Charles Arthur at the Guardian has written an interesting article about problems with Microsoft’s new Office 2007 document formats. As they’re not backwards compatible with previous Word formats, Microsoft’s had to put out converters for older versions of Office to read them, and the consensus seems to be it’s made a mess of the problem.
It’s not just the short-term problems that are concerning – what’s going to happen to those billions of old Word documents? Are we going to be able to read them in 10, 20 or 50 years time? I’m sure I’m not the only one old enough to remember the BBC Domesday project from 1986, and the scare when its data was nearly lost. OK, the Domesday project was more about obsolete hardware than non-standard file formats, but the point is the same. Maybe we should put everything in PDF now and cross our fingers?