From: "MJ Rabin" <MJRa...@mcmail.com>
Subject: Why are Linux applications so bad; why is it that Microsoft can do better?
Date: 1998/09/15
Message-ID: <35fe98ec.0@news2.mcmail.com>#1/1
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Hi,

The subject is meant to antagonise, but I think it is a valid point.

Last week I installed a copy of SUSE 5.2 on my 32 meg P120 and was hoping to
be over and done with Windows 95 and Microsoft Office. After all, Linux is
supposed to breathe new life into old computers.

I use my computer for two reasons: accessing the internet, and word
processing. Once I configured Xwindows, and KDE -- no easy matter for a
novice such as I -- I downloaded three word processing applications.
StarOffice 4.0, WordPerfect 7.0 (trial version) and Maxwell. I never did get
Maxwell to work, but after staying up half the night downloading all 54
megabytes of StarOffice, I went to work editing with StarOffice a 100,000
word manuscript that I have mainly written in Microsoft Word. Now I expected
there to be some formatting irregularities, that seems pretty much par for
the course for changing editors. No converter is perfect. However, I was
astonished to find that not only was StarOffice more bloated than Word, that
it ran about 1/2 the speed -- who says that Linux is not at least as bloated
in terms of applications as are Windows applications -- but it regularly
drops characters when I am typing, and when I print things up, words that I
thought I had deleted re-appear! Now I am not talking about any fancy
features, but with basic on screen editing, the program fails. And as such,
I can't use it! It is in fact for text editing quite inferior to the
WordPerfect 4.2 for DOS that I learned to type with 10 or 15 years ago!
Leaving aside StarOffice 4.0 for the time being, I downloaded all 36
megabytes of the Corel WordPerfect 7.0 trial edition. Now this seemed far
better. At least, you could edit on screen your document without falling
into paroxysms of frustration for not being able to remove extra spaces
between words without whole words disappearing, or inserting a character in
one place, only to have it reappear in another. As well, it loaded far
quicker! However, many of the extra features of this program are clearly
buggy. For instance, to find out how long the document is, you click file,
and then document info. If, however, you do this, the program will close
itself without saving your document. There was no way I could figure out how
to change the font of all my footnotes at once. I could do so individually,
but with some 500 or 600 notes, this could take some time! There seem to be
no easy way to globally change the language the document was written in. In
the old WordPerfect, you could find and replace the secret language codes.
Not so in the Linux version. As the document was in UK English, and the
program only had accessory spellers and so forth for US English, when I
would switch on hyphenation, a screen would come up saying that the program
was unable to find a UK hyphenation file. Fine, it is a US program, I'll
just switch the document to US English. Selecting all under the edit menu,
and then choosing US English under the tools, language menu did nothing. I
could still see by invoking the reveal codes function that quite literally
sprinkled through my documents were instructions to switch back to UK
English. The converter again, possibly, but why shouldn't I be able to
remove these all through a seach and replace exercise. You can't, I tried
everything. I apologise for this rant, but I find the so-called professional
applications under Linux to be very, very frustrating. Until the
applications are good enough, it will be a while before I think Linux may go
mainstream. An operating system should be a means to an end, and not an end
in itself. I understand that Star Corp and WordPerfect may not have the
research and development facilities as do Microsoft, and that Linux is in
any event a specialist operating system for specialist users, but I don't
think this is satisfactory. And if you counter, what do you expect to get
for free, I would say, I am willing to pay, and will happily pay for
applications that I shall use everyday.

Jeff Rabin

PS I have not tried the Applix package yet. Can anyone tell me any
different?

From: m...@swanmore.demon.co.uk (Mike Kenyon)
Subject: Re: Why are Linux applications so bad; why is it that Microsoft can do better?
Date: 1998/09/15
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MJ Rabin (MJRa...@mcmail.com) wrote:
: StarOffice 4.0, WordPerfect 7.0 (trial version) and Maxwell. I never did get

There's your problem. WYSIWYG wordprocesors.

Seriously, I think the problem may be in expecting Linux to be Windows. It's
not. It's a different philosphy. Put that M$ all-signing, all-dancing
cordless power drill/screwdriver/caffitiere and reach for the toolbox that
is unix. I can spell check in British for both mailing and wordprocessing.
I have ispell installed.
-- 

.-----------------------------------.
| Michael Kenyon   Keele University |
| m...@swanmore.demon.co.uk '93-'96 |

From: antis...@feverish.demon.co.uk (Robert Wilderspin)
Subject: Re: Why are Linux applications so bad; why is it that Microsoft can do better?
Date: 1998/09/15
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On Tue, 15 Sep 1998 17:39:37 +0100, "MJ Rabin" <MJRa...@mcmail.com>
wrote:

>The subject is meant to antagonise, but I think it is a valid point.

That depends on what application you're talking about.  In this case
you only talk about word processors, which is what I'd call a
restricted set indeed.

>Last week I installed a copy of SUSE 5.2 on my 32 meg P120 and was hoping to
>be over and done with Windows 95 and Microsoft Office. After all, Linux is
>supposed to breathe new life into old computers.

That sounds like an advertising slogan!

>I use my computer for two reasons: accessing the internet, and word
>processing. Once I configured Xwindows, and KDE -- no easy matter for a
>novice such as I -- I downloaded three word processing applications.
[snippage of reasonable ranting]

>I apologise for this rant, but I find the so-called professional
>applications under Linux to be very, very frustrating. Until the
>applications are good enough, it will be a while before I think Linux may go
>mainstream.

I don't have experience of any of the Linux word processors you've
tried, because I create professional documents with other tools, but I
can assure you that they aren't representative of what would commonly
be known as professional applications under Linux.  Products such as
word processors and spreadsheets are desktop applications, for the
home or office user, and it's only recently that anyone has put
resources into creating them.  Microsoft has had a lot longer to get
where it has, with an essentially infinite budget and more than enough
programmers to do this, so Linux needs some time to catch up.

I agree with your point about Linux going mainstream.  Many people
simply say "The applications aren't there, so Linux won't make it,"
without realising that the apps *will* be there in the near future, or
that it doesn't actually matter whether it hits the mainstream or not!
Linux is very successful where it is, and will continue to be so.

>An operating system should be a means to an end, and not an end
>in itself. I understand that Star Corp and WordPerfect may not have the
>research and development facilities as do Microsoft, and that Linux is in
>any event a specialist operating system for specialist users, but I don't
>think this is satisfactory. 

That is your opinion, based on what you require from an operating
system (or rather, from the tools usable on an OS).  Please remember
though that it is more than satisfactory for many millions of other
users, who may have different requirements to you.

If I bought a sports car and complained that it couldn't carry six
people, I wouldn't be wrong, but I would be misplacing my
dissatisfaction.  I should've got the right vehicle for the job.
(This analogy fails on closer examination, so please don't try!)

>And if you counter, what do you expect to get
>for free, I would say, I am willing to pay, and will happily pay for
>applications that I shall use everyday.

The user-base has only recently grown sufficiently large enough to
warrant the writing of full-scale home office applications, as opposed
to the Windows situation.  Perhaps you'd have more success with them
if you wrote your documents natively in the future?

>PS I have not tried the Applix package yet. Can anyone tell me any
>different?

I've heard that it's better, but I wouldn't be the man to ask.  Star
Office 5 is due out any time now though, and that's supposed to be
quite an improvement.

For a different perspective you could consider the Wine project, which
aims to re-implement the Windows API entirely under Linux.  As more of
this gets completed, more Windows applications are able to run
natively under Linux.  As of today, there is only limited success with
the massive MS Office applications, and older versions work better
than the newer ones, but as Wine gets better there are fewer and fewer
excuses to use MS operating systems.  Take a look at it every few
months to see how far we've got on it, as it could render this entire
argument instantly obsolete.


Rob Wilderspin
--
"But I need it to crash once every few days - 
reboots are the only chance I get to sleep..."
----------------------= (send replies to rob@)

From: ph...@vision25.demon.co.uk (Phil Hunt)
Subject: Re: Why are Linux applications so bad; why is it that Microsoft can do better?
Date: 1998/09/15
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In article <35fe98e...@news2.mcmail.com> MJRa...@mcmail.com "MJ Rabin" writes:
> I use my computer for two reasons: accessing the internet, and word
> processing. Once I configured Xwindows, and KDE -- no easy matter for a
> novice such as I -- I downloaded three word processing applications.
> StarOffice 4.0, WordPerfect 7.0 (trial version) and Maxwell.

I've not used any of these packages, so I can't comment. When I do
document processing on Linux, I use Latex. This has none of the 
problems you have found. 


-- 
Phil Hunt
"Dreaming something won't make it happen, 
but not dreaming something will make it not happen"

From: alast...@calliope.demon.co.uk (Alastair)
Subject: Re: Why are Linux applications so bad; why is it that Microsoft can do better?
Date: 1998/09/15
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Newsgroups: uk.comp.os.linux

MJ Rabin <MJRa...@mcmail.com> wrote:
>Hi,
>
>The subject is meant to antagonise, but I think it is a valid point.

No it's not. Why would you want to antagonise anyway? Some applications are bad
but this is true for any OS.

>Last week I installed a copy of SUSE 5.2 on my 32 meg P120 and was hoping to
>be over and done with Windows 95 and Microsoft Office. After all, Linux is
>supposed to breathe new life into old computers.

Yes, it can. However, if your primary use is MS Office, Linux is not a good
choice. Unix is not for everyone - at least not yet ;) 

As an OS supporting typical 'desktop' applications, Linux is still in it's
infancy but there is work in place trying to rectify that. I'm not sure of the
status of Wordperfect 7.0 but suspect it should be classified 'beta' to a
degree. I haven't tried it but have got Applix - it is perfectly adequate for
my (limited) needs but I am not a 'power' word processor user (as you seem to
be). Try and get an evaluation.

>it ran about 1/2 the speed -- who says that Linux is not at least as bloated
>in terms of applications as are Windows applications -- but it regularly

So what? You only tried _two_ applications, _one_ is 'bloated'

>everything. I apologise for this rant, but I find the so-called professional
>applications under Linux to be very, very frustrating. Until the

'So called' by who? You found _two_ applications unsatisfactory.


>applications are good enough, it will be a while before I think Linux may go
>mainstream. An operating system should be a means to an end, and not an end
>in itself. I understand that Star Corp and WordPerfect may not have the
>research and development facilities as do Microsoft, and that Linux is in

There are plenty of applications that are 'good enough'. In fact, there are
plenty of excellent applications. Also, define 'mainstream'? Oracle on Linux
sounds pretty mainstream to me.

As for 'research and development', how much R&D do you need for a word
processor? 

>any event a specialist operating system for specialist users, but I don't
>think this is satisfactory. And if you counter, what do you expect to get

It's not satisfactory if you're a 'power' word processor user. It is for many
other things.

>for free, I would say, I am willing to pay, and will happily pay for
>applications that I shall use everyday.

I'd re-install Windows instantly then :\

-- 

Alastair
work  : alast...@psoft.co.uk
home  : alast...@calliope.demon.co.uk

From: "MJ Rabin" <MJRa...@mcmail.com>
Subject: Re: Why are Linux applications so bad; why is it that Microsoft can do better?
Date: 1998/09/16
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Thanks to Mike, Phil, Robert and Alastair. I shall take your comments
onboard. I am sorry if I rattled any cages.
Admittedly, my survey was a limited one, but I thought I made that clear in
the original post. As I wrote, this was a rant from a new Linux user who had
bought the hype and decided to put his computer were his mouth was. Anyhow,
thanks for the replies, Jeff


I will try LaTex

From: "MJ Rabin" <MJRa...@mcmail.com>
Subject: Re: Why are Linux applications so bad; why is it that Microsoft can do better?
Date: 1998/09/17
Message-ID: <3600df99.0@news2.mcmail.com>#1/1
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Hi,

I don't think it is actually too much to ask for a WYSIWYG word proccessor.
After all, this is an application that many people use everyday. My problem
with these editors is that they did not do the job well enough for me to
switch over to using Linux full time. And as to my comments with regard to
the spell checking feature of WordPerfect, my complaint was not that it used
US spelling. I can live with that. But that I could not get it to US
spelling throughout the whole of my document, and I could find no easy
method -- not for want of trying of getting it to do so.#

Jeff

Mike Kenyon wrote in message ...
>MJ Rabin (MJRa...@mcmail.com) wrote:
>: StarOffice 4.0, WordPerfect 7.0 (trial version) and Maxwell. I never did
get
>
>There's your problem. WYSIWYG wordprocesors.
>
>Seriously, I think the problem may be in expecting Linux to be Windows.
It's
>not. It's a different philosphy. Put that M$ all-signing, all-dancing
>cordless power drill/screwdriver/caffitiere and reach for the toolbox that
>is unix. I can spell check in British for both mailing and wordprocessing.
>I have ispell installed.
>--
>
>.-----------------------------------.
>| Michael Kenyon   Keele University |
>| m...@swanmore.demon.co.uk '93-'96 |
>

From: "MJ Rabin" <MJRa...@mcmail.com>
Subject: Re: Why are Linux applications so bad; why is it that Microsoft can do better?
Date: 1998/09/17
Message-ID: <3600dfa0.0@news2.mcmail.com>#1/1
X-Deja-AN: 392010766
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Robert Wilderspin wrote in message
<35fed3a4.10290...@mailtraq.feverish.demon.co.uk>...

>If I bought a sports car and complained that it couldn't carry six
>people, I wouldn't be wrong, but I would be misplacing my
>dissatisfaction.  I should've got the right vehicle for the job.
>(This analogy fails on closer examination, so please don't try!)
>

As you say, it is a bad analogy. I simply want a car that drives, and
neither WordPerfect 7 or StarOffice 4.0 do so. I also agree with you that my
set was very limited. But I understand that these are the main wysiswyg
editors for Linux.

I'll take a look at Wine.
Jeff

From: "MJ Rabin" <MJRa...@mcmail.com>
Subject: Re: Why are Linux applications so bad; why is it that Microsoft can do better?
Date: 1998/09/17
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Alastair wrote in message ...
>MJ Rabin <MJRa...@mcmail.com> wrote:
>>Hi,
>>
>>The subject is meant to antagonise, but I think it is a valid point.
>
>No it's not. Why would you want to antagonise anyway? Some applications are
bad
>but this is true for any OS.


Fair enough!

>So what? You only tried _two_ applications, _one_ is 'bloated'

Fair enough!

>
>>everything. I apologise for this rant, but I find the so-called
professional
>>applications under Linux to be very, very frustrating. Until the
>
>'So called' by who? You found _two_ applications unsatisfactory.
>
>

What editor should I use then?


Jeff

From: Yerry Felix <{$OneEy...@esperi.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Re: Why are Linux applications so bad; why is it that Microsoft can do better?
Date: 1998/09/17
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"MJ Rabin" <MJRa...@mcmail.com> writes:

> Alastair wrote in message ...
> >MJ Rabin <MJRa...@mcmail.com> wrote:
> >>Hi,

<snip>

> > What editor should I use then?
>
> Jeff

 ---> Xemacs <---  .. it rocks :-)

You are dealing with complex stuff right? So, you need an editor that
allows you to do those things. Notepad, AsWeEdit, pico (and assorted
simple tools such as VC++ editor & associated things) are more of a
hinderance in the long run.

I couldn't read your original post, so, if you found emacs tough (and
I did at first!!!) you ought to check out this url:

http://cogsci.ucsd.edu/~batali/cogsci18/emacs.html#top

to get you started you find that a few basic commands are all you
need, I got through my first year in CS at Brunel(ml, java, C, C++,
html, TeX) with Xemacs on ~20 commands and I'm a darn sight faster
than my friends who use IDE's, etc. (esp when I get 4-6 incoherent
parts in I have to make into one program - called group projects :-)

I now live with 2 friends from my course and we have Xemacs set up so
we can even hack at the same file at one time :-)

One more thing in Xmacs favour - it keeps the code uniform and even
though we have varying styles of indentation and bracketing etc -
whatever we produce looks like one person having written it because
Xemacs knocks it into (and out of :) shape for us!
 
have fun

1i

ps.: of course, alternatively you may want to check out vi! <g>

From: "MJ Rabin" <MJRa...@mcmail.com>
Subject: Re: Why are Linux applications so bad; why is it that Microsoft can do better?
Date: 1998/09/18
Message-ID: <36027475.0@news2.mcmail.com>#1/1
X-Deja-AN: 392430764
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Hi Yerry,

Actually, I am editing a 100,000 word manuscript, primarily of text. So I am
going to stay away from Emacs, etc. Jeff
Yerry Felix <{$OneEy...@esperi.demon.co.uk> wrote in message ...
>"MJ Rabin" <MJRa...@mcmail.com> writes:
>
>> Alastair wrote in message ...
>> >MJ Rabin <MJRa...@mcmail.com> wrote:
>> >>Hi,
>
><snip>
>
>> > What editor should I use then?
>>
>> Jeff
>
> ---> Xemacs <---  .. it rocks :-)
>
>You are dealing with complex stuff right? So, you need an editor that
>allows you to do those things. Notepad, AsWeEdit, pico (and assorted
>simple tools such as VC++ editor & associated things) are more of a
>hinderance in the long run.
>
>I couldn't read your original post, so, if you found emacs tough (and
>I did at first!!!) you ought to check out this url:
>
>http://cogsci.ucsd.edu/~batali/cogsci18/emacs.html#top
>
>to get you started you find that a few basic commands are all you
>need, I got through my first year in CS at Brunel(ml, java, C, C++,
>html, TeX) with Xemacs on ~20 commands and I'm a darn sight faster
>than my friends who use IDE's, etc. (esp when I get 4-6 incoherent
>parts in I have to make into one program - called group projects :-)
>
>I now live with 2 friends from my course and we have Xemacs set up so
>we can even hack at the same file at one time :-)
>
>One more thing in Xmacs favour - it keeps the code uniform and even
>though we have varying styles of indentation and bracketing etc -
>whatever we produce looks like one person having written it because
>Xemacs knocks it into (and out of :) shape for us!
>
>have fun
>
>1i
>
>ps.: of course, alternatively you may want to check out vi! <g>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

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