British SciFi author Charles Stross once had the protagonist of his Laundry Files series, sysadmin/demon-hunter Bob Howard, narrate his day by saying “I'm sitting in my office, shivering over a cooling cup of coffee and reading The Register when my door opens without warning ...”*.
Stross is welcome in these pages for that inclusion alone, but in the past we've also featured his declaration that Microsoft Word is ”a tyrant of the imagination” . And that was just for starters. He went on to call it “a petty, unimaginative, inconsistent dictator that is ill-suited to any creative writer's use.”
Stross yesterday returned to that theme in a series of Tweets that started with this one featuring his cat.
Editor Cat says: Y U WURK & PAY NO ATTENSHUN 2 MEEE???!? pic.twitter.com/j1oimIVDC4— Charlie Stross (@cstross) February 23, 2015
A Tweet later, this sentiment landed.
Cat versus Microsoft Word's change tracking: the misery never stops.— Charlie Stross (@cstross) February 23, 2015
Not long afterwards came the decision to ditch Word in favour of LibreOffice.
Okay, 80 pages in and I am officially Giving Up on MS Office 2011 for OSX. Switching to LibreOffice with relief, b/c it works better.— Charlie Stross (@cstross) February 23, 2015
And then, the explanation.
LibreOffice change tracking is a bit buggy, but at least it works. Office for OSX's seems to be broken by design—utterly unusable.— Charlie Stross (@cstross) February 23, 2015
Stross is a long-time Linux user who only uses Word because the publishing industry expects he will. But he's not alone in loathing the necessity to do so: fellow UK science fiction writer Alastair Reynolds says the application "drives me to distraction."®
* See page 29 of The Fuller Memorandum, Kindle edition.