September 18, 2005

The Myth of Limited Software Choice for the Mac�

Rick has a great post on the tremendous availability of word processors . Thanks for the interesting entry, Rick. I counted 13 wp's and text editors omm (=on my machine). Of course, several of those are text editors catering to programming. This count doesn't include Unix apps such as emac and vi, etc.

1 comment:

R. Mansfield said...

In spite of all that, I still toyed with the idea of running Nota Bene for Windows in VirtualPC for my dissertation. However, in the end I've decided against it. Although Nota Bene seems to be an academic writer's dream word processor, at its core is the old XyWrite DOS word processor (which also means it could NEVER be ported to the Mac). Reading the Nota Bene list serve, there are numerous references to bugs and crashes (probably due to a 25-year-old core that has not been overly updated)--the kind of things that caused me to switch to the Mac seven years ago. Plus, I've only been able to find and correspond with two people who run Nota Bene in VPC on a Mac and neither had enthusiastic recommendations that I do the same. In fact, both seemed to be individuals who went to the Mac for the same reason a lot of folks do (greater stability, freedom from viruses and spyware), but they have thousands of files leftover in Nota Bene from their DOS/Windows days.

Right now, of all the SIXTY-SEVEN(!) Mac word processors out there, my hope lies with Mellel that it will mature into an advanced instrument for academic writing. But it's not there yet.

A lot of these word processors draw their cues from MS Word. The thing I like about Mellel is that it has NOT tried to become a Word clone. And although it creates a learning curve for those of us who have used Word for years, in many cases, the Redler's rethinking of certain procedures works better in the long run.

Yesterday I was looking at the demo from ThinkFree Office, and I was amazed to see how much it tended to be a carbon copy of Word. If I wanted that, I would just stick with Word.

And of course in spite of all the discussion here and at the Accordance forums and elsewhere about Word's shortcomings, what if Microsoft just got their act together and fixed the unicode issues and allowed for right to left input? And what if Microsoft in its quest to add new features realizes that a lot of folks are using bibliographic databases such as Endnote, Bookends, and Sente and just decide to incorporate that feature into Word itself (similar to Nota Bene)? I wonder what that would do to a lot of these independent developers? But that assumes that Microsoft would be willing to implement such changes in both the Windows and Mac versions. I don't ever see them taking strongly divergent paths for the two platforms.

Makes for interesting days and interesting discussion, though!