One problem that arose recently had to do with a Powerpoint 2007 file that couldn't be viewed.
Microsoft has been wearing the "Let's help out the open source community" mask lately during it's battle to use their version of open source document format. But we all know that they have no intentions of helping or releasing software to help this community.
Otherwise we would have a Powerpoint viewer released under the GPL.
Instead we can either use the viewer found in Open Office or try the pptviewer found in the repositories.
But neither one works for files made with the 2007 version if it is password protected against changes.
So how do I view it?
Well it requires the use of wine and the Powerpoint 2007 viewer that can be downloaded from Micro$oft.
You can get it here;
First you need to make sure you have wine installed.
Once you have downloaded the exe file right click on it and from the options choose 'Open With'.
Now select wine.
If wine is not in your choices go to where it says 'Custom Command' and type in wine.
Now the ppt2007 installer will start. Accept the licensing nonsense and the install will start.
When it is done, you will have a link to it from your Applications-Wine-Program drop down.
But that is a pain to have to open it up, browse to the file then view it. So let's set the file to use this viewer for all ppt files.
Right click on any ppt file and select Properties.
Go to the tab marked Open With.
Now choose Add.
It won't be on the list so we need to add it in. Select the Add button.
Now click on the 'Use a Custom Command'.
Click on Browse.
Go to your home folder. That is the folder that has your user name.
Open that folder. Now right click and choose 'Show Hidden Files'.
Scroll down until you see the .wine folder.
Open that folder then open the drive_c folder.
Open the Program Files folder the the Microsoft Office folder followed by the Office12 folder.
Select the PPTVIEW.EXE file and click on the Open button in the bottom right of the screen.
Now the PPTVIEW file will be in your Open With window.
Make sure the radio button i selected next to the entry and click on Close.
Now you powerpoint files will open with this viewer automatically.
Some hints and tips.
The viewer screen will completely take up your whole screen. There will be no controls.
To access options such as 'next slide' or 'quit' just right click anywhere in the screen.
One problem I did encounter has to do with the automatic opening of them.
Seems that the location of the first ppt file you open and configure determines whether other files open automatically.
If you configured ppt 2007 to automatically open these files with a file on the Desktop then any ppt file on the desktop will be opened with ppt2007.
But if you try opening a ppt file found elsewhere on your system then the 'Browse for file' window will open.
Must be a glitch between wine and the ppt 2007 viewer. Apparently it doesn't pass the file extension parameters across all the folders.
Some final thoughts.
I only offer this work around as a last resort. It's unfortunate that we have to deal with a slew of proprietary formats and are left with very few choices to use these formats.
The pptviewer found in the repositories is nothing more then Micro$oft's ppt viewer '97 configured under wine.
Open Office works well for many ppt files and I suggest you use that option as much as possible.
Hopefully they will come up with a new version to handle these files.
Support your open source community. It's the real future.