Of Books and Bibliographies.

As I work in a University, a lot of the documents that people write have to have bibliographies listing citations and the like.

As most users also write their documents using Microsoft Office they need a solution that works with it. The most common solution is to purchase and use Endnote.

And this is why I get disgruntled with Windows and Macs. If you go out and buy a computer, whether it is a Windows PC or an Apple Mac, you would hope that your expenditure would get you a working system, that all you would have to do would be to take it home and plug it in, and you could start doing useful things with it. But the reality is that that often isn’t the case.

So you want to write a letter thanking Auntie Maude for the Christmas money that means that there was enough in your bank account to buy your computer. On Windows you could use WordPad and on a Mac you could use TextEdit. But both are very limited, in their scope in order to encourage you to shell out more money for a decent word processor.

And in the majority of cases this ends up being Microsoft Word.

The situation is even worse when it comes to spreadsheets and presentation tools. Neither Windows or Mac ships with even a cut down tool for these core computer uses.

In effect, you are put in a position where you are essentially expected to buy a computer which will cost at least £400, and then you will be cajoled or bounced into purchasing software to make use of hardware, using the thing that most users will consider to be a central part of a computers use.

This is another of those reasons that I love Linux. I do an install of a modern Linux distribution, and I can expect it to include a word processor , spreadsheet and presentation tool. In many cases there will be more than one (LibreOffice and AbiWord are both capable word processors which will often be found on a fresh install). In the case of graphics editing programs the case is even more stark.

And if you don’t get the program that you need you can usually install it in moments with a simple command, for free.

So, while I appreciate that the learning curve is steeper, I have to ask why would anyone use Windows?

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