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Re: .doc file concerns

From: Eric Siegerman
Subject: Re: .doc file concerns
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2001 03:06:08 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.2.5i

On Tue, Jun 26, 2001 at 07:12:58PM -0500, Thornley, David wrote:
> If I'm going to write a simple document, I frequently use Word.
> If I'm going to write something complicated, I use a better tool,
> such as LaTeX or a real page layout program.

"Real page layout programs" also tend to have binary file

On Tue, Jun 26, 2001 at 05:26:14PM -0700, Mike Castle wrote:
> I consider Word to be an inferior tool.

It's also a straw man.  Dissing Word, however much it deserves
it, isn't going to make the fundamental problem go away.

David again:
> > Choosing an inferior tool just because the version control 
> > system can't handle
> > a full-featured one is a poor way to work.
> > 
> On the other hand, using a tool that makes products that can be
> stored, compared, branched, merged, and so forth is attractive.

Of course it's attractive.  Is it THE make-or-break requirement
for every program?  Maybe to some of us -- but then, we're all
pretty rabid about version control, or we wouldn't be here in the
first place.  Our users often have different priorities; for
them, version control, merging, etc. are nice-to-have's at best.

Until, of course, we can sell them on the idea.  We can do that
by saving their ass; we won't do it by insisting they use tools
*they perceive* to be inferior (however much *we* may disagree
with their perceptions).

On Tue, Jun 26, 2001 at 10:12:24PM -0700, Paul Sander wrote:
> [a lot of good sense!]

> Most authors I know [...]
> don't care about branching or merging, except
> under extreme circumstances.  And even then, they avoid branching and
> merging; whether this is because the can't or won't understand basic
> version control concepts, or because the merge tools are inadequate,
> I don't know.

Some of each, I suspect.  They can't understand the concepts
*because* the tools are inadequate.  I didn't understand merging
-- I mean really grok it -- until I'd seen CVS do it a few times.
But hand an author (who isn't an utter geek) command-line CVS and
they'll run screaming.  So how are they going to see these things

Recent versions of Word have a little of this stuff.  It's pretty
basic and somewhat broken, of course, but the fact that it
*exists* says that there was enough demand for it for M$ to
devote resources to that rather than some other feature.  Which
in turn argues that the concepts aren't inherently beyond (all)
non-techies, as long as they're presented in a form they can
understand (which Word does pretty much manage, I think).


|  | /\
|-_|/  >   Eric Siegerman, Toronto, Ont.        address@hidden
|  |  /
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. However, this is not
necessarily a good idea.
        - RFC 1925 (quoting an unnamed source)

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