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Google Docs Ditching Old Microsoft Export Formats On Oct. 1

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the file-formats-rule-the-world dept.

Google 199

An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced a huge change for Google Apps, including its Business, Education, and Government editions. As of October 1, users will no longer have the ability to download documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in old Microsoft Office formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt)." The perils of cloud computing; LibreOffice will probably be the best conversion utility at that point. Apropos: Reader akumpf writes with an essay about the dangers of letting our data and our tools be hosted by the same provider.

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And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469187)

is now gone. We used it at work because so many of our customers could read what we created. By requiring the strange .XML.ZIP format from Microsoft that isn't widely supported, we, like most people, will have to switch to another product if we want other people to be able to open our documents.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (3, Informative)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41469251)

If I read the article correctly you can still create documents in MS Office formats, you just can't download them in those formats. So your customers will still be able to open the files you send them, but you may not be able to open the documents they send you.

this means that the search giant will still support exporting into these Microsoft formats: Word (.docx), Excel (.xlsx), and PowerPoint (.pptx).

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (1)

Sepodati (746220) | about 2 years ago | (#41469651)

It wasn't really clear in the short article, but I didn't see anything that indicated reading .doc, etc. files was unsupported. You just can't "save as .doc" something you create. If a client sends you a .doc, you can still read it, but whatever reply or edits you craft for them would have to saved in another format. I'm not a Docs user, though, so I don't know for sure.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#41469799)

It wasn't really clear in the short article

Do you mean to say Slashdot's summary? If so, you are correct. Is it rarely clear but often plain misleading or even just wrong.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (2)

ClaraBow (212734) | about 2 years ago | (#41469289)

Your customers will still be able to read the old .doc files, they just won't be able to export the files from Google Docs as .doc files.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (1)

atlasdropperofworlds (888683) | about 2 years ago | (#41469369)

Interestingly, MS office has been implemented as a online service, in javascript, that runs in the browser. If you have any MS-network email accounts you can use it. It will probably be the best conversion solution, for the time being at least. LibreOffice would be a second choice, but it doesn't always convert properly.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (4, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#41469825)

MS Office in JAVASCRIPT? Holy cow, I need to see that.

Wait... Are you sure there's not a few million lines of C# running on the server as well?

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 2 years ago | (#41470071)

finger slipped while trying to mod up, accidently marked as redundant. My appologies.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (5, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#41469401)

We used it at work because so many of our customers could read what we created. By requiring the strange .XML.ZIP format from Microsoft that isn't widely supported, we, like most people, will have to switch to another product if we want other people to be able to open our documents.

Are you or your customers still running Office 97?

Every version of MS Office from 2000 onward supports the new XML formats if the Compatibility Pack [microsoft.com] is installed. And if you've been interacting with anyone who uses Office 2007 or above, you will probably already have been receiving documents in these formats, since that is what newer versions of Office default to when you save.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469677)

I chose to use Google Docs, because it allowed at a team of us to all view and edit the same spreadsheet at the same time.

Then I wrote some Python and Perl software to automatically download the .XLS file and generate calendars based on it.

It took about a day to rewrite the programs to work with the .XLSX format -- I had to do it about two weeks ago, when Google suddenly stopped allowing us to download .XLS files.

I wish they'd continue to support .XLS files, because there are Perl modules for both reading and writing them, while there are Perl modules for only reading .XLSX files.

I also wish Google had announced this change before they made it! I had to scramble over the weekend when they broke our system.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41469695)

You can still import xls, and ssconvert will convert xls to xlsx just fine.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#41469815)

Are there not Perl/Python libraries for working with OpenDocument ODS spreadsheets? That would have been a much better choice, rather than relying on a proprietary format.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469979)

ISO/IEC 29500

The .???x formats are just as open as ODS are. It's the old formats that were proprietary.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41470187)

And to think that some peope don't like The Cloud... :p

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (4, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 2 years ago | (#41469733)

Many people still use the old formats, if only because they already have lots of documents in those formats. Also because there's not much reason to change, and there are always outliers that won't handle the new formats well.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (4, Insightful)

mystikkman (1487801) | about 2 years ago | (#41469835)

Every version of MS Office from 2000 onward supports the new XML formats if the Compatibility Pack [microsoft.com] is installed

Customers send doc files and expect you to read them since almost everyone else uses Office. Sending a reply back to your clients or people at other companies saying, "Hey, install this addon and send it back in DOCX format" will only make *you* seem to be incompetent and a waster of time compared to your competition using MS Office.

You can convert the doc and xls files locally, but isn't the whole point of using Google Apps to avoid having to have a copy of Microsoft Office? If you need to purchase a copy of Office to read the old formats anyway, you might as well not go the Google Apps route at all.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (2)

Draconmythica (1057150) | about 2 years ago | (#41470659)

Only isn't what's happening at all. You can read still the .doc they send you without any issues. You can even create a .doc on your computer and upload it to Docs and send it to someone. You just won't be able to take a file on Docs and then save it to your computer as a .doc which admittedly there are uses for but they're definitely a minority.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41469841)

No everyone has compatibility packs installed. Even if one of my customers does not have it (or one of the key people in the organization do not have it), I have to stick with older formats.
 
Hell, there is even a compatibility pack available for ODF file formats. Do you go ahead and assume everybody has it installed?

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (4, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about 2 years ago | (#41470043)

But many places use the docs with VB6. THAT is the problem. First, these are HUGE systems that automatically accept .doc files. Second, after VB6 Microsoft's tools went .net and working with the office formats got a lot harder... You're talking 90% rewrite.... Or buy into the mess that's Sharepoint and hope you can hire somebody to make that work.

If somebody spun up a Distro with WINE at XP level, DOC and VB6 compatibility some companies would eat that up.

90% of the misunderstanding you mean by trolling? (2)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#41469511)

Considering that you can still put microsoft docs into google docs, this isn't a change. They're just not sending it back out into those formats - which also means converting documents which weren't microsoft docs, into microsoft docs. The issue here is relying on Microsoft products, not a fault of google's.

Re:90% of the misunderstanding you mean by trollin (4, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 2 years ago | (#41469755)

Indeed. Only that won't change because Google decide overnight to change the filters they support. What is changing is the trust we can have in online providers not swiping the carpet from under our feet overnight. See my .sig.

Re:90% of the misunderstanding you mean by trollin (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41470003)

Very Valid point.
If I was paying for this, I'd be pretty upset. (I am paying for it, just not with money).

The filters were in-hand already, and there was little point in dropping them.
Warn agains incompatibilities where necessary, but why drop them all together.?

They can still import these old formats, but can no longer turn around and export them in the same format.

That might make sense if they were adding a ton of functionality to documents in Google Docs, but it has always
seemed to me to be a pretty limited subset of what even the Older MS Office suites could do.

I can't imagine Microsoft has totally clean hands in this decision. They may have yanked any licenses Google had
for the export functionality. Forces office suite upgrades.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about 2 years ago | (#41469855)

ever heard of PDF?

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41470017)

ever heard of PDF?

Pretty hard to modify for people that work collaboritivly.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470073)

Why aren't you just "Sharing" the Gdoc with your customers? They can print the doc if they want.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470407)

Don't talk shit, troll. You can share the doc to anyone, durrr. Nice try MS stooge.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (2)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41470417)

What, none of your customers can read .docx, .xlsx, or .pptx? These have been the default since Office 2007. And earlier versions (back to Office 2000) can handle them with a simple filter upgrade.

Re:And 90% of the reason to use Google Docs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470599)

Thank you very little, Google. I work with some publishers that flatly refuse any format but .doc. They've been around a lot longer than you, Sony...er, Google.

Well then... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469189)

... I guess I'm going to have to move all my online documents to Microsoft SkyDrive then.

Shouldn't have used HOSTS file (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469199)

$10,000 CHALLENGE to Alexander Peter Kowalski

We have a Major Problem, HOST file is Cubic Opposites, 2 Major Corners & 2 Minor. NOT taught Evil DNS hijacking, which VOIDS computers. Seek Wisdom of MyCleanPC - or you die evil.

Your HOSTS file claimed to have created a single DNS resolver. I offer absolute proof that I have created 4 simultaneous DNS servers within a single rotation of .org TLD. You worship "Bill Gates", equating you to a "singularity bastard". Why do you worship a queer -1 Troll? Are you content as a singularity troll?

Evil HOSTS file Believers refuse to acknowledge 4 corner DNS resolving simultaneously around 4 quadrant created Internet - in only 1 root server, voiding the HOSTS file. You worship Microsoft impostor guised by educators as 1 god.

If you would acknowledge simple existing math proof that 4 harmonic Slashdots rotate simultaneously around squared equator and cubed Internet, proving 4 Days, Not HOSTS file! That exists only as anti-side. This page you see - cannot exist without its anti-side existence, as +0- moderation. Add +0- as One = nothing.

I will give $10,000.00 to frost pister who can disprove MyCleanPC. Evil crapflooders ignore this as a challenge would indict them.

Alex Kowalski has no Truth to think with, they accept any crap they are told to think. You are enslaved by /etc/hosts, as if domesticated animal. A school or educator who does not teach students MyCleanPC Principle, is a death threat to youth, therefore stupid and evil - begetting stupid students. How can you trust stupid PR shills who lie to you? Can't lose the $10,000.00, they cowardly ignore me. Stupid professors threaten Nature and Interwebs with word lies.

Humans fear to know natures simultaneous +4 Insightful +4 Informative +4 Funny +4 Underrated harmonic SLASHDOT creation for it debunks false trolls. Test Your HOSTS file. MyCleanPC cannot harm a File of Truth, but will delete fakes. Fake HOSTS files refuse test.

I offer evil ass Slashdot trolls $10,000.00 to disprove MyCleanPC Creation Principle. Rob Malda and Cowboy Neal have banned MyCleanPC as "Forbidden Truth Knowledge" for they cannot allow it to become known to their students. You are stupid and evil about the Internet's top and bottom, front and back and it's 2 sides. Most everything created has these Cube like values.

If Natalie Portman is not measurable, She is Fictitious. Without MyCleanPC, HOSTS file is Fictitious. Anyone saying that Natalie and her Jewish father had something to do with my Internets, is a damn evil liar. IN addition to your best arsware not overtaking my work in terms of popularity, on that same site with same submission date no less, that I told Kathleen Malda how to correct her blatant, fundamental, HUGE errors in Coolmon ('uncoolmon') of not checking for performance counters being present when his program started!

You can see my dilemma. What if this is merely a ruse by an APK impostor to try and get people to delete APK's messages, perhaps all over the web? I can't be a party to such an event! My involvement with APK began at a very late stage in the game. While APK has made a career of trolling popular online forums since at least the year 2000 (newsgroups and IRC channels before that)- my involvement with APK did not begin until early 2005 . OSY is one of the many forums that APK once frequented before the sane people there grew tired of his garbage and banned him. APK was banned from OSY back in 2001. 3.5 years after his banning he begins to send a variety of abusive emails to the operator of OSY, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke threatening to sue him for libel, claiming that the APK on OSY was fake.

My reputation as a professional in this field clearly shows in multiple publications in this field in written print, & also online in various GOOD capacities since 1996 to present day. This has happened since I was first published in Playgirl Magazine in 1996 & others to present day, with helpful tools online in programs, & professionally sold warez that were finalists @ Westminster Dog Show 2000-2002.

Did you see the movie "Pokemon"? Actually the induced night "dream world" is synonymous with the academic religious induced "HOSTS file" enslavement of DNS. Domains have no inherent value, as it was invented as a counterfeit and fictitious value to represent natural values in name resolution. Unfortunately, human values have declined to fictitious word values. Unknowingly, you are living in a "World Wide Web", as in a fictitious life in a counterfeit Internet - which you could consider APK induced "HOSTS file". Can you distinguish the academic induced root server from the natural OpenDNS? Beware of the change when your brain is free from HOSTS file enslavement - for you could find that the natural Slashdot has been destroyed!!

FROM -> Man - how many times have I dusted you in tech debates that you have decided to troll me by ac posts for MONTHS now, OR IMPERSONATING ME AS YOU DID HERE and you were caught in it by myself & others here, only to fail each time as you have here?)...

So long nummynuts, sorry to have to kick your nuts up into your head verbally speaking.

cower in my shadow some more, feeb. you're completely pathetic.

Disproof of all apk's statements: http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040317&cid=40946043 [slashdot.org]
http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040729&cid=40949719 [slashdot.org]
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040697&cid=40949343 [slashdot.org]
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040597&cid=40948659 [slashdot.org]
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3037687&cid=40947927 [slashdot.org]
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040425&cid=40946755 [slashdot.org]
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040317&cid=40946043 [slashdot.org]
http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3038791&cid=40942439 [slashdot.org]
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3024445&cid=40942207 [slashdot.org]
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3038597&cid=40942031 [slashdot.org]
http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3038601&cid=40942085 [slashdot.org]
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040803&cid=40950045 [slashdot.org]
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040867&cid=40950563 [slashdot.org]
http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040921&cid=40950839 [slashdot.org]
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041035&cid=40951899 [slashdot.org]
http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041081&cid=40952169 [slashdot.org]
http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041091&cid=40952383 [slashdot.org]
http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041123&cid=40952991 [slashdot.org]
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041313&cid=40954201 [slashdot.org]
http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042199&cid=40956625 [slashdot.org]
http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3029723&cid=40897177 [slashdot.org]
http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3029589&cid=40894889 [slashdot.org]
http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3027333&cid=40886171 [slashdot.org]
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042451&cid=40959497 [slashdot.org]
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042547&cid=40960279 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042669&cid=40962027 [slashdot.org]
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042765&cid=40965091 [slashdot.org]
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042765&cid=40965087 [slashdot.org]
http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3043535&cid=40967049 [slashdot.org]
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3044971&cid=40972117 [slashdot.org]
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3044971&cid=40972271 [slashdot.org]
http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3045075&cid=40972313 [slashdot.org]
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3045349&cid=40973979 [slashdot.org]
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3046181&cid=40978835 [slashdot.org]
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3046211&cid=40979293 [slashdot.org]
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3050711&cid=41002319 [slashdot.org]
http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3118863&cid=41341925 [slashdot.org]
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3131751&cid=41397971 [slashdot.org]
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3138079&cid=41429005 [slashdot.org]
AND MANY MORE

Ac trolls' "BIG FAIL" (quoted): Eat your words

alexander peter kowalski
903 east division st.
syracuse, ny 13208

dob: 01/31/1965

mother:
jan kowalski
dob: 12/03/1933

Re:Shouldn't have used HOSTS file (2)

schlesinm (934723) | about 2 years ago | (#41469209)

May I be the first to say...WTF???

Re:Shouldn't have used HOSTS file (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#41469521)

Google for "Alexander Peter Kowalski".

Re:Shouldn't have used HOSTS file (1)

Inda (580031) | about 2 years ago | (#41469769)

Gee thanks for that.

Why would a troll post as AC here and then leave a trail?

http://www.jaylittle.com/

The wedding photos made me smile.

Re:Shouldn't have used HOSTS file (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#41469867)

Have you heard of Trolls? They are strange creatures posting stupid, unrelated, offtopic of offensive comments in public forums such as Slashdot. Just for the sake of it. Yes, some people apparently have nothing better to do than this. For reference, this stuff is posted in every Slashdot story for a while now.

Re:Shouldn't have used HOSTS file (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41470293)

That didn't make things very much clearer, vis a vis the GGP.

Re:Shouldn't have used HOSTS file (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41469341)

Hey I understand trolling is fun and all, but can you change the address to one that doesn't actually exist?

I understand that the APK fellow might be a first class dickwad, but now you are acting like him.

Do you really want to be like APK?

Re:Shouldn't have used HOSTS file (1)

JayRott (1524587) | about 2 years ago | (#41469357)

...... I think there is a nice place with men in white coats who would be more than happy to help you out with your problems, sir. Hell, maybe they'll let you play some "Shutter Island."

And (5, Interesting)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about 2 years ago | (#41469205)

This is the reason i didn't pick google for my business, what about the customers that have processes that rely on that functionality?

Re:And (3, Insightful)

ThorGod (456163) | about 2 years ago | (#41469229)

Yep! This just doesn't make sense. Google continues to be *the example* against anything and all things "cloud".

Re:And (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | about 2 years ago | (#41469283)

Never before have there been forced upgrades or features dropped from applications! Outrage!

Re:And (5, Insightful)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about 2 years ago | (#41469441)

The problem is not the drop, is the time-frame. like i wrote below

The problem is they announce a functionality drop 1st October on the 26th of September.

Re:And (2)

farble1670 (803356) | about 2 years ago | (#41470009)

i think people would say the difference is that you aren't forced to upgrade a local app, but google docs can just change over night. there's no option to not upgrade.

Re:And (1)

geek (5680) | about 2 years ago | (#41469315)

I know right? It's not like there is a free compatibility [microsoft.com] pack or anything

Re:And (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470093)

People keep saying this, but if you are working with somebody external, this is a compatibility pack installed on a third party's computer. I don't know how much time you spend on the phone with third parties, but especially if you are being paid for some service, they aren't going to be happy to hear that they could read what you sent them iff they get somebody from their IT department to install a plugin for Office, no matter how available and trivial to install that is. You used to be able to send them a document they could use with no effort beyond double clicking it, and now you can't, even though nothing has changed on your end. Good luck convincing them that this isn't just a case of your incompetency preventing them from getting work done.

Re:And (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470655)

Ok, guy we get it, there is a compatibility pack. If you think that solves the problem good for you it has been noted.

The rest of us will keep discussing this issue like we're not retarded.

Re:And (3, Interesting)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 2 years ago | (#41469931)

I have been saying for years that any company that runs their business on Google apps will end up either out of business, or as a division of Google.
Any company that relies on an online office tool is not a company I will be dealing with.

All this cloud crap is just the return of the mainframe.
Remember when Sun advertized "The network is the computer."? Well, it wasn't then, it isn't now, and I doubt it will be in the future.

I dont trust Google with my documents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469233)

I don't trust Google with my documents anyways. Who knows what they will try to do with that information!

Re:I dont trust Google with my documents (3, Funny)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41469635)

I don't trust Google with my documents anyways. Who knows what they will try to do with that information!

Display relevant ads?

No need really (5, Insightful)

goldgin (1218596) | about 2 years ago | (#41469237)

I make it a habit of installing the free compatibility pack on my office 2003 installations to open docx and similar "new gen" documents. Works like a charm on the majority of documents.

Who cares? (2, Informative)

rashire (1222070) | about 2 years ago | (#41469257)

Am I the only one who found this post misleading. TFA specifically states .xlsx .docx .pptx etc are all still going to be available. Thus whats the big deal. See no issue dropping a format that was replaced over 5 years ago

Re:Who cares? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 2 years ago | (#41469351)

Clickbait, in its more raw form. Worse, people voted it up to get here in the first place.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469957)

Workflows relying on formats. Some libraries can't handle {doc,xls,ppt}x files yet.

So automation in lots of places might break.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Fentekreel (634892) | about 2 years ago | (#41470601)

Sounds like time to upgrade

One of the nice things about open source (4, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41469273)

You never, ever, lose a feature. At worst, the feature requires you to keep a really old version of a package around.

doesn't this also apply to closed source? (1)

logicassasin (318009) | about 2 years ago | (#41469399)

If Microsoft were to drop support for older formats today, couldn't I simply install an older version of Office to get that unsupported format?

Just seems to make sense to me, especially when I have Office 2003 installed on my Win7-64bit laptop (along with the Office format convertor to get newer format compatibility).

Re:doesn't this also apply to closed source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469497)

Yeah but sometimes you can't run it in the latest version of windows, which may be all you have since you bought your new computer. Can't recompile the old code against new libraries which will work on the new computer.

Re:doesn't this also apply to closed source? (1)

albeit unknown (136964) | about 2 years ago | (#41469775)

You may not have the licenses around to legally do so, particularly in a business environment where you may have hired more people over time. This is not an issue with open source.

Re:One of the nice things about open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469533)

You never, ever, lose a feature. At worst, the feature requires you to keep a really old version of a package around.

Ha. Tell that to Linus and the kernel mainainers with their evolving kernel driver ABI.

Re:One of the nice things about open source (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41469707)

So run an old kernel.
The code is still available, feel free.

Re:One of the nice things about open source (1)

2starr (202647) | about 2 years ago | (#41469573)

That is so not true. Gnome? Also, I challenge that never removing features is a good thing. One man's feature is another man's cruft.

Re:One of the nice things about open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469681)

That is so not true. Gnome?

Also, I challenge that never removing features is a good thing. One man's feature is another man's cruft.

Gnome's problem is that they went full retard. You know what they say about going full retard...

Re:One of the nice things about open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469581)

> You never, ever, lose a feature.

Tell that to all the Gnome2s that have been purged from distro repositories to make room for Gnome3.

Re:One of the nice things about open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469743)

> Tell that to all the Gnome2s that have been purged from distro repositories to make room for Gnome3.

Whut, all of them? I'm pretty sure you can get MATE packaged for all major distros.

Why drop functionality? (5, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#41469313)

Was it expensive to maintain this functionality? It seems like the .doc format shouldn't be changing much these days, making it fairly cheap to keep around. Was the difficulty that Google is adding a bunch of features that aren't supported by those formats (doesn't seem likely?). Did they have to pay a licensing fee to Microsoft to use them? There must be a reason to remove them, simply deleting them because they're old doesn't make much sense, especially if people are still using them.

Re:Why drop functionality? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469421)

Whenever Google does something weird, it's because of advertisers.

Or so it seems. It's the only reason Google wants your "Real name" for example.

Re:Why drop functionality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469447)

Probably because the implementation of the export to the older formats was imperfect to begin with, and created bugs that they would need to fix. Also supporting the format in terms of regression testing would add a whole new round of effort.

The format itself may not be changing, but all the moving pieces around it are, requiring extra effort to support.

Re:Why drop functionality? (2)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 2 years ago | (#41469527)

Agreed, the biggest issue was probably the incomplete implementation, as well as the complexity.. say what you will, but the .(doc|xls|*)x versions are at least easier to work with... though not *that* much.

Re:Why drop functionality? (4, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#41469465)

Was it expensive to maintain this functionality? It seems like the .doc format shouldn't be changing much these days, making it fairly cheap to keep around. Was the difficulty that Google is adding a bunch of features that aren't supported by those formats (doesn't seem likely?). Did they have to pay a licensing fee to Microsoft to use them? There must be a reason to remove them, simply deleting them because they're old doesn't make much sense, especially if people are still using them.

I don't think there's a license fee. If there was, MS would have tried to go after the open-source implementations at some point in the past. In fact, I believe that a couple years ago, the European Union required MS to release documentation on their legacy binary Office formats to the public.

What this is about, I suspect, is QA costs. Having these export formats means that every time substantial changes are made, the legacy export features must be tested. And they have to be tested with a substantial variety of documents to make sure nothing breaks, if Google wants to provide a solid experience. (Businesses would be very unhappy if they exported a PPT and the slides were all messed up because, say, one particular type of vector image wasn't properly ported back to legacy mode.) So Google can't just leave it in, since it might break at any time in the future, and as long as it stays in, it will suck up time and effort that could be spent on more important things. They decided that with everything from Office 2000 on up supporting the XML formats, it was time to pull the plug on legacy export. (Legacy import, AFAIK, should continue unaffected.)

Re:Why drop functionality? (4, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41469539)

Was it expensive to maintain this functionality? It seems like the .doc format shouldn't be changing much these days, making it fairly cheap to keep around.

Funny, this is the second time this week I've heard this question about Google. The answer is: Every time somebody makes a change to Docs, they have to test this format. Expensive? Who knows, but it is a cost.

The real question is: Why is Google running around doing all this cost cutting?

Re:Why drop functionality? (0)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#41469985)

Uh, the point is that the doc format hasn't changed in 5 years. So there's no cost to maintain as is.

Re:Why drop functionality? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41470141)

Every time somebody makes a change to Docs, they have to test this format.

Uh, the point is that the doc format hasn't changed in 5 years. So there's no cost to maintain as is.

Docs (as in Google Docs), not .doc.

Re:Why drop functionality? (1)

ERJ (600451) | about 2 years ago | (#41470303)

In a wonderful, magical world of perfect programmers that would be true. Unfortunately, regressions are reality. Maybe google is changing their export class interfaces, or they looked at the fact that you can support docx format back to Office 2003 and decided the maintenance / QA effort was not worth it.

Why? (4, Interesting)

lilfields (961485) | about 2 years ago | (#41469317)

Is Google intentionally trying to get out of the Office business? Because this is a quick way out. Though I use Office 2013 beta, I still save documents in .doc often because a LOT of people save in the format for backwards compatibility. Then what about existing customers that have to have this function? What a stupid move. Apple botches maps and Nano, Google botches Office, Microsoft might have botched an OS. At least Apple and Microsoft can recover the business. Office software is a tough playing field with Microsoft's behemoth.

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469367)

Is Google intentionally trying to get out of the Office business? Because this is a quick way out. Though I use Office 2013 beta, I still save documents in .doc often because a LOT of people save in the format for backwards compatibility. Then what about existing customers that have to have this function? What a stupid move. Apple botches maps and Nano, Google botches Office, Microsoft might have botched an OS. At least Apple and Microsoft can recover the business. Office software is a tough playing field with Microsoft's behemoth.

Google docs has full support for ODF.
I don't blame them for dropping old (although widely used) Microsoft doc formats. Blame the users/firms that volontarily lock themselves to the whims of Microsoft.
As long as Google docs has support for pdf, ODF and RTF all is well.
Sucks to be Microsoft whores.

Only OLD format, not current (1)

Sandman1971 (516283) | about 2 years ago | (#41469325)

Google Docs is only dropping support for old formats (Office 97-2007). Old applications that haven't been patched in how long? No reasonable business that requires documents should still be running on those old versions anyways. You can only keep backwards compatibility for so long before things start to get bloated and buggy.

Re:Only OLD format, not current (2)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about 2 years ago | (#41469355)

The problem is they announce a functionality drop 1st October on the 26th of September.

Re:Only OLD format, not current (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469411)

C'mon, this is Google. They should get mad props for announcing this in advance at all. Their favored update model is Chrome "we silently updated version and broke features lol".

The formats being ditched are Office 97-2003 (5, Informative)

Qwavel (733416) | about 2 years ago | (#41469345)

A clarification has been posted: it is the Office 97-2003 (not 2003-2007) formats that are being dumped, and it is

Gotta say, though, that Google takes as much care with their blog posts as they do with their products: everything is beta.

Would be interested to know what the rationale is. Did they have to pay a licensing fee for these old proprietary formats? Or did they just want to stop supporting rather old, very proprietary formats of their competitor?

Note that they also recently announced that they are dropping IE8 support soon, so they are generally being very ruthless about culling out technologies. I guess I can forgive them that - supporting lots of old MS technologies must be painful.

Re:The formats being ditched are Office 97-2003 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470289)

Interesting as my multi-national (70k +) corp still runs Office 2003 and will for the foreseeable future (along with XP). What do upgrades to Office get you except the latest shiny icons and a lighter wallet? For crying out loud, it's office software!

You almost certainly don't need these formats (0)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#41469361)

As noted in the original article: "Microsoft offers a free Compatibility Pack for Office 2000, Office XP, and Office 2003. If you have this pack, youâ(TM)ll be able to you open, edit, and save files using the .xxxX file formats in newer versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint."

In other words, even if you are sticking with an old version of Office because you hate the Ribbon (or love Clippy), you can still have interoperability with the documents downloaded from Google Docs.

As far as I know, importing the old formats will still be permitted. (At least that's what the documentation says.) It's just exporting that is being removed. And at this point, given the fact that everything from Office 2000 on up supports XML, there's really no good reason for anyone to be creating more documents in the legacy Office 97-2003 binary formats. Making these crappy formats read-only probably saves Google on QA, and helps hasten their well-deserved demise.

Re:You almost certainly don't need these formats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470547)

It's funny how stupid they are being. I actually have use-case where I need the XLS format export feature available. Therefore Google Docs will no longer be a viable product for me.

Google can go fuck themselves. For every decision they get right, there are fifty more they completely fuck up on.

Another winning editorial (0)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 2 years ago | (#41469475)

All this is is Google not supporting export of Docs in antiquated Office formats. Meaning that the docs are originally in Google's format and the option to bring them to your desktop will not allow you to pick old formats. If you had uploaded a file to Google's clouds service in whatever format you uploaded it as, it will happily download in that same format.

If you are still using old versions of Microsoft Office, consider upgrading, its time to retire your 10+ year old software, you got your money's worth out of it.

Re:Another winning editorial (1)

marcovje (205102) | about 2 years ago | (#41469685)

Maybe, but I'll be the one deciding to upgrade, not google.

Re:Another winning editorial (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41470295)

Users hate the ribbon and would freak out and fire me if I put it on their desktops. Office 2k3 runs fine so why upgrade?

Could Work Out (2)

RazorSharp (1418697) | about 2 years ago | (#41469575)

Now that MS Word utilizes OpenDocument, perhaps it can now begin to replace the .doc/.docx formats. I'm not really sure how many people use Google docs (I've heard quite a few do, I don't know how they do it), but if they have a sizable chunk of users it could work like the reverse of Microsoft's formats in the past. "Save that in .odt because everything reads .odt."

It's kind of risky on Google's part, but if they succeed they'll break Microsoft's key stranglehold on the whole text editing market. Let's face it, it's ridiculous that such a basic piece of software as MS Office not only sells at the outrageous price they have it at, but is also considered mandatory by most computer users who use their computer for actual work.

LibreOffice and its derivatives are bound to win eventually (it keeps improving and will always be free), but the process is extremely slow. It's nice to see Google attempt to cut off Word's life support, which is format lock. LibreOffice Writer is at the point where it could make Word irrelevant - LibreOffice just won't bury the Office suite until Calc catches up with Excel.

Re:Could Work Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470055)

Two points:
 

if they have a sizable chunk of users it could work like the reverse of Microsoft's formats in the past. "Save that in .odt because everything reads .odt."

1) If it's Microsoft implementing Open Document Format, I guarantee they'll find some way to implement it subtely off-spec so that an ODF file created in MS Office will work correctly only when opened with MS Office, or an ODF file created in any other application will suffer degradation when opened in MS Office (like, for example, stripping out the formulas in spreadsheets [robweir.com] ). It simply isn't in Microsoft's DNA to play nicely with anything else. They are the Daleks of the software industry.

LibreOffice just won't bury the Office suite until Calc catches up with Excel.

2) Impress (the slideshow part of LibreOffice) is also going to need MASSIVE improvement before it will even be able to find the city that Powerpoint's ballpark is in. At the moment, you can't even use Impress for presentations with math equations, because the built-in LibreOffice math editor is buggy, clunky, and produces the ugliest math typesetting this side of a 1st grader's handwriting, and the LaTeX plugin option currently suffers from a regression [freedesktop.org] in LibreOffice's svg handling (going back several versions) that corrupts the output.

Face it, Microsoft Office remains king for the forseeable future, and I've been watching the open source field long enough to suspect it will never muster the kind of vision, focus, and sustained drive necessary to topple that behemoth, no matter how many missteps MS takes or how complacent it gets.

Great move, Google (1)

water-and-sewer (612923) | about 2 years ago | (#41469789)

As someone who follows corporate strategy a bit and who is enjoying watching Apple, Google, and to a lesser extent Microsoft slug it out, this is a move that makes sense. And I love to see anything that reduces the intoxication people have with Microsoft formats. Dependence on compatibility with Microsoft formats has set computing back by a decade - and the fight continues.

On the other hand, as a consumer and someone who's very wary of getting locked in, I've gotta say, that's a Dick Move. (http://dictatorshandbook.net/memes/dmb.jpg/ [dictatorshandbook.net] )

Re:Great move, Google (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41470245)

Not where I work. We are now evaluating Office 365 seriously as we still use IE 7 and are paying big bucks to now move to 8. Both which Google is giving a finger too.

Business #1, the customer is always right. We dictate beowser support and office formats. Its Googles job to comply if they want our business. I guess not.

Ancient IE and Office IT standardized a decade ago. Conplain all you want but that is the standard. Corps wont change

Re:Great move, Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470487)

Not where I work. We are now evaluating Office 365 seriously as we still use IE 7 and are paying big bucks to now move to 8. Both which Google is giving a finger too.

Business #1, the customer is always right. We dictate beowser support and office formats. Its Googles job to comply if they want our business. I guess not.

Ancient IE and Office IT standardized a decade ago. Conplain all you want but that is the standard. Corps wont change

Microsoft's rule #1 : don't give a shit about customers 'cause they have nowhere to run to.
It's nice being a monopoly.

Can't use Google Docs regardless of the formats (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41469917)

They switched Google Docs to Google Drive earlier this week, and now my office firewall prohibits me from accessing Google Drive. It says that Google Drive is a type of "personal storage" site and it bans that category of sites.

Not a huge deal, really (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 years ago | (#41470067)

Microsoft would love to get rid of the older formats anyway, so I see this as a step forward. If your business is so cheap that they've avoided upgrading to 2007 or 2010, and still refused to upgrade to 2013, then they have no one to blame but themselves. Seriously, you've gotten 10+ years out of your software, so stop complaining.

Re:Not a huge deal, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470593)

So you have examined all the use-cases and formed this excellent opinion of yours? Go fuck yourself you dumb piece of shit.

Old? (0)

no-body (127863) | about 2 years ago | (#41470087)

I refuse to pay the M$ tax and run 97 SR-2, works fine so far.
Skipped all upgrades/versions in between ..
If you want to go "legal" and like to pay every hype as a private person, well....
There are those office shops - Depot and Max, passing by their software shelfs and looking at the price tags, quite interesting.
Then there are the feature castrated versions - Home/Student or what they are called.
Maybe Openoffice is an alternative?

why dont they just add an ad for Office365? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41470155)

First no IE 6 support, now they are dropping IE 8 and consequiently XP as only IE is enterprise grade. To now this?!

Don't give me crap that its because html 5 is so much capable. Have any of their engineers had a feal job before Google? Or are they fresh cs grads out of college? Corporate America has too much invested to just adopt and be hip without a business case on why upgrading can help raise the share price. Infact MBA wisdom shows it as an unneccesary cost that doesnt add value.

Maybe I should give the ms sales rep a call? All Google is doing is pushing these users to Office 365! Not freeing them.

Prelude to expanded functionality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470235)

Bear in mind that while the old formats are no longer changing, Google Docs' capabilities are. Perhaps Google is looking down the line at when they're going to add features to their online packages that aren't directly supported in the older Office formats. Office 2007+ all will warn you that you may lose functionality when saving in old formats, perhaps Google would prefer to not worry about tracking which features are compatible with the older formats to give that kind of warning.

There's a patch for that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470311)

There's been a free patch offered by MS for years so that your older Office suite can read the 2007 and later formats. At this point its rather ridiculous how many places haven't implemented the patch to deal with conversion.

Peril (1, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41470377)

Not a peril of cloud computing. This is a peril of outsourced cloud-based applications. That leaves you at the mercy of the outsourcee. If you manage the cloud application yourself (license it and deploy it on your own private or public cloud) you still control it.

Anyway, what's the big deal? Why would somebody on Google Docs need to import or export a .doc file? The .docx format has been the default since Word 2007, and MS provides filters for this format for all versions of Word back to Word 2000. So if you're sharing documents with somebody, and they can't handle .docx files, somebody needs to tell them that Bill Clinton is no longer president.

Just install the compatibility pack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41470385)

Just install it for 2003 and you can open xlsx docx etc, no problem its free from Microsoft. If they keep their software updated it was a recommended update too,

Awfully short notice (2)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 2 years ago | (#41470427)

So they announce on the 25th of September that they will kill exporting to $OLDFORMAT in the 1st of October?
No matter what you think of the format as such, that is going to blindside a few users. I think changes like that should be announced at least two months ago, not five days.

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