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    G-AVLN in front of her home

    G-AVLN in front of her home

    Mostly Unix and Linux topics. But flying might get a mention too.

    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    Open Source Interoperability Initiative from Microsoft

    It's discussed at Great, isn't it?

    I have written before about the current configuration of my main laptop (Dell XPS M1330): I am running Ubuntu 8.10, which is 100% adequate for all my personal needs.

    However, for as part of my work I need to be able to edit Microsoft Office files (all our slides are produced in Power Point). Well, tried using Open Office - it can do just as good a job. However, the niggling and subtle (sometimes very subtle) style and font differences made it so frustrating that I gave up. I was spending far too much time converting between Open Office - Power Point and back.

    That gave rise to the second best solution: install Crossover Office, a product based on Wine, allowing access to MS native applications. Again, this works the treat, at least in principle. Then I bumped into more hiccups, like font colour changing, or various boxes being over sized. In isolation, I would be totally satisfied with the solution, but I need to comply with company's strict branding and design style, and I can't achieve it with this setup (at least not without additional fiddling with the files).

    So, (grudgingly) on to the next solution. I already have a license for VMware Workstation (6.5). I installed XP into it, added MS Office 2003, and thought that I might be able to get some work done, at last. No! MS Office working in VMware does not recognise any of the extended keyboard mappings. Arrow keys, Page Up, Page Down, etc, all either totally dead, or generate VM-associated actions.

    So why is it that I'm wasting all this time just to stay afloat. This is like an engineer having to calibrate his meters or file his screwdrivers before every use.

    Open source is meant to unite. If Microsoft truly opened their code, it would allow other designers to create applications that are workable and provide permanent solutions. Instead, these designers are still having to reverse-engineer, outguess, invent emulators and create work-around fixes. Fixes are never perfect.

    Microsoft are boasting about interoperability: "... agreements between Microsoft and open source distributors. including Novell, Xandros, Linspire, and TurboLinux". That probably explains why my EeePC (Xandros) seems to have more robust drivers, character rendering and application selections, etc. But that is not what commitment to open source should be. If you are selective, you are still prescriptive and closed.

    Unless you find a way of being only a bit pregnant.

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