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Don't fight the future, dammit! 
30th-Jun-2009 04:29 pm
Whoa, been a while since I posted anything here. Anyway, here's some rambling...

I've been trying to find an alternative word processor that would implement a rather crucial part of OpenDocument specs: OpenDocument metadata and templates. Or, since I don't know damn about the internals of OpenDocument, a rather crucial thing that the XML is supposed to guarantee: The word processor should not F*** With Stuff It Doesn't Know Damn About.

So far, I've tried opening .odt files in AbiWord and OS X TextEdit.app. Both open the test file I made in OpenOffice.org Writer just fine. Both save the file just fine. They sort of also retain the formatting. They certainly retain the text.

But they f*** up the document metadata. Both also lose the reference to the original template, making the formatting stick.

And AbiWord folks just whine and whine and whine that supporting OpenDocument is too difficult and we should instead use RTF.

Bloody hell. We just invented the next generation word processor interoperability format that's supposed to support more modern word processor features than RTF. Like metadata, styles and templates.

This is one of the problems I have with open source developers right now. Oh, hell, with all developers. The same thing went to, say, Processing - "Well, Java 5 sucks because JVM is such a big bloated piece of shit, so we'll stick with Java 1.4, blah blah blah".

People - don't fight the future.

The Future is OpenDocument. AbiWord is a nice little word processor, but because it doesn't implement OpenDocument properly, it's not usable for me. They can say OpenDocument is too difficult to implement all they want - I will keep looking for software that actually does implement OpenDocument just fine.

The same with Java 5, which might have sucked, but Java 6 is frigging awesome. Luckily, Java 6 remains compatible with dog-old releases. But the point is, unless you have a real reason to stick with Java 1.4, there's no reason not to use Java 6.

Well damn, I just wanted to stretch my fingers again.
Comments 
30th-Jun-2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
Implementing decent OpenDocument support (including metadata) is something that the Abiword developers just got quite a bit of funding for, I think - they've been actively requesting that people file bugs on any issues they find so they get a good idea of what they need to fix, too. There's been a bunch of talk on IRC today about metadata in particular, although I can't say I understand enough to follow it.
1st-Jul-2009 08:03 am (UTC)
If improvements are coming, that's certainly a good thing. Abiword would be just perfect for me if only it worked reliably with file formats that other applications can actually use - and that includes metadata and templates and other stuff like that. Nothing else seems to read .abw...

A common interchange format is only as good as how it can be used to swap information between programs, and without Abiword in tow right now, I can pretty much swap stuff between OpenOffice.org and, um, other recent versions of OpenOffice.org. The wiki page I pointed to pretty much puts to words what Microsoft was thinking when they resisted ODF. "We use our own proprietary memory dumps and everything else is just too hard to implement." *sigh*
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