The problem with software diversity

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It's a new semester at school and OH GOD! I have to decide which word processor to use this Spring.

If you have been following my blogs on the subject (which you probably haven't, because I stopped publicly complaining about this topic last fall). I have a problem with word processors. I haven't found the one to call my own yet. I started with Abiword, but some bugs, like crashing when large image files are added, turned me off of it. Then I strayed to Mozilla Composer, which has no problem with images and makes beautiful tables, but won't print accurately worth a darn. It can also write some really ugly html code. Now I've gone to Writer, which looks good for the moment, but I'm still having some formatting problems with it that I have to sort out.

Last semester was a mess. I had files in all three word processors, and I couldn't tell where anything was. I would search for a file in Abiword and it defaults to showing only Abiword files and I couldn't find the file that I knew I wrote. Then I'd remember that I wrote it in composer and it's an HTML file and the page breaks... what page breaks? Well, you get the idea.

So I resolved that this spring I would pick one wordprocessor and stick to it, but which one? I'm leaning toward Writer, but I can't give up on the tables in Composer or the print to pdf feature in Abiword. Sometimes free software leaves you with a diversity of riches, and a problem deciding which software to choose. But it's still good to have choices.

I think that I'll see which program can make a template for multiple choice test questions that prints properly without splitting the answers on different pages. If Writer can do that, then I can say I've finally found the wordprocessor for me. At least... I think so.



dfego's picture
Submitted by dfego on

I'm not sure what kind of things you have to do with tables, but OpenOffice Writer definitely allows the creation of tables, as well as the ability to export as a PDF readily accessible. My only general complaint with it is that it's rather bloated, but I used Abiword for a while and ended up switching to OpenOffice just because there were features missing that I needed, and my own uses weren't even that intense.

Raghu Kodali's picture

Did you try out Lyx? I settled down on this too after a long time of jumping around word processors. It is a Latex frontend and can be qualified as a word processor.

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Rosalyn Hunter's picture


Rosalyn Hunter has been on the internet since before the web was created. Born into a family of instructors, she has made it her life's goal to teach others about the important things in life, such as how to type kill -9 when a process is dead. She lives in a little house on the prairie in the American West with her husband, her three beautiful children, a cat and a dog.