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Why Microsoft Word must Die. I hate Microsoft Word. I hate Microsoft Word with a burning, fiery passion. I hate Microsoft Word the way Winston Smith hated Big Brother. Our reasons are, alarmingly, not dissimilar .. Microsoft Word is a tyrant of the imagination, a petty, unimaginative, inconsistent dictator that is ill- suited to any creative writer's use. Worse: it is a near- monopolist, dominating the word processing field.
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Its pervasive near- monopoly status has brainwashed software developers to such an extent that few can imagine a word processing tool that exists as anything other than as a shallow imitation of the Redmond Behemoth. But what exactly is wrong with it? I've been using word processors and text editors for nearly 3. There was an era before Microsoft Word's dominance when a variety of radically different paradigms for text preparation and formatting competed in an open marketplace of ideas. One early and particularly effective combination was the idea of a text file, containing embedded commands or macros, that could be edited with a programmer's text editor (such as ed or teco or, later, vi or emacs) and subsequently fed to a variety of tools: offline spelling checkers, grammar checkers, and formatters like scribe, troff, and latex that produced a binary page image that could be downloaded to a printer. These tools were fast, powerful, elegant, and extremely demanding of the user. Ie 10 Download For Vista.
As the first 8- bit personal computers appeared (largely consisting of the Apple II and the rival CP/M ecosystem), programmers tried to develop a hybrid tool called a word processor: a screen- oriented editor that hid the complex and hostile printer control commands from the author, replacing them with visible highlight characters on screen and revealing them only when the user told the program to . Programs like Word. Star led the way, until Word. Perfect took the market in the early 1. Then, in the late 1. MIT and Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center began to develop the tools that fleshed out the graphical user interface of workstations like the Xerox Star and, later, the Apple Lisa and Macintosh (and finally the Johnny- come- lately imitator, Microsoft Windows).
An ongoing war broke out between two factions. One faction wanted to take the classic embedded- codes model, and update it to a graphical bitmapped display: you would select a section of text and mark it as . But another group wanted to use a far more powerful model: hierarchical style sheets.
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In a style sheet system, units of text - - words, or paragraphs - - are tagged with a style name, which possesses a set of attributes which are applied to the text chunk when it's printed. Microsoft was a personal computer software company in the early 1. BASIC interpreter and MS- DOS operating system.
Steve Jobs approached Bill Gates to write applications for the new Macintosh system in 1. Bill agreed. One of his first jobs was to organize the first true WYSIWYG word processor for a personal computer - - Microsoft Word for Macintosh.
Arguments raged internally: should it use control codes, or hierarchical style sheets? In the end, the decree went out: Word should implement both formatting paradigms. Even though they're fundamentally incompatible and you can get into a horrible mess by applying simple character formatting to a style- driven document, or vice versa. Word was in fact broken by design, from the outset - - and it only got worse from there.
Over the late 1. 98. Microsoft grew into a behemoth with a near- monopoly position in the world of software. One of its tactics became known (and feared) throughout the industry: embrace and extend.
If confronted with a successful new type of software, Microsoft would purchase one of the leading companies in the sector and then throw resources at integrating their product into Microsoft's own ecosystem, if necessary dumping it at below cost in order to drive rivals out of business. Microsoft Word grew by acquiring new subsystems: mail merge, spelling checkers, grammar checkers, outline processing. All of these were once successful cottage industries with a thriving community of rival product vendors striving to produce better products that would capture each others' market share. But one by one, Microsoft moved into each sector and built one of the competitors into Word, thereby killing the competition and stifling innovation. Microsoft killed the outline processor on Windows; stalled development of the grammar checking tool, stifled spelling checkers.
There is an entire graveyard of once- hopeful new software ecosystems, and its name is Microsoft Word. As the product grew, Microsoft deployed their embrace- and- extend tactic to force users to upgrade, locking them into Word, by changing the file format the program used on a regular basis. Early versions of Word interoperated well with rivals such as Word Perfect, importing and exporting other programs' file formats.
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