Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Open documents

I was given a file on a CD yesterday. It is a .pub file, so I think it is a Microsoft Publisher file. Now, why is it a good idea to ever pass an MS Pub file around to people?

MS Word files are a de facto standard of sorts, though you cannot assume everyone runs Word. But there are several other products which read Word files and MS provide a free reader so that is a reasonable enough approach. Of course the free reader doesn't run on Linux but that's okay, Open Office reads them. It doesn't handle some of the odd templates I come across but it is usable.

But MS Pub doesn't have a reader, free or otherwise. You can install the whole thing on a trial basis and, I think I have this right, when the trial expires it will still read. Well... okay, but that doesn't help me on Linux does it?

This is just a document. PDF, ascii, Word, HTML are all reasonable options here, even better is my own MaduraDocs format which, like HTML can be viewed in a browser. But this is a pub file, so I have to boot Windows, download a product I don't want to use and then figure out how to drive it.

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