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Converting Microsoft Word files to another format is anything but a breeze. In fact, no conversion process I have seen works 100% of the time.
That will always be true, because if a perfect conversion utility existed, Microsoft would just "extend" the format to break it in the next version of Microsoft Word. They are perfectly free to do that; they own the format.
However little you like Stallman, he is absolutely right in pointing out that there is only one way to deal with proprietary formats. When people send me a ".doc" file, I tell them I can't read it and ask them politely to send a<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.pdf file.
Of course, they need to buy software to generate pdf files, since Microsoft Word (by design) does not support any standard format out-of-the-box. But that's their problem, which they created themselves when they decided to use Microsoft Word instead of OpenOffice.
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