Popping My Head Out


Hey, does anyone know a good, free Word Processor? My copy of MS Word is periodically crapping out and corrupting files I'm working on. Nothing major has been lost; I'm just taking notes for myself to take into finals, and if push comes to shove the creating of the documents is more important for my study process than the documents themselves. But: it's annoying to have to reset my computer after every five minutes of work, only to reset and find what I've done has been wiped. Also: I've got some take-home finals and essays to write over the next few weeks, and I don't really trust my Word not to eat something important.

So: Ideas? Something free, Windows XP compatible, and possesses general word processing functionality (tabs, bold, word count. spell check would be nice). It would be astounding if it could also convert directly to .doc format for easy printing, but if not I can copy and paste and hack it around to a Word doc and print from the school's computers. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Oooh! Oooh! I know!

OpenOffice is what I've been using for the last six months or so. It's an open-source version of StarOffice, both free and legitimate, and highly Microsoft-compatible. You get the whole office suite -- a Word analog, an Excel analog, a PowerPoint analog, and some other stuff I've never used. The Word analog can save as its own file type (which, for your hard drive's sake, is much smaller than the equivalent .doc file), as a Word document (XP/2000 as well as 95/98), and some various HTML and plain-text file types.

I've found it to be really convenient and functional, which is why I'm plugging it so enthusiastically. I also discovered that the Open Computing Facility on campus has it on their computers, and they're big geeks so obviously they know what they're doing. It's good stuff. I haven't had any trouble adapting to it from MS Word, mostly because the functions and user interface are almost identical. Except for the part where it interfaces with your wallet and doesn't charge you 500 bucks for a new copy.

Heh. Alrighty, then. I thought there might be something along those lines, which is why I asked.

Yeah, with respect to the wallet thing, after Word crashed semi-catastrophically, destroying half an hour's work and corrupting the file such that it will be subject to future catastrophic crashes, it popped up with the Windows XP "It seems one of your programs has crashed. Please send an error report so we can fix this problem and help you!" window. I sent the report and was eventually directed to a help page on Microsoft's website that said, and here I am paraphrasing, "Your crash was due to a massive fuck-up in MS Word. Sadly, you are using Office 2000. We no longer provide support for Office 2000. If your crash had occurred in Office XP, we might have considered helping you. For information on paying us $500 to upgrade to XP and thereby obtaining the slim sliver of a hope that we'll redirect you to a semi-useful page, please click here!"

Once again, I find that I am throwing myself at the mercy of the world's Linux dorks. Save me, Open-Source Software!

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on April 30, 2006 2:33 PM.

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