Novell, WP

Evan Leibovitch evan-ieNeDk6JonTYtjvyW6yDsg at
Sat Nov 19 00:30:48 UTC 2005

Christopher Browne wrote:

>The loss of the equivalent to "reveal codes" [in OpenOffice] is a significant loss. While it may not have the *focused* braindamage of Word's thing of serializing binary forms of COM objects, it still gives me the impression of being something where functionality was thrown into a blender rather than being designed to do any sorts of things well.
Considering the state of the mess that Sun bought from StarDivision, I'm 
amazed at how far it's come already. I know first-hand that "reveal 
codes" is a highly in-demand feature request at OOo, and it may yet be 
included in a future release.

>I just don't trust OO with big documents.
Is there any practical, real-world basis for this fear, or is it just a 
gut feel that a real-time all-in-memory app like OOo can't do things as 
well as a batch-oriented processor like TeX?

Me, I'm happy enough with the feature of OOo that allows each 
chapter/section of a large document to be saved as separate files, then 
aggregated at print time. Even so, If I wanted something that 
pretty-printed large database reports or a really large mail-merge, I 
think I'd go back to TeX too.

>Contrast with my example of
>feeling comfortable with doing *stunningly huge* things with LaTeX on
>hardware with less RAM than we'd hope to have L2 cache :-).
Yeah, but LaTeX has its own set of headaches. Just adding a font can be 
a royal pain sometimes. If you're prepared to learn enough of the 
syntax/language it can be nice, but that's a lot to ask of people who 
don't (or don't want to) think like computers.
Using LaTeX is like compiling software, complete with macros and 
pseudocode (ie, dvi files).

What I'm really hoping for is more interoperability between TeX and 
regular WYSIWYG word processors, because existing GUI LaTeX tools like 
LyX simply aren't there. As the GUI tools move to XML-based file 
formats, it should be easier to move back and forth between them and 
LaTeX files. There's already a translator between LaTeX and DocBook, 
which is a good first step. A translator between LaTeX and OpenDocument 
is a logical next step; that would let you create LaTeX files and 
templates (and maybe even the foundation for macros) from OpenOffice, 
KWrite or AbiWord. It would also, through a roundabout way, allow you to 
convert MS-Word docs to LaTeX.

That's why file formats, and file format standards, matter.

- Evan

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