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Re: .doc file concerns

From: Paul Sander
Subject: Re: .doc file concerns
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 16:13:38 -0700

The thing is, most writers seem to prefer WYSIWYG editors such as Word or Frame
Maker to using mark-up languages.  This is reasonable, because they're much more
productive with such tools, especially since they're much more concerned with
an attractive presentation than are engineers who happen to write simple 

Choosing an inferior tool just because the version control system can't handle
a full-featured one is a poor way to work.

--- Forwarded mail from address@hidden

[ On Monday, June 25, 2001 at 15:40:10 (-0700), Mike Castle wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: .doc file concerns
> Personally, I'd recommend using LaTeX to do your documentation.  We used
> that with cvs (under win32!) and it worked great.  We able to make
> meaningful merges of documentation.  People could easily, see what was
> changed (using diff).  It's cross platform (I actually did my work under
> Linux).

If you don't like LaTeX there's always troff.  Both are almost
universally available as free software (though I don't currently know of
any existing ports of groff to M$ systems).

Personally I like "lout".  It's designed as a tru functional language
and it's markup style is at a much higher and more readable level than
even LaTeX (at least IMHO -- I've never been much of a (anything)TeX fan).

(before I found "lout" I was a die-hard troff/tbl/pic/eqn/grap fan)

> For the rest of the CVS group:  What about other word processors in the
> win32/dos world?  Do any word processors use text only format these days?
> (Maybe for a history lesson, what word processors in the past may have used
> suitable file formats?  NotaBene?  Word Perfect?  PC/Write or whatever it
> was called.  I can't believe they've always been so dense...)

Lout works just fine on M$-Windows (and M$-DO$ too!) -- it's just a nice
clean C program that generates PostScript (and sort-of PDF) output.  I
think it could be made to work on MacOS (<=9) too, and certainly on any
unix or unix-like system.

My first word-processor experience was with Electric Pencil II.  It stank.

My second word-processor experience was very early WordPerfect.  It
wasn't really a word processor back then and it stank too.

My third word-processor experience was with PaperClip.  It was OK, but
it wasn't really a word processor either and then I knew a bit about
*roff and it wasn't really anything more than a dumbed down version with
a built-in text editor.

I've never really used any other word processor, though watching someone
use the most recent version of WordPerfect brought back many many very
Very VERY bad memories.  M$-Word isn't any better, and may even be
worse.  I've no idea why people will put up with such useless crap.

(Yes I have seen quite nice looking documents typeset with modern
so-called word processors.  I can't even begin to imagine how twisted
and damaged the minds of their editors must be though.)

WordPerfect and M$-Word are not really any better than 20-year-old
typesetter software (eg. CompuGraphic) that once took highly trained
professionals to use, though of course now it runs on big fat powerful
hardware and the graphics "preview" display is integrated (though on
WordPerfect at least you can open up the formatting codes window and
peek at the real stuff, as you so often have to).  At least with the
likes of lout, LaTeX, and even troff, you can teach the *average* person
to use them very productively in an hour or two, at most!

--- End of forwarded message from address@hidden

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