Text sent by Richard Stallman to a mailing list, after receiving a Word
You sent the attachment in Microsoft Word format, a secret proprietary
format, so I cannot read it. If you send me the text in ASCII, or
HTML, or PDF, then I could read it. Plain ASCII is probably the best,
because that is convenient for citing portions in a response.
Distributing documents in Word format is bad for you and for others.
You can't be sure what they will look like if someone views them
with a different version of Word; they may not work at all.
Receiving Word attachments is bad for you because they can carry
viruses (see http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/acro.html).
Sending Word attachments is bad for you, because a Word document
normally includes hidden information about the author, enabling those
in the know to pry into the author's activities (maybe yours). Text
that you think you deleted may still be embarrassingly present. For
instance, when the European Commission published this directive in
Word format, they revealed it was really written by someone who works
for the BSA. See http://www.microsystems.com/Shares_Well.htm for more
But above all, sending people Word documents puts pressure on them to
use Microsoft software and helps to deny them any other choice. In
effect, you become a buttress of the Microsoft monopoly. This
pressure is a major obstacle to the broader adoption of free software.
Would you please reconsider the use of Word format for communication
with other people?
To convert the file to HTML is simple. Open the document, click
on File, then Save As, and in the Save As Type strip box at the bottom
of the box, choose HTML Document or Web Page. Then choose Save. You
can then attach the new HTML document instead of your Word document.
Note that Word changes in inconsistent ways--if you see slightly
different menu item names, please try them.
To convert to plain text is almost the same--instead of HTML
Document, choose Text Only or Text Document as the Save As Type.
See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html for more about