[lbo-talk] Desktop Publishing for people who don't know what they are doing

Andy andy274 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 9 07:31:08 PDT 2011

On Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 10:27 PM, shag carpet bomb <shag at cleandraws.com> wrote:
> I only started using Word when I went to work for other people. I can safely
> say that I've never had Word, Excel, yadda crash on me. Indeed, I can't
> remember when - maybe 1999? - a Windows OS crashed on me either.

That might depend on the work you're doing. When I worked the mid-2000's with vaguely low-level with hardware interaction, frame-grabbing software there were stretches I had to reboot practically every compile cycle.

I get why they've eaten the office desktop market, but doing development or number crunching on MS OSs is painful, and it's hard to explain why. It's not just the tradition of instability. It's like the interface just isn't built for being accessed by scripts. Even with cygwin, a standard unix emulator for Windows, it feels like getting a dog to walk on its hind legs.

Macs are taking over the scientific desktop market, and now that I have one it's easy to see why -- it's a decent gui that works pretty seamlessly with the unix backend, and you have all your favorite unix tools with 40 years of development behind them available. Linux still is the choice for heavy lifting, though.

I've probably posted this before, but Neal Stephenson wrote an essay (overstuffed like everything he writes) discussing the relative cultural appeal of different operation systems, and he adroitly captures the allure of unix. You can skip to that part by searching for the first occurrence of "linux":


-- Andy

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