[texhax] TeX v. Word, etc.

Michael Barr mbarr at math.mcgill.ca
Mon Aug 21 18:39:19 CEST 2006

I have never actually used Word, but I remember my wife giving up trying 
to read a Word 4.2 file in Word 5.1 (I think it was).  At that point, they 
maintained some compatibility with the previous version but if your file 
was from two versions early, it was useless.  This was before rtf, I think 
(anyway, I didn't know about it) and she wasn't interested, because her 
customers weren't (she is a free-lance translator) in word to TeX or 
anything like that.  Eventually, she found someone who still had Word 5.0 
and could read the 4.2 file and send it back to her and she was able to 
read that.  The formatting was not perfect but the text was there.

I fully expect that my papers will still be usable 50 years from now, long 
after I have passed my use-by date.

Now imagine if the files had been in Word 1.0.

On Mon, 21 Aug 2006, Tom Schneider wrote:

> > Take a Word file from 20 years ago and try to read it with any
> > software around today.
> Can anyone give some real examples where you actually try this and
> report what happened?  We struggled at one point merely to get a Wordy
> file from PC to the Mac (and failed).  Could the file be read by
> OpenOffice?  If so it could be exported as RTF [Really Terrible
> Format] and then converted with rtf2latex.
> http://www.ccrnp.ncifcrf.gov/~toms/papers/primer/italian/
> > I recently took a paper of mine from 1986, written for an early 
> > version of Latex2.
> I did a similar translation from Troff to Latex2e ...
> http://www.ccrnp.ncifcrf.gov/~toms/papers/schneider1986/
> Tom
>   Dr. Thomas D. Schneider
>   National Institutes of Health
>   National Cancer Institute
>   Center for Cancer Research Nanobiology Program
>   Molecular Information Theory Group
>   Frederick, Maryland  21702-1201
>   toms at ncifcrf.gov
>   permanent email: toms at alum.mit.edu (use only if first address fails)
>   http://www.ccrnp.ncifcrf.gov/~toms/

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