Re: Imp/Exp filters and BFD: was (Decoupling Gnome Office)

On Fri, 1 Sep 2000, Jody Goldberg wrote:

> > The StarOffice guys obviously did a brilliant job of
> > grokking the format, and perhaps only companies with the
> > resources of StarOffice or Sun can keep track of what
> > the evil empire is doing with file formats.
> A couple of dedicated people with lots of tests cases can do it.
> Gnumeric has made a pretty reasonable attempt at this for MS XL
> files.  We've had to do alot of guessing about things that I'll
> charitably refer to as 'under documented' but it is feasible.

Abi's word import is based on Coalan McNamarra's awesome wv program. It is
about 60,000 lines of C code and has been picked up by kword as their MS
word import filter. Coalan now works for Star Division and has passed on
wv to Dom Lachowicz. For a long time Coalan ran a website which
would convert your MS word documents to HTML and display them in your
browser. I actually think that this facility and website could be a
commerically viable proposition with another year or so of work. We also
use the OLE2 library from gnome and amongst Dom's contributions to Abi is
a MS Word export filter. He has this about 80 - 90 coded but could
certainly use some help.

At this point wv is used to translate MS Word to Abiword, Kword, HTML and
Latex. It is the obvious starting point for a Samba of MS Word filters. If
it can acquire a collection of hackers with the peculiar talents that
enjoy reverse engineering it could work.

I'm personally not interested in doing this sort of things BUT I really
want it ability to work.

Since Coalan now works for Star Division his ideas might have improved
their import filters too. However he has never told us what his job there
actually is. 


Martin Sevior

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