AlterSlash ~ the unofficial SlashDot digest

Got this link from Flangy The Grumpy Nerd. 🙂 From what I’ve read so far, AlterSlash looks like a brilliant site: Only the most intelligent posts from the hundreds of SlashDot nerd posts.

For example Boiling Point, “an embarrassed Windows user” concludes a post thusly:

“I love the idea of WINE. I love the idea of Linux. I?’ve tried Linux. Unfortunately though, I still use Windows because near-enough isn?’t really good enough. WINE is handy, but a ?Killer App? needs to be something more than simply matching the competition – it has to be the one thing you don?t get anywhere else.”

A lot of the entries in the thread are fully compatible with my personal (and professional :-)) thoughts on the subject. An operating system whose development is propelled almost solely by interested private individuals tends to converge to the interests of those private individuals: It becomes a nerd’s operating system, and the apps available are the apps the nerds personally want to run.

For example there are several OK word processors for Linux. For these programs an all-important element of success is file-compatibility with MS Word since that’s what everybody else is using. But wait – it’s not good enough to be file-compatible as this post by aussersterne says:

“No, import/export filters are not good enough ? because it’?s not just about the text. For example, Word has ?revision marks? — a system of keeping track of editorial changes to a document, who made them, when they were made, etc. An editor can easily step through each edit in a document, look at both the pre- and post-edit versions of a sentence, and certify the one of two (or of three or of four) versions which works best in context.”

My opinion: That’s just for starters. Tons of other features will prove themselves to be indispensible for some medium-to-large population of users out there. For example thousands of users depend on a combination of MS Word and some third-party software before they can perform their work. The integration is perfomed via advanced use of the template feature for example (importing menus and application integration code into the MS Word interface).

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