Garo Garabedyan's Divergent Thinking Blog

OpenOffice Documents storing pictures by their web addresses enables understanding when and who views OpenOffice file

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I copied some text and pictures from Mozilla and pasted it in OpenOffice Writer. When I open the document again I saw that it loads very slow and there is some internet transfer happening. I know that ODF files are archived XML files with additional folders containing files which are addressed in the XML(s). I was thinking that when I copied the content from the web browser the OpenOffice software will not copy the link to the image but the whole picture file and will place it in the folder for additional parts of the document. But I was wrong.

In OpenDocument pictures can not be copied but only their web addresses can be saved and when you open an OpenOffice Document the computer will download from the internet the all needed pictures.

If you are a web publisher, you can use ODF files(*) in order to record how many times someone downloaded your picture and this way conclude approximately how many times your document is opened. The same approach is famous to e-mail users which want to know how many times and when sent e-mail message by them is opened, imagine sending the message in ODF file attachment. In the same case, you can trace the IPs of the viewers in order to try to recognize the different persons opening your document, but I am not sure that you can set cookies to the viewers’ machines, I think you can’t but this have to be tested on different platforms in order to be sure that when Internet browser component connects to the picture host it ignores any receiving of cookie and doesn’t send any.

I think that this is not a problem of Open Document Format, but of OpenOffice (I don’t know how this problem stays in MS Office which can save and open ODF files) which program policy is technologically free to choose in which way to process the pasted web pictures in a document.

* No matter of the product opening the ODF file it (the product) can’t ignore the need of downloading the picture in order to show it to the user.

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Written by garabedyan

January 19, 2008 at 22:03

Posted in Uncategorized

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