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Hi :)
Actually the kid WAS all the end-users.  This mailing-list is almost
entirely end-users.  We are here to help each other and learn new
tricks.  So are almost all of the devs (also end users) and everyone
else in the project.   The whole reason for this entire project is
that we DO want change.

There most definitely IS a problem and it's one we experience almost
every day, whether or not new end-users write in to the mailing list
about it.

Almost all of us can remember being in exactly the same situation (or
very similar) to the one you are currently in.  The same one that many
people face when using MS Office.

So our devs do put in an enormous amount of work into finding
problematic DocX files, then reverse engineering it to find out what
quirk got added into the spec without being documented and then
rewriting the filters to deal with the problem.

The problem then is that MS can easily just sprinkle some new little
quirks with almost no effort at all.  So all non-MS programs have to
put tons more effort into trying to find those new ones and reverse
engineering and then fixing.  Often these projects share the results
so that a lot of them become able to read the quirky

We have already seen the result of what happens when MS format is able
to be used by everyone and finally becomes fully interoperable as they
keep promising it will be.  When that happened a few years ago (with
Doc, Xls, Ppt etc) they seemed to choose that moment to change to the
completely different format.

While you might feel that people are being hostile against you it is
more likely that you have just hit a raw nerve and that they are
ranting against the world in general and feel like you might be a
sympathetic ear because of what you have only just found.  So it's not
really against you, it's more WITH you.

Things ARE changing though.  People are starting to use uneditable
formats (Pdf) and moving to expensive editors to edit them.  Less
insane is the increasing momentum towards using ODF (Odt, Ods, Odp
etc) and often to the free programs and suites that use them natively.

Governments, organisations and corporations all seem to be moving
towards ODF, or at least the ideals of it.

Sometimes they get tricked into thinking that OOXML or Rtf delivers on
it's promises but then they find that no-one else can use those
formats except MS Office.  It's at that point that things become
interesting.  Some blame ALL the other programs and suites, which is
what i did initially and also what you did in your first post.  It
takes a while to realise that if ALL other programs are having a
problem with the MS format then maybe it's a problem with the format.
After all why would they ALL deliberately make it difficult for
themselves to gain market-share?  Maybe it is a problem with the

Then researching into the format itself, rather than just blindly
accepting MS's excuses, does start to raise interesting questions.
Why are there 3 different "transitional" formats?  Why can't they make
a format that DOES do what they promise?  Surely it's not out of
stupidity or incompetance on the part of MS's devs!?  Why do they have
so much trouble implementing ODF when everyone else finds it so easy?

Regards from
Tom :)

On 5 March 2014 12:00, warp9pnt9 <> wrote:
Off-topic digression follows.

On 2014-03-05 05:04, Tom Davies wrote:
Imagine a schoolkid getting beaten up every day by a bully

How do you convince people of the truth?  What happens if all the kids
gang up together?

In this analogy, who is the bully and who is the kid out of luck?  I
understand, you intend the bully to be the corporation and possibly the
end-users, and the kid to be the free software project.

All too often with free software projects (more so in the past decade than
the one previous), it seems like there are multiple groups of antagonists.

One group is usually a corporation, and the other is a group of bullies who
make up the consensus of the developers and/or community support list.  Both
sides give the impression that they want nothing to change, nor do they care
about common use cases which reveal problems.

The end user who simply encounters a problem and would merely like to do
whatever they are able to help troubleshoot something and improve the
situation gets hostility from all sides.

The end-user becomes conditioned to not want to provide any feedback
whatsoever.  The community then arrives at the delusion that there is no
problem, and becomes further entrenched and hostile towards the next

Meanwhile, end-users encounter this situation multiple times, year after
year, with many other projects, eventually develop an aversion to any
interaction with free software projects.  At the very least with the
community portion, anyways.

On the other hand, if a project became too popular too fast, it could
collapse from having too many users without adequate momentum.  So I suppose
actively discouraging people from using the software by bullying anyone who
mentions any problem keeps the project alive at a certain stage.

Quite a perverse dichotomy.  Most unfortunate.  Slightly amusing.

Regardless -- and sometimes against my better judgement -- I still ping
random projects from time to time when I encounter a problem, have an idea,
or even a question, in the hopes that I get a friendly response and am
welcomed to the opportunity to help make a difference.  :)  Although
increasingly rare these days, it does happen, and those are the moments when
I feel empowered, inspired and elevated, if only for a brief time, until I
contribute a useful bug report or patch.  That was the experience which
initially drew me to free software, back when few people knew that free
software existed.

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