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I've recently written a Perl script that converts many ODT files to PDF using the commandline. This resulted from an Inet search that failed to find anything useful for someone like myself - a Linux User for a dozen years who doesn't use M$ in any form, and is not interested in commercial offerings. The results can be found at:

This got me thinking about the state of things in the Open Document world, since my Inet diversions suggest that there are many who have tried unsuccessfully to find a similar solution. My present solution is specific to Writer, but could be extended to other formats were there sufficient interest. It effectively uses OO/LO as a backend for my script, and is very inefficient given the need to load the entire contents of a major app just to do a simple format conversion, and for EACH file in the process. Its commanding virtue is that IT WORKS (at least for OOo 3.0.0) unlike other scripts and utilities I've tried.

I can well understand that LO developers may not be interested in supporting its use as a backend for scripts, especially now that they've been disenfranchized of OOo and are having to rebuild their presence as Libre Office. However, this situation surely serves to encourage the development of helper utilities for LO that OOo lacks.

I believe that the including of helper utilities in a standard LO distribution could help to differentiate it from OOo. As an example, if LO is invoked without any parameters, it takes considerable time to load, and then presents a choice of its major applications. Instead of this, it could quickly load a selection box that offered a range of simple tasks (view a file, print a file, convert formats, email a file etc.) as well as switching to the major apps. I use Linux with a KDE 3.5 Desktop in which the major apps are presented individually in the main menu. What I'd like to see in addition is a selection page as described that loads quickly, and presents a series of simple tasks that can be accomplished without loading the whole shebang.

All Users of OOo and (sign of the cross) Word are automatically accustomed, not only to the loading delay of these monster apps, but to their (unavoidably) complex menus. If LO were to present a quick, simple interface of the type I've described as the default invocation, it could initiate a paradigm shift for Users, especially now that mobile interfaces are becoming so popular.


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