April 23, 2019

The StartX Files: In-Depth With StarOffice Filters - page 2

A Brief Stopover

  • October 23, 2001
  • By Brian Proffitt

McNamara cited Word's Fast Save feature as a real problem for Word users when it comes to file size and complexity. Fast Save is the Word process where the original document contents are always saved in one segment of the file and the revisions to the document are saved in another.

"Basically on saving in this [Fast Save method], the total original document is saved and any additional text added is saved separately and some structures point to the various locations of text which are 'real' and to be shown," McNamara said. "So, in this scenario if you have a 9000-page document, save it, and then delete 8999 pages, then all 9000 pages are still stored in the document and the structures pointing to the locations inside it are modified.

"Any additional text written to the document is appended to its structures, and over time the text accumulates, which is why Word documents grow to huge sizes in Word and can be compressed so well," he continued. "Because we don't do this madness, in the general case our Word documents will be smaller than Word's itself because we just save what is actually there."

Since most Word installations activate the Fast Save feature by default, McNamara speculated: "it's such a bodge that I very much expect that given a real world collection of business Word documents and load and save them all with Writer, you'd end up with a significant total space savings."

Fast Save may lead to inflated file sizes and also potential security problems as well. This could happen if create a new document based on an edited version of a sensitive document. If all of the revisions are tracked and reversed, it is conceivable that the original, sensitive, document's text could become visible.

OpenOffice negates these problems by saving documents in a "full save" mode, which basically saves the document contents as they are, without extraneous material. What's visible in the document is what is actually saved.

After my conversation with McNamara, I think I have a more realistic view of what filtering can and cannot do in OpenOffice right now. I am encouraged by the wonderful progress made thus far. Improvements have yet to be made, but it is only a matter of time now before we have a 100% Office compatible tool on Linux.

Now, everybody back on the bus for the journey to next week's stop on our tour: HancomWord 6.0, part of the soon-to-be-released HancomOffice 2.0.

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