Today I received an email from the 'Ecole Doctorale' containing information about the courses which will be given for the PhD students. Attached to the email there was a DOC file with the dates for the whole year.
On my Debian GNU/Linux operating system I have OO.org 2.4 installed, which is able to read most DOC files without problems. But this is not known among "normal" people, i.e. MS Windows users. So in fact if somebody sends you a DOC file she/he supposes that you are running a MS or an Apple operating system with some MS Office installed. Since I felt offended by this assumption, I replied to the secretary that unfortunately I had no MS Office installed, since it was too expensive, and if she could send the files in ODT or PDF.
I expected no reaction at best, or perhaps something like "I do not care" as an answer, but was positively surprised. She even was sorry for not knowing how to save a DOC file as PDF - which is not a surprise, since no MS Office version except for Office 2007 (with a plugin) seems to be capable of doing so. Which is not a surprise, since MS wants to oblige people to buy their products. So you really have to use an external program to get a PDF file from a Word document.
In the end I was not able to suggest a simple solution to the secretary - installing new software is beyond my power. This is a pity, since she really understood the problem.
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