Trying out alternatives

This started as a comment on Martin’s post about problems with Vista but grew a bit too long so I have put it here.

I have too many machines (can you have too many :-)) the one I use most is the MacBook (especially now I have discovered it is Unix really), then the little Linux Asus which is an amazing blend of very easy to use and versatility, last my Vaio with XP (in a cupboard at work for the last month). There are a few applications that are handy for the PC but otherwise somehow it isn’t the best to use. The best free stuff is in the Unix world – Mac and Linux give you access. The advantage of the the PC used to be that you didn’t need to think about how it works – but with online updates and validations then it looks like you do. I am also looking at alternatives for Word at the moment so MS is becoming less important for me – because things do not interoperate fully rather than down on the applications themselves. If Word had an uncluttered export of HTML or XML then I would be happy sticking stuff in it, but it doesn’t so that generates a whole new job of reformatting, cutting and pasting, and general fiddling with documents that should not be there. This really hits me in my role as a journal editor.

So at the moment I feel my world may be in transition and I have been trying out some alternatives – XML editors, LaTeX, Google Docs, etc. I will try to write more later but i am feeling a pull away from the institutional preferences towards alternative application mixes – and just if you are like Martin and your Vista machine refuses to let you do anything!

One Response to Trying out alternatives

  1. Hi Patrick,

    Hopefully the OpenDocument format will catch on ( which should make this transition easier. It is an XML based format so could be handled by XML tools, and works across several applications such as OpenOffice, Google Docs and KOffice. This is a great step forward from the old binary formats as it should be easier to repair a document if it gets corrupted. The nice thing about a ISO-recognised standard like this is that it is much easier for software developers to support, so making it easier for end users to switch between applications as it will vary from time to time as to which one provides the best user experience.

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