April 14, 2007

I feel strong dislike for any company / institutions that use non standard formats. I can’t remember how many time I got a Word Perfect Document and couldn’t open it. Even people chained to non-free systems wrestle with not being able to open documents in odd formats. One of the reasons I dislike Sony came up in the latest LUGRadio episode (link to the ogg). I believe it was Jono Bacon whom said Sony comes out with a new audio format every 6 months. I couldn’t agree more, spending hours looking for an AAC converter is a major hassle. I just make it a personal point to use as many free formats as possible.

However, here is a neat program I found, mp32ogg. Basically, the package (CLI) will take an mp3 and make it an ogg. Quite useful for me at times, I recently got a podcast that Carthik linked to and made it as free as possible. Also, if anyone knows of a tool to convert Word Perfect documents to useable formats please let me know. Bonus points if you can tell me how to use it.


  1. Which version of WordPerfect? 🙂

    I’ve managed to convert my old WP 5.1 documents by importing them into MS Office, then saving them as .doc, and then importing them into OpenOffice.org and writing them as .odt — and I lost almost no formatting (and this was the only way to keep the images).

  2. Hi,

    You might want to look into SoundConverter also (Ubuntu repos). It employs GStreamer 0.10 to convert between mp3/ogg/flac/wav.

  3. Sorry to spam but it seems those were only the format to convert into; I think it accepts any format supported by GStreamer as input. I tested with AAC a minute ago and it worked fine.

  4. Not sure how good it is (I don’t have any WP document to try it on), but wp2x is available in the repositories:

    $ apt-cache search wp2x
    wp2x – WordPerfect 5.x documents to whatever converter

  5. nice blog.

  6. http://wp.openoffice.org/filter.html might also be useful here.

  7. For an all around convetion, audio video documents
    You might have a look a this website,


    There is not much it doesn’t do.

  8. Is converting an MP3 to an OGG making the file any more free? This should only be necessary if you choose not to have an MP3 decoder on your system, but then having a convertor means you have to.

    What we need is for people to make OGG files in the first place. I will always download OGG if it’s available and will only produce OGG files myself.

    When you convert from one lossy format to another you are likely to suffer some degradation in sound quality.

  9. AAC is a standard, just like MP3… there are readily available specs on how to build a decoder or encoder, (but it is patent encumbered, but that is a different issue in nature)

    It is just natural evolution to better audio formats…

  10. Hi there!

    If you’re using OO.org as the word processor to deal with the converted files, there’s a program (I certainly got it through apt / Synaptic, but I’m not sure from which repository) called wpd2sxw which will convert (as you’ve guessed from the name) to sxw, which OO.org can then use, or convert to odt format, etc.

    It’s a command line program with the following syntax (which I know from its nice responsive error message when I entered the name of the program as a command with no arguments):

    “wpd2sxw [–stdout] [outfile],” where is the WordPerfect source document and [outfile] is the sxw target document.

    There is also a Word Perfect importer for AbiWord (install “abiword-plugins” — this includes several other useful things as well); once it’s installed, you can choose to open a WordPerfect document with AbiWord, and Voila! It’s open.

    I haven’t done this in a while, and didn’t have any WordPerfect documents handy, so I just googled and downloaded a few random ones (a legal opinion from Indiana, and part of a medical report from a journal), and both methods worked perfectly; the wpd2sxw method creates a wholly new file up front (which you then open with OO.org or any program that can handle the sxw format), while the AbiWord method just opens and edits the WordPerfect document directly, until you save, at which point you’re essentially doing a “save as” to one of many formats. (For both of them, however, I don’t see a way to export *to* WordPerfect format from either AbiWord or OpenOffice.)

    Now, since I don’t have WordPerfect with which to compare the results on screen, all I can say is that the documents are legible and appear complete and well formatted; if anything is different or missing, well, I can’t prove it, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.



  11. OggConvert is a small PyGTK programme that can will take any media file readable by GStreamer and generate an Ogg Theora/Vorbis file.


  12. Toni: Hmm, being more of an Xine guy myself, I realized that Gstreamer does have some very cool options. I was talking about AAC converters on non-free machines which i struggled with.
    Stuart Langridge: I think that the plugin program is very much in development but I think it has some very good promise. It is essential in my mind, just like we need docx support.
    Steve: I think converting MP3 to ogg does make things more free. At least we are stripping the patent out of the equation. sure that requires a decoder but I think having my files work out of the box on a liveCD, or if I share with other *nix users they don’t have to mess with these non-free formats.
    Tim Lord: your comment was exactly what I needed, many thanks for your reply and your research. You have helped me tremendously.
    Tristian Brindle: I will have to use OggConvert next time I have some content to convert. I do not have any yet but should have some soon.
    Albinodrew: Is this a web based app? I’ll have to look at this further.

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