From Microsoft's download page for their RTF Specification:

To understand rtf, you must first read doc or docx.

That's right. You can't read the RTF specification in an RTF editor. You need something that reads .doc or .docx first. (Admittedly, this is from March of 2008, so this is still Ballmer's Microsoft.)

I'm guessing someone would say that OOXML is open (extensions aside), and that I could write that first.

That looks like fun. The pdf displayed below -- part 1 of edition 4 which does not supersede and refers back to edition 1, which is not included -- is over 5000 pages.

ECMA-376 Edition 4 Part 1 Foreword

Raw XML can be human-readable, but there's no guarantee. UTF can be just as obfuscating as binary. And security through obfuscation is really all we ever had or have. It's all open source once you get to the zeroes and ones.

At least the OOXML format is given in a pdf. ๐Ÿ™„

I know, LibreOffice et all do a decent job with .doc. I can read the spec "for free". It's actually quite interesting, and quickly lets you know that some people still expected to read rtf docs' source when the format was created -- in this way, it's not wholly unlike Markdown.

Unlike most clear text files, an RTF file does not have to contain any carriage return/line feed pairs (CRLFs) and CRLFs should be ignored by RTF readers except that they can act as control word delimiters. RTF files are more readable when CRLFs occur at major group boundaries.

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