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Unlike Microsoft’s suite, which creates files in a proprietary formats, Open Office’s files are in formats which are open. ODF (Open Document Format) is an ISO standard and a European Union recommendation. OpenOffice Writer can itself convert a file from DOC to ODT. Unfortunately the conversion doesn’t always work. (Give examples?)

“The other disadvantage of Open Document Format is that even for simple documents it is extremely complex. For example, unzipping a one-page document of about 120 words results in a collection of files totalling 300K in size. This makes it relatively difficult to locate the meaningful content and structure and transform it into other formats for viewing or other uses. Instead of leaving documents in this complex format and having a hard job writing converters (XSLT stylesheets) for all possible future uses, it would be better to store documents in a simple, clear, well-structured format that makes converters easier to write.” (Ian Barnes of the Australian National University, Preservation of word processing documents (2006), available at here, accessed 29.11.07.)

Issues with the ZIP format too. ZIP is ok now, as ZIP files can be opened by any major platform, and that doesn’t look as if it is going to change. On the other hand, a corruption in the file can result in the loss of the entire file.