27 Mar 2007

As I mentioned on Andy’s blog yesterday, I have used Ubuntu Linux on my work laptop for about two years now. From the early days of running Lotus Notes under Wine emulation to the successes of Notes 7 running natively within IBM Workplace Managed Client, I have seen many ‘challenges’ come and ago that are part and parcel of using any technology that is not considered mainstream.

One of the issues that comes up from time-to-time is that of document format. For a long time, the standard office tools were Lotus Smartsuite – not surprising since IBM owns it – and then, a few years ago, IBM moved to the Microsoft Office suite. Given a company of a few hundred-thousand, it wasn’t surprising that not everything and everyone moved to Office overnight. Even now there are plenty of legacy documents in the various Lotus formats.

I survived with OpenOffice through perseverance and accommodating colleagues who would convert the odd WordPro or Freelance file for me – although I haven’t had to resort to that for months now.

OpenOffice isn’t 100% perfect – there are occasional formatting oddities which can make some documents interesting to read. For example, one document I am currently working on has a few bulleted lists. One of the lists persists in formatting with huge bullet points despite all of my efforts to convince it otherwise. (Before anyone asks, no I haven’t raised a bug for this; I’ll see if I can get a non-confidential example document that exhibits the same behaviour first.)

This eventually brings me to today’s entry in “Signs things are improving”; my manager sent out a planning spreadsheet today that was in OpenOffice Calc format. It took a few moments for the shock to pass before I remembered that she is running a beta of Notes 8 that includes its ‘Productivity Tools’ – aka OpenOffice.

Open Standards for teh win!

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