Conversion with Openoffice

Finally, there is a decent way to use openoffice as a file-converter!

I keep an eye on a (currently dysfunctional) e-mail→fax system. The hard part is converting random incoming files to PDF. Especially nasty proprietary-format ones…

I first used WV, a venerable library, which was capable of getting text out of MS word files and into LaTeX. Great for linux sysadmins, but not so good for people who expect their formatting to survive the transition.

Then I moved on to AbiWord. AbiWord has supposedly taken on the WV torch, but it’s given it’s fair share of problems too:

  • It’s command-line PDF conversion has been broken for a while
  • It’s command-line PS conversion was broken for a while, but has since been fixed.
  • Excepting the latest development versions, it requires an X server. I got away with using Xvfb.

Now, I read about unoconv. This looks like exactly what I’ve been looking for! It’ll support all the document types supported by openoffice. Sure the fax server is going to be using a lot more RAM, but this could make it a hell of a lot nicer to work with!

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