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Old 06-16-2008, 12:33 PM   #1
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Saving files to 1.44 floppies with Save As feature in File menu of OpenOffice Writer

I wonder whether anyone can help me with saving files to 1.44 floppies in OpenOffice. I have changed settings and conducted quite a few experiments to see where the problem lies.

In the following attempts, I was successful, taking roughly 10 seconds:
in OpenOffice for Windows in Windows XP;
in Abiword;
in Kword;
a file copied in shell to floppy;
a simple file in OpenOffice given "text" format (less than 10 seconds);
a simple file in OpenOffice given "rich text format:" (less than 10 seconds);

I "converted-and-saved" a file to MS Word format onto a floppy formatted with ext2 in 31 sec (I converted to the /Home/My Documents directory in roughly 4 seconds; that means the save itself probably took 27 seconds and the conversion 4 seconds).

At first a file in Open Document Text could not be saved to floppy.
With my latest version of OpenOffice (2.0.4) I would get two error messages: "Error saving the document Untitled1: /media/floppy/tryagain.odt does not exist." and "Error saving the document tryagain.odt: General Error. General input/output error."
An attempt with OpenOffice 2.4 had the same result.

(In an earlier version of OpenOffice [2.0-pre] the floppy drive would labour noisily for roughly 3 minutes. I forget what the outcome was. I think it didn't copy the file or didn't copy it till sometime later. Basically I think this operation was erratic or unsuccessful.)

My latest experiments involved selecting the following settings:
I gave Owner, Group, and Others rwx permissions for /dev/fd0, /media/ and /media/floppy.
I made the "Save To" default format in OpenOffice "Options" menu /media/floppy.
I did a low-level format on the floppy with fdformat (unnecessarily?), then did mke2fs to create a ext2 filesystem layout.
And of course I mounted the /media/floppy filesystem.
The filesystem type in fstab was auto. The options were: rw (noauto--this one didn't show up with "mount" command), noexec, nosuid, nodev, user, sinc, 0, 0.

Then OpenOffice still took maybe 2 minutes with a lot of fast two-stroke chirping sounds to copy the file to the floppy, though this time there was no error message and the file did ultimately show up on the floppy.

(I am using SuSE 10.2. I have a Dell OptiPlex GX1 Pentium II, CPU: 667; RAM: 512 MB; Hard Drive: 80 GB.) The first round of experiments two or so years ago were with SuSE 10.0 and OpenOffice 2.0-pre.

The conclusion to be drawn here seems to be that there is something drastically wrong with the OpenOffice programming in this feature.

People need to be able to save files to 1.44 floppies. These floppies are cheap, maybe 40 cents each. You save only a file or so to each. If your computer breaks down, you can take such a floppy out and continue your work somewhere else. If you lose or damage the floppy, you don't lose your life's work.
If there is an electrical storm in the vicinity, you should be able to save a file to a 1.44 floppy quickly and easily.
There are problems with USB drives, apart from their cost.

By the way, what's the difference between Linux low-level formatting and DOS low-level formatting? None, right?

Will OpenOffice only recognize a ReiserFS filesystem for an Open Document file, is that it?

Well, I certainly will be interested in hearing from someone who knows the answer to this problem, if there is one.
Old 06-17-2008, 01:23 AM   #2
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Registered: May 2004
Location: Leipzig/Germany
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I'm not an expert - but a few things I'm quite sure of
(if I figured out correctly what your problem seems to be):

- copying/saving a file to floppy (to whatever type of media for that matter) has absolutely nothing to do with OpenOffice (or any program of that kind) - this is the job of the OS

- as I remember it, documents in MS-Offices .doc format tend to be quite large

- as you work the document will grow

- the Program (OpenOffice in your case) will make working-copies - the files ending with "~"
- they will probably be made to the same location where the original is stored - the floppy in your case (?)

- a floppy has a capacity of about 1.44 MB - a little less depending on the filesystem - a rediculously small amount today

- so: there could be 2 copies on that disk - which gives you a max. document size of about 600 kB before the floppy gets full
- in that case the floppy is written to frequently and will wear out pretty quickly

- if you use ext2/3 with default parameters - 5% of the capacity are reserved for the super-user and are thus not usable for you

- floppys are slow: writing a ~1 MB file to a floppy _will_ take some time - this has nothing to do with the editor you use

- floppys are not reliable

You need to watch the size before you write the file (else you get errors) and you will need to live with the write beeing slow.

Price: IIRC a 2 GB USB-thumb-drive was about 5 Euro - maybe 10... which is half a cent for each MB instead of 40 for a floppy it is getting hard to find a computer which even has a floppy drive - it is not as portable as it was years ago.

I hope I was not completely beside the issue...


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