In a Perfect World…

we can put an end to Word attachments, an article written by Richard Stallman. Mr. Stallman was featured in the movie Revolution OS and is the (according to Wikipedia entry) is an American software freedom activist, hacker (programmer), and software developer. He seems to be a man of strong convictions and at times can come off a bit extreme. But one can not fault him for being passionate.

My boss, Amy De Groff Director of IT, forwarded me his article on ending Word attachments. As someone that uses OpenOffice.org products which can open most Microsoft Word docs it never fails to frustrate me that someone assumes that I am using Microsoft products. Or that I want my inbox filled with attachments that take up room. But I just shrug my shoulders, grin and bear it and move on.

In a perfect world people would do just what Mr. Stallman suggests in his article – send as plain text, HTML (love that idea) or PDF. I don’t know how Mr. Stallman feels about this but why not use something like Google Docs or Zoho? All I would get in my email (if you must communicate that way) is a hyperlink. I like his ideas for many reasons – reduce the amount of space taken up by documents as attachments and not using proprietary software products. But lets take it one step further – use collaborative software such as Google Docs or Zoho. This keeps not only everyone’s inbox smaller but 20 people don’t need to download the document to read it, forgetting to delete it and then junking up their hard drive space.

I love to use things like Google Docs, Doodle (when I want to take a poll of many different people) because all anyone needs is a web browser (hopefully Firefox but that’s another battle) and Internet access. They don’t need specific software to view or edit the attachment.

I wish Mr. Stallman luck in his crusade. I think it is a noble one and one that will happen albeit slowly.

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