Friday, October 24, 2003

So, why is Linux better than Windows? I think that was the topic for today. Well, actually, it isn't. I'm not saying it's worse, but I'm not going to say it is better. I like it better. Some people prefer Maxwell House to Folgers and some prefer the Chiefs to the Broncos. Does that make one really "better" than the other? No, it doesn't.

But I have a lot more fun using a computer running Linux that Windows. As I said in a previous post, the excitement that was there back in the early days of the PC is here today on Linux. There isn't just one application that everybody uses (like MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Outlook Express, etc) there are a bunch of good applications for pretty much every need. And each one of them brings something to the table. It's alot of fun to try different applications to see which one suits my style of working.

Need a spreadsheet? Well, there's gnumeric, kspread, and OpenOffice Calc (if you're curious, here's a list of some others... linux spreadsheets. And there all bring some neat features. And none of them has to be the "best" - whatever that means, anyway. I use the one I like. You use the one you like. Well, you say, what if we have to share a spreadsheet? You know, what if we both have to work on it?

I have a couple of thoughts on that one. When was the last time you truly shared a spreadsheet with someone? Come on. Most of the time you just want them to see the results, not actually get in there and start mucking around with your formulas. So, you just "print" or save as a pdf file - something that can be done from any of these spreadsheets, and send that off in an email.

But, ok, some times you do need to work on the same spreadsheet with someone else. The 3 mentioned above interoperate pretty nicely. Why? Because their file formats are publically available - there's no voodoo going on behind the curtain to try to prevent people from reading or writing to their format. Since all of these can be had for free, if you send me a gnumeric spreadsheet and I prefer KSpread, well, I just fire up my copy of gnumeric and use it.

But wait! If I use kspread all the time won't I get confused trying to use gnumeric? Oh, got me on that one, didn't you?

Give me a break. What has really changed in spreadsheets since VisiCalc? I have never run across a spreadsheet program that I couldn't solve moderatel compex problems on with minimal effort.

Ok, that's it for tonight. Next time, I'll pick up with what is needed to restore competition to the world of software, bringing back innovation, and the just plain ol' fun of using a computer. It's really easier than you think.

God wants you to know who is He is, and He's giving you a tool. Grab a bible and read Acts 3:11-26.

God bless,



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