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Suggestion PF not supporting Opensource file formats

  1. Dec 25, 2009 #1
    The philosophy of pure scientific education (excluding electronics and programming) resembles opensource philosophy...knowledge if free to all...can be modified freely.

    But PF does not support attachment of opensource file formats, instead proprietary formats which are only run cause of their monopoly (doc and xls for e.g.). Since they are common, I do not suggest to remove them, but at least add a few common opensource formats like -

    Open document text/spreadsheet/graphs (used by openoffice)
    Blend (blender)
    djvu (is it opensource...I don't know.)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2009 #2
    Put them in a zip file :)
     
  4. Dec 26, 2009 #3

    Hurkyl

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    I think it's more a matter of notability than anything else -- I've never heard of two of those applications. OTOH, the PNG image format is a valid file extension. (BMP, I believe, is open source as well, although much less useful)
     
  5. Dec 26, 2009 #4
    Yup!...good idea!

    You should support such things, they being opensource rely on you (or the users, if you are) to spread it; instead of making some advertisement for which you have to pay.
     
  6. Dec 26, 2009 #5

    Borek

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    Never heard about it :bugeye:
     
  7. Jan 25, 2010 #6
    Most of the Open source software suxs anyway. And to be honest, most of proprietary file formats have free viewers, or open source programs able to open them.

    Feed me DJVU, I wont open and read it, I dont have a viewer installed. PDF is the standard.
    feed me whatever obscure open document format, I wont open it. No mood to overload my computer with useless viewer for formats with very low incidence.
    feed me Blender and I simply wont care.
     
  8. Jan 25, 2010 #7

    Borek

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    Same can be said about most of the non-open source software. Why overpay?
     
  9. Jan 25, 2010 #8
    Overpaying is a relative term. If you pay for a software to enhance your productivity, in the end you amortize the investment.

    For example, I for one came to appreciate the solidity and flexibility of Microsoft's IDE and C/C++ compiler. It simply enables me to focus on programming instead of working out quirks in open source IDEs , or have to put up with their un-researched GUI layout and so on.

    Same can be said about many other solutions offered by Microsoft. Many ppl bash Microsoft products, but most dont know what their are talking about. If you work in a industrial environment, productivity is key, and Ms usually does deliver. I simply prefer to work with tools without quirks. Same for 3D modelling packages, who cares about Blender ? Who would work with Blender vs 3D Studio Max (unless you are a home enthusiast and cant afford
    it)

    Same for the so called "open source file formats". Why should I use DJVU ? Almost every program I know can export to .PS which can be disttiled into PDF. PDF is an ISO standard. Is widely supported anywhere in this world. There are free of cost viewers for it. I can distill a .PS to .PDF and have the certainty that my file will be ready for publishing in 99.5% of the places in this world. View it ? No problem. Print it and have the guarantee that you get exactly what you want ? No problem. Publish content ? No problem, every editing and publishing service in this world supports PDF. DJVU is a niche , none cares about it except enthusiasts.

    Opendocument ? Why should I bother with it ? OpenOffice supports MSs file format, thats it *.doc , *.xls. The same is not true for Ms Office. It doesn't read open documents standard.

    Then why should I used a file format like it ? Just to ensure that sizable chunk of Office users cant read it ? No thanks, if I publish something I want to ensure that it's extremly accessible to anyone. PDF, Doc, XLS ensure this.
     
  10. Jan 25, 2010 #9

    Borek

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    We are not talking about forcing anyone to use formats they don't want to, we are talking about allowing people to use formats they want. PDF is an established standard with published specification, DOC is not. Using DOC we force people to use Microsoft software and Microsoft operating system, using PDF we allow anyone to use whatever they want. That's all.
     
  11. Jan 25, 2010 #10

    There many free DOC viewers, one offered by MS themselves. OpenOffice reads *.doc whithout problems. Not even the Doc format forces anyone to work with MS tools.

    Besides the OP says that proprietary file formats are run only because of monoploy. No, really no. PDF is used because it's atm the best format ever for document exchange inter platforms.

    Of course, anyone can use whatever formats he wants. Just as I told in my 1st post, dont be too suprised if not many ppl will bother to download a DJVU viewer if you choose to publish in that format.
     
  12. Jan 25, 2010 #11

    cristo

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    Have you ever tried to do this? Because I have, and I can tell you there certainly are problems when trying to open a word document in openoffice!
     
  13. Jan 25, 2010 #12
    Yes I did and worked for the doc's I had. But I have no reasons not to think you are right and might have problems with more complex documents / other versions of the doc specifications.
    So yes, might be far from ideal.

    I used *.PS and *.PDF for most of my documents.
     
  14. Jan 25, 2010 #13

    cristo

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    The problems come with tables, or when people decide to have floating images embedded in their files (which, to be honest, probably open differently in different versions of word!)

    A very wise decision: I wish more people did!
     
  15. Jan 25, 2010 #14

    Moonbear

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    Can't those open source softwares also save/export files into the more commonly used file types, and also open those file types? As far as I know, if you use OpenOffice, you can open and save files in the .doc format. So, just save it that way. If you can't exchange files with the more common software formats, then what good is it?
     
  16. Jan 26, 2010 #15

    Borek

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    Problem is, Microsoft has never published specification of the .doc format, so it has to be back engineered. Microsoft is not interested in publishing specification, as it will end its monopoly. As .doc format specification used in OpenOffice is back engineered, it is not perfect, hence now and again there are problems. Then, each editor has its own features and information about their use have to be saved in the file - for obvious reasons they are not transferrable. So it is not that easy.
     
  17. Jan 26, 2010 #16

    I have 2 points here:

    1. PS/PDF is the only really portable document format. You will be able to view/edit/print the document on any platform whatsoever under whatever OS (of any practical importance) you choose to run. It's created by Adobe, yeah, but they nailed it.

    Using OpenOffice and saving as opendocument would render the document unreadable by a large chunck of users who couldn't care less about it. In fact, the MS .doc format, as reverse engineered as it is, has wider support IMO than opendoc.

    Everyone interested in portability should use Adobe's formats (which tbh, is done already by most ppl).

    2. The initial post contain a lot of politics.

    Scientific education is far from being free. It costs top money anywhere in this world. Internet has today the effect that a lot of this knowledge is available for free online. This doesn't mean *education* is free. Information is available, that's all. Even if you embark on a quest of self education using the available free info, it will still amount to a lot, even if you only consider the required time investment.

    Second, the fact that a document is available free of charge on internet, doesnt mean it can be modified freely. The protection of a certain document against modifications is ensured by copyright laws, and not by the fact it is encapsulated in a document which can be edited in just about any editor you choose. TBH, for 99.9% of the scientific works which are available free of charge online, it's only important to be able to read them. Modifications are prohibited. Academia publishes in PS/PDF . The portability is already ensured through Adobe's standard.
     
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