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Inporting WordPerfect documents?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:18 pm    Post subject: Inporting WordPerfect documents? Reply with quote

I just downloaded and installed OO 2.0 (WindowsXP version) and tried to import (open) a WordPerfect document that was on WordPerfect pleading paper. NO GO. OO also did not correctly import the Newspaper columns I use for case captions. In a different document, it failed to correctly import FlushRightDot leaders and footnotes. The footnotes were there but all were numbered "0" Copying and pasting from the first WordPerfect document into a blank OO text document solved part of the column problem but created a new column problem. Copying and pasting from the second WordPerfect document into a blank OO text document produced the dot leaders but the margins were incorrect. Copying and pasting also picked up the correct footnote numbers but the first foot note number had to be edited. Full justification was also lost but correctable.

Does anybody know if OO has a pleading paper style or template and a way to set up variable width Newspaper columns?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dunno what "pleading paper" is. Sorry. But I suppose you looked at one of the pinned topics on this forum (Working with Microsoft Works WP and Corel WordPerfect files) that covers importing WordPerfect files? That's the only suggestion I'd have. If you implemented those directions in trying to import your files, then resolving your issue is beyond me. Sorry I can't help more.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jamtat wrote:
I dunno what "pleading paper" is. Sorry.

I don't know the specifics, but I believe he's talking about a page layout for a particular type of legal document. If this is the case, I believe we'll need someone to tell us the specifics.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:09 pm    Post subject: Re: "Pleading Paper" Reply with quote

A "pleading paper" is generally what attorneys prepare for filing the initial action of a legal proceding in a court of law or equity or, once the suit is actually instituted, for effecting amendments and various and sundry other initial documents and motions with.

In overbroad terms, a "pleading" is a document in which a party to a legal proceeding states what the party wants the court to "do" on his or her behalf. It "states" the case or an aspect of the case, so to speak; it can be a "request" or a "defense to a request."

The formatting of legal documents is in fact highly technical and is covered by various court rules that are usually issued on a local courthouse basis and are exact requirements that documents submitted to the court must meet in order to be accepted by the court.

Many of the court rules governing the acceptable legal format for documents filed with a court are based upon the SGML code requirements of GPO (Government Printing Office in the United States) that were necessary to make official copies and originals of case documents available to the public (legal proceedings are public in a great many countries). SGML was/is the coding language for preparing documents for the "official" press and printing.

Heretofore, WordPerfect -- and this is still true today -- was the ONLY word processor that was based closely enough upon the SGML/printing paradigm to accomplish the preparation of valid pleadings.

Currently, for example, there have been some federal court proceedings in the States in which the federal courts, who are sticklers for proper formatting, have literally bounced pleading, and other, court documents from the legal proceedings that were created in MSWord, for example, inasmuch as the technology used in MSWord does not lend itself to being able to perform the intricate footnoting and other formatting necessary for the correct formatting of legal documents (which are EXTREMELY complicated).

Word Perfect uses a "text stream" technolog in its engine whereas MSWord and OOo use a "structured document" approach. WordPerfect, in effect creates a text file containing formatting codes whereas the other word processors (used more by businessmen than by attorneys) use a "fields and records" type technology that employs "indexes" of items contained in the "fields."

Think of the WordPerfect technology as a razor and the MSWord/OOo technologies as hatchets.

WordPerfect allows a far more intricae "control" over the creation and editing of its documents than a non-"text stream" technology based word processor. Formatting codes can be turned OFF and ON at any point in a stream (which may be one character), and the switch can be set to affect all lsubsequent elements in the stream until another, contrary, code is encountered.

This is NOT a value judgment being passed here on the relative merits of the two, general, word processing technologies. Lawyers need to be able to procuce highly intricate documents from a "printing" standpoint; businessmen do not.

The two technologies are simply "different."

If one wants to bridge a legal document producing capability into OOo, then, my guess would be that one would have his or her work cut out for him or her.

Personnally, I sincerely hope that some brave and competent soul in the Open Source Community, particularly one associated with Open Office, will in fact undertake a project at some point that will introduce a robust legal document producing capability into the Open Office Writer word processor.

In the meantime, folks who are so inclined in that direction will simply have to study various and sundry legal documents (of good form, of course) and see what they can do by way of deriving an acceptable workaround solution using "styles."

Could OOo completely displace MSWord in the legal market and offer an acceptable alternative to WordPerfect?

Of course it could. It's computer code at issue and one can do ANYTHING -- using "mapping" or whatever -- with a computer and computer code. It would take some doing, however, inasmuch as the SGML based coding of WordPerfect is quite a bit different than that of MSWord or OOo.

Lawyers, particularly the U.S. and all former and present British Commonwealth barristers and soliciters, are the heaviest users of all of word processors. NOBODY can produce as much "paper" as a damn lawyer -- they produce "paper" by the boxcars full in litigation -- not boxes, mind you, but boxcars of the stuff.

It would be wonderful if OOo in fact would seriously address that aspect of document production.

If OOo were able to "crack the proverbial walnut" in that quarter, OOo would most likely hand Microsoft its head on a plate insasmuch as most attorneys would likely switch from Windows and MSWord to OOo and Linux as soon as they had an acceptable substitute for WordPerfect.

[Note: wordPerfect did in fact have a WP word processor for a while that was available in the Linux world; unfortunately, WP's code contained some third party, proprietary, commercial, patent/copyright protected code within it; WP was forced to retreat from Open Source as a result and has lacked the funding and capital to muster a second try. Ahhhh,
the vicissitudes of the proprietary software world. :-) ]

Some enterprising member of the OOo Project might consider approaching the larger Wall Street law firms and the American Bar Association for some "funding." They have PLENTY of money; and the ABA (American Bar Association), I am sure, would absolutely just LOVE to be able to distribute law office software to its member lawyers and law firms if it were available from Open Source and were an acceptable alternative to WordPerfect.

An Open Source set of law software is the kind of thing that members of the legal community just drool over in their fantasies.

"But for" the fact that lawyers themselves tend to be "verbal skill" folks and complete luddites when it comes to "technology", such software would have long ago appeared in Open Source.

Carry on,

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:28 pm    Post subject: Re: "Pleading Paper" Reply with quote

nuncus wrote:
A "pleading paper" is generally what attorneys prepare for filing the initial action of a legal proceding in a court of law or equity or, once the suit is actually instituted, for effecting amendments and various and sundry other initial documents and motions with.

------Clip a lot of very interesting material---

"But for" the fact that lawyers themselves tend to be "verbal skill" folks and complete luddites when it comes to "technology", such software would have long ago appeared in Open Source.
Carry on,

I was under the impression that OOo's text formatting is XML based which I, as an ignorant amateur tend to think of as a descendant of SGML. I would have thought that OOo could be used to do this sort of thing? Of could be once a few minor bugs are ironed out. Mind you I don't know if I have ever seen SGML in its full glory: I used GML (with or without the S ?) years ago at university.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:51 pm    Post subject: Re: "Pleading Paper" Reply with quote

nuncus wrote:

[Note: wordPerfect did in fact have a WP word processor for a while that was available in the Linux world; unfortunately, WP's code contained some third party, proprietary, commercial, patent/copyright protected code within it; WP was forced to retreat from Open Source as a result and has lacked the funding and capital to muster a second try. Ahhhh,
the vicissitudes of the proprietary software world. Smile ]

Corel did re-release WP8 for Linux a year or so back, on a trial basis. I have a copy that I used in Mandrake 10, before my increasing dependence on speech recognition software (non-existent in Linux) forced me back to W2K.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nuncus wrote:
The formatting of legal documents is in fact highly technical and is covered by various court rules that are usually issued on a local courthouse basis and are exact requirements that documents submitted to the court must meet in order to be accepted by the court.

Ok, I confess to being quite ignorant about sgml and what is involved there for OOo. But would it be totally daft to suggest that a template could be created for the specialized formatting?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The difference here is in the underlying word processing technology itself -- not so much in the file format of the documents ultimately produced by the word processor.

SGML is the progenitor of ALL of the ".__ml's" -- SGML, which was developed back in the 60's, is actually more like a true programming language and is -- or can be -- quite complicated and difficult.

Think of the underlying technology this way:

1. In WP ("text stream with formatting codes contained WITHIN the stream of text itself, the smallest document unit is a "character." You use a computer file known as a text file (that's the "type" of COMPUTER file employed and NOT the format of the finished document -- the document ultimately produced may or may not be a file that uses text "format;" and WPWIN documents in WP format are no more text format files than are MSWord's document formats or OOo's document formats. In any of the word processors, one can Save As just about any document to text "format" from a drop-down list.

2. MSWord and OOo (presumably) use "records and fields" (indexes and fields) computer files. You have a "container" or "record" and an index of what is "in" the container or record/field part of the computer file. As I understand it, the smallest document unit in an MSWord document is a "paragraph"; I "think" the same is true of OOo's underlying technology.

To illustrate: the smallest unit in a WP document is a character; thus, a bolded character looks like this:

<Bold ON> a <Bold OFF>

A "paragraph" in WP looks like this:

<Tab> a <hrt>

(This assumes a tab-indented paragraph)

WP "knows" it is encountering a paragraph because it senses the two hard returns, back to back, followed by a character, then followed by two back to back hard returns.

In the indexes and field technology, you have something "like" this:

[paragraph begin code]
[paragraph container - field]
[paragraph end code]

"Pointers" keep track of the characters inside the fields in the "index and records" computer file technology. This is the same kind of computer file as is used in a data base.

"Stream technology" does not use "pointers" to keep track of the characters being produced. This is a "text" type computer file.

It all starts with a mechanical "typewriter." That is one step removed from using a pen or pencil; but it is mechanical and therefore "real time" document production: you type the document, roll up the platten, and you have your "final" document right there -- there's no such a thing involved as a laser printer or even a printing press. What comes out of the typewriter is the final product.

The typist has far more control over what is produced and how it is produced than any computer user does inasmuch as there is no "program" involved other than what's between the typist's ears and what that "causes" the fingers to do with the keys.

A "text stream technology" -- character stream -- is only a step or two removed from the typewriter in terms of HOW the document gets produced (physically). You produce your document one character at a time and it remains a stream of characters and codes.

In the "index and record" type computer file, you are putting your characters into a "field" and keeping track of them with an index.

MSWord got started because Microsoft produced the first real word processor for the MAC. MAC pretty much uses index and fields technology throughout. MAC does a VERY credible job at this; Adobe PDF and Postscript use the same "index and fields" (container") technology in their documents as MAC.

MAC/Adobe/Postscript gained the high ground early on in "publishing" and in computerized press work.

IBM was "business machines." It was coming at the microcomputer from an entirely different direction than was Apple.

The "publishing" world and the "documents" world are two entirely different worlds.

For example, a lawyer is producing a "document" telling a court that his client is instituting a lawsuit against another party. The "document" (the "pleading") is the final product.

The last time I checked, there was no one in the business of publishing "books" that consisted of attorney court pleadings. Pleading and other litigation documents live in case file jackets forever and end up in warehouse repositories -- where they remain forever. The standalone "document" has a short "useful life, although it may in fact have a very long archival life.

A novel or a textbook manuscript goes to a giant
PRESS, where it is reproduced for BINDING into a "book." The "book" goes to your shelf or to the library shelf. The book has a repetative and long "useful life" (assuming it is a worthwhile book).

So, keep in mind here the end goal.

NO ONE outside the Macintosh world EVER took MSWord very seriously as a document producing word processor in the 1980's, all the way up to the mid-1990's.

In the PC-driven world of word processing (as opposed to "dedicated word processors" like the Lanier, Raytheons, WANG, and NBI), there was first the StarWriter -- which many folks STILL use today; it was a VERY good word processor for producing documents.

WordPerfect was StarWriter's competition. At some point, WordPerfect decided to focus on the most prolific "DOCUMENT" producers of all -- lawyers and the legal profession.

By the end of the 1980's, WordPerfect had gone just about as far as one could go in document production technology. Even today, WordPerfect 5.1 DOS is still considered the best PC word processor that has EVER been written -- bar none. Legal secretaries could fly along at 120 or so words per minute on the thing (with NO typos) and produce court documents that met all the court requirements for legal documents under the various Court rules. It was quick, easy to use, and capable of producing volume work in a short period of time.

By 1994 or so, WordPerfect had about 85% of the word processing market. MSWord only had a few percentage points of market share. Nobody particularly had any use for MSWord.

Win 95 changed the ball game.

What Microsoft did was "tie" MSWord to its operating system and basically distribute it for 'free" or under market price for a period of about a year to two years -- during which period, Microsoft withheld vital computer code from the then manufacturer of WordPerfect (Novell -- Novell purchased WP from WordPerfect Corp. sometime in 1993-'94).

There was about a two year period in the mid 1990's in which just about every PC type computer purchased came pre-loaded with Win95 and the MSOffice Suite and MSWord. A consumer had to ASK for WordPerfect.

At the end of this period, Microsoft and MSWord had about 90% of the word processor market and WordPerfect was damn near out of business and gone from the technological landscape. (Novell thereafter sold WP to Corel).

There is currently a legal proceeding that has been instituted by Novell against Microsoft inasmuch as Novell was the party that got injured financially due to Microsoft's alleged illegal "tying" of MSWord to Win95, Win98 O/S.

Whether ultimately found to be the result of an illegal tying arrangement or not, MSWord's lopsided dominance of the word processor market with a technology that was never seriously considered to be particularly usable as a word processing technology for producing "documents" is just a "fact" today. Computer technology is like everything else in the States, the best MARKETERS, and not necessarily the procucers of the highest quality product, usually dominate the market.

Thus, since Microsoft still has such a vast monopoly of the O/S's in operation on the planet, if Open Source is to successfully dislodge the impostor from the commanding heights, as it were, OOo is more or less forced into using a "similar" technology as the MSword technology in order to wean folks away from the Microsoft monopoly in word processing that is so tied to Microsoft's operating system (DOS with a Windows GUI shell -- operating "environment" -- overlayed on top of it).

Note, however, that OOo is in fact slightly "different" than MSWord in many ways.

Also, if you have access to a WordPerfect for Windows word processor, OOo actually employs in its own interface many of the graphical controls one finds in WordPerfect for Windows since crica 1997.

So, think of OOo as something of a bridge to freedom from being trapped in MSWord.

I am aware that WordPerfect attempted to come "back" to Linux a couple of years back; and we may well see Corell try again -- at which point, the document producers of the world will get their beloved WordPerfect back free and clear of Windows.

Right now, however, WordPerfect, except for a HUGE contract with the United States Department of Justice (that's a LOT of lawyers -- :) ), ain't got no dough (that means, "doesn't have enough money to make any big moves right now" -- it's "capital" is locked up in some venture capital fund out West somewhere).

Be all that history as it may, just keep in mind that
it is really tough to go back and forth between WordPerfect files and MSWord files. Although, WordPerfect hasn't changed its file format since about 1994, Microsoft has continuously changed its file formats to FORCE user upgrades for NO appreciable technological improvement.

In other words, it's not just a matter of going from one "file format" to another "file format." It's more like going from one "file format" to another "file format," subjecting the underlying document to an entirely different computer technology, then converting the second "file format" back into the first "file format" where it will be subjected to alteration by yet another different underlying computer technology, and on and on. So, you will always get some weird results -- either intially or at some point in all the back and forth -- as was described at the outset of this series of posts. The internal document structures in WordPerfect documents, such as columns and the like, and the structures in MSWord documents are in no, way, shape or form like each other.

You aren't just going from one file format to another file format: you are also interjecting an entirely different underlying technology into the mix at each step and subjecting the same computer file to the two differing technologies at each step of the way. On that one, the programmers have my sympathies.

In effect, where you end up is that you are not merely translating one format for a document into another format for the same technology, you are actually switching back and forth between one underlyingt computer file technology and another underlying computer file technology each time you translate.

I do not know if a simple template will effect the translation without a lot of cut and paste. I tend to think that a template alone wouldn't be able to do it. EVERYTHING is different from one file format to another inasmuch as the two files were produced with two, fundamentally different technologies.

My understanding is that, once one of the technologies successfully "captures" the characters and "intended" formatting from the other technology, the document then has to be rebuilt from scratch in the RECEIVING word processor in accord with ITS underlying technology. So there are extensive programming routines involved. A template is not really a "program" per se; it's not executable.

The "clean" transfer from a WP formatted file to the OOo technology and the OOo format from WP is not going to happen overnight. BUT! On the bright side of things, WP has NOT changed its own file format technology since about 1994 or 1995: the WP standard file format is still WP 6.1, I think.

Having said all that, the best news you are going to get today is the decision by the State of Massechusettes in the U.S. to go with the OASIS/OOo XML file format INSTEAD OF Microsoft's junky proprietary file format. That's not to say that Microsoft won't jump in with buckets of money and lobbyists in various and sundry state capitols to try to "force" people to use its junk; but we can hope at least that just for once a superior technology and purpose (archiving longevity) will prevail over the Microsoft lobbyists. (See the OOo Home Page, right hand column of links and the link relating to OOo file formats).

The ever changing MS file formats, accompanied by the upgrading the changes are INTENDED to continuously trigger, are starting to COST too much for even government entities and large corporations to sustain.

Further, with applications like Firefox and Thunderbird and OOo, Microsoft has got one big
disadvantage: Open Source BUILDS on its technology that works instead of simply arbitrarily "changing" the PERIPHERAL technology, like Microsoft does, so that what you presently have no longer works for ARTIFICIAL REASONS that have nothing to do at all with technological improvement,
Thus, the Open Source Community can devote more technological development time to improving the underlying technology itself instead of just wasting time changing the surface technology, like document file format, around to force the users to upgrade needlessly.

Microsoft's pea-under-the-shell game with its everchanging file formats that even its own later word processors cannot half read has got to stop somewhere. I think OOo just put a crimp in Microsoft's "style."

A hundred years from now, folks will look back and ask themselves how the mass of folks could have been so stupid as to let a monopolist actually hold back computing technology for so many years as has Microsoft done.

It's been said variously that "Bill never met a bug he wouldn't ship," "A bug at Microsoft is sold as a feature," and "An added button on an MSWord button bar constitutes an upgrade to MSWord."

Well, hopefully, at that hundred year mark, folk will also be able to say in retrospect, "Bill met his match when he met Open Source," and "Wasn't it a wonderful day when OOo showed up on the landscape?"

C'mon, OOo, just get us OUT of MSWord, OFF of
Windows, and INTO Linux and back to real word processing and real computing like it is meant to be!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:18 am    Post subject: Re: "Pleading Paper" Reply with quote

nuncus wrote:
"But for" the fact that lawyers themselves tend to be "verbal skill" folks and complete luddites when it comes to "technology", such software would have long ago appeared in Open Source.

First of all, thanks for the detailed information about the software and its uses. Much appreciated. Secondly ... where there's a "will" there's a way. Embarassed But there is no reason for a lwayer ot not also have knowledge of computer programming. A doctor produces one of the best graph-paper programs around.

I've used Wordperfect since days of DOS. The problem is that like other biggies, it got too big, and fell over. I get into constant fights with it trying to format and insert images to stick where they should and so on. It would be nice to see OOo not do the same.

Question: From what you imply, do judges then require such documents to be done in WordPerfect format, or do they see onyl the end-product? Sorry for my ignorance in law; such formality is something I'll never understand. The reason for my query is that I offer suggestions and argument for and against possibly suitable software in a province-wide teacher conference, and such information would be useful in, say, law classes. I prefer WP because of the handy math editor, and the fact that it is also free for educators hereabouts.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your comments are interesting, nuncus. For clarification, I was not suggesting that a template would help in the conversion of existing WP documents--pleading or otherwise. I was suggesting that a "pleading template" might be created with all the necessary formatting features, and that lawyers could use that template to create pleadings anew. I'm not much of an OOo poweruser, despite the label the forum has assigned me (based on number of posts, it seems), so I'm not sure if a template would be lawyers' answer to creation of pleading documents under OOo. If I knew something more about the formatting requirements I might be able to say, or even to create an exemplar template. But I was not suggesting that the template would help migrate WP pleadiing documents.

But as far as importing WP pleading documents goes, I wonder if the filters the WP import people have created allow intact importation of these WP pleading documents. Does anyone know? Do you have a pleading document on which you could experiment, nuncus? If so, it could give an answer to the question that started this thread. As I mentioned, there is a sticky topic on this forum about importing WP documents, and those directions might apply to pleading documents. Which could in turn answer to whether the legal community might begin to look to OOo Writer for importing WP pleading documents. If the filters created for importing WP documents do not work for pleading documents, I would wonder further whether some macro might be created which could either augment those filters for successful import of pleading documents, or maybe could be used standlaone specifically for importing pleading documents. Not being much of a macro writer myself, I can really only wonder aloud about it. To summarize, a macro (if needed) might provide a workaround solution for lawyersinterested in looking at OOo for their pleading needs.

Finally, are you saying that only WP's text stream approach to word processing is suitable to something like pleading paper/documents (and [perhaps other legal formats), and that OOo's alleged records and fields approach simply cannot handle the task? I'm a little confused on the "take home" significance of your remarks on this. I could not claim to judge that point, since it's technically beyond my understanding. But if it's not beyond yours, is that what you imply?

Thanks for your imput here.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 6:57 am    Post subject: Re: "Pleading Paper" Reply with quote

nuncus wrote:
This is NOT a value judgment being passed here on the relative merits of the two, general, word processing technologies. Lawyers need to be able to procuce highly intricate documents from a "printing" standpoint; businessmen do not.

Just for the record, I'm a humaities scholar who has written my dissertation in OOo Writer. I don't know if the complexity of my document (and documents of humaties scholars in general) equal those of the law community. I need to use several different languagees, have various types of tables, a good deal of citation of sources, TOC and bibliography. I've added my own complications by presenting an ancient Greek text in parallel using 2 different fonts and with citations inserted, as well as providing a section of jpgs of the manuscript with inserted numbering and other information. In short, it's a really complex document--too complex for 1 person to be doing (explain that to my defense committee, please: maybe they'll give me some extra credit?). I've read posts of others on this forum who were working in more scientific fields (medical, I believe) about their experience writing a dissertaion using OOo. This is all to say that, though business interests with their document requirements may be a major target audience for OOo, there are others using it whose formatting requirements go far beyond those of the typical office memo. And I think some of us are actually contributing to the development of the software in meta-office directions by posting here on our experiences in tyring to use it for other results. My .02.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok. Back to reading cmprehension 101 for me. I looked over the WP import topic I've been referring to. Apparently, WP import filters have been built into the 2.x branch. Then rereading the OP, I see that the user has 2.x and is trying to import his pleading paper with it, using the import filter built in. Gorsh, how embarraskin'! So, my call that someone try the import filter on a pleading document is sorta irrelevant (to put it mildly). Given that, how 'bout my suggestion for a macro to help out the conversion? FWIW, when I try to import my own 1.1.4 document into 2.x, I also get all footnote numbers (all 500 of them!) changed to zero's, just like the poster here wrote in his OP. Back to more careful reading . . .

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


To address your points and questions:

1. It's the "end product" that counts. In retrospect, I
conveyed a bit of an erroneous implication, I

What most likely happened is that the judge in the
case most likely got frustrated with the lawyer
in the case because the lawyer was filing
documents in the case that did not comply with
the court's local Rules. Opposing counsel may
have been complaining about it, who knows?

It could have been something that the lawyer
tried to file (either at trial or on appeal
that got rejected -- if your document is not
in the strict format, it gets rejected -- when
a court rule states the font needs to be
so many "points," then that's what the font
has to be, or if the spacing has to be such
and such, then that's what it has to be. If
its an appellate brief, that's because the
legal printer needs it that way for press work).

So, when the judge blew up a the lawyer, the
lawyer most likely said something to the effect
that, "Your Honor, we CAN'T comply with this
Rule because we use MSWord and not
WordPerfect, and MSWord do what you are
requiting us to do. (It could in fact have been
the case that MSWord COULD do what was
required but that the lawyer, or his legal
secretary couldn't do what needed
to be done on MSWord; and so the lawyer just
"blamed" it on MSWord -- the guy was on the
hot seat, no doubt, and was probably running
frantic mental checks to determine if his
malpractice insurance was paid up, who knows?)

The short answer to the lawyer, of course, is
"If MSWord can't produce a document that
complies with our rules, why don't you use
WordPerfect, or some other word processor that
CAN? (Makes sense to me; after all, there
WAS in fact an alternative available that the
lawyer could use and achieve compliance. So
"sympathy" for the lawyer and his plight only
extends just so far.)

The point that was being made in the materials
that came to my attention was one of the
respective "capabilities" of the two word
processors and their two quite different
underlying technologies viz a vie the exacting
requirements of "producing" highly technical
and highly complex legal document (from
a "document-production" point of view) and how
the Microsoft monopoly of MSWord had caused
such difficulties for lawyers trying to get their
work done these days. The article ultimately
was discussing the fact that WP actually was
such a better word processor "per se" but that it
now seemed to be used mainly by attorneys only
and the "home user who wants a lower price"
ancillary market that WP is using to attempt to
keep the technology alive while it tries to rebuild
and, hopefully, finds a white knight somewhere
who will put enough money behind the effort
such that the word processor can make a
comeback in its erstwhile market. As I recall, the
prospect/"prediction" (for the what its worth
department) was that WordPerfect was probably
NOT ever going to recapture what it formerly had
by way of processing capabilities -- AS A
THE "TEXT", CONTENT, and formatting ease
and sophistication were the most important
aspect -- it was possible that it might regain a
respectable share of the market.

The "legal profession" was chosen as the
example because it illustrates an ENTIRE
segment of the document producing population
that just "can't switch" from WordPerfect to
MSWord without suffering some rather dire
economic consequences. Lawyers were chosen
as the obvious example of folks who couldn't
get their "work" done very well using MSWord
-- most likely because lawyers are the
penultimate "complex technical document

Since I imagine you are next going to ask
me how so many lawyers got pulled over to
MSWord in the first place, it's because lawyers,
particularly in the larger firms and mega firms,
are outside counsel, on an ongoing basis, for
the super large corporations.

The CLIENTS, and the need for document
compatibility with their clients, forced the
lawyers off of WordPerfect (the clients pay the
bills, y'know). There is a LOT of "back and
forth" involved between lawyers and their
clients in the preparation of legal documents.

Using PDF (Acrobat) as a neutral platform
WHILE the document is in preparation is NOT
a good solution because you cannot convert the
PDF file BACK into WP format so easily so that
it can be edited. Adobe has been
experimenting around for years with attempting
to do an "interim" conversion into RTF format
(the universal Windows format for cut and
paste and OLE/DCOM and DDE); but, a
cut and paste from, say, MSWord to RTF to
WP and vice versa "LOSES" most of the
formatting between the MSWord produced
and WordPerfect produced documents such as
tables, columns, footnotes, etc.

Since BOTH MSWord and PDF (and
postscript) are so-called "structured
documents that have been produced with
underlying "index and field" computer files
("containers" and data base-like computer
files), the translation back and forth between
PDF and MSWord files, AS WELL AS the
internal "structures" of the resulting document
files is FAR less onerous from a technical
point of view than going from "index and fields"
based files to "text file" based files.

Now, ONCE a document has actually been
produced in WordPerfect, it can be converted
into a PDF file and THAT can become the
final document because, as you know,
postscript/PDF is going to give you a
resulting file that looks EXACTLY like the
original WordPerfect file. There is no
difference at all in APPEARANCE between
a PDF file of a WordPerfect file that is printed
out of a printer and the original WordPerfect
file itself.

The "production" of the document itself
is the fly in the ointment. I will just note in
passing here that WordPerfect, LIKE OOo,
has expended a great deal of effort in
providing WordPerfect >PDF capabilities
as has OOo.

As between WP and OOo, if you take
OOo 2.0 one step further, and install the
"Extended PDF macro" (together with
Ghostscript and Postscript printer driver, you
can get to the same place, in document
production, to where you'd be if you used
the Acrobat itself to get to your final result
from WordPerfect. But you still can't
address the production problem -- not yet

The way attorneys are dealing with the problem
is to use TWO word processors: MSWord for
dealing with their clients and using
WordPerfect to produce their legal documents.
Even today, if you prowl the hallways in large
law firms, you will notice that the legal typists
are still using WordPerfect 5.2 DOS in many
instances to produce work product. The
continuing demand in the legal profession for
WordPerfect 5.2 DOS (keyboard driven instead
of mouse driven) word processing is what
prompted WordPerfect to re-introduce its old
DOS 5.2 word processor as "WordPerfect
Classic" in the later versions of the Windows

The article appeared, as I recall, in a law and technology type journal addressing the
point that lawyers are fed up with MSWord because the MSWord application just cannot do what
needs to be done in order to accomplish what the attorneys need in document production whereas WP
has always done so and continues to do so. WP, it seems, is a bit better at conforming to what
the GPO/SGML presses/language could do in years gone by. That "government" standard is what the
courts still adhere to. But it is the end result and not the brand of word processor that is at

issue here. In
fact, I "think" the old Star Writer is probably court
compliant also -- note that OOo has a conversion feature to get a document "Saved As" into Star

Writer (25 years later, Star Writer is still chugging along and NOT going to "go away.").

2. WordPerfect didn't exactly "fall" of its own
weight. Microsoft more or less "shoved" WP out
of the market by "tying" its office suite to Win95
and by NOT releasing key Windows code to the
WordPerfect programmers for about a year and
a half after Win95 came out. Thus, WordPerfect
could not create a "suite" that could communicate
with all the OLE technology in Windows and
therefore could NOT produce a suite for a while
that was "integrated" all that well with the new
Win 95 platform. By the time that Microsoft did in
fact release the code to WordPerfect, it was
simply "too late" for WordPerfect -- the word
processor had already dropped from the top of
the heap to the bottom of the heap because, for
two years or so, Microsoft had a word processor
that, although it was nowhere nearly as good a
word processor "per se" as WordPerfect's word
processor, MSWord in fact DID work on a more
integrated basis with Windows than did

MSWord, therefore, by default, became,
over that two or so year period, the de facto word
processor for Windows.

As I indicated, there are in fact some legal
proceedings in the pipeline between Novell and
Microsoft over Microsoft's misuse of its monopoly
power to force WP out of the mainstream.
Whether the lawsuit goes anywhere or not I have
no way of knowing or predicting. The essence of
the matter is the same as was true in the
Netscape versus Microsoft case -- allegations of
illegal "bundling" and tying of software apps to
the O/S in order to kill off\competition by NON
"product competitive" means.

3. "Math skills" and "verbal skills" are certainly
not mutually exclusive; but the kids that move
on to med school are more math and science
oriented, by far, than the kids that gravitate
towards law school.

Lawyers most certainly do in fact use
some VERY advanced technology these days; but
the computing part of the puzzle tends to focus
on such things as case management, scanning,
document production, case law research, archiving,
and the like.

Keep in mind, that all "government"
functions -- since, after all, "government" deals
with "law" and "regulation" at the end of the day --
for the most part tracks the computing requirements
of lawyers. Obviously, at an agency like the US
National Institute of Health (NIH), you are going
to encounter both law computing needs and medical
computing needs.

I can assure you of this, however, NO
docs are going to be using "Windows" back in
the wards to run heart monitors and the like.
THOSE machines will be SUNPARC's and UNIX machines
and NOT IBM business PC's or networks using
Windows. They certainly are NOT going to use
a windows O/S for MY heart; the "blue screen of
death" takes on too literal a meaning around
hospital wards. On the other hand, when
you find a lawyer wrestling with UNIX, let me
know. :-)

(Note: you use Windows for keeping patient records
and billing; the SUNSPARC is for the scientific
and medical stuff.)

3. Where can you go to find examples and specs for
legal documents?

Just stop by a law book store at a campus
with a good law school and pick up (browse first)
a good legal writing text.

Second, get a copy of the US Government Printing
Office Style Manual. That has all the legal
requirements for producing legal documents. The
GPO style manual may in fact be online at this

Also, go to the US Supreme Court site and just
pull some briefs and cases. The US Supreme Court
is the "highest" standard that the entire
legal profession (at least in the US) strives
to emulate in document formatting.

Finally, purchase The Bluebook, A Uniform System of
Citation. It is a joint project of the Harvard
and Columbia Law Reviews. The Blue Book is GOD
for legal formatting and citation requirements.
The Blue Book is your most important source
material. THAT's the standard to which you
would have to write the word processor or
to which you would have to write the OOo features
dealing with "law" and "government."

The bible for legal writing is actually a
COMBINATION of the GPO Style Manual AND
The Blue Book.

As to "feature accessibility?" Well, look
at the menuing and button bar system in your
Word Perfect. WordPerfect did, has done, and
continues to do, it all correctly, so look
to how WordPerfect does it for your baseline.

4. HOW would you get the legal document capability
into OOo?

Well, you could do like WordPerfect does
with SGML. Use a "switch." :-)

What most folks don't know is that WordPerfect
actually is TWO word processors: the WordPerfect with
which YOU are most familiar AND a "second" word processor
that is a PURE SGML WORD PROCESSOR (using "text stream"
methodology, of course).

The "second" word processor is right there
on the CD install disk. Once you install it, you
simply click what appears to be a menu choice
and, VIOLA! you now have the WordPerfect SGML
word processor that US government agencies use
in order to get their documentation ready for
the GPO press and pre-press work.

Don't get "lost" in SGML -- it's VAST and
REALLY DIFFICULT. All of the html, xml stuff is
essentially "baby SGML." If you go to all the
trouble of learning how to be a professional
SGML document programmer, there's a high paying
civil service job just waiting for you in the
US government somewhere. But, if you are curious,
install the SGML stuff in WordPerfect: when you
are IN the SGML "feature," you are NOT in a "feature"
at all -- that's a different word processor, although
it can, and does, use core components of WordPerect's
core technology. (One way to think of WordPerfect, aside
from the "text file + formatting," "text stream"
technology is to view WordPerfect as an "SGML based
word processor" within the meaning of the 1960's
and later meaning of SGML).

In other words, your Reveal Codes in
WordPerfect are NOT just "graphic representations"
at all. The Reveal Codes ARE THE REAL DEAL; those
ARE "formatting codes" for real, and NOT a simulation
as was/is the MSWord mapped "emulation" or "simulation"
of WordPerfect's "text stream", formatted text technology.
In other words, when you turn on the Reveal Codes
in MSWord, what you see no more exists in an
MSWord word processor than do Earthlings on Mars.
Text + formatting codes don't live in MSWord at all;
MSWord uses "indexes and fields" ("containers") to
hold its text.

On the other hand, when you look at the
Reveal codes in WordPerfect, you are really looking
at the "real deal" -- THAT's what "text stream" coding
in an SGML based word processor REALLY looks like.
If you look closely at the WordPerfect Reveal Codes,
moreover, you will notice that it all looks an
AWFULLY LOT LIKE web page coding (html); that's
because it ALL comes from SGML. :-)

5. Finally, here's a tip. The BEST written of all the
WordPerfect word processors for Windows was the
Ver. 7.0, AS PATCHED.

That was the LAST iteration of WordPerfect
that was written by the original WordPerfect corporation
development team. Those were LEGENDARY computer
programmers. They were still on board for awhile
after Novell purchased WordPerfect corporation; so,
although Novell technically produced WPWIN 7.0,
the actual programmers and developers were the
original Orem, Utah crowd that developed the
outstanding technology in the first place.

It won't run on XP, however, so if you
want to use it, you'll have to wire up a machine
either with Win95 or Win98. You'll also have to
get the MSWord conversion utilities for it; I think
MSWord 97 is about the last conversion utility
available for that WPWIN. Therefore, sometimes you
have to convert DOWN and then BACK UP when going
from WP to MSWord and back; but the Ver. 7 is so
robust, other than having to spend a few seconds
or so Saving As to get to where you want to be; but
it's really not a technical problem of any importance.

6. As to your problem with graphics moving around, remember,
those graphics are NOT in a "container." They are
"embedded" as in an HTML document -- you have to
ANCHOR them -- to a character, to a paragraph, or
to a page. Sometimes you have to "play around"
with the picture before you can get it to stay
where you want it to stay. If you could write
your WordPerfect document in "code" like you
can an html page, which you can't, you could
just use a text editor like notepad to do
your WordPerfect document coding and you wouldn't
have that problem (WordPerfect is not a knock-off
of SGML; there are in fact some differences).

"Lawyers" don't use graphics, so it's not
a problem in "legal writing." Ain't no such a
thing as a "graphic" in legal writing. "Graphics"
might get introduced in a trial, as, for example,
to show an accident scene, but those pictures aren't
going to be in any of the case documents. Legal
documents are ALL "characters" and formatting (like
big and little caps, double underlines [which are
just printing instructions for the pressmen] and
Italics and single underlines (again, printing
instructions for a pressman).

Well, I've run on too much. All I can say is
that somewhere out there, there is a WordPerfect maven
who is one heck of a programmer in C or C++, to boot, who,
someday, is gonna make OOo do what WordPerfect can do,
and, if that happens, my prediction is that you are gonna
see a whole heap of lawyers switching over to OOo and to
OOo Linux -- a WHOLE heap of 'em.

There's a crack in the door wide enough to
drive a Mack Truck through the Microsoft monopoly; so
maybe OOo will be the one to build the truck, right?
So many law shops out there and so many documents to
be made and so little time to do it in.... :-)

Best regards,


PS It's BECAUSE MSWord can't do what WordPerfect does
by way of legal document production that Microsoft
has NEVER had a big share of government document
production contracts and has only been used reluctantly
by some lawyers (rarely by courts).

If the OOo folk can crack that walnut, the Open
Source Community will just cut Microsoft off at
the pass so to speak and send them back to
the family "game room" where their stuff really
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Posts: 207

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if any developers read what's on this forum, or, more to the point, whether they post here, but if they do I'd be interested to hear how they'd respond to your posts, nuncus. At least some real power users can read and respond, which would be interesting as well. Iannz is someone who seems pretty conversant in WP and has even written a "reveal codes" macro (apparently not showing sgml stuff, as you seem to be saying WP's reveal codes does). I pretty much cut my wordprocessing teeth on WP 5.1. I was really hoping, when I moved to Linux, that I'd find something of its style (non-gui) and power, but that turned out to be a total pipe dream. I suppose tex/latex could approach it in those respects (apparently surpass in terms of power), but using it seems not a whole lot different from manipulating raw sgml. I'm still considering giving tex/latex a try--though I'm not trying to recommend it to the legal profession Smile . I've actually got a copy of WP 6.0. Since you mention 7.0, it raises for me the interesting question of whether it would run under WINE (I'm a Linux user). I think I'll have to give that a try, if I can find a copy of 7.0 floating around somewhere. Anyway, interesting discussion.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To James (Jamtat):

It might run under WINE. Does 6.0 work under WINE? Unfortunately, because of the WordPerfect conundrum, I'm still shackled to Windows myself and don't have any hands on "working" knowledge of Linux (just armchair knowledge -- I know what WIINE is; I know what it's supposed to do; but I've never used it).

As to your other points you also raised, sure, you could create legal documents with a template in OOo; but what about the editing? Since you were obviously using WP while I was still using a yellow legal pad and a secretary using an NBI dedicated word processor, you most likely know a whole bunch more than I do about WP and using Reveal Codes to edit with.

All I know is those codes are the real deal and WP lets you get your fingers right down into the text and code stream in the document you are making and/or editing. No muss, no fuss, no frustration -- find something broken? Fix it.

The impression I get of the MSWord type technology is that the edititing is more or less "indirect;" you can't just go in and tinker with one code or one character at a time in real time.

Also, what WordPerfect produces is pretty much keyed to what goes to the print shop.

My initial impression is that one could certainly make a legal document with OOo. In fact I am going to try it myself. Editing it might be a different story from getting the first draft in place, though.

One point that did catch my eye about OOo was that it is supposed to be somewhat "different" than even MSWord.

Although I'm certainly no programmer, I do know that you can map things around in a computer program so that what you are seeing may or may not actually exist in the form in which you are visually viewing it on a monitor screen.

I ALSO noticed, under Tools, an "Add-Ons" item.

Well, I went and installed the Extended PDF macro and the Ghostscript and the Postscript printer driver, as directed, under the Add-Ons; the result is that I now have in OOo 2.0 a very credible PDF factory that is darn close to having a word processor PLUS the Adobe Acrobat application (not the viewer alone, but the Acrobat itself). In other words, I can convert an OOo document with hypertext and links and things directly into a PDF file with bookmarks, etc.

So, maybe we'll see a combination of templates, macros, styles, and Add-Ons and Extensions (like in Firefox and Thunderbird) that can "move" OOo in different directions -- one of them hopefully being towards speedy complex document creation and editing along the lines of a WordPerfect vis. a viz. legal writing.

I don't think you can just construct a template and have that get you 100% to where you "need" to be in all respects; but I think that with a template and some styles, you can probably make any type of legal document you want to make.

Whether you can then "edit" that document and get it into shape the way it has to be for a court to accept it in a timely manner, well, I don't know the answer to that question jsut yet.

I'm not so sure that "containers" technology CAN'T do legal work just as well as "text stream" technology can.

For sure you could do a pleading. A pleading is fairly simple.

The test would be whether you could do an appellate brief or a law review article with the thing, or a two hundred page contract or a sixty page trust agreement. The appellate brief would get you squarely into the court imposed document specs to which you have to adhere. The details are excruciating -- you have to use a certain type leading, and so forth: technical print shop stuff. So the test is whether OOo can produce a legal document that you can walk down the street with, hand to your friendly legal printer and then go file with an appeals court.

Other than the practialities of ease of editing, however, there is no doubt in my mind that you could produce a legal document in OOo that would be satisfactory for any federal, state, or local trial court.
Now, whether OOo can get you into "printer ready" state or not, I'll just have to see for myself. Briefs usually have to be printed and "bound" according to spec.

Certainly, there is nothing of a business nature that happens around a law shop that OOo or one of the other suite apps couldn't easily handle.

It is probably true that "text stream" is more naturally conducive to producing "docments" than is "container" technology inasmuch as that's exactly what "text file" types were invented for originally in computer science -- to handle: "documents." "Indexes and fields" were invented to handle data base things -- "fields and records."

So, in my unlettered opinion, I suspect that the "text stream" way of handling production and editing of documents is probably more intuitive for a computer programmer or developer, as well as for the machine itself, than is using a "series" of containers to hold bowls full of characters and such in the document file.

But, OOo IS in fact touted as working a bit "differently" than ALL other word processors and suites.

What exactly "different" means, of course, is up for discussion. :-)

I suspect it's a little bit analagous to the way Bill Clinton expressed a point in a different context: It all depends on what the meaning of "different" is. All I know is that I wouldn't want to find myself beating my brains out trying to do production law work out of MSWord, nor would I particularly want to find myself using MSWord to get an appellate brief into shape for the printer and bindry.

Well, we'll just have to see how "different" Mr. "Different" really is. :-)

As to where you can get your hands on a version 7.0 of WPWIN, you might not need to. I don't know the answer to the "where" question; but it might not matter all that much.

I had a long discussion with one of the tech guys at WPWIN not too long ago and he assured me that the actual core technology of WPWIN is STILL intact.

That doesn't surprise me at all, If the core is solid, why would you ever change the core? In fact, he told me the SGML word processor is also still there. Naturally the company doesn't advertise it to the public since most members of the public could care less about SGML technology; the the government agencies still need it, so it's still there.

Keep in mind that WP still is the word processor of choice and use in a LOT of US government agencies and over at DOJ.

Those folks are still using SGML in large part and producing supertankers of legal documents every day. So, WPWIN is going to keep its core in good shape so that it can keep its government contracts.

Here's what I would do. This is what I did with ver. 7.0.

Install WPWIN 12, then strip it down to the BONE. First, save a clean copy of the blank template file and get you a button bar out and a power bar with nothing on them. Move ALL of the templates that come with the thing into a folder (so you can get them back with a simple move, as and when you decide to do so). Get a copy of the default menu saved out also, as well as such things as the default styles. In other words, keep the building blocks but throw away ALL of the "features" that the "features teams" at WP built around the core.

Make sure you have a subfolder system to organize all the stuff that you make up as your own core "feature components" for your word processor. The goal here is to build your OWN configuration of the word processor that fits YOUR NEEDS like a glove and to discard all the straneous stuff you DON'T use.

You do NOT have to be a "programmer" to do this stuff inasmuch as there is no "programming involved," only adding back on "features" as you build them.

This might "sound" daunting; but it's not. It's tedious; but it's not all that difficult.

I don't know it it is strill true (but I rather think it is), ALL of the building blocks (the original menues, a basic, blank button bar, a power bar, etc,) are contained in the big .exe file. (Heck, the .exe file in 7 actually had an old GroupWise feature that was literally part of the .exe file.

After you've done that, just build you a WordPerfect the way you want your WordPerfect to be. What you'll end up with is Jamtat WordPerfect ver. 1.0. Nobody else on the planet, of course, will have Jamtat WordPerfect ver 1.0; but YOU will, and it will be EXACTLY what YOU want YOUR word processor to be.

So, you'll save off a "clean" default template, a 'clean" button bar, a "clean" default menu, etc., etc.

You then build your default template to the common denominator stage, save the thing and copy it for your first "custom" template. Do the same thing with each "feature" like styles and stuff.

But, keep your original "stock" items segregated from everything else so you can always go back to them and pull your OWN "feature core" up and build you another something else as you need it.

It's all snap-in and configure work.

Also, make SURE your final versions of each template are READ ONLY -- otherwise, if, for example, you have a special button bar that just "shows up" every time you do a table, unless you are using a specialized template that is read only, your specialized template will absorb -- "inherit" -- other button bars that get snapped inot it while you work. If you ever need to edit a template, just go change the attribute to the template, edit it like you want, and then make the thing "read only" again.

How long does it take to do this? Jamtat, pour up some coffee, man, 'cause you're looking at some late nights and a lot of weekends of foregone fishing or whatever.

In the end, you'll have a word processor that you will NEVER EVER HAVE TO UPGRADE AGAIN because it will be exactly what you wanted all along and will do exactly what you want it to do.

The tech guy, who was one of the developers/programmers, I think, told me that I could most likely keep ALL the stuff I've been using since 1994 (ver. 6.0/6.1) and just bring it forward. He said I might have to touch up some of the lengthier macros depending on how many feature commands I had used in the routines inasmuch as some Calls to the app's API had in fact changed just a tad.

What the guy told me was that essentially the core in current version 12 reaches back to 6.1.

"Most" mature technology is like that. What happens is that a CORE gets built (it costs the company millions) and then, except for very minor changes, forever after, the name of the game is to just add and subtract and change "features."

Don't forget, word processing technology is pretty mature stuff at this point -- has been for years.
These guys don't change their core around; if they did, they'd never make any money. Changing "features" around a stable core is the name of the game in software.

I'm hoping for two things:

1. OOo CAN in fact -- as a PRACTICAL MATTER that can pay my mortgage -- handle legal documents as easily as WordPerfect; and

2. It can be hacked six ways to Sunday like the WordPerfect core can (i.e., extract the core and put the features back in the way I want to).

Then it's off to Linux and OOo on Linux.

The wild card here is not so much the making of a first draft of a legal document but the editing thereafter of the document -- QUICKLY and with no muss or fuss or gliches -- as the thing heads through the various drafts and changes, revisions, and edits, on the way to the final version.

I LIKE the idea of the XML format standard under OASIS. That means NO conversion problems down the line. That's what WordPerfect did -- WP hasn't really changed its universal format since ver, 6.0/6.1.
Non-changing file formats is a BIGGIE. THAT's what finally prompted me to get serious about OOo and to download and install it and start trying to learn it. Archival stability.

What's a good Linux distribution? My understanding is that Debian is supposed to be the most technically tight although not as user friendly as some of the others. What's the word there?

IHey, if you've been fooling around with LaTex and are using Linux, I suspect you "know these things.")


Best regards, I'm sure we'll run into each other again on the OOo forum site.

In the meantime, let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that at some point some hotshot walks in with an Add-on or plug-in for OOo called SGML writer or OOo Suprereasy Editor or something like that.

Best regards,

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