What’s so great about Word?

Windows drives me nuts. I count myself fortunate that I only have to use it at work, and even then not on my own desktop. Until September I used Linux at home and work. Then I broke down and purchased an iMac. And I love it. Except for the fact that I’ve ended up using Microsoft Word on it.

Why Word, you ask? Well, my iMac came bundled with AppleWorks and MacFile (for opening/saving to Microsoft formats). I tried using AppleWorks for a while, and was pleasantly suprised; it wasn’t phenomenal, but it got the job done. Then MacFile started flaking out on me, creating files that seemed, well, like garbage. And when your professors require documents in Word format, you quickly loose patience with the troubleshooting process. So I picked up my $10 campus-license copy of Office v.X and installed it, reluctantly. Since the end of last semester I’ve returned to AppleWorks, but every time I fire it up, I’m reminded that it’s in dire need of an update.

And this leads to my quandry: what’s so great about Word? I know that I don’t need all the “features” packed into Word. It’s one of the most resource-intensive applications I run (my iMac noticably slows just having it open). It crashes less frequently than it’s Windows counterpart, but more often than it should. All in all, there’s nothing that great about Word. Except that it works (mostly), and it looks pretty.

By “pretty” I mean that it has enough fit and finish to appear like it belongs on Mac OS X. I’ve used AbiWord, OpenOffice and Lyx under X11 on my Mac, and while I like certain things about them all, it’s a jarring experience going back and forth between Aqua-land and Motif/GTK/etc-land. So I am on a quest. I want a basic, stable, Aqua word processor. I know that basic is a vague term, but for me it means “more features than TextEdit, fewer than Word.” AbiWord’s feature set definitly fills the bill; OpenOffice may be a little heavier than I’d like. It’s like porn; I’ll know it when I see it. Open Source would be nice, but just slightly less evil than Word would be acceptable. Ideas?

date:2004-01-06 09:50:08