[texhax] TeX v. Word, etc.

Juergen Fenn juergen.fenn at gmx.de
Thu Aug 24 19:11:23 CEST 2006

"Yuri Robbers" <yuri.robbers at gmail.com> writes:

> I feel the ODF format is a step in the right direction when it comes to
> office documents. I don't think it's quite there yet, but it's probably the
> best we can hope for. My main two objections are:
> 1) Not all vendors support it (actually, apart from the commercial version
> of OpenOffice, none of the commercial office programs support it, to my
> knowledge), and many explicitly intend to not use it (probably since format
> chances force people to update their software, which is a major source of
> income for vendors). What use is a standard, ISO-certified or not, when only
> a small minority uses it, or even intends to use it?

AFAIK, ODT by now is a must in all public invitations to bid,
especially by the European Union. MS products mostly do not fit these
requirements because MS has always declined to support any standards.
In these cases OOo indeed already was chosen by many public
administrations in Europe. The last case was the administration of the
Spanish region of Extremadura. Many German city administrations and
public bodies already have switched to OOo, some on Windows, some on
Linux, some are in the midst of migrating. MS struggles hard not to
lose yet more market share. License fees for employees of companies
that decide to keep to MS Office are as low as never before (one
poster recently told us of 12 Euros per employee for a personal
license of MS Office pro). So ISO certification for the ODT format was
an important step that has really hurt MS. And the turn towards
XML-based formats is a real turn-around for the MS-dominated
market. MS Office now has to support ODT, and remember that at least
in Europe when it comes to office suites there is *nothing* left
besides MS Office and OOo (Word Perfect has disappeared from the
market years ago).

So with ODT step by step becoming the standard for data exchange, what
really matters is how good LaTeX converters from and to ODT are. This
far there is only one I know of, viz. tex4ht that has a new command
named oolatex, but I have not yet been able to try it out because I
didn't manage to install the new version on my machine and it does not
work in my MiKTeX 2.4.

Converters between LaTeX and office-suite formats unfortunately are
not as good as they should be. Eg, I just realised that latex2rtf does
not support the jurabib package, so when you write a paper in LaTeX
for a German legal journal that encourages submissions in doc or rtf
format (they all do because DTP programs can import these formats good
enough) you cannot use BibTeX... don't know whether oolatex can cope
with this properly...


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