Monthly Archives: October 2007

Open MS Word 2007 .docx documents in Ubuntu Linux!

I had an instructor upload a document in the new Microsoft Word 2007 .docx format and was in a panic to open it until I found this import filter for A quick web search produced this page from mypapit. To make the magic work, you simply download this file to your desktop.

  1. Double-click the odf_filter.tar.bz2 on your desktop, then click Extract.
  2. This will place the files in a folder titled “files” on your desktop.
  3. Click Applications, then Accessories, then Terminal.
  4. In the terminal, type the following commands:
  5. cd Desktop/
  6. cd files/
  7. sudo cp OdfConverter /usr/lib/openoffice/program/
    ***** The next line in the included instructions is wrong, so be sure to add the /(slash) before usr.
  8. sudo cp MOOXFilter_cpp.xcu /usr/lib/openoffice/share/registry/modules/org/openoffice/
  9. sudo cp MOOXTypeDetection.xcu /usr/lib/openoffice/share/registry/modules/org/openoffice/TypeDetection/Types/
  10. Click Applications > Office > OpenOffice Word Processor.
  11. Click open and select Microsoft Word 2007 document as the file type.
  12. Realize this could be avoided if Microsoft would just adhere to the open document format (ODF) accepted by the ISO as the standard for document formats. Check out my previous blog about this
  13. Realize as well that if this is an archival document – someone in the future may NOT be able to access it because it is in a proprietary format (claiming to be open) like the one used in Microsoft Office 2007.

Here’s an interesting piece from eWeek about MS Office Alternatives:

Believe it or not, there are many choices available to IT managers considering switching from Microsoft Office to an alternative office productivity suite. A simple Google search will prove just how many competing suites are in the marketplace. StarOffice 8,, ThinkFree Office, Corel WordPerfect Office X3, NeoOffice, Google Docs and Spreadsheets, and Apple’s iWork are a handful of options available.


Marsha’s Computer.

The daily interface with the public in a public library allows me to meet colorful individuals (as I’ve noted before). Many patrons make the library a frequent stop weekly or for some daily and relationships form. One woman, Marsha, came in every day to use the computers for her alloted two hours. I enjoyed watching her learn to master the computer as I answered her questions from time to time. She would also give me feedback on things I changed on the computers or the general status of Yahoo Mail which sometimes would be slow and generate lots of complaints. She preferred to sit at computer number one and I would refer to it as Marsha’s computer. I tried to make sure it wasn’t down for maintenance in the morning when she usually came. Sometimes cranky patrons would complain about the computers or more often resist my way of helping them which was to talk them through how to use the computer and to not do it for them. Afterwards, Marsha would walk up to my desk before leaving and give me encouragement or share some gossip about that person.

From time to time, she would miss a day or two due to illness, but she would show up again and give us brief details of her absence. A few weeks back she didn’t show up and I assumed it was likely the same cause. A week went by and I wondered what was going on with her. Then, another patron told us that Marsha had passed away. The doctors discovered She had systemic cancer and she died within that same week. She will be missed.


OSS: Easy as cake.

My major project for the class this blog is part of involves a web presence to serve as an introduction to open source software (OSS). I will surely write more about this as time passes. In fact, much of my time is currently spent working on this project as it involves learning how to use and customize the Drupal content management system (CMS).

I’ve talked to many people about OSS and why I think it is so important and it is often difficult to convey the difference between OSS and proprietary software. I can think of many illustrations and examples, but have never found a decent analogy until today.

Here it is:

If software is the cake, then the source code is the recipe for that cake. A proprietary system is like a cake made by a bakery. We can purchase the cake and enjoy it, but we can’t have access to the recipe. That is usually OK, but what if we like the cake but need to change something about it, let’s say because we are allergic to nuts for example. The recipe gives us the opportunity to change the the cake for our own needs (or a whole community of people with similar needs). It isn’t even necessary to know how to bake to appreciate the access to the recipe, because someone else could modify and bake the cake – we could even pay someone to bake the cake for us. Access to the recipe makes the difference though. So it is with OSS.