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Same here, Sam, and great write up on the brief backstory of the plugin, too. I spent last Friday testing it and returned with garbled results on all but the simplest text files: Is Microsoft’s ODF converter DOA?. I'm stunned this would be released, both so soon and in such poor shape. It's useless, but as I warned everyone in a forthcoming word processor review: even if you use Word 2007, stay away from OXML. Save your documents in .doc format at least, if not in ODF, using Compatibility Mode only.

Better, just use OpenOffice (or any programs that uses ODF) and sidestep the whole issue.


It's always easy to be sceptic about the technical architecture of a product, when you have no technical background an no clue about how developing the smallest software. It is even easier when you ignore the full engagement, days and nights, of the developers you criticise. And the difficulties definitely disapear when you are part of the other camp. The only thing that is fubar here, it is your post.

Stephane Rodriguez

Gérard, it appears you don't understand that by Microsoft declaring the CleverAge plugin "complete" last week, they are the one who have fooled you. (I say "you" because you sound like a contributor to the project).

The rant on spending days and nights does not mean much if the goal is fundamentally flawed : DOA because technical persons knew since day one this plugin would not be able to provide 100% fidelity.

The CleverAge project started back in October 2005, got more steam since July 2006, and still only supports a subset of Word file formats in February 2007. Those are facts, not criticism. What kind of message do you think you are telling the world when 16 months after so much intense work, it appears that little has been achieved? For instance, it does nothing with Excel and Powerpoint documents.

And it does not help that the project features deliberately ignores some critical features of MS Office documents such as password-protected documents. This feature is not just "unsupported" by the translator, it's not even listed...

In fact, I'll just keep short what could be a long story. I am an independent vendor, sell related products, and have been reverse engineering this stuff for many years. The fundamental flaw in those activities is that 1) reading and writing those files in full-fidelity actually requires a higher level knowledge of what's going on, which is akin to rendering the documents you are manipulating. That unfortunately means, in this particular case, that Microsoft's implementations are the only possible way to represent in full-fidelity, strictly speaking, features of the MS Office documents. 2) we can keep it aside, but activities like this are subject to lawsuit since the covenant not to sue does not apply to the many pieces that are not defined in the ECMA 376 specs.

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Sam Hiser




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