Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Email to Brian > Word-to-Manila

Posted:4/25/2000; 6:40:22 PM
Topic:Email to Brian Behlendorf
Msg #:16684 (In response to 16670)
Prev/Next:16683 / 16685

IMHO, Microsoft has done a darned good job at design and usability with Word, while making it open enough that power users (law firms, novelists, tech writers, engineers) can bend it to their particular needs.

Really? Yikes. I'm a document power user, and I found Word to be such an amazing piece of junk I switched *operating systems* to get as far away from it as I could.

Four of my legion of complaints: first, the Word full justification line break algorithm was *so* bad that I couldn't stand to use it; second, the page break algorithm, especially in a document with footnoes, was so bad that I couldn't stand to look at my own documents after printing them; in university, that's not a good thing; third, it had such abysmally poor support for any kind of textual critical needs that it was useless for anything much more complex than the average business document; fourth, it was slow, slow, slow on really long documents.

Now, I'm not the average *corporate* power user, and I suspect that's part of why I hated Word. But that's just why Microsoft being a monopoly is such a bad thing, since the whole computer-using world doesn't revolve around corporate technical needs; er, well, it does, but it shouldn't. Word was simply useless in an academic setting, especially if you care at all, like Don Knuth does, about the aesthetic quality of the documents that your word processor gives you. So I use LaTeX and I'm a very happy camper.

Alas, I guess I'm just ill-suited to use Word at all since for most of the power uses you cite above, I'd use SGML + DSSSL + TeX, certainly for law docs, tech docs, and engineering stuff. If I were a novelist I'd use Emacs or Nota Bene.

I just can't imagine doing a 1,000 or 2,000 page engineering or aircraft manual or legal brief in Word.


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