[lug] anyone familiar with Word file format issues?

rm at fabula.de rm at fabula.de
Thu Mar 14 03:08:36 MST 2002

On Thu, Mar 14, 2002 at 02:00:55AM -0700, D. Stimits wrote:
> Bear Giles wrote:
> > 
> > > I'm curious, if I were to write a library that outputs some document
> > > style as Word, has anyone heard whether MS would try to file a lawsuit
> > > to stop it (think conversion utility)?
> > 
> > That could be an interesting court case.  How could you claim that
> > something infringes on your format if you have never publicly documented
> > that format?
> They would ask if I own Word, and if so, did I examine and reverse
> engineer from it. I really don't want to try and figure out from a
> binary file what is in it, but if it were published somewhere, I might
> be interested. 

Hmm, i have at least some printed (read: published by Addison Wessely)
documentation on older Word binary formats. Send mail if you need a

> I could truthfully say no, but I would probably test the
> export in an actual Word application. I have no interest in importing
> Word. If not for recruiters and coaches telling me they hate PDF (they
> don't seem to be aware that some people don't use windows), I wouldn't
> care about the issue.

Urgs! Importing Word format is a mayor pain in ... 
But writing out RTF is pretty simple (if memory serves me right there's a
perl module in CPAN that will help you) and probably all you want.

> This could do the job (RTF), but I was hoping for something a bit more
> sophisticated. Full control over fonts, headers, footers, columnar
> output, maybe even embedding URL's for references, subscripts,
> superscripts, tables, embedding images, so on. 

Should be all possible with RTF (with the exception of URLs i've done
all in RTF).

> There seem to be apps
> that import Word, but not many open source apps that export it. Star
> Office might be a good place, I'm not sure if it is available in source
> format (fear the download at 56k).

That's because you want to get people _away_ from Words :-)


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