[SASAG] Proprietary Formats on Public Mailing Lists -- Was: Re: System Admin Job opportunity

Scott McDermott scottm at octaldream.com
Fri Aug 31 13:18:48 PDT 2007

I think it's fairly safe to say that this is stuff we all are aware of.
That said, the use of a .doc to post a position in a Windows environment is hardly precedent sharing. Since this list is for all types of system administrators, including those that use Word, I chose to forward it on.
Scott McDermott


From: Mohsen Banan-vendors [mailto:vendors at mohsen.banan.1.byname.net]
Sent: Fri 8/31/2007 12:40
To: Scott McDermott
Cc: Seattle Area System Administrators Guild; kblackwo at greenriver.edu
Subject: Now: Proprietary Formats on Public Mailing Lists -- Was: Re: [SASAG] System Admin Job opportunity

>>>>> On Sun, 26 Aug 2007 22:33:39 -0700, "Scott McDermott" <scottm at octaldream.com> said:

  Scott> [Forwarded email, don't reply to me with inquiries.]

This is not an inquiry.

It is about the proprietary format of the
attachment that you posted to a public mailing

This is particularly bad form on a system
administrators' mailing list where members are
expected to know better.

Below is the message that I typically send when
people send me Microsoft Word format documents.

  Subject : I Prefer Not to Receive Informaton in Proprietary Formats

You sent the document in Microsoft Word format, a secret
proprietary format, so it is hard for me to read. If you
send me plain text, HTML, or PDF, then I will read it.

Please recognize that this note is not about what you
may have wished to communicate in that document. You
have made the implicit assumption that I would be able
to easily read the document in that format. That
assumption is a mistake.

Distributing documents in Word format is bad for you and
for others. Receiving Word attachments is bad for you
because they can carry viruses (see
http://www.viruslist.com/eng/viruslist.html?id=7). 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. See
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3154479.stm for
more info.

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 using Word 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.

Your computer may also have a program to convert to pdf
format. Select File => Print. Scroll through available
printers and select the pdf converter. Click on the
Print button and enter a name for the pdf file when



PS: For further reasons why .doc should not be the
format of choice when exchanging information
electronically, I invite you to read
It may be long, but it certainly exposes the compromises
both you, as the sender, and I, as the receiver, are
making by exchanging Microsoft Word documents.

  Kelly> From: Kelly Blackwood [mailto:kblackwo at greenriver.edu]
  Kelly> Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 13:46
  Kelly> To: coordinator at sasag.org
  Kelly> Subject: System Admin Job opportunity

  Kelly> Hello there
  Kelly> I posted this on SAGE also but hopefully I can also get the word out this way.  Green River Community College in Auburn, WA is recruiting for a System Administrator - ITS5.  I've included the job announcement.  If you know of any qualified or interested candidates, I'd love to hear about them or please feel free to forward the announcement to the ends of the IT universe.
  Kelly> I appreciate your time and consideration of our search.  Green River is a great place to work!
  Kelly> Kelly Blackwood, PHR
  Kelly> HR Consultant 3
  Kelly> Green River Community College
  Kelly> Auburn, WA
  Kelly> www.greenriver.edu/jobs

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