Menu
Wanted: developers to make outdated documents readable again

Wanted: developers to make outdated documents readable again

The Document Foundation project aims to develop tools for converting files from proprietary to open formats

The Document Foundation is looking for developers who want to help make documents locked in old, outdated and inaccessible file formats readable again.

The Document Liberation Project aims to attract open source developers to help provide tools for the conversion of proprietary file formats to the corresponding ODF ISO standard document format, The Document Foundation (TDF) said in a news release on Wednesday.

The Germany-based independent, self-governing organization mainly focuses on the development of open source office suite LibreOffice. While LibreOffice community members have been busy improving format interoperability since 2010, help from outside the community is needed to push the effort forward, the foundation said.

So far, LibreOffice developers have provided read support for a variety of proprietary file formats and its import libraries are currently used by a number of vendors, it said.

Being unable to open old files is a common problem encountered by computer users today and caused primarily by proprietary file formats, the foundation said.

The inability to open old files could be especially problematic in government agencies, affecting the ability of government employees, citizens and businesses to access essential public sector information.

The way to prevent or solve this problem is to use true open standards that are fully documented, they said. "But as things stand today, we must face a daunting reality: a significant amount of our legacy digital content is encoded in proprietary, undocumented formats," the project website's reads.

While the project asked for help, it lacks a schedule or plan for formats to covert next, said David Tardon, one of the conversion project's founding members, in an email.

Depending on the format involved, it typically takes a couple of weeks to create a format translator that is usable, and after that it takes more time to iron out the details, he said.

If a format is undocumented, the project tries to uncover the structure of the file format themselves, said Tardon.

"This is actually rather the norm than the exception: very few proprietary file formats have any documentation available," he said.

Interested developers can contact the project.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourcesoftwareLibreOffice

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Channel kicks 2021 into gear as After Hours returns to Auckland

Channel kicks 2021 into gear as After Hours returns to Auckland

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar with a bumper crowd of partners, distributors and vendors descending on The Pantry at Park Hyatt in Auckland to kick-start 2021.

Channel kicks 2021 into gear as After Hours returns to Auckland
The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Show Comments