. For collaboration, I agree, I have to do a bit more work when it comes back to me to polish it off but it’s not so much that I throw up my arms and get angry — and if I do, I blame the multi-billion dollar company with the bad specs aimed at creating lock in, not the volunteer based project that is trying our best to work with the specs that are out of our control.

      Lastly, you of course missed the big topic of supporting open standards . . . but I suppose that was on purpose

    • Denis Navas says :

      LO can perfectly be used with collaborators, provided that the obsetion of formating is relegated to just one editor at the moment previous to the publication.

      • joelmadero says :

        Good point – but get a group of lawyers together and ask them to relinquish their A-Type personalities and….good luck 😉 Better to try to convince them to (a) switch to Libreoffice; and (b) use open formats + pdf output

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