"Over and over during this Word to the Wise
mini-series, I have made direct comparisons between the word
processor applications I looked at and how they interact with and
compare to Microsoft Word. Many readers called me on this, raising
accusations of shill on their own. My response has always been the
same: for better or worse, Word has become regarded as the gold
standard for word processors--particularly in the business world.
For any word processor to have a hope of pulling customers away
from Word, such applications are going to have to at least be the
equal of Word in terms of features. Stability, speed, and open
standards are all going to be secondary to feature set. This is not
necessarily the Right Thing, but it is the reality of a working in
a capitalist market, where people always want to get more for their
This is not a happy concept for devotees of Linux and Open
Source to embrace. In a perfect world, people would judge a product
based on its overall quality and its lack of proprietary standards.
In such a world, Linux and its application set would fare much
better than they are today.
Instead, we live in a world where a (fictional) product like
GNUWrite would be fast, small, stable, and free but hardly anyone
would buy it because (non-fictional) products like Word can come up
to potential GNUWrite customers and say things like, "yes, GNUWrite
is fast, small, stable, and free, but can it create an index?"
That's a good question, these potential customers think, especially
after Microsoft makes the ability to create an index the most
important thing in the world. The customers go back to the GNUWrite
developers and put the indexing question to them."