Linux

A Linux for everyone (and everything)!

Jack Wallen was hit with an idea that could turn the Linux (and Windows) world on its ear. It's all about a Linux operating system that could do absolutely everything you needed to do. Read on and judge for yourself if this idea could work.

Yesterday, I was on one of my many bike rides (those rides where I do most of my "what should I write about now" thinking) and I was doing the old word association game with myself. During this word association game I said "Windows" which lead to "MS Linux". Of course we all remember the time when the rumors were running rampant that Microsoft was working on a version of Linux that would take the world by storm. It would have the stability, security, and reliability of Linux and all the applications of Windows! Wow, what a idea...that of course, amounted to nothing more than a poorly constructed rumor.

Of course that thought lead me to something altogether different -- a thought that could have traction, could have meaning, could have serious implications.

What if a distribution of Linux was developed that included everything people needed to run standard Linux applications as well as everything they would need to run Windows applications...even games! Stick with me, it could work.

Here's what would this magical distribution would need to include:

  • Standard Linux distribution: Let's say Ubuntu since it still reigns as the user-friendly king.
  • Open Office: In case the user doesn't want to pay for MS Office.
  • The GIMP: (Or Inkskape or Blender) In case the user doesn't want to pay for Photoshop.
  • Cedega: So the user could play Windows-based games.
  • CrossOver Linux: So the user could run MS Office.
  • Browser plugins: So the user does NOT have to worry about installing any plug-ins themselves.
  • Multimedia codecs: For all popular multimedia types.
  • WINE: As a catch-all for other Windows apps.

It would, of course, be best to have everything installed and ready to go. It would be completely self-defeating if the user had to install any of the above (not including the Windows applications or games) to get them to work. What you would have would be the Swiss Army Knife of operating systems. This baby could do anything...and do it well.

Now, here's the kicker...a distribution like this COULD (and should) come with a price. I'm not talking Windows 7 level of price structures...but a single-level price (say $49.99) that would include licenses for Cedega and CrossOver. That would cover the cost of the work as well as any licensing costs the distributor would have to pay out to the creators of the products.

I wouldn't, however, want this product to forsake all things that make Linux what it is. I would want to see the desktop remain as it is (and not Windows-ified). The desktop would need to continue to reflect all that is unique (and right) about Linux. Of course the choice of desktop could be up to the user.

People would buy this. PC makers might even distribute it on new PCs. Who knows. But ultimately the consumer would be the big winner because they would be getting an operating system on their machine that is stable, secure, reliable, AND runs Windows applications. What more could a use need or want?

Something like this is certainly feasible. It wouldn't take a Canonical much work at all to roll the above application set into a retail version of Ubuntu and start selling it. I would buy it...if only to support the cause. Would you?

Linux needs something like this. It needs to show the world it means business and that it can do anything it wants.

Would you pay for a distribution like this? If so, at what price-point? How much do you think the general public would be willing to pay for an operating system that would do everything they need AND eliminate all of the headaches they deal with on a regular basis?

How much would the world pay for a Linux for everyone and everything?

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

254 comments
clarkj76
clarkj76

What about LindowsOS or now called Linspire? They had the same vision and taking that idea all the way home. They did it but.....had a hard time becuase of Microsoft getting the way as usual.

nobby57
nobby57

Hope I didn't post twice - didn't seem to go through the first time. . . A lot of the resistance to desktop Linux comes not from its usability or fitness for the task - that's there in spades - but from human nature. I had a good illustration of this recently when I tried to get a middle-aged, very intelligent lady to use Ubuntu on a capable enough 2.4Ghz P4 that had almost stopped in its tracks after years of running XP (ridden with junk & no maintenance, and probably some malware too). I tried to clean it up but improvement was negligible and I still couldn't be absolutely sure that there was no malware infestation. She was cash-strapped but sick of the machine and wanted a newer computer. In short, a situation that cried out for Ubuntu or Mint! However, despite my efforts to show her how well this would address her problem, and her deep dissatisfaction with XP, she wouldn't change. Why? Because she was frankly afraid of doing something "new". She was willing to accept most of what I said about Linux (we're friends) but was convinced that abandoning Windows would cut her off from some undefined "compatibility" in the future. For no defined reason, she was fearful of stepping off the well-defined Windows path - even though the path, in her experience, hadn't been pleasant or usable - it had been downright frustrating, in fact! So I re-installed XP (what a job!) and she resumed her gloomy trek - not satisfied, not happy, but working again. Many folks are like that, and won't switch because Windows is all they know, or what came on their machine, or just represents "computer" to them. These aren't people like many in this forum who choose Windows because they have good reasons for doing so - these are people who are unhappy with Windows in their own experience, but are actually *afraid* to try anything else! If that sounds dumb, compare it to some other choices we all make and if you're honest you'll see some choices you've made that are somewhat parallel - if not in software, then in life in general. The truth is that Windows doesn't have to be better (or even as good). It's the default choice for most computer users who, even given good reasons to switch and good alternatives to switch to, won't do it. That's not logical, but it's human nature. Humans can change, however! Given enough years of frustration, and some critical mass of other humans who have found a better alternative, the pendulum can swing the other way. This is the Linux challenge - and it's also why the desktop PC market is Microsoft's to lose. We'll see! But it has to do with more than the relative fitness of the two operating systems. Personally, I think Windows will continue to dominate the uninvolved until the next paradigm arrives - cloud computing, or whatever it turns out to be. In the meantime I've chosen to use Linux as my primary OS. You can lead a horse to water. . .

dpresley_50201
dpresley_50201

There is group of developers currently building a binary compatible to Windows XP called ReactOS. It's in alpha stage still, but from what I've read, they've made considerable progress. BTW, the development team just made a comprehensive audit of the source code and no proprietary routines have been found, thus no copyright issues with M$ so far. Those who are curious can go to http://www.reactos.org/en/index.html to download the source code and build it to see how far they've come.

ejones34
ejones34

Fifty bucks is too much money for this. One dollar is too much for this. One cent is. It's a version of Ubuntu (always free, that's the point) where you just made a couple of steps easier... a couple of steps that are already easy in Ubuntu. A buddy and I are already working on a free Linux flavor that can run Windows and DOS executables without a middleman appication like CrossOver or WINE. Free. Good luck selling your fifty-dollar Ubuntu when I start giving that away.

dpresley_50201
dpresley_50201

describes PCLinuxOS. It is the goal of Texstar and his crew to build this elusive all-inclusive Linux distro. They're pretty close, and I use PCLOS as my distro of choice. Download the live CD and run it and you'll be, perhaps, surprised and probably pleased with the apps that are included in the distro. OOo can be installed via a script called getopenoffice. PCLOS also includes the GIMP and WINE. Yes I'm schilling for this distro, but it is an excellent one; Texstar and the gang have done a wonderful job building it over the years. Jack, you should interview Bill Reynolds, AKA "Texstar", about his goals for PCLOS and post the interview on Tech Republic. I think you'll find his dream distro matches pretty closely to what you described in this blog. At least this is the strong impression I have about what Bill ultimately wants for Linux. I would love to read his responses to your questions about this dream distro.

jladd45205
jladd45205

I would Love a distribution like this. However I would not pay for a Linux OS. Instead of charging why not have it be free like how Linux was intended for.Back when Linux was first written one of its intentions was to have a free operating system so that people had a choice. If you were to start charging for desktop use, then Microsoft has won once again.

werewes
werewes

I'm more interested to see what happens with the unified kernel, but I could see (and support) an LTS release coupled with Crossover Professional. I don't see why you need Cedega, and I'm not quite sure if you understand the relationship between Crossover and Wine.

kjfarley108
kjfarley108

Look, I love linux. It is great for back office/it/fun tinkering. But the ipad and it's ilk will take over for 60% of users. No start button, no drivers, no root, no chmod, no apt-get. Push email button, get email. like a toaster. When you buy a car, you're not expected to become an automotive technician. No offense to people who want to tinker, but read Linux Journal for a while, then think of your parents/grandparents doing any of that. Linux should get multimedia sorted. All codecs/media should be immediately playable on install. I know, licensing /etc. But that really would make a huge difference. Plus, a consistent UI standard.

manuelramoscaro
manuelramoscaro

First of all this theory it's a utopy not all win programs can be run on a linux box because some different reasons... and why include cedega and cross-over these program are only facilites for running wine thats really make hard work. With new version allmost run without this...

sd.schiller
sd.schiller

Would need "plug n play" for linux wannabe's like me! nomadd in Apple Valley, CA

greg-50
greg-50

i stepped up to ubuntu 4 years ago and have had no regrets from it and to this day will not use anything windows . so what i can`t play some windows games windows loss not mine {xbox rocks}.open office tools work great . the rest of those window users need to learn what freedom is .to top it all, have had good luck with tech support .

noe.hoyos
noe.hoyos

What it is that people want to see linux at the desktop? It is a great idea for people related to IT but, for example, I do not see my mom or dad strugling to open an email MS. Office attachment using ubuntu. Let Linux run where it does best, at the backend, running servers and services that need reliability, that need a stable and robust OS. Let linux run behind the scene supporting devices we use everyday.

elvino1
elvino1

Linux is ready - with one BIG proviso - someone will have to get the printer manufacturers on side

apsantos2
apsantos2

i think openxange.org could do the job!

francisvandenplas
francisvandenplas

This is definitely "the" good idea. I certainly would pay 50 box for it. Question is: how could they meet this $50.00 price-point? Over here (Europe) Cedega asks ?45.00 (about $58.00) for a one year membership and the more important (for business and general home use) Crossover goes for ?37.00 (about $48.00) for the standard version and ?64.00 (about $83.00) for the professional one including a "CrossOver Games" License. Could such a sharp licensing policy be achieved? And then, but that's personal, Crossover would have to run my good ol' faithful Word XP fast and flawlessly...

DrEonn
DrEonn

There have been many distributions to try this like Linspire. Unfortunately not by the big players (Ubuntu, Red hat, Suse, etc). I agree that if Canonical tries it then the idea would stand a better chance. The part about distribution. Microsoft still has a strangle hold of the big distribution lines. If you remember Asus come out with the eeePC running Linux first, which was a great idea. it was such a good idea that every brand now makes a netbook. I defy you to walk into a BestBuy or a Staples and buy one with Linux installed. Microsoft became so sacred of this new creature the netbook. They went so far as to water down windows to keep the price around $300. Then strong armed the distribution lines so the store only carry machines with their operating system. Desktop count secured. The only place you can get one with Linux is online. The big job would be how to get the distribution lines to carry a Linux machine. How do we stop the Microsoft mercenary tactics?

adam
adam

For someone who knows what they are doing this can be set up now. I use a linux only laptop in a windows environment and have no trouble.

raveee
raveee

Though the idea is mouthwatering, then we linux enthusiasts will be accepting that linux is far far behind microsoft where it really matters - useful userfriendly applications to get over our tasks.

techrepublic
techrepublic

I like everything except MS getting their hands in it. It's just like anything else in life, when those that have the ability to create change and manipulate popular opinion, then the uniqueness and innocence will disappear. MS would eventually control developers by creating Python# or Perl# or PHP#. Then they would define the methodology. Then the pricing structure would change to "target power users", "business level", "starter", etc. Before long you would forget what Ubuntu 10 or whatever used to be because you would be installing the newest Framework to unite everything. History repeats itself...

Rndmacts
Rndmacts

Before your Linux for anyone can take place I see a couple of problem areas that will have to be cleaned up. The major one is driver support, even Ubuntu has problems still with video drivers from ATI, it has problems with printer drivers and don't give me the old saw that its the manufacturers fault, Microsoft and even Apple created good universal drivers that take care of about 90% of all the printers out there. But for the home the biggest failure of Linux is the availability of a good mutimedia product such as the Media Centre in Windows. My entertainment system does incorporate a computer as part of its makeup and I rely on the DVR capabilities of Media Centre to tape TV shows, but also to catalogue my movies, tv shows, music, pictures. I have yet to find a Linux equivalent that is easy to install and use. Maybe when Linux has fixed these two elements then it might be ready to go into the home, but the advertising had better be honest too, not like Apple. Linux is no more secure than Windows and a smart user will install AV software and a firewall and once you start making it the everthing product that consumers will feel comfortable with, then it will suffer from the same bloat that OSX and Windows does.

Techie62
Techie62

The Ubuntu I first worked with was not as user friendly as I had hoped, but that was probably because I was trying to use it on a network that was set up for Windows. Now I am working on just 2 laptops and a home network with Windows XP and 7. I would be willing to give Ubuntu another try, especially if it were around $49 and could do all you described without additional expenditure.

pearlswest
pearlswest

There's so much OS competition that I think that "Who Killed the Electric Car" would happen all over again, but with your Windows/Linux hybrid...Thanks 4 the fun read, though.

jdaughtry
jdaughtry

Two things missing - Calendar and email folder sharing and collaboration like Exchange/Outlook - An "open" document processor that doesn't mangle MS documents the way that Open Office does. Solve those, and you MIGHT have a winner.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Didn't help them all that much either. Attempting to sound like Windows was their biggest problem. ;) Col

rfolden
rfolden

It's the buyers fault! Could it be your product sucks? Let's blame it on the dumbazz buyers. You guys are killing me.

bigaussie
bigaussie

@nobby57: I recently installed Mandrake (Ooops!) Linux One onto my wifes Core 2 Duo laptop. It was the first distro which supported the Sis video chipset. She was quite happy with it. Found all the things she wanted -- got Skype going on it okay. Then Day 2. She fired up Facebook... all good there too; until she tried to play the Flash games. Only half of the flash worked. That was inside Firefox. Once she hit the first "not-working-as-expected" she began to pick it to pieces. She is now happily using Win7, with full Flash support. Damn! Thought I had it for a while there. Many friends of ours are turning to OSX on laptop or iMac. Mainly because of their experiences with iPhone, Ipod etc.... They walk into an Apple Shop, are greeted by smiling people who literally GLOW about the wonderful support offered by Apple. This is likely to be the next *nix -- just by another name, and with a MUCH LARGER marketing budget. I really hate to admit it, because their system is locked down even more than Microsoft.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Your experiences match mine, I go so far as to use the threat of installing Linux to keep windows users in line and safe. It works too. My parents are both rookie users (though my father is quickly becoming an addict :) ). They have had some minor infections a long time ago, but I taught em to fear everything, so they won't click the nasty links. They don't know what a nasty link looks like, so I showed them how google shows websites before you click them, and if the web URL sounds funky, its probably not a good site. Showed em where the picture of the lock in IE6 shows up if its a secure site. It took a damn lot of effort to get em off of IE6 (Hasn't even been 6 months since they switched). It came down to Avant or Orca, Orca of course has issues with google maps, but Avant is as slow as IE6. So Orca + WOT addon and they now have a visual indicator what is a good site. So far they have been on their own and virus free for 4 years... Only in the last year have I installed a proper virus scanner (Avira). With Orca running, my father is impressed with just how much faster it really is, he also likes full screen mode, but dislikes the tabbed interface. Sadly, I do not know of any capable browsers that do not employ tabs. I may switch them to Avant if they continue having trouble, I recall that Avant can turn off the tabbing feature. There system is now nearly 8 years old, XP home edition, and can still bootup in 30 seconds or less. It's only a 1.3ghz processor and 128mb of RAM with a 40gb HDD.

rob.ward78
rob.ward78

Ok and how long have they been working on it? i went there almost 5 years ago and they were on 0.2.9 now it is 0.3.11. how much longer do we need to wait?

ultimitloozer
ultimitloozer

You mean to say that the user at the desktop does not require a stable, reliable, robust operating system? And you also didn't mention anything about security. Apparently these are only required at the server and not the desktop? I doubt that end users would be very happy if these elements were missing from their desktop OS.

DrEonn
DrEonn

There is money yo be made when companies embed software into an operating system. Look at WinDVD. They created LinDVD. It is installed on Mandriva. Crossgen charges that because they have to market the product and find the buyers themselves. How many products to they sell a year? 1,000? 10,000? If their product is installed on a distribution and that distribution pre-installed on an inexpensive machine. Then they could be on 100,000, 500,000 machines or more. With those bigger numbers they can sell it for $5 to $10 and make quite a lot. There is also a value to having your product installed on a distribution. Remember that even though they are installed on that distribution they still have the usual online sales as well.

rindi1
rindi1

You probably haven't heard of freevo. It is a great media center, and works much better than those of Windows.

Tidux
Tidux

The vCalendar plugin for Claws Mail allows you to interact with Outlook/Exchange for scheduling events. Not sure what you mean by email folder collaboration. OO.org vs. MS Office could've ended with ODF as the standard, but MS decided to cripple Office 07's ODF capability to bias people against it.

rindi1
rindi1

If m$Office would keep with the file standards they originally agreed with, and if they were using normal fonts and not the proprietary m$ fonts, OpenOffice wouldn't mangle those docs. If you want to keep to the standards then you have to use something like OpenOffice that keeps to the standards. There are other groupware products that run on Linux and other Platforms. It's just that exchange server again uses a proprietary protocol so you can only use outlook or entourage to connect to it properly. If m$ published that protocol then there would be many other products that could connect properly to an exchange server. So things like that can't be "solved" unless m$ publishes some of it's code, or things get reverse engineered, which probably wouldn't be legal.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Unless you have, or currently own your own failing business.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Mandriva One and Mandriva Free are based on free software. This kind of sucks the way Ubuntu limits hardware support by focusing more on free software. If you'd purchased Mandriva Powerpack, it would have included flash and other patent questionable or otherwise proprietary bits of software. In mandriva's case, you can go with Free or One still. Just visit Easy Urpmi and add the PLF repositories which will include flashplugin-nonfree and your wife will have no trouble with flash media. (I'd recommend Free if your comfortable enough to do a full install rather than a liveCD stamped image) Granted, your wife has now shelled out for Win7 but hopefully it helps you in future or other's out there. (And for the detractors, Flash has to be installed as an after market add-on with Windows also. The only difference is where one downloads Flash from; Adobe.com or plf-nonfree repository.)

rfolden
rfolden

And, when ReFractOS finally "goes PRO", it will offer us all the functionality of Windows 3.11 (WFW).

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

reverse engineering for the purpose of providing a compatible and competitive product is still legal under DMCA as far as I'm aware. The issue is the lag time since reverseing the protocol can't begin until the product is on retail shelves. The original product gets the lead time to become entrenched while the competitive products are constantly playing catchup. Consider Exchange 2003 and 2007. Evolution supports Exchange 2003. Unless it's recently been updated, it doesn't support Exchange 2007 due to changes in the protocols. Evolution will probably gain support for Exchange 2007 through reverse engineering right in time for companies to upgrade to Exchange 2010. It's all about maintaining synthetic barriers to competition and consumer choice for MS.

francisvandenplas
francisvandenplas

Did Bill's gang ever agree upon "standards"? Reluctantly then... But, that's only part of the problem. For a rather "heavy" Word user like myself, SWriter is still not good enough (see my replies to "CodeCurmudgeon" and "putt1ck"). And it is definitely not a matter of features (it sometimes beats Word to that), it's in ease of use and speed of fluent basic editing chores that it still lags a lot behind my almost 10 years old Word XP. And, believe me, I really tried. Besides, except for a curious expanding of the styles list, I never had any compatibility problem between both word processors. Maybe this is the case with .docx, but I refuse to go for that. As said, I do a lot of Word editing, but have still not gotten to the bottom of all the (sometimes hidden) features of my XP version. And the gripes I might also have with Word are still unanswered or bettered in the 2007 version. So...

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were unarmed.

rfolden
rfolden

Life sucks. Then you die. Have a nice day and thank you for shopping at K-Mart.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

If you refuse to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used to illustrate your stupidity.

Slayer_
Slayer_

You don't know what it feels like to have all your money and hardwork, produce nothing, what its like to work 23 hours a day, and still not make any money.

rfolden
rfolden

... because I have friends (and family members for that matter) that are: 1. Gay 2. Black 3. Mexican 4. Have failing businesses. 5. A combination of the above. So there.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I just fetched the two Windows versions and confirmed how I do it. To clarify/correct my post above. Use Firefox to download the IE flash player plugin using the "Different operating system or browser" link. Firefox prompts with a "run with or save as" since it's the IE plugin. Use IE to download the Other Browser plugin using the "Different operating system or browser" link. IE will have a banner prompt warning that your trying to download a file but when you select "download file" it'll prompt with a Save As. The *nix version of Flash Player Plugin I get through my distribution's repositories. Shame Adobe doesn't provide a proper 64bit plugin.

francisvandenplas
francisvandenplas

FileHippo is usually fairly fast to advertise new downloads (in this case 08/11) through their "Update News", Cnet being a little bit slower. The former will always carry the IE and non-IE versions as .exe files, so the browser doesn't matter. Tks for the info about the Adobe downloader. I just checked and downloaded the .tar.gz flavour (there are four other versions available). Of course, as I did this under Vista, Adobe didn't try to install anything...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The only thing I can figure is that they want whatever data they can collect through the download applet; like anything else with such businesses, it helps them make more money somehow. Just be thankful it doesn't yet require Adobe AIR to run it.

Slayer_
Slayer_

That's what pisses me off, why on earth does it need a downloader for that 10 seconds download. At least with FF, its easy to remove it after it gets installed, just go to the addons window and disable or uninstall it, it leaves flash behind.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I tend to use Firefox to fetch the IE plugin installer so I get the binary .exe instead of having it stuffed into my browser directly. I then fetch the FF/Chrome plugin .exe also resulting in a "run with or save as" prompt. for the "Adobe downloader", click "other operating systems" to get the long list of various versions/languages and you can usually fetch the plugins without needing to use the installer. You kinda gotta fiddle and basically break what the website is trying to do based on the browser.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I thoroughly think that flash, being a plugin, should be distributed through the firefox/chrome plugin repositories like any other legitimate plugin. Adobe really shouldn't be going it alone on this one. Easy to install regardless of what platform FF/Chrome are running on top of and centralized updates through the existing plugin update mechanisms in the browser. FF on *nix also presence the "click here to install" option but I can't comment on how well it works as I've always installed my plugins through the repository packages like any other bit of software. I can't argue that Windows doesn't get preferential treatment from Adobe which benefits the average user either.

rfolden
rfolden

... 'cause it comes with flash "out of the box". ... oh, but wait...

rindi1
rindi1

Just this morning I had to install flash on a windoze PC. I got that "this requires Flash... click to install." But of course like is normal with windoze, I then got the message that it couldn't install. I then got the option to install it manually, which I clicked. I then arrived at the adobe page, I had to the mcafee stuff, and after that an adobe download tool got downloaded and installed, then it started the Download manager which downloaded flash, I then had to to start the installer, which then told me to close the browser, after which it got installed, and i had to start the browser again. Why can't I just open the windoze packet manager (let's call it synaptwin), enter flash into the search box, and then select it and click install? I think that's much easier than having to go through the windows installation like I did above, I'm also not left with a stupid adobe downloader. That's not the first time I had to do a manual install of flash.

rfolden
rfolden

..."And for the detractors, Flash has to be installed as an after market add-on with Windows also. The only difference is where one downloads Flash from; Adobe.com or plf-nonfree repository." Well, sorta. Often, in Win / IE, if one encounters Flash media, a little note appears in the browser that says "this requires Flash... click to install." Yer done. A little easier than "Just visit Easy Urpmi and add the PLF repositories which will include flashplugin-nonfree and your wife will have no trouble with flash media. (I'd recommend Free if your comfortable enough to do a full install rather than a liveCD stamped image)" I'm not arguing the merits of Linux v Windows: You can have them both. Also, I'm not arguing that the "install this add-on!" behavior of IE is the very thing that gives often causes people to "install" a butt-load of malware. I'm just sayin' it is typically easier for a novice to install WORKING flash support in Windows than in Linux.

roy.evison
roy.evison

Yes word is one of the two best programs that Microsoft came up with. Then they messed it up too many bells and whistles, it almost makes you want to dust off the typewriter, bring out the tipex! Simple is best and so bring on word 97 or 'writer'. Fred.

francisvandenplas
francisvandenplas

Julia, you are right up to a point. The best tool is indeed always the one you know best. If I had developed my skills with SWriter, I would probably love it, because I would not have known better. I had once a hard time teaching Word Perfect to a pool of secretaries, all too familiar with the IBM DisplayWrite (a clumsy spin-off of their DisplayWriter system), when IBM abandoned it altogether and proposed WP as a replacement (at a price!). They had to admit WP was far superior, but showed me that for several day to day chores, work was definitely quicker with their old tool. Your car comparison (by the way, I quit smoking almost 30 years ago...;-) is not complete. You might still love an old Duck (the French 2 CV, unbelievably comfortable for the price, but a hell to live with, on a lot of small details), but will gladly abandon it when you have tasted a Jag or, better, a Merce (and can afford it)... My experience with word processing tools goes back almost 30 years (on a TRS80). I even found one in those days, that was able to display font attributes on this absolutely not "graphic" machine! But, believe me, the best word processor around is still the aforementioned Word Perfect V (even 4 for that) with it's diabolically precise text positioning (a very successful book even taught you how to do desktop publishing with it). And boy, what a powerful programming language it carried. Irreplaceable was the possibility to correct or remove formatting commands. God, I miss that. Ever looked at a .doc file (from both programs dscussed here) with an Hex-Editor? A mess, with chunks of text repeatedly scattered all over the place. I did use WP a lot though I was never willing to learn the 40+ commands that commandeered fast work. And then it never made it correctly to Windows... But, back to SWriter. I used it for a couple of months, for the same daily editing tasks, when Word had definitely stopped working correctly under Vista (MS support's solution: buy something new. No, I won't : I don't need no "banners" and still haven't exhausted all the capabilities of my XP version. My Merce is also over 20 years old, by the way). Believe me, I was almost happy to have to reinstall Vista (when it got completely fouled up for the 2d time) to make Word work again. I assure you, after extensive use of both programs, I will always revert to Word, not only for familiarity, but for all the little details that make (my?) life easier. I could start a long enumeration (after proceeding to a lengthy point by point comparison) but one little point is exemplary: when you save a document, Word will catch the first few words in your text (which usually make up for the title) and insert them as a filename. Believe me or not, but I hate to type...

JuliaX111
JuliaX111

You answer your own point.. you have vast experience with word, so anything else is going to look and feel different. I grew up with SWriter.. and I find word to be obfusticated and strange.. that messes up my productivity in the same way you notice. Unless you have used both for exactly equal amounts of time one will always be second best to the most used... and that's not taking into consideration any special uses which one group of developers have identified as their primary need over a choice from a different group with probably a different set of requirements and goals. Do you prefer left hand or right hand drive cars.. and for what reason? Does the country of use bear any relation to that preference? I prefer left hand drive, primarily because the ashtray in on my smoke holding side... even though that's the wrong side for this country and makes the gear shift a conscious thing opposite to when I was learning...nearly 30 years ago.. but old habits die hard ;)

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