[Scottish] Re: Scottish Digest, Vol 201, Issue 3

John Seago seago.john at googlemail.com
Fri Feb 8 13:41:06 GMT 2008

On Friday 08 February 2008 12:15:06 Claudio Calvelli 
<slug at intercal.dyn-o-saur.com> wrote:

> If anybody sends me a file in word format I always reply asking for it in
> an open standard format - explaining that an open standard format is one
> for which full documentation is publicly available and which does not
> require to purchase any special software to read - concluding with a note
> that Word format fails in several respects, and could they please send in a
> format which can be of any use, preferably plain text.
> You could also reply asking them where you can find a copy of Microsoft
> Word which will work on your operating system, to allow them to send the
> document in that weird format they seem to require :-)

Unfortunately I just opened the response form using 'Open Office', completed 
it and sent it back in the format that I had used OASIS odt(?), and when they 
couldn't read it re-submitted it, using 'open Office to save the file in a 
format they could read.

I don't want to make life awkward for someone who had no say in the purchase 
of their office suite by asking where I "...can find a copy of Microsoft
Word which will work on" my operating system..., I want to persuade them to 
use 'Open Office' to a0 save my tax £'s, and b) make it easier for the 
Government, Police, other institutions and Civil Service to read documents 
which are delivered to them in any format other than 'plain text'.

what I'm Looking for is some form of advocacy help in doing so so far I've 
sent this:-

I responded to the Deer Commission for Scotland public consultation document. 
this morning they sent me a message as follows: 
"Dear John
Unfortunately we were unable to open your response form. Would you be
able to try and resend it in Word format if possible."

I was able using one of the word processing programmes available to me to 
convert it for them, into one of over twenty document formats available to 
me, they could only, apparently, read it in one of Microsoft's formats. This 
raises a question why is the Scottish Government and civil service using a 
document format that can only be used by those having the same operating 
system as the Scottish Government, those using another operating system are 
therefore, as was I precluded from the same immediate form of communication 
as others enjoy.

There are at least three solutions to this problem:
a) the Scottish Government the Civil Service, Police etc., etc., should 
communicate only in plain text.
b) the Scottish Government the Civil Service, Police etc., etc., should 
communicate using 'Open Office' a suite of software that used I to convert my 
document for the DCS, which would allow intercommunication between differring 
c) the Scottish Government the Civil Service, Police etc., etc., should use an 
open source operating system and 'Open Office' which should not only assist 
in intercommunication but reduce costs reduce the need to upgrade hardware 
and increase reliability.

See: 	http://www.openoffice.org/

To Fergus Ewing MSP, my directly elected MSP, and to these list MSP's for the 
region in which I live, Dave Thompson MSP, Rob Gibson MSP, Rhoda Grant MSP, 
Mary Scanlon MSP, Jamie McGrigor MSP, Peter Peacock MSP, and David Stewart 
MSP. I also delivered this morning to Fergus Ewing's office a copy of 
the 'Open Disk' so he could try out 'Open Office'.

I'm probably banging my head against a brick wall, but I'm on a crusade for 
interoperable document formats, (which unfortunately will make information 
interchange between Government Departments and other bodies easier, which may 
not be a 'good' thing), and invite anyone and everyone to join me. 

John Seago
GNU/Linux Registered User No. #219566 http://counter.li.org/
() ascii ribbon campaign - against html mail - against microsoft attachments

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