Word considered harmful?

Dvorak makes an interesting argument for why Word must die. As the last version I used with any great regularity was Word97, I can't really see things entirely his way; but it's a good read.

Not that it matters, but my first version of Word was 1.05 for the Macintosh. It was greatly inferior to the Xerox word processor I'd grown fond of (but we couldn't afford for our little aerospace consulting practice). It was much slower to use than WordStar on our shared buss 8mhz Z80's (with a RAM disk big enough for my documents, the compilation system and the project du jour); but combined with a laserprinter was vastly faster at printing equations (we had been using a roff-like package on the Z80, "Fancy Font" with multiple Epson printers, each being driven to early destruction by using them exclusively in graphics mode, and striking each line about seven times on average).

I think my favorite word processor (after the Xerox dedicated hardware) probably remains "FullWrite" a package for the Mac that eventually disappeared into the void. If memory serves, it had pretty good (better than Word2K) pagelayout facilities bulit right into the wordprocessor, with wordprocessor ease of use. But as it lost vendor support long ago, I eventually gave it up. An unrelated vendor (also long disappeared, as best I can tell) produced my favorite spreadsheet of all time, "Trapeze".

A combination of Star/Open/NeoOffice tends to do most of my needs reasonably well (with the odd dip into Framemaker for some larger more elaborate documents). But I do a lot less mathematical typing these days, so comparing my needs of today and of 17+ years ago is probably not terribly meaningful ... even to myself.
Comments:

Most of Dvorak's niggles are with 'windows installer hell' which is definately one of the most sob-inducingly awful 'features' of Windows in general.

Posted by IM on August 25, 2004 at 01:24 AM PDT #

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