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--- On Fri, 5/11/12, Jay Lozier <> wrote:

From: Jay Lozier <>
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Re: HOWTO change all-user default file formats (Windows), for 
Date: Friday, May 11, 2012, 11:45 AM

On 05/11/2012 02:04 PM, Andreas Säger wrote:
Am 11.05.2012 19:59, Doug wrote:

I know this is not a popular opinion with certain
folks, but I believe
you should save ALL documents in either .doc or
.rtf format. Why keep
files in a
format most people can't read? Just because
Microsoft invented it is no
reason not to use it. You use their fonts, don't


Believe what you want. It is a technical issue.

The ideal answer is for everyone to agree on and support
standard, non-proprietary formats for all document types and
not use proprietary formats. Unfortunately, in the US at
least, this is not true with office documents - MSO formats
are defacto standard for US businesses and most government
agencies. So we must to use a variety of methods to adapt to
the situation. [...]

Exactly.  MS gets to set standards because of its market dominance,
and non-IT/non-geek types, many of whom are much too busy with other
things to learn to do anything differently than before or simply want everything "their way" (i.e. 
the way MS has gotten them to think of as their way) expect everything to "work that way" and if 
you tell them otherwise at best they're prone to impatience and at worst they'll decide
the software you recommended (and hence your expertise) is "no good," irrespective of the fact that 
they're asking you for help.

Note that one of the reasons for Ubuntu's success is the "Ubuntu just works" goal/strategy.  For 
LOo, "it just works" would mean letting users
chose whatever they prefer, preferably with install defaults that won't 
cause them aggravation when they try to work with most other Office suite
users, i.e. MSO users.

Stack all the technical refinements you want against that aggravation, and unless those refinements 
are both significant and apparent to non-technical users you'll still have an uphill battle even if 
you're competing as $free:  aggravation is part of the net cost, and whether 
people think of it in those terms explicitly, most people at least feel it.

As many know, Steve Jobs was not a technical genius, but what he did get
right (that most techie-types got wrong) was understanding that the key to market success (whether 
financial or user base) is making user experience appealing rather than frustrating.  Say "Office 
suite" and most people are going to expect relatively automatic/transparent interoperability with 
the "Office suite" they know, without having to learn about "details" like .odt.  .doc/.xls/.ppt 
are effectively like apples or rocks or other parts of the natural world.  That's the prospective 
user-base we have, as opposed to whatever user-base we might prefer.

[...] I prefer to use ODF formats as my normal
format for all office documents and convert to an MSO format
when needed.

The problem is that there are users with a wide variety of
skill levels and willingness to learn and this creates its
own problems. I know people who in practical terms computer
illiterate even though they use computers regularly.
Depending on the situation one may need to use a sub-optimal
solution to get work done while trying to implement the
technically correct solution.

I understand the legitimate technical issues that you are
raising but unfortunately the problem is with the ultimate
end user. The real solution is  social not technical of
training and education. My observation is there are
significant number of users who will resist doing the
technically correct procedure because they believe it is
extremely difficult even when it very simple. I know people
will not learn to use Powerpoint or Impress to make a slide
show or presentation; I actually have prepared presentations
for them. And I am not very proficient with either
Powerpoint or Impress because I rarely use it for my own
projects or work (more accurately almost never use it for
work or personal projects).

Many don't want to know about more than one way of doing things (when you try to show them.)  I 
suspect that some are a bit confused even with the way the "know" but have learned that if they 
just do the same thing they get the needed result that lets them get by.

Nonetheless, when we do work for them that we want them to value, it has to be useful to them on 
their terms.

-- Jay Lozier


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