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Sun Says They'll Convert Word Files to ODF
Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 02:28 PM EST

Since Microsoft would rather fight than switch to supporting ODF, Sun is stepping up to the plate, according to eWeek:
Sun Microsystems Inc. will be offering a new Sun Grid utility service that will convert Word files into ODF (Open Document Format).

Another Sun Grid utility will convert text files into audio files for podcasts or for playback on Web sites, said Tom Goguen, vice president with Sun's software group.

Sun is offering the service so enterprises will no longer be locked into a single vendor's proprietary document format. . . .

The service will give companies with older versions of Microsoft Windows the option of shifting to open source desktop application suites rather than upgrade to the latest version of Office, he noted.

The Sun announcement is here. This is, I gather, the first fruits of the meeting in Armonk Andy Updegrove told us about (note the nice things he says about some of your comments on Groklaw), and it's wonderful news. For one thing, it's useful for the disabled. It means that you can take any text file and Sun will turn it into an MP3 for you to play back as audio. Of course, you can also play it back as a podcast.

The announcement is also proof, to me, that Microsoft's old business practices will sink their ship, if they don't improve. I think Microsoft underestimates the deep disgust that people feel for bully tactics. SCO made that same mistake. If you haven't read David Berlind's partial transcript of the public hearing in Massachusetts, I hope you will. By the way, I keep trying to tell folks something important: OpenOffice.org comes to us under the LGPL, not the GPL, so all that FUD at the hearing is just that, or a simple misunderstanding. It's also a complex misunderstanding, because ODF is a format, not software. It's not an application under a license, as Berlind points out:

ODF is a specification. It is not software like OpenOffice.org or Microsoft Office are. Like with other specifications that are open standards (ie: HTTP, TCP/IP, HTML, XML, etc.), there is no source code to license and therefore, open source (which applies to source code only, thus open "source") simply doesn't apply. Much the same way Microsoft's support of the open standard HTTP in IIS and its support of TCP/IP in Windows never forced that company to reveal the source code behind those products, support of ODF would never force Microsoft to reveal the source code behind Microsoft Office.

So much for that FUD.

SCO is now moving into the mobile field to try to stay afloat as a company, speaking of companies that underestimated how much we don't like bullies. According to the Hindustan Times, they hope to do well in India:

SCO's senior vice president of marketing, Tim Negris also announced company’s product roadmap and new markets that the company is entering for future growth.

Hailing India as the key market for SCO, Negris said the company saw a 40 per cent increase in revenues between 2004 and 2005 from this region.

Maybe they hope the gestank of SCO doesn't reach that far. They also got the mayor of Provo, Utah to try out Me Inc., free, I gather , according to what I'm told by someone in the local LUG, for his campaign messages. You get an email informing you you have a Shout from Mayor Lewis Billings, and there's a link to an MP3.

I hope Microsoft takes the SCO warning, and turns their ship around in time.

Updegrove shares some more details now from the Armonk meeting:

From the strategy breakout group: The strategy breakout group, predictably, covered a lot of ground. One of the discussions that may have the most immediate concrete results involved the possibility of additional companies making patent non-assertion commitments, either identical or similar to the non-assertion pledge already made by Sun. The effect would be not only to waive any actual patents claims that might be infringed, but also to augment the "aura" of ODF and signify determination among those committed to support ODF's success.

At the conference I attended, someone (who is not a lawyer) asserted that the patents commmons idea was useless. I totally disagreed, and I see I am not alone in recognizing its legal value. Lawyers don't come up with legal ideas that won't work. Well, not usually. "The GPL is unconstitutional" is a once in a lifetime comedy routine.

Here's the meat of the Sun press release, and I must say, I love the text to podcast idea, maybe for Groklaw. What do you think? Pricing to be announced when the project goes live in about a month, but at the moment the grid is available for only $1 an hour, and I'm guessing/hoping this may be less:

**********************************

Sun Microsystems Adds Two New Services to Sun Grid Utility, Easing Transition to Emerging Web 2.0

New Free Retail Services Convert Text to Podcasts and Proprietary Microsoft Word Documents to Open Document Format

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - November 1, 2005 - Today, Sun Microsystems, Inc., (Nasdaq:SUNW) announced its intent to deliver on demand network services to convert documents from native proprietary formats such as Microsoft Office into the Open Document Format (ODF), the industry standard file format. In addition, Sun plans to deliver a service to convert text files to podcasts or audio files for playback at a later date. These introductions add more services to the growing catalog of grid services available via Sun's Grid Utility, and amplify Sun's commitment to deliver on its 24 year vision of "The Network Is The Computer".

Using the new Sun Grid service, virtually any consumer with a Web browser will be able to upload proprietary documents, and have them automatically converted to Open Document Format (ODF). The ODF is an XML-based industry standard file format specification for office productivity applications, including text, spreadsheet and graphical documents. ODF documents are readable by any ODF-enabled applications such as OpenOffice.org or StarOffice, and provide an open, neutral format for users seeking to make content available to the broadest set of audiences, platforms and devices. ODF was recently adopted by the State of Massachusetts for government usage. The Sun Grid Utility service will help simplify the process of converting documents from Microsoft Office to free and open alternatives that radically lower cost, promote cross-platform communications and help users with older versions of Microsoft Windows avoid the costs and risks associated with deploying a newer release of Windows.

In addition, Sun expects to make available within the next 30 days a retail service that generates audio podcasts from any text based content, such as weblog or web site. Podcasts allow users to subscribe to audio content for playback at a later date, and provide those with visual impairments an opportunity to have the Internet "read" to them without human assistance.

Both services will be accessible through a simple web user interface documents or URL's will be submitted, as photos are submitted to photo sharing services, and converted on the network as .odf or .mp3 files, accessible via any browser or appropriate application, such as OpenOffice.org/StarOffice or Apple's iPod.

"It is clear a second generation of the web is emerging, with a broad array of on demand services available freely and ubiquitously, tied not simply to a web browser, but to any application or device that connects to the Internet," said Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer for Sun Microsystems. "Built atop Sun's core innovations, from our industry standard Sun Fire servers, to the fastest growing open source operating system, Solaris, the Sun Grid Utility will spare consumers and enterprises alike from having to build complex infrastructures that are better delivered via a centrally shared service. Innovation will be a core differentiator for Sun, and for Sun's customers, in taking advantage of this next generation web."

The first of the Sun Grid utility services, announced nearly a year ago, is a basic high performance computing facility and currently available under a commercial contract. The ODF service is expected to be available soon on the Sun Grid Public Compute Utility, which opens access to everyone via a portal. The Public version of the Sun Grid is licensed under standard click through terms and purchasable by credit card, and the retail release will mark the industry's first true on-demand computing utility. Unlike traditional "on demand" models, marked more by structured financing and datacenter inventory management than true "computing services" such as eBay or salesforce.com, Sun's Grid offering can spare customers the need to build, manage, provision or power their own computers and storage devices. For tasks as diverse as rendering movies, exploring for oil, or running complex spreadsheet calculations, high performance computing is one of the fastest growing market segments in the IT marketplace. Priced at $1 per CPU-hour1, with no minimum commitment, the Sun Grid utility will provide supercomputing facilities, with no upfront investment, to users and applications alike.

Sun plans to work with the open source community to enhance the OpenOffice.org and StarOffice platforms to leverage these services as native features. With more than 50 million downloads around the world, OpenOffice.org and StarOffice are the most rapidly growing productivity suites on the Internet.


  


Sun Says They'll Convert Word Files to ODF | 272 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Off topic here
Authored by: idahoan on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 02:37 PM EST
make links clickable.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here please
Authored by: idahoan on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 02:38 PM EST
.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Good :)
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 02:41 PM EST
I don't like Sun working to compete, rather than cooperate, with GPL'd software
sometimes, but this at least looks like a good move on their part that I will
give them all due credit for.

[ Reply to This | # ]

It goes deeper than the disabled
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 02:42 PM EST
You can't read in a traffic jam but you can listen.

[ Reply to This | # ]

curious
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 02:49 PM EST
that they'll convert text files into mp3 instead of ogg ;) ogg definitely
doesn't have the traction it could have, but i'm sure it could be just as easily
supported as odf is in all the popular players out there ;)

not comlpaining, just saying that it's curious that they choose one open format
and one proprietary format.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft and ODF
Authored by: Nick_UK on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 03:04 PM EST
I hope Microsoft takes the SCO warning, and turns their ship around in time.

Microsoft will never, ever come around to support an open standard such as ODF, as that goes against their whole business practices.

Microsoft rely on the proprietry 'lock-in' to fuel their monopoly.

ODF allows anyone to use any software - Microsoft will [try] not [to] allow that to happen to undermine its MSOffice cartel.

Of course, they may try the old 'accept, get it used/adopted, then change the standard so it breaks on non-MS software' trick in the future.

Nick

[ Reply to This | # ]

Disgust at the Microsoft bully?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 03:16 PM EST
I think Microsoft underestimates the deep disgust that people feel for bully tactics.
Among many IT professionals (including some IT executives in large organisations) the feeling of disgust at Microsoft is indeed real. However, I do not think the world at large has the same view.

As an IT consultant, I try to do what is best for my client. Much as I hate Microsoft, to take an all Microsoft shop (where absolutely nobody hates Microsoft as I do) and try to introduce an alternative is often not practicable. Sure, long term there would be financial savings, but the immediate investment and dislocation does not make sense when everyone is used to Microsoft systems and sees no problem with the status quo.

For this reason, while I do believe Microsoft's position in the desktop market will erode, I think this will be a very slow process and start initially in large corporations.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun Says They'll Convert Word Files to ODF
Authored by: ruskie on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 03:46 PM EST
What good is an mp3... it's not Free and uneumbered... not to mention it's
rather poor compression...

---
I'm just a nobody IRL...
But I'm sombody in the virtual world...

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Question I'd Love to Ask Others
Authored by: Simon G Best on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 03:53 PM EST

A question I'd love to ask others: "Are you using Open Document Format, yet? Or are you still locked into old, legacy formats?"

:-D

---
FOSS IS political. It's just that the political establishment is out of touch and hasn't caught up.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Am I missing something?
Authored by: davcefai on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 04:01 PM EST
I can convert an MS Office Doc to ODF by opening it in OpenOffice and then
saving it. So what purpose does Sun's offering serve?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun Says They'll Convert Word Files to ODF
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 04:11 PM EST
PJ and company:

I'd like a little help understanding the license that ODF is under. Saying that it is a standard does not negate licensing issues. I've been out to the OASIS website, and the pdf specification states "Copyright (C) 2002-2005 OASIS Open, all rights reserved." In the appendices is a very generous license for use of the document.

I've also looked at the XML schemas, and they are also (c) 2002-2005 OASIS Open. But I can't find a license for use of the schemas. Can anyone point me to a license statement for them?

I'm sure there must be a license somewhere, but what if there wasn't? I'm sure it's wouldn't be the intent of OASIS Open, but, strictly speaking, without a statement of permission to use the schemas wouldn't the default be that copying is forbidden?

[ Reply to This | # ]

"The day it changed"...
Authored by: cybervegan on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 04:32 PM EST
... coming to an Internet near you, soon.

Very Gibsonesque. Let's hope it doesn't go SkyNet on us...

Count: 0 (and Microsoft is no-where to be seen).

8-/
-cybervegan

---
Software source code is a bit like underwear - you only want to show it off in
public if it's clean and tidy. Refusal could be due to embarrassment or shame...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun Says They'll Convert Word Files to ODF
Authored by: geoff lane on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 04:55 PM EST
Nobody seems to have noticed that Suns announcement is something you might expect Google to do. It's a web based generic service that provides something which could be useful to a wide range of users.

Google of course would have supported the service by means of advertising but that would have been unacceptable for commercial users.

OTOH, Sun and Google are much closer than many know. Many ex-Sun people now run Google (as do a number of ex-Novell people.) If it is true that Sun has a large compute grid standing idle then I would bet real money that Eric Schmidt pushed Sun into this scheme.

---
I'm not a Windows user, consequently I'm not
afraid of receiving email from total strangers.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Puzzlement
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 05:08 PM EST
Here's what puzzles me -- as was extensively discussed in the Mass. context,
Microsoft's file formats for the Office suite have the feature that they are not
publicly documented. If I'm not mistaken, the code in e.g. OpenOffice.org to
read and write these formats is based on old and incomplete information from
Microsoft, supplemented by reverse engineering. But the result is still not a
perfect description. And the result can be seen in practice -- some Word files,
read into OpenOffice.org, show a bit of mangling.

So does this mean that a) Sun has gotten their hands on the complete
documentation of the Office file formats, or b) Sun will charge you money to do
a much less than perfect conversion?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Text to MP3 for Disabled People is a Publicity Stunt
Authored by: JD on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 06:12 PM EST
So Microsoft and its puppets were the first to use a11y for the visually impaired as a political football. Now Sun joins in. What we need is for companies to continue to press forward with the improvement of Gnopernicus and for the hoarders of good-quality text-to-speech algorithms and software libraries to make them free software so they can be used in engines like Festival. I've already posted about how ODF is already very accessible. The current applications may not be accessible, but Sun and IBM know how to fix that; or is MS just so expert at a11y that they can't possibly compete? I think not.
So, big business, stop posturing! Do the hard graft of building a11y into the apps. Free your "intellectual property" (hoik ... ping!). Take a small step for the good of your fellow man.
Thanks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What Goes Around Comes Around?
Authored by: sproggit on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 06:25 PM EST
A few years ago now, Microsoft and Novell were engaged in a bitter struggle for
"control" of the corporate network. Novell had Netware [in the time
period I am thinking of releases were around the 3.12 mark], while Microsoft had
LanManager and Windows for Workgroups.

Interestingly, both used protocols that have long since fallen by the wayside...
For Novell it was IPX/SPX and for Microsoft it was NetBEUI. [Lesson in there
somewhere!]

Anyway... at one point in time, Novell decided on a strategy intended to bring
more developers and third party software houses to their cause. They decided to
open up the core APIs from Netware. [I remember reading speculation at the time
that they had been goaded into this, but never saw evidence].

No sooner had they done this, than Microsoft wrote a tool that basically
utilised the API. It literally connected to a Netware server over a local
network, interrogated all it's configuration settings, and was [in theory at
least] capable of sucking out users, groups, permissions, files, configuration
settings, etc, and reproducing them in an "NT Domain" model. In short,
it could suck a Netware Server dry.

Companies the world over liked using Netware - it was more secure and
functionally better than Microsoft. However, they could not afford to run two
NOS [Network Operating System] platforms side by side. Under a huge onslaught
from Microsoft [and tools like this and others] Netware was slowly but firmly
bludgeoned into submission.


Now we are in a slightly different situation. The Commonwealth has basically
insisted upon an open document standard that requires software to converse on a
common protocol. Microsoft are complaining that they are being excluded, that
they cannot or will not implement ODF in Office 12.

Obviously Microsoft believe the world has forgotten their well-known Mantra of
"Embrace... Extend... Extinguish" while at the same time remaining
fearful that the Open Software community are about to use the very same tactic
against them.

But here's Microsoft's dilemma. Refuse to go with an open, industry standard [as
they were forced to when the world moved to TCP/IP and away from
NetBIOS/NetBEUI] and run the risk of being marginalised and of locking
themselves out of markets, or on the other hand adopt an open standard and run
the risk of watching as the Open Source community, standing with impunity on the
rock of open standards, watch patiently while the good ship Microsoft hits those
rocks and starts going down.

I've used this comparison in a post here before [while ago now] but this whole
Microsoft story reminds me in a way of that conversation Princess Leia has in
the first Star Wars movie to be released. She's on the Death Star and being
questioned about the location of the "Secret Rebel Base". Laughing at
the threats she reminds her captors, "The more you tighten your grip, the
more star systems will slip through your fingers".

Maybe Microsoft are dimly realising that they are in a similar situation. When
there is no alternative; when there is noone there to challenge you, then it's
easy to play the bully and get your own way: you have the only game in town. The
moment an alternative springs up, however, and in that moment the people realise
that there *is* another way, then the days of a bully are numbered...

Individually, I might be so insignificant as a software consumer that Bill Gates
would never notice me... but joined with a few million people who think the same
way I do, I'll bet he'll get the message.

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO and ME
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 06:25 PM EST
I wonder if ME Inc is a scam for SCO to get venture capital so they can continue
the IBM-Redhat-Novell litigation?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Text to Speach
Authored by: urzumph on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 06:41 PM EST
PJ, converting text (webpages, whatever) to speach is not really that
difficult.

I use this script to turn my revision notes into an MP3 I can listen to on my
iPod on the way to exams:

make.sh:
echo "(Parameter.set 'Duration_Stretch 1.4)" > outscript
echo "(Parameter.set 'Audio_Method 'Audio_Command)" >>
outscript
echo "(Parameter.set 'Audio_Required_Rate 16000)" >> outscript
echo "(Parameter.set 'Audio_Required_Format 'aiff)" >>
outscript
echo "(Parameter.set 'Audio_Command "cp $FILE
~/audio.aiff")" >> outscript
# Begin actual work
echo "(SayText "" >> outscript
cat $1 >> outscript
echo "")" >> outscript
echo "Created Script"
echo "Creating Audio Now"
festival -b outscript 2>log
echo "Auido Completed"
echo "Encoding MP3 Now"
lame --alt-preset standard audio.aiff audio.mp3 2>>log
rm audio.aiff
echo "Complete"

(note that geeklog makes a mess of my line endings, so you will have to fix them
before running it)
-----
Usage:
make.sh script.txt

If you were going to do webpages, you'd have to do a little bit more work, (What
about frames? tables?) but it shouldn't be huge.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ODF is like the internet
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 06:51 PM EST
Nobody much cares what operating system you use to get on the internet. No one
really cares what browser you use to view the web. Any email program will send
messages. That is because all programs that access the net use the same
standards.

That is exactly what ODF is trying to do to documents. Any program will be able
to open a document. It will become inexpensive to do things like, document to
speach, disabled access of documents, because all the documents will have the
same format.

Is that an analogy that politicians and lawyers can understand?

-- Alma

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Team led by IBM, Sun formalizes OpenDocument support"
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 08:38 PM EST

A group of high-profile technology vendors have formalised plans to promote Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) as a global standard after a meeting at IBM last week, according to an IBM executive....

The first subcommittee could come together in the next several weeks, to address any technical issues that could preclude OpenDocument's use as a global standard, vice-president of standards and open source for IBM, Bob Sutor, said...

The meeting last Friday was attended by executives from IBM and Sun, as well as representatives from some of the technology industry's biggest names, such as Apple, Computer Associates International, Intel, Google, Red Hat, Corel, Oracle, Adobe, OpenOffice.org and Nokia... Linuxworld

Brian S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun could make this even better, AND hasten the demise of Word
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 10:12 PM EST
Easy: offer to convert, for free, any ODF-format document submitted by a public
agency (city council, state house, federal senate, etc) to a podcast. But ONLY
for ODF (the front end can just unzip the ODF and extract the text part, so it
is perfectly aligned with their planned offering).

Agencies would apply for access to a special, no-charge version of the Sun
conversion site. The pressure on Microsoft would be phenomenal. In one step,
Sun would be seen as the company that leads ALL levels of government into the
new era of accessible and open public documents, and "putting their money
where their mouth is" to show the value of this new conversion strategy.

To make it better still, Sun could partner with Google to provide a searchable,
poddable database of public records ("Poodle?"). Could be especially
appealing to challenged, but accessible to all.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Smoke and Mirrors
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 05:06 AM EST
I could also write a rough-and-ready program to convert Word documents to ODF
(for example a script using copy-and-paste into OpenOffice and then saving) but
it wouldn't be especially useful as some formatting would be lost.

The difficult part is making the conversion exact and "lossless" in
all cases - i.e converting all layout information and script exactly. This would
take a colossal amount of programming work and Sun are very, very unlikely to do
it. (Though I expect them to ignore questions on this issue).

Without a guarantee of accuracy, Sun's utility will be OK for e.g. personal
jottings, but not useable on commercial or legal document without expensive,
manual proof-reading. - giafly

[ Reply to This | # ]

Good as this is, Sun could make it even better
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 07:45 AM EST
Easy: offer to convert, for free, any ODF-format document submitted by a public
agency (city council, state house, federal senate, etc) to a podcast. But ONLY
for ODF (the front end can just unzip the ODF and extract the text part, so it
is perfectly aligned with their planned offering).

Agencies would apply for access to a special, no-charge version of the Sun
conversion site. Since many public officials are part time, they'll want the
same convenience at work (where they'd pay for the output).

The pressure on Microsoft would be phenomenal: they'd be seen as protectionist
and hopelessly outwitted at the same time. In one step Sun would be seen as a
company that leads ALL levels of government into the new era of accessible and
open public documents, and "putting their money where their mouth is"
to show the value of this new conversion strategy.

To make it better still, Sun could partner with Google to provide a searchable,
poddable database of public records ("Poodle?"). Could be especially
appealing to challenged, but accessible to all.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Conversions won't make many people switch.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 08:31 AM EST


We have been looking at using Open Office and would like to do it. The problem
is not word and excel, it is Outlook and access. Until someone creates an open
source competitor to Outlook I don't see a lot of people changing. The reason
for this is Office comes with Outlook bundled in. If I change everyone over to
Open Office I still have to go out and buy Outlook then what's the sense. Top
that off with all the access databases that everyone has made and I'm stuck with
no real go reason to change.

Please understand, I really want to get away from MS but I can't justify just
moving partly away.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun Says They'll Convert Word Files to ODF
Authored by: mdchaney on Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 10:04 AM EST

Lights On But No One Home At Sun Grid

Sun's grid: lights on, no customers

It's great to hype this up as Sun trying to get everybody on ODF, but the fact is Sun is just trying to get a customer (note: a customer) for their grid computing cluster which is currently collecting dust.

One customer would at least give them a little credibility for the project, and that's what they desperately want/need.

I'll say this: If there were a market for this product Google would have wrapped it up long before Sun ever thought about it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Security and Privacy Issues
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 10:31 AM EST
While the service that Sun says that they will provide sounds nice, why would I
want to send my confidential documents across the Internet to have them
converted by some other company that might also keep a copy of those documents
to use for some purpose?

Hopefully, Sun would SSL encrypt the traffic as it went over the Internet, but
there is still the question of how well
Sun would protect the documents on their servers. They would do better to
provide a small downloadable utility that could perform the conversions on MY
computer, rather than theirs.

Since OpenOffice can already do this, the downloadable utility should be
something quite small, and of course, open sourced, so that people can make sure
that it doesn't do something sneaky along the way.

[ Reply to This | # ]

No Text-to-Speech in OpenOffice?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 11:01 AM EST
I've been using a word processor with text-to-speech on
another platform (the old Acorn RISC_OS) for the past ten
years. It's very useful to be able to "speak text from
cursor position" for proof-reading (quite apart from the
advantages for people with impared vision). Listening to
the text shows up errors that a spelling checker doesn't
detect, such as a wrong or missing word, and which are
easily missed in visual proofing.

I've downloaded OpenOffice2 but I'm surprised (and
disappointed) that it doesn't seem to have a
text-to-speech feature. I consider it as important as
spell check, but perhaps others don't agree. I've never
used Microsoft Office so I don't know what that offers.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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