The Document Foundation Wants to Make Old, Unsupported Formats Accessible Again

Posted on April 3, 2014 12:15 PM by Rob Williams

The Document Foundation, the folks behind the popular open-source software suite LibreOffice, want to make sure that aging, unsupported documents don’t remain unsupported forever. In an initiative called Document Liberation Project, TDF hopes to gather those who are willing to help restore functionality to unsupported document formats and ultimately allow them to be converted to more modern, standardized formats.

Outdated document formats might not matter to most home users, but imagine the large collection of public record documents sitting on servers somewhere that were created with software that might not have been supported for a couple of decades. Software comes, and software goes – and sometimes, document support goes with it.

LibreOffice 422

Document formats that TDF hopes to support in the future haven’t been listed (as far as I can tell), but the press release highlights proprietary formats that have already had support added to LibreOffice; these include Abiword, Calligra, CorelDRAW, Scribus, Inkscape, Apple Keynote, Microsoft Publisher, and others.

Document Liberation Project leader Fridrich Strba raises an excellent point about why this undertaking is important: “when a public administration stores documents using a proprietary or a non documented format, it unintentionally restricts access to essential information to citizens, administrations and businesses. Astonishingly enough, even governments might be unable to open their own documents after an upgrade of their operating system and office software.”

You can learn more about this project on its official siteĀ here, and as always, the project accepts donations and welcomes contributors.

  • timverry

    Heh, I can finally open all my MS Works documents! Well, if I still had a floppy disk drive :).

    • Rob Williams

      As much as I can feel a little nostalgic about our PCs of yesteryear, I sure don’t miss the floppy era. Heck, I’m starting to feel the same way about optical discs.

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