02 February, 2010

"Puppy Docs" and Google Docs

Among the things one encounters when one enters the world of Puppy - or any other "alternative" OS for that matter - is the notion of Cross-Platform Data Format Compatibility. Basically, how you save a file on one platform might have a great bearing on exactly what you can do with it on another. What formats can Abiword or Gnumeric handle that will reproduce faithfully in Works, Excel, Word, etc. (Mac users, please fill in your own filthy, unclean, elitist data formats here). OpenOffice users know something of which a speak already as Microsoft seems to feel no compunction to support OO file types.

Enter Google Docs. If you're lucky enough to live in a world where high-speed internet is ubiquitous, You might consider the convenience of Google Docs. The notion is rather revolutionary, and not without quirks. Here is what Google claims Docs can do for you:

Conversion limitations and supported file types
Files you convert to Google Docs can be edited online. They do not count towards your storage limit.
Some features may not be fully supported when files are converted, such as footnotes, tables of
contents, tracked changes and comments, embedded graphs, pivot tables, and slide animations.
Documents (up to 500KB of text)
  • HTML files and plain text (.txt).
  • Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx), Rich Text (.rtf), OpenDocument Text (.odt) and StarOffice (.sxw).
Presentations (up to 10MB)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pps).
Spreadsheets (up to 1MB)
  • Comma Separated Value (.csv).
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls, .xlsx) files and OpenDocument Spreadsheet (.ods).
The list of supported file types certainly isn't exhaustive, and reproduction is not 100% accurate but is no worse than Abiword's support for DOC or Gnumeric's support of ODS.

In a perfect world I would recommend OpenOffice on all your platforms. I would do this myself on my Inspiron, but Puppy has been stable enough that I've started using it for 'work' and the last thing I need is another Mplayer disaster!

Final Thought: Just what is Google doing with all our data?

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